Thoughts on intentionally keeping your business small

For a long time I’ve been very intentional on one thing: I want to have a successful indie business.

Why do I want an indie business?

  1. I do not want to ever have a boss
  2. I want to live life on my own terms
  3. No one can say when I have to work

What makes it a successful indie business?

Reaching all of the above.

And since I already reached that phase, keeping it successful means keeping it that way:

  • I don’t want it to grow more than I want.
  • I don’t want it to dictate another kind of life on me.
  • I don’t want it to say when I have to work

All while hopefully increasing the AR (annual revenue) that the business generates.

Note that I modified a term that’s often used in the space, ARR (annual recurring revenue). That’s another key point in my book: I do not want recurring revenue of any kind. I chased this kind of revenue for a long time, more than a decade, and sometimes it still gets me, but there’s one thing that the R for recurring does to your solo indie business.

It removes flexibility. It means you have a growing base of customers that use whatever you set to be recurring, and demands attention. Is it a web app product? It requires constant uptime and customer care and support.

That to me is a business that is demanding. At some point you need to get full time contractors or the thing will consume your life. Imagine doing the same thing over and over again for years.

That’s also why I haven’t actually made a SaaS app in the past and mostly focused on (failed) products. I want the freedom to say, one day, “I want to go into a totally different direction”. The few times I tried the SaaS route I recognized the signs along the way.

A lot of businesses are sold, which is great, and the founder(s) usually do nothing for a while, then jump on a new idea. But also not what I want to do.

Ideally I don’t want to sell my business, ever.

One day my accountant asked me what were my plans for the future.

I told him that the plan was to do what I’m doing for the rest of my life.

Being free to have an idea, create something, work on it, ship it.

I discovered long ago that the moment I feel forced to do something I lose all the passion for it.

And without passion I might as well wash dishes like I did when I was 16 or 17, at least when I’m done with those, I’m finished for the day.

I don’t want to create a business that eats me.

I want to look at the calendar and deliberately say “here’s when I’ll put 500% of my energy with full passion” and set my deadlines and work as hard as I can to create something, and bring it to life.

In the stage I’m now I’ve reached this goal with my cohort based online courses.

What I love the most about that is the fact that my work is helping people. I’m not just saving them time or making them save money or earn money, which are 3 great categories to get into if you create a product. Online courses can actually change lives.

This is also a big responsibility, and a privilege. I don’t take it for granted that I can live creating online courses. That’s the best mission I could find.

Check out my Web Development Bootcamp. Next cohort is in April 2022, join the waiting list!