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Gonza Nardini


Back to indie hacking - this time permanently!

Last year I quit what I thought at the time was my last job to try and make a living working on my own projects on my own terms. I made some mistakes initially though. I received some grants to work on my crypto-related project and participated and won some money from a few hackathons. This "free money" made me not appreciate it and not focus on the important things - getting customers and charging them for the service I was providing. Instead, it allowed me to focus on writing code and implementing fun things without worrying about who was going to use it.

When I realized what had happened late last year I put pause on the project since I couldn't see a path to make it profitable and started two new projects with much clearer ways of making money sustainably: ARAM Zone and Kamara. ARAM Zone is a stats website for League of Legends and would make money from ads, so it needs a high number of users to work. Kamara is a VS Code extension that uses GPT-4 to write and edit code right from the editor. It works with a credits system for now that charges a premium over the OpenAI credits used.

Both were starting to grow and I felt quite motivated working on them, but I made another mistake: I got a job. I wasn't looking for it, but one of the judges from one of the hackathons I participated in (got 2nd place) put me in contact with the CEO of a local high-growth company focusing on making crypto usable and available for everyone, not just experts and nerds. I already knew, used and really liked the company, the role leading the new product was very interesting and the CEO was quite convincing so against my instincts and desires I took the job.

Even though the role was perfect for me, I really can't stand the day to day of working at a company anymore. After tasting the freedom and lifestyle of owning my own time and efforts, going back is just not possible for me anymore. I quit almost 6 months after joining, feeling like I wasted 6 months of my life on something I knew I didn't want. If I have to take anything positive from the experience, it is that before it I used to think that if indie hacking didn't work for me I could always go back to a normal job. That's really not in the cards for me anymore so I really need to make this work now. It gave me renewed energy and deep motivation to not need a job ever again.

The New Plan

So, what now? I'll try to keep working on both projects, working on the one that either motivates me the most each week or is getting more traction. ARAM Zone is a great challenge in learning about SEO and marketing, since there's enough competition to prove that there's definitely a need for that sort of tool but also room for creating something better or different than them. This week there's a new mode of League of Legends called Soul Fighter so my goal for this week and next is to create the best stats website for it.

I really like working on LoL stats websites because I always used them and liked stats and feel like there's a lot of marketing learning opportunities in it, which is something I really need if I want to succeed at this. I'd also like to explore creating stats websites for professional sports in the future, like pro LoL, football, tennis and others. I don't want to get too ahead of myself though, so just LoL for now!

As to Kamara, I think it probably has higher money-making potential than ARAM Zone but it's also significantly more technically challenging to build. I like the challenge but I think I'll have to be a bit more patient if I want to see money coming out of it so I'll start by trying to get a "quick win" and some cash flow from ARAM Zone before focusing more on Kamara.

That's it for now! I'll post weekly about my progress on these and future projects to keep myself honest