Eran Kampf
Eran Kampf
4 min read

Hard Truths About Entrepreneurship

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I originally posted this on X as a response to this HackerNews post (full text at the end of this post) but thought its worth expanding on.

Too many people fall in love with the idea of entrepreneurship and all the buzz around it and confuse causation with effect - building somethign new and turning it into a successful venture is effing hard and most likely fail. If you just do it for a reward of being popular and racking up “likes” on your posts - you wont get far.

Or as Michael Arrington put it a long while back:

Entrepreneurs, though, are all screwed up. They don’t need to be rewarded for risk, because they actually get utility out of risk itself. In other words, they like adventure.

Anyway, here are some hard truths that need to be told:

  • 3 failed attempts is nothing.

  • ProductHunt is useless BS echo chamber for fake “growth hackers”. Your customers aren’t there…

  • If you really verified your product “actually solved a problem” you’d have paying customers

  • You don’t need an “audience” or likes on your posts. Start with 5 customers from your existing network and figure out from there.

  • Don’t customers in your immediate social surrounding? You’re in the wrong space.

  • Find co-founders who can complete you and help build. If you can’t find anyone to join you, why would customers do it?

  • Indie hackers are not your customers.

  • But if for some reason they are - you chose a segment that who’s members are short on capital. Think again…

  • You don’t need to “exist in the world of Entrepreneurship”, you just need to exist in your problem space.

Here’s the copy of the original post on HackerNews:

I’m writing this post because I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. After three failed attempts at building a successful startup and spending time institutionalized, I’m giving up on my entrepreneurship dreams. I tried everything - building an audience, making sure my product actually solved a problem, getting paying customers, and writing high-quality content and contributing to the community. But no matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to get anywhere. My efforts were fruitless and I’m tired of trying. I barely had 20 followers, my substack and product blogs didn’t get any signups, and while I did get a few upvotes (8) on Product Hunt once, I never had a paid customer. It was as if the world was against me and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make any progress. I remember trying to interact and hype up my fellow indiehackers on Twitter, regularly engaging with their content, but no one ever paid any attention to me or followed me back. It was like I didn’t even exist in the world of entrepreneurship. And even when I did get some attention, it was short-lived and never led to anything substantial.

But it’s not just the lack of success that’s getting me down. It’s also the constant stream of digital nomad influencers on Twitter who sell extremely distorted, rosy, and often times false dreams to indie entrepreneurs like myself. They make it seem like building a successful startup is easy and anyone can do it with the right mindset and a few key tips. But the reality is that it’s not that simple. It’s fucking hard and it takes more than just a positive attitude to make it.

I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. There are so many other indie entrepreneurs out there who are struggling and feeling like they’ll never make it. If you’re one of them, I want you to know that you’re not alone. It’s okay to feel defeated and to want to give up. But please don’t give up. Keep pushing forward and don’t let the failures define you. There’s always a chance for success, no matter how small it may seem.

But for me, I can’t take it anymore. I’ve hit rock bottom and I have nothing left to give. To all the indie hackers, hacker news, and Reddit readers out there, please don’t be fooled by the false promises of digital nomad influencers. Building a startup is hard work and it takes time. It’s not as easy as they make it seem and it’s not for everyone. Don’t let your dreams consume you like they did for me, and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PROTECT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AT ALL COST! Don’t make the same mistakes I did and realize that entrepreneurship may not be the path for you. It’s okay to admit defeat and move on to something else.