How to become a Micro SaaS founder on the side of a 9-5 job

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4 min read

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Starting an entrepreneurial journey is not easy.
I started my journey as a solopreneur back in 2021, on the side of a 9-5 job to escape the rat race.
And I truly believe that’s the best way to start it, the reason is simple: it takes a lot of time to start making money and understand how marketing works.
Most software engineers think that a great product is enough to succeed. Well, let me tell you that it is not the truth. But let’s go in order.

The software engineer's product bias

We are all tempted to think, that if the product is cool, people will come and pay for it.
Our product references are products like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google, etc.
But their growth model is very different than ours. They were not bootstrapped but VC-funded.
They received so much money to conquer the world, and even with all that money, most of the startups just failed. It’s a different game. We, as bootstrapped solopreneurs, play a different game.
 

What is a bootstrapped company?

It’s simply a company that doesn’t take any funding money, no external money from angel investors, Venture Capital, and so on. The founders use their own money to run the business and reinvest the revenues into the business.
 
Here’s how I suggest you start your own online business, like a Micro SaaS, or any other digital product: start with the problem to solve.
 
The more painful is the problem, the better. The customers need to think, “I need this product to save me and my company time or money” (they are both linked anyway).
 
Once you identify the problem, it’s the right moment to start building the product.
 

Organize your time

Most people I know are amazed when they discover I am a solopreneur on the side of a 9-5 job.
I was able to achieve quite some good results (6 SaaS, sold 3 of them) while working as a senior software engineer and team lead for different companies.
But let’s give you the exact daily schedule I use:
  • I wake up around 7/7:30 AM (I’m not an early bird, I can’t wake up before, I tried, but it’s not for me)
  • I do some house stuff, like preparing breakfast for the family and so on
  • I work out a bit, (usually push-ups)
  • At 8 AM I’m in front of my desk, I work for an hour on my stuff (coding my products, or scheduling posts on X and engaging)
  • At 9 AM I start working for my employer, until 1 PM, launch break of 1 hour, employer work until 6 PM
  • The evening is usually dedicated to personal time, I watch some TV series or go out for dinner. I rarely work.
  • During the weekend I might do something, or not, but I never overwork. I try to keep a good work-life balance because I want to do this in the long term and avoid burning out at all costs.
That’s it, do this every day, and your effort will compound over time to build something bigger.
You don’t need morning routines, to wake up at 5 AM, or any other fancy technique.
Do just a little bit every day.
Of course, I work from home, and I don’t have commuting time.
Having a 9-5 removes from you the money pressure, the pressure to make money to pay the bills. And you can reinvest part of your salary into your businesses (sponsorships, paid ads, consultancies, etc.).
This is what I was able to achieve by being consistent:
  • Between 2019 and 2021, I built the SaaS iterspace.com and sold it.
  • In 2021 I started building an audience on Twitter talking about web development (by the way, grab the free 200+ slides about JavaScript, React, CSS if you haven’t already).
  • In 2022 I started building hivoe.com in public, a Twitter DM automation micro SaaS, and inboxs.io, a Twitter DM productivity inbox micro SaaS (I sold both of them in 2023)
  • In 2023 I built OmniWrite an AI writing Chrome extension, Userdesk an AI Chatbots platform for businesses, Wuf a mobile push notifications Micro SaaS, and launched Shipped.club, the Next.js Micro SaaS Boilerplate for busy founders.
I strongly suggest that everyone start indie hacking on the side, it’s the most sustainable and stress-free way of approaching it.
Also because there’s a lot to learn, and it takes time.
 

My tech stack

Over the years I’ve consolidated my tech stack into something optimized for speed.
Here’s what I use, so you can steal it and use it as well:
  • React great UI library based on reusable components, I’m so quick building web app using React
  • ChakraUI is one of the best open source Design Systems and UI kits for React. I get many components from it and responsive props.
  • Next.js is a full-stack framework for React based on node.js (JavaScript). It makes it so easy to build full-stack apps, with client and server code in one single codebase.
  • Vercel I host my web apps using Vercel. You push your commit to your GitHub repo, and they deploy it. It’s that simple.
  • NextAuth authentication made finally easy, for Next.js
  • PostgreSQL is my favorite open-source SQL database
 
I hope you find this information useful, and if you have any questions, please write to me on Twitter/X or via email 🙌 Luca
 
 

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