Issue #7 · My First Month of Indie Making: An Honest Review
I stopped freelancing at the beginning of the year in order to completely focus on growing my collection of e-commerce businesses.
February 19, 2023: Alright, so first things first. It’s actually been almost two months since I launched myself into the Indie Making world full-time, but by the time I finished writing this issue (plus the bizarre time warp lifestyle that I’m living), that just felt like an unnecessary detail.
Quick refresher: I stopped freelancing at the beginning of the year in order to completely focus on growing my collection of e-commerce businesses:
All of these projects existed in some form prior to 2023, so I wasn’t starting entirely from scratch. But as far as traffic and sales go, it was definitely a clean slate. In fact, I still don’t have any significant stats or sales numbers to report on quite yet. I spent most of the past few weeks working through a laundry list of edits and improvements for each shop, so I’m very much still at the starting line when it comes to marketing (and I obviously haven’t turned a profit yet).
While my shops look great are showing signs of life, for now, this is a game of showing up every day, putting in the hours, having patience and blindly trusting that at some point things will click. But I’ll be honest: Some days are difficult. While my daily routine here of coffee → build → sunset → tacos → repeat is hard to beat, it’s the mental game — ignoring imposter syndrome and tuning out self-doubt — that’s the tough part.
Jack Butcher, one of my favorite Indie Influencers (is that a thing?) said visualized it best, and I took the liberty of adding a little something to it:
So even though my Shopify dashboard is a bunch of big ol’ goose eggs right now, I’m staying positive, and constantly reminding myself that I’m playing the long game. And hey, let’s keep that positivity going, shall we?
Here’s a List of Other Small Wins 🌟
After endless hours of trial-and-error-style hacking, I’m now a Shopify backend wizard and can pretty much custom code anything.
Relatedly, I spun up Tidy Plans in less than a week and I love how it turned out. This is a great sign for how quickly I’ll be able to launch [Untitled Store #4] this summer, plus any future shops beyond that.
I’m learning (and attempting to implement) SEO for the first time. It's a waiting game, but I’m still having fun self-teaching a new skill crash-course style.
Working on three shops simultaneously feels like a secret recipe for avoiding burnout, as I can quickly switch gears when I hit a roadblock with one shop and come back to it with fresh eyes later on.
I’m still really enjoying writing this newsletter (especially this issue as I’m using it to procrastinate doing my taxes).
A live look at me “coding” in the Shopify backend just a few weeks ago.
This upcoming Thursday is a big personal milestone, as February 23 marks five years since I left my last cubicle job. Five whole years! Things have obviously evolved massively since then. In fact, I don’t even feel like the same person who used to put on hideous work slacks and pack a depressing brown-bag lunch — it’s truly wild when I take a step back and look at how much things have changed:
I quit a “stable” job to freelance
I moved across the country on a whim
I sold all my shit to travel full-time
I stopped freelancing to build this ecomm empire
All of these once-seemingly crazy ideas have eventually worked out and changed my life for the better, so while the next few months are sure to be a grind, I’m loving this latest challenge.
My Upcoming Travel Plans 🌎
Surprising absolutely no one, my “2023 Travel Hiatus” was a bold-faced lie. I have less than 2 weeks left in Puerto before I head to the next spot, and I will probably definitely cry when I leave this time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited about my upcoming plans — but this place is home.
I’ve gotten in a great daily routine and finally felt settled after being on the move for the past three years. In fact, there’s been a running joke that “Emily never leaves La Punta” (that’s the neighborhood I live in here) — and it’s mostly true, except of course when I need to use an ATM. My Google Timeline update for January even gave me a good laugh:
This all-over-the-place nomadic lifestyle has made me a creature of habit now more than ever, and since I don’t plan on stopping traveling any time soon, slowing down was necessary in order to make it more sustainable. Staying longer in one place has been really important for my mental health, community building and making progress on my other life goals. Plus, the laundry lady greets me by name now
That being said, at the end of the month, I’ll be making a quick pitstop in Mexico City (48 tacos in 48 hours? Challenge accepted). Then, I’m off to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua for about seven weeks. It’s a sleepy beach town with a similar surfer’s paradise vibe, which I’m hoping will lessen the blow of leaving Puerto and more importantly, help me stick to the daily routine and good habits I’ve built so far this year. Plus, I’ll get to see one of my best travel buds and cross off a new country for the first time in six months.
One Last (Important!) Thing ⚠️
I never want this newsletter to feel pushy or salesy, and I hope that you never feel pressured to buy anything from me (unless you genuinely want to). However, I would love if you would take a minute to check out my shops out and send me any feedback, ideas or suggestions (you can just reply directly to this email). That sort of outsider perspective is invaluable, especially in my current infancy stage.
Publishing these personal updates out into the world is pretty intimidating, so I really appreciate you being here and following along on this adventure. Here’s to reaching ramen profitability in 2023! 🚀🍜
Help Me Continue Writing 📝 💛
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PS: I’d love to hear what you thought about this post. If this landed in your inbox, just hit reply! Or if you’re reading this online, send me an email at [email protected] and I pinky promise I’ll reply back.
Here’s a list of every issue if you want to keep reading!
Issue #16: Embracing the Blank Canvas [Sep 2023]
Issue #15: In Pursuit of an Endless Summer [Aug 2023]
Issue #14: Follow Me to Weird Places [Jul 2023]
Issue #13: Self-Inflicted Social Overload [Jul 2023]
Issue #12: Schlepping It 🎒 [Jun 2023]
Issue #11: Finding My “Next Thing” [Jun 2023]
Issue #10: Book the Damn Flight and Just Go [May 2023]
Issue #9: Choosing Your Own Life Adventure [May 2023]
Issue #8: Eat, Sleep, Write, Repeat [May 2023]
Issue #7: My First Month of Indie Making: An Honest Review [Feb 2023]
Issue #6: Ten Years of Making Money on the Internet [Jan 2023]
Issue #5: The Modern-Day Mission Trip [Dec 2022]
Issue #4: Ready, FIRE!, Aim [Nov 2022]
Issue #3: A New City Every Month: An Experiment in Change [Aug 2022]
Issue #2: Defining My North Star as a Nomad [Dec 2021]
Issue #1: One Year on the Road: Looking Back [Oct 2021]