The Indie Hackers Podcast #73 Building the Habits Necessary to Succeed as a Founder with James Clear

  • What was the most valuable thing you had to learn when you were starting a business? Learning to trust myself. Entrepreneurship is just the ability to trust that you will figure it out. If you have this belief you will keep showing up and doing the work. 

  • Really helpful advice I received: Try things until something comes easily. Also known as The Explore/Exploit tradeoff. At the beginning of any process there should be a broad period of exploration. When you find what is best aligned with your skillset and interests, you should exploit.

  • James’ email subscriber growth over 4 years: 0 👉34,000 👉 100,000 👉225,000 👉400,000.

  • I picked the phrase Atomic Habits for 3 reasons: (1) The word atomic means tiny or small. My core philosophy is habits should be small. (2) Atoms are the fundamental unit of a larger system. Habits are like the atoms of our lives. If you layer them on top of each other, over time you end up with a powerful system. (3) Atomic also means the source of intense energy or power. That is the overall narrative of the book. If you build a system of positive habits you can end up with remarkable results in the long run. 

  • Habits that have helped James with work: Exercise and sleep. Weightlifting helps me deal with the psychological roller-coaster ride that being an entrepreneur puts you on. I also don’t cheat on sleep. 8 hours of sleep is the most valuable habit for productivity.

  • The key part of the writing process: I am not a very good writer. [Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones is a NY Times bestseller] I am a good editor. By the time I publish something it has been revised 50+ times.

  • Basic habit tracking is as effective as it is simple: Get a calendar. Each day you perform the habit you put an X on the day. This makes progress visual and motivating.

  • How did you find the time to build your business? By eliminating everything else besides a few key areas [sleep, weightlifting, wife]. I made it my life.

  • How James thinks about product design: Make it obvious. What do you want the person to do? Make that action as obvious as possible. Don’t make them think. [Book Recommendation on this topic: Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability] And then make it easy. Making it easy is all about reducing the friction associated with your desired task.

  • Full podcast here.