Eternally Curious. Writing, Learning, Building in Public. Writing about Ideas + Inspiration + Insights for creators, solopreneurs and indie hackers | Simple tips and frameworks to help you build a sustainable solo business
Table of Contents
- Extreme Challenges to Try
- 6 extreme challenges you can take on crush your goals for 2023
- 1. 12 Startups in 12 Months
- 2. 12 Growth strategies in 12 months
- 3. 30 Essays in 30 Days
- 4. 52 Newsletter Issues in a year
- 5. Create a book or course in 30 days
- 6. Read 12 Books in 12 Months
- Bonus: Write 10 ideas per day
- Final Word
- Super Links
Do not index
Do not index
Have you taken on any extreme public challenges around personal or business or growth?
Stuff like 12 startups in 12 months, or 30 essays in 30 days etc.
Till a couple of years ago I was skeptical of these challenges. They always felt gimmicky to me.
But in the last 2 years I’ve seen enough stories of success and tried my own fair share of challenges to say that they actually work.
There’s a reason they work, I’ll get into the reasons in a bit, and also share 6 challenge ideas you can try yourself to meet your goals in 2023.
Extreme Challenges to Try
I'll move quick and wrap this up in 4 minutes. But if you only have 30 seconds, then just read the precap below.
This is everything I’ll share today -
- 3 reasons why extreme challenges work
- 6 ideas for challenges you can try
- 12 startups in 12 months
- 12 growth strategies in 12 months
- 30 Essays in 30 Days
- 52 Newsletter issues in a year
- Create a book or a course in 30 days
- Read 12 Books in 12 Months
- Bonus: 1 Meta challenge to support all challenges
- A really cool GIF to challenge you.
- Super Links: Useful Links worth checking out
Now let’s dive deeper -
6 extreme challenges you can take on crush your goals for 2023
First off, why do challenges work?
I think there are 3 reasons -
- The time constraints help you get rid of perfectionism. You can’t dwell on one thing for too long, you must conclude it and move on. So you ship more and learn more.
- The public accountability forces you to do more than you would do otherwise. Once you announce publicly that you’re going to do something, you are way more likely to get it done than not.
- You stretch and redefine your limits. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you test your limits. An extreme challenge is a great way to find out what you’re actually capable of.
So even if you don’t eventually finish a challenge, you would have still succeeded in many ways.
All of this is a way to hack your own psychology, get out of your own head and actually do sh*t. Because that’s how we learn the most.
This was a huge realizations for me as I tried to launch 25 projects in 25 weeks last year. (More details on my challenge here)
So this is good, but what challenge should you pickup?
I’ve got 6 ideas here, pick the one that suits your goals and business stage the best.
Let’s go -
1. 12 Startups in 12 Months
This is the classic Indie Hacker challenge.
If you’re a coder (or No-Coder) and want to build a successful software product then this challenge is for you.
The goal is to build an MVP version of your startup, launch it, and test it in the market, all in the space of 30 days.
And do it repeatedly for 12 months in a row.
There’s a good chance that you will hit upon a winning idea in the process.
Do checkout some incredible success stories like Pieter Levels, Jon Yongfook and Andrey Azimov
Pair this with the 1 week development + 1 week marketing strategy and you’ve got a winner.
2. 12 Growth strategies in 12 months
If you already have a business that you’re trying to grow then this challenge is for you.
Make a list of 12/24 growth strategies most suitable for your business. And invest 2-4 weeks focused on each one of them.
This will also give you a better way to measure each strategy against the others and figure out the ones that work the best for you.
The goal is to focus all your efforts on 1 strategy for a fixed period of time and get as much out of it as possible.
The book Traction lists 19 traction channels to try. (This is a good summary from Nat Eliason)
Pick one and execute every month.
3. 30 Essays in 30 Days
Writing is one of the most powerful skills on the internet today. It will help you immensely in all your goals - be it building an audience or building a business.
But if you want to become a better writer you first have to build a writing habit.
And a 30 essays challenge can super charge your writing habit.
If your broader goal is to build a Twitter audience, then you can change this to be a 30 threads in 30 days challenge.
Sticking to a few common themes throughout the challenge can help a lot here.
This way you can easily test what type of content resonates with your audience the most, and then double down on it.
4. 52 Newsletter Issues in a year
If your goal is to build an email list or newsletter this year, then sticking to a weekly cadence and shipping an issue a week is a good challenge to set for yourself.
If you can do this, then by this time next year you will have a well established newsletter that you can monetize via ads, affiliates or by selling your own products.
This is also the best way to own your audience and avoid platform risks that comes with trying to grow an audience on social media.
Couple of points to remember -
- Pick a niche topic that you know about already.
- Spend as much time promoting the newsletter as you do writing it 🤷
5. Create a book or course in 30 days
We often think that a book or course has to be elaborate and extensive.
While in fact most people these days prefer info products to be short and specific.
This is a great thing for writers, because now you can narrow down the scope of the project and actually deliver an effective product in just 30 days. (More about creating effective products here)
I’ve done this a few times.
- In 2021 I wrote a book in 30 days. (more details in this thread)
- In 2022 I created a writing course in 4 weeks, it got extended to 6 weeks eventually. (more details in this thread)
- And then I launched 25 products in 25 weeks 😅 (These are my top 10 lessons)
Make it easy for yourself -
- Pick a niche topic you already know about
- Create the content with feedback from the audience and build the project in public
There’s a step by step playbook you can follow to create effective info products.
I share it in the Info Product Playbook.
6. Read 12 Books in 12 Months
If you want to build a reading habit then this is a great challenge to start.
Of course, it’s not about how many books you read, it’s about how many do you learn from and apply.
If you don’t have a reading habit, you will never be able to read the valuable books that you can apply the lessons from.
So, first order of business is to build a reading habit.
And that’s where a challenge like this can be powerful.
Set a target of 12/24 books to read this year, make a list, announce it to the world and get started.
You may even get roasted like Lex Friedman, but that’s not such a bad thing 😅
Know your reasons. Don’t care about the world, coz the the fact is - the world doesn’t care about you either 🤷
Bonus: Write 10 ideas per day
So this one’s interesting.
For every challenge above you will need ideas to execute on. Be it startup ideas, essay ideas, thread ideas or even book or course ideas.
But if you don’t have a lot of ideas in these domains, then it’s best to first work on building an idea muscle.
Initially you will come up with lot of crap ideas, but as you exercise the idea muscle, the good ideas will start to emerge.
That’s what you want to get to.
I learned about this from James Altucher, he has an excellent guide about this concept, do read it here -
If you feel stuck, or you lack focus then taking on such a challenge like this might be the best way to get clarity on your way forward.
Few things to keep in mind -
- The numbers don’t matter as much. It’s okay if you set out to launch 12 startups and end up doing only 7.
- The goal is to put yourself in an uncomfortable situation through artificial constraints.
- That’s when progress happens.
The fine print of the constraints don’t really matter.
So pick a challenge that most resonates with you and get going.
Get sh*t done.
Come on, I challenge you -
Useful links you don't want to miss -
- Read this if you want to learn why competitive advantages die
- Simple pricing framework for B2B SaaS | YouTube
- If you want to build new habits this year, you can't go wrong with these 9.
- Career Shift Stories from Ciler Demiralp Stories of people picking unusual careers. She did a great profile on me that you might find useful.
- If you’re a modern family fan, this will literally make you laugh out loud 🤣
Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:
- 📜 Get a detailed audit of your landing page, catch loopholes and boost conversions. Book an audit here .
- ✍️ Never hire an expensive copywriter again. Get the perfect system to write all your copy here .
- 🧠 Solopreneurship is hard, but it doesn’t have to be lonely, get honest feedback, support and accountability, meet your Mastermind here
Hope this post helped you a little bit.
If it did, then make sure you don’t miss the next one.