This is the third instalment of an ongoing interview series where I chat with people from the eastern part of the world, where entrepreneurship is a more novel concept. The indie maker I met today is seriously amazing. Darko Kolev is all about productivity, has a healthy lifestyle, a little baby at home, and is working as a freelancer and maintaining his product all at the same time. The product he is working on combines all of the things that you would need in order to be as productive as possible. Read on if this sounds interesting.

Filling a gap in the productivity landscape

“I started programming since I was 13 years old and have continued to educate myself ever since. I work as a Python developer, but I like to learn and explore all parts of building successful businesses. LifeHQ is an all-in-one productivity system that makes it easy to organize, plan, and work productively all in one place.”

“I was tired of having to use 3-4 apps to fulfill all my productivity needs, in the end, I always ended up using 1 and forgetting about the other 2. So, I decided to build one app that has all the necessary things to manage all aspects of my life organization, planning, and productivity. I managed to do this by implementing the following modules under one roof:

  • Journaling for recording and reviewing my productivity, my mistakes, and lessons learned.
  • Project management to make my goals concrete and work on them every day. This lets me define tasks, deadlines, and upload resources.
  • To-do list for planning the tasks for the day separated into urgent, important, and extra.
  • Weekly planner for planning ahead of the crucial tasks for the whole week.
  • Pomodoro cycles for working productively in short and focused work periods.
  • Habit tracking for adopting healthy habits that support everything else we do in life.”

“The main benefit is that LifeHQ lowers the effort it takes to be consistent with all these things we know we should be doing but aren’t. LifeHQ is what I like to call Proactive software in the sense that it knows what tasks you need to finish today, it knows the habits you need to accomplish, it knows that your daily journal is supposed to be written every day but the weekly one only on Sundays. Another way is the daily mission module that defines what you need to do, to make this day a success. Because after all, success is achieved by many successful days.”

A long-term approach to product and marketing

“How I got started with LifeHQ is actually a fun story. For a few years, I had this idea about an all-in-one productivity software. A productivity system which you basically don’t have to set up yourself from scratch. Up until then, I had about a dozen personal projects all half-complete, nothing published. I would start something and after a month or two, move to another.”

“Then in April 2018, my wife told me she was pregnant. I was thrilled and all that, of course. But then I thought to myself that in nine months, I will have zero time for personal projects. It was now or never, I had to complete and ship one of my projects. From all my ideas, LifeHQ was the best one. I thought that if I manage to make that one successful I won’t need any others.”

“Productivity is something I’m very enthusiastic about, and I can work on it forever. During those nine months, I would wake up at 5 and work until 9, before starting my regular freelance job. I would also work at night if I had energy left that day. At the beginning of November that year I shipped LifeHQ in Beta, and on the 20th of November my daughter was born. After that, it took me a while to tie up all the loose ends, and in April 2019 I launched LifeHQ officially.”

“The backend is coded in Python with the Django framework, and the frontend is built using StimulusJS, a JavaScript framework for the HTML you already have. The marketing strategy, at this point, is entirely manual. I mainly focus on writing, connecting, participating, and helping the community. Specifically, I write on my blog, and I’m active on Reddit and on IndieHackers. There are two ways to make a successful app. Throw a bunch of stuff on the wall and see what sticks. Or throw one thing on the wall and hold it until it sticks. I plan to do the latter.”

Want to give LifeHQ a try? Use discount code makermag-rocks to get 30% off forever. And if you are an indie maker from the East (from Eastern Europe to China) who would like to be featured on Maker Mag, please contact me at with the subject line Maker Mag Interview.

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