From Lurker to Maker: Linda Zhang shares her mindset for getting started

Published on
April 22nd, 2021
Linda quit her job and turned down others to be a maker. As one of our Maker Grant Recipients from March, she shared her mental approach to sticking with it.
Linda Zhang launched Product Lessons on Product Hunt last month — a collection of over 80 actionable lessons to help you accelerate your career.

As one of our March Maker Grant recipients, we spoke to Linda to get her insights on the transition to being a maker and creator, and to hear what’s next for Product Lessons.

On becoming a maker: Making is a learned mindset.

“I’ve been a long-time lurker on Product Hunt so to be featured in this way is incredible.

When COVID started, I was looking for a side project. The easiest thing was to start sharing my experience as an early PM at a hypergrowth startup: lessons learned, mistakes made, the good bad and ugly. I soon learned that there were a lot of people eager to get actionable, real-world examples to help navigate their product careers. Rather than just featuring my own writing, I built a categorized library of 80+ resources updated weekly.

Making is a learned mindset. I never expected to be a maker, I was a corporate suit for most of my life! Very honored and honestly surprised to be selected. Glad I finally summoned the courage to launch.”

On getting started: Pick a game you enjoy playing.

“The first step I took in Product Lessons was to claim a Substack handle and started writing in private to “find my voice”. I wanted to test the waters first to see if I would actually like the process - and I did!

Then I quit my job and turned down other offers like Instagram to be a full-time maker. It was hard to walk away from cushy roles and feel like I was getting off the “career elevator” for total unpredictability. But I knew I needed to give this a real shot or I would regret it big time

Some days will suck. Words of wisdom for Makers looking to get started? Try to pick a game you enjoy playing because you win no matter what happens.”

On sticking with it: Be your own renewable energy.

“Making things, then hearing from readers and customers is the most gratifying thing. In a company (even a startup!) it’s hard to know if you’re really making a difference. But in the wilderness of the internet, you get real feedback loops that tie directly to what you do.

Making long-term progress is as much about driving outcomes for your customer as it is about managing your own psychology. It’s a mental game. You need to be your own renewable energy. Good things happen when you keep showing up!”

On what’s next:

“My next steps for Product Lessons are to turn it into the best content destination for people who want to accelerate their careers!
  • Do more collaborations with people I admire (interviews, deep-dives)
  • Expand into new content formats (audio, video)
  • Explore software opportunities”


Published on
April 22nd, 2021
Comments (2)
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