Like you I realized before setting out that indie-publishing is a double-edged sword. So I look at it like minor league baseball (maybe even spring training). If you have the talent and commit to the game, you can, over the course of a few seasons, get picked up by the majors. But some people do make a living playing in the minors.
I don’t even like baseball or know too much about it, so this analogy might be off:)