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Thoughts

July 2020

It’s hard to sum up this past month. On one hand there was a lot of good progress made in terms of sales, but I kind of crashed and burned during the last two weeks and got very little done. I want to be real about my journey and burning out is about as real as it gets.

If you recall from my last update, I mentioned that I would be taking a 3 month break from contract work. That started on the 20th of July. I set out with the best of intentions to immediately start diving in to my side projects full time. The first day went well, but on the second day, my energy was all tapped out. I quickly realised that I actually need to take some real time away from the computer.

We’re currently renovating our house and so I spent the last two weeks of July mostly doing house things. Picking out finishes, figuring out room layouts and planning a wine cellar. This was well needed time off.

As mentioned sales were good in July, even without putting in much effort at all. The numbers this month are better than last month for one sole reason – It was the first month of running WP Discussion Board (a business I purchased in June) for a full month.

Let’s look at each business I run through Sftwr and then break down the numbers.

WP Discussion Board

I’m becoming more and more convinced that the easiest way to get in to the business of software is through micro acquisitions. I tweeted a thread about how I did this with WP Discussion Board last month. Yes, it may not have the romanticism of building something from scratch, but the numbers don’t care about romanticism. If you want to be almost sure of success, I highly recommend you look in to buying someones already proven software business.

That said, WP Discussion Board did as well as expected over the past month, making more than I needed it to make for it to pay itself back on a 2x multiple. I didn’t do any updates, tweak any marketing and all the traffic the site receives is organic or referrals.

What I’m most excited about though is the the plugin has 2k free users, where the most successful competitor has 300k free users. In that there lies 2 opportunities:

  • Converting the 2k users to paid users.
  • Convincing the 298k users (actually thousands more than 298k due to other competitors in the market) who are using a competitors plugin to use mine. The market is large and my plugin has no where near touched it’s potential.

Right now, my plugin is very badly marketed. The SEO is average and there is a TON of potential in email marketing. I’ll be exploring these ideas in August to grow the numbers.

One last point, the plugin is currently only monetised by PayPal as I have been awaiting my US entity for this business to be setup. That took longer than expected due to Covid-19, but it’s finally up and running and I’m just awaiting my US business bank account. I’ve seen a number of abandoned carts on the site that point to being abandoned due to only accepting Paypal. I’m hoping when I enable Stripe this month it will boost sales too.

WP Geeks

I’m still currently only selling one plugin on WP Geeks. It was a plugin I built in a very short period of time based on some SEO traffic I was receiving for a certain search term. I tweeted about this strategy last month and the tweet did really well.

This plugin continued to make sales in July which I am happy about and there was no support effort needed last month which I’m very pleased with.

I’ve got 2 plugins that are about 75% of the way built that can be added to WP Geeks, but right now I’m still trying to figure out if I want to continue to release these smaller plugins on the site or focus entirely on WP Discussion Board due to the potential there. I’ve also thought about bringing on a development partner here to work together on the plugins and share the revenue.

Watchtower

Right now I’m unsure of what to do with Watchtower. Since launching this project, I’ve done no marketing at all other than a few tweets. I initially racked up a few users, but last month, no new users signed up.

I’m sure if I started promoting it I would start getting new users, but I don’t feel like the value add is strong enough right now for users to upgrade to a Pro plan. So it would require some development work to take further and that is time I would rather spend on something like WP Discussion Board which has proven potential.

So my options are:

  1. Leave it as is and let it tick along until I decide what to do
  2. Shut it down, out of sight and out of mind
  3. Try sell it to someone who would be interested in taking the idea further and putting some marketing in to it

I’m leaning towards option 1 right now.

Numbers

WP Discussion Board

  • New sales: 7
  • Subscription renewals: 8
  • Total revenue: $697

WP Geeks

  • Sales: 2
  • Total revenue: $58

Watchtower

  • Subscription renewals: 1
  • Total revenue: $9

Total revenue for July 2020: $764

Onwards to August! I’m excited about doubling down on marketing this month and seeing what kind of an effect it has on sales.

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