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June 2020

For many years I’ve read and been inspired by open startups and creators who share their results and numbers with the world. So when I started Sftwr, my intention has always been to be extremely transparent with the business and share wins, losses and the in-betweens.

I’m excited that June was the first month where I started bringing in income through the various different businesses I’ve embarked on over the last ~2 months. Even though the amount that I made is in some ways a little embarrassing to report on, it’s progress none-the-less! And I’m proud of that.

I haven’t quite yet figured out a good format for this update, but overtime I’m sure it’ll settle in to a familiar pattern. And soon, I’ll be aggregating the live stats from my various businesses to a single page on this website – so look out for that. In the meantime, let’s start with wins from the past month.

Wins

WooCommerce Plugins

A big part of my strategy going forward is a focus on WooCommerce as a platform as I believe there is enormous potential in the WooCommerce space. So in June I started testing the waters on WP Geeks. I built a plugin called Hide Prices for WooCommerce and within a week, I made a sale from some content marketing efforts. I made another sale a week after that first sale.

In July, I plan on building out more plugins and building a content marketing strategy around them to drive traffic and sales.

Discussion Board

Another key strategy of Sftwr is to acquire existing WordPress plugin businesses and integrate them in to the Sftwr portfolio. After some initial due diligence, negotiation and an offer in May, I closed on DiscussionBoard.pro around the middle of June.

The plugin has a decent base of existing users and consistent sales over the last year. The reason I bought it was for the upside potential of creating a number of add-ons for the plugin and improving the content marketing efforts around the brand to drive better sales. I can see the plugin becoming one of the best discussion board plugins for WordPress in the future with some really useful add-ons.

The first thing I did was rebrand the plugin as WPDiscussionBoard.com and refresh the website. I’ll write more about this in the future.

Also, I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but Ryan Kulp’s Micro Acquisitions course (aff.) was instrumental in pulling off this purchase. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get in to purchasing online businesses.

Opportunities for improvements

Not everything went well this past month. Let’s look at the areas where I struggled.

Watchtower

After and initial really good launch of Watchtower, I was unable to dedicate a lot of effort to it this month due to closing on WP Discussion Board and all the work that was needed to get it transferred (remember, I’m still working full time too, so I have very limited time available).

In fact I didn’t get any new sign ups this month, after close to 20 in the first month. The reason? No one knows about the plugin. I’ve done no marketing. The only way people would find it right now if that happen to find it on the last page of a search for “monitoring” in the WordPress.org plugin repository.

That said, at the end of May I added performance reporting for Web Vitals and I’m excited about the future possibilities for it. I’m also currently looking at niching down the plugin to focus on just WooCommerce stores. I’ll spend a good amount of time on Watchtower in July.

Tiredness

During the second half of June I spent almost no time on side projects (other than the WP Discussion Board transfer). I’ve been putting a big effort in to my “real” work that ran in to numerous late evenings in June and I felt really tired towards the end of June.

The upside here is that after 5 years of full time contracting work, I’m taking a 3 month break. Around the middle of July, I will be not taking on any new projects. My intention is to unwind a bit, but also work on my passion projects – in other words, Sftwr. It’ll open my schedule up in the mornings to work on my businesses and in the evenings, rest and spend more important time with my family. I’m looking forward to it!

Numbers

Now the part I’m sure you’re most curious to see. Let’s get in to the numbers. In this update I’m just going to give total revenue. I’ll break it down in future updates, once I’ve got the live stats pulling in to this website.

  • June Product Revenue: $224
  • June Unique Visits (across all businesses): 1396

Overall, I’m happy with the progress I made in June. I’m looking forward to continuing in July and hopefully building on the numbers above. I’ve got some exciting plans for both this site and the Sftwr businesses. Subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date.

Follow along as I build a software business

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