So why did I build a bunch of apps that only charge the user once if my goal was to generate recurring revenue?
When I initially set up this goal I just want a stable $1,000 income to be able to pay my bills and working on something that I like. I was not really care if it’s MRR or Gross or whatever. MRR was just look more stable for me back then.
The reality is that subscription products usually harder to monetize and it’s take longer time compared to one time payment products. People are hate subscription.
After I quit my job in March of 2018 and launched my first SaaS product, Sheet2Site, it started making between $100-$200/month right away. It was really exciting to get my first paying customers, but was generating far too little money to pay my bills.
I had enough savings to last about 3 months
I started building any apps that solved problems I’ve experienced and that could be monetizable in any way. If I didn’t, I would have been starving and live in a tent 🙂
I was living in Bali a cheap room, eating street food.
I couldn’t afford a motorbike, so I didn’t have any form of transportation. I walked 4–5km per day.
During the night was pretty hard here because of dogs:
Sometimes I worked in very weird places at night, where everything was close:
I even have a spreadsheet that showed me how many days I still can live (money in the bank/ave cost of the day). I thought when I will have on save point I will go back to subscription based apps.
It was harder than I thought
When I started it I thought like I will be sitting in cafe for a year and wring a code but I under estimated a lot of things.
Each of my morning started with reading an email and hoping that PayPal didn’t send me an email of death “Sorry we blocked your account and we can’t tell you why. Your money will be available after 6 month.”
Somethings was not working all the time. Pain from trying to solve some technical problem is common :).
It’s hard to be consistent and keep doing it something for a year. Especially something that have very clear metric like revenue and this revenue is not growing, sometimes even falling. But even more harder to keep doing after some success. How many artist that made a 1 cool song continue doing it?
It’s really hard for me to finish all that I start. Especially on the final stages. Even this post :). But during this year I develop a habit to finish everything that I started.
50% of the year I had anxiety, stress, procrastination, don’t know what to do. Thanks for friends that stopped me to gaveup.
After 9 months on the save point
After 9 month and making 4 apps when I was on the save point I have choose make a new subscription product or improve an existing one and I choose the last.
I decided to make a special video for the launch where I talking a bit. Firstly I tried to act like a cool but it didn’t work so I included all failed moments :).
It went pretty well and become #1 of the day.
Villa Pool Party
With my friends Pieter, Marc, Lenilson and Daniel we rent a villa in Bali and made a huge party with around 100 people. In the middle of the party I stopped the music, went to the scene and yield:
Attention please, I’m launching Sheet2Site and press the button on laptop! And people start cheering! I felt like a rock star :)
In 14 months all my apps (without acquisition of MacBook Alarm) generated $32k in revenue
Am I happy now?
Yes :). It’s very great feeling to make thinks that I love, see that people are using them and I be able to pay my bills.
What I learned
Follow a dream and do something that you a passioned about. This fuel will help you to do not comfort and boring things that are exist in any stuff that you are doing. Better to have hard things on easy way.
Surround yourself with people who believe in you. I was super lucky to meet such cool people what helped me. I even think that it’s mostly their achievement, not mine.
All important details you will start to find after you will start doing things, not before
Always finish what you start (close the loop). It’s critically important. You will learn a lot each time you build a product from zero to the end. Make a habit to finish things. Most people give up. Train your “finishing muscle”.
Don’t relax after each success. Use this momentum for next step but take a bit of time to actually enjoy your achievements and don’t jump to the next things instantly.
It’s marathon, not a sprint so you need to charge your batteries!
Focus on product, not tools (code, no code whatever.). Your users will not care how you done it. Your product should solve their problem.
Don’t validate it too much, just build it quickly and see what happen. But don’t build shit. It should work! Share to your friends first (if they are your potential users)
Should you quit your job?
I would suggest to start building a product while you are working on your job. It’s much more safer and less stressful, especially if you have a loan, a family and kids. And after your product will generate minimal income can quit.
Start making something NOW!
If I can do it you can do it for sure!
Stop thinking and start making! I believe in you!
Keep working on Sheet2Site and make it really awesome.
Launching new apps
Incorporate a company, bank and Stripe
Take my mom to Bali. I haven’t seen her for 3.5 years
Follow me on Twitter. If you’re feeling really generous, you can buy me a pack of ramen by sending $2 to my PayPal address or become my Patron.