Awesome April monthly report

Welcome to the Awesome April monthly report for WP Curve. I hope you like it. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Why we do these reports

Quite simply, we are passionate about helping entrepreneurs. We believe the best way we can do that is to share what is happening in our business, as openly and honestly as possible, with no agenda.

Whether our lessons are useful to you is for you to decide. You can trust that everything in these reports is accurate and honest. Some months are great and some aren’t. I’ve been writing these reports since before WP Curve existed and our monthly revenue was $0 (see the first one here).

Here is the full archive of monthly reports.

Monthly recurring revenue (MRR) $15,763

Our monthly recurring revenue grew by 16% in April to $15,763, up from $13,604.

April_MRR_Growth

We had a net increase in the number of signups of 22 during the month. This is less than March, however a lot of our new customers have signed up on our Professional plan, which has a big impact on overall MRR growth.

We haven’t analyzed this too much, but it may have something to do with our updated design and the way the pricing table looks on the sign up page.

signup_page

These results are above our 10% monthly target, so we’re happy. We are growing at a pace that is exceeding our targets but is still manageable. We feel that growing any quicker would be difficult to manage so we aren’t doing any marketing at the moment.

Once things settle down, we have a GIANT list of things we can delve into from a marketing standpoint.

Team size

We welcome our new developer Charles (The Karate Kid) to the team, which brings our team size to 9. We are actively hiring 2 more positions and hiring a new developer every 2-3 weeks.

Hiring and dialing in our internal systems are our 2 main challenges at the moment.

Website traffic

Our traffic was pretty steady with a 2% drop to 22,131 visits (or Sessions as Google Analytics now calls it).

april_traffic

We produced slightly less content which had an impact on overall traffic volume. We had a few big hits content wise which made up for this.

Here are our top pages visited. It’s interesting to note that a lot of these are pieces of content that were written a while ago.

Most of them rank well in Google or have been linked to by a lot of places as a go-to resource for that topic. The WordPress speed article was a big hit in late March, and that has continued in April. The post is up to 175 tweets and 59 comments.

top_pages_visited

ICON14 Phoenix

Alex here! I attended the ICON14 conference in Phoenix. In case you’re not a marketing automation guru, Infusionsoft is the CRM and marketing tool of choice for more than 23,000 businesses. In 10 years, they’ve grown from a tiny operation to a venture-backed company with annual revenue of $60 million.

The ICON14 conference was the most useful and interesting conference I’ve attended and I will definitely return next year.

It was a different feeling to attend a conference without having an overwhelming urge to sell something – instead, I invested my time in listening to keynotes, meeting business owners and capturing actions we can apply to our business. I was very proud to watch fellow Aussies Hamish and Lisa McQueen win the Small Business Icon award with their cleaning company, Cleancorp.

Seth Godin was outstanding, but my favourite presenter was Brad Martineau. If you want to see why he beat Seth (for me…) check this clip out.

I’ve got more than 10 pages of detailed notes to synthesize into a post for the WP Curve blog – so keep an eye out for it next month.

Content

We produced 14 pieces of content in April which was down from 17 in March. This was a good effort given we have been predominantly focusing on internal systems and service quality.

Here is the content we put out on the WP Curve blog:

The most popular was The 9 elements of great bootstrapped business ideas. This article had over 700 visits and 68 tweets.

We had more success with offsite content in April. In addition to a bunch of podcast interviews, I also released the first chapter of my book on Medium – You don’t learn until you launch.

The post has had just under 5,000 views, 50 recommends and 256 tweets. That would make it the most successful piece of content we have ever done (based on vanity metrics).

Podcast

april_2014_podcast_downloads

It was a bit quiet on the podcast front in April with only 2 episodes. The total downloads were at 4,028 which was a 49% drop from last month. Both were great episodes:

The podcast has always been a bit up and down. Episodes don’t seem to stick like some of our best written content does. If they aren’t a big hit at the time, they don’t seem to provide too much ongoing value. Podcasts are great for networking and authority. But as a form of content marketing for overall traffic and opt ins, it’s not our best option.

We don’t really have any plans to change what we are doing with the podcast. We will keep doing them ad hoc as we can. I think down the track we will focus on more scalable forms of content marketing and just have the podcast there for fun and networking.

7 Day startup book progress

7day_startup_640

The book is progressing well. The editors are currently ripping it apart and it should be ready in a few weeks. It’s been a fun process and I’ve put out a bunch of content relating to the book, which has all been very well received. Here is some of the content:

There’s more coming. If you’d like me to write a guest post for your blog or do a podcast interview, check this out. If you want to get my emails and get a free copy of the book when it launches you can opt in below.

7 Day Startup Free Book

Enter your email below to grab my upcoming book (when it's ready). 

You will also get our best content weekly. 

Our priorities in April and May

It’s an amazing change for me to be running a business where our number 1 concern is not ‘getting more customers’. Since we launched 10 months ago, we’ve had solid and very consistent growth in new customers. It just means that our priorities are elsewhere.

For this month and next, the majority of our time will be spent on these 4 areas.

Internal systems

We’ve been doing a bunch of work getting our internal systems right. Up until a month or so ago, we didn’t even use a help desk. Now that we are doing 200-300 jobs / week, this is becoming important.

The focus for the last few weeks has been figuring out the best way to use the following systems.Some of this is writing procedures and training staff. Another component is working on a few custom integrations to make it flow well.

  • Infusionsoft – our communication and automation system.
  • HelpScout – our new help desk system
  • Stripe and PayPal – our payment gateways
  • Olark – Our public live chat tool.
  • Slack – our internal communication / chat tool.

Once this is complete I’d like to delve more into analytics with Infusionsoft.

Service quality

Our main concern at the moment is making sure we impress the customers that we already have. We are constantly looking for ways to improve this. We will be focusing on this more in the next month.

One  thing we’ve done is integrated Hively, to give us some basic metrics on customer satisfaction. The team get a weekly update of our results, and we investigate any issues where customers aren’t happy.

hively_feedback_april

It’s inevitable that some customers won’t be happy. It’s our job to make improvements to the process, where good customers have been left wanting. I’m confident we can improve on 92%, but these are small numbers so they might not become too meaningful until we get more ratings.

Hiring

This is fast becoming our biggest challenge. Me and Alex are now sharing the hiring duties and we are starting to put processes together around this. We might not be too far off hiring someone to do the hiring. For now, we are actively trying to hire 2 more people and we are hiring at a rate of about 1 new team member every 2-3 weeks.

There is a lot of work for us to do all the way from finding potential employees to onboarding, skilling them up to be able to take on client jobs etc. I’m getting flash backs to my days as a HR consultant.

Partnerships

While we aren’t desperate for more customers right now, we are constantly working on partnerships. Alex spends a lot of time on this and the results are starting to come to fruition in a big way.

We are hoping that in the next few months, we will have our internal systems running seamlessly. Once that happens we will be looking at capitalizing on these partnerships. We are laying the groundwork now for that to happen.

We’d love to hear from you!

We’re pretty excited about how things are going, and we love it that you are coming along for the ride.

We enjoy hearing from you so if you have any questions or thoughts, please comment below.

About

Dan Norris is a co-founder at WP Curve and a passionate entrepreneur with an obsession for content marketing.

41 responses to “Awesome April monthly report”

  1. Jock Purtle says:

    Nice work gents, love the reports and the progress keep em coming!!

  2. Jock Purtle says:

    Why not get your existing staff to do the hiring?

  3. Dan Norris says:

    Hey Jock thanks mate.

  4. Dan Norris says:

    The person doing hiring really has to be full time and our only full time staff at the moment are developers and we need them to focus on their work. We’ll see how we go. We haven’t really planned to hire anyone other than developers this year but we’ll see. Sometimes we find devs easily and sometimes we don’t, it’s a bit up and down. We had a really good run early on.

  5. what is your monthly profit? (Revenue without costs is not very informative)

  6. Dan Norris says:

    Hey James, it’s about $120,000 USD annualized at the moment (split between 2 cofounders). Depending on how much we decide to put back into the business in any given month. I estimate our profit margin will be around 50% or a bit less once we fully replace ourselves but I think there’s a lot of room for growth left. I think we are a fraction of the size we can get to so I’m very happy with that much profit for now.

    Our audience seems to think our reports are very informative. Profit is a good measure for an established business but we are more focused on growth which I think is sensible for a business that is 10 months old. If we wanted to focus purely on profit we would be building $5,000 websites.

    It’s likely that we won’t increase our profit much more this year. I’d rather keep putting it back into the business to keep it growing.

  7. thanks for the update. I was curious how much labor costs and of course marketing. If you want to scale much faster you would re-invest into marketing and capacity. It depends on your goals. Marketing could be direct or affiliate and capacity would be team and systems / automation etc… Great business you have there.

  8. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks, yeah we have quite a few things we want to do marketing wise but the ability to handle more customers and do a good job is our biggest challenge right now. Once we have that sorted we will start working on these partnerships, retargeting (we are dropping cookies now), facebook ads, and probably paid writers to do more content. We have a few more things up our sleeve too. I think it’s going to be a big end to 2014.

  9. naturally a higher priced recurring product / service will add a huge increase when the time is right

  10. Awesome report thanks for sharing Dan, and I like the feedback of James. Cheers

  11. Matthew Newton says:

    Love it Dan. You inspire me more than you know.

    Just wondering – have you posted yet about how you go about hiring devs? I’m very curious about this bit.

  12. Thanks for all of your input @JamesSchramko:disqus. We’re building a rock solid foundation right now, so if / when we flip the switch on a few distribution options or different offerings, we’re 100% ready to deliver (from a process / system / capacity standpoint).

    As an aside – I noticed that you’re selling your site theme – how has that performed?

  13. We have sold ten ($3k) in the last few days and I expect it is a top seller in the making. it is a win for the customer because of the development we have put into testing it. It is good for us to have a package that we can repeat smoothly.

  14. Now that you are in profit you would absolutely build capacity before loading the hopper with a flood of customers. Brand value and loyalty (with a recurring business especially) are a high priority.

  15. Perfect – well done.

  16. Ahem, *cough… $16.9k MRR over heya! 😉

    Great stuff guys, Awesome April indeed. Love these posts, and chuffed about your success.

  17. Haha. We’ve got you covered DT, that was MRR at the end of last month.

    We appreciate your support, customer #1!

  18. Dan Norris says:

    I’m open to calling a truce if you are DT. I want us both to succeed and comparing monthly revenue between 2 totally different bizos doesn’t seem that useful. How about I just buy u a beer or 5 in BKK?

  19. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks man that’s very cool. I responded to your question on Lorna’s podcast from memory:

    http://www.entrepreneursforachange.com/23/

    Let me know if you need more detail than that. Our approach is more or less to offer paid trials to as many people as possible and then hire the ones that go well. Like everything we do, we do it quickly and expect some devs not to work out and others to work out. The onboarding stuff is a bigger bottleneck than the actual hiring. i.e.making sure devs are capable before they touch client sites, make sure they understand our processes etc. There are a lot of devs in the world and we find them in all the usual places. I can give you more info if you like.

    A lot of the recent ones have come through word of mouth by people hearing about us or referrals from existing staff.

  20. Matthew Newton says:

    “I responded to your question on Lorna’s podcast from memory:”

    Argh. Sorry. When I was typing that question I was really thinking “have I asked this of Dan before?” Had a nagging thought in the back of my mind. I didn’t end up listening to the episode with Lorna – with the lag time between the question and the publication, I forgot to check her site.

    Just had a listen and the answer was very helpful. Thanks. I’m going to have to make a fairly similar hire myself soon. Just one question more: what’s the typical pay rate for the kind of person you’re hiring?

  21. Dan Norris says:

    Hey mate cool glad it was useful. This really depends on a lot of things. We hire devs all around the world and at various skill levels. The junior devs do some of the more procedural stuff and the simpler tasks (configuration type stuff)and the more advanced devs are used as a level 2 style support.

    I’m not sure where you are hiring but send me an email I can give you a price range for various locations.

  22. You BIG wimp!

    It’s all in good fun, I am a huge fan and want your success.

    But I get it, you’re afraid and that fear has cut into your time available to instagram photos of craft beer… 🙂

  23. Dan Norris says:

    I gave you a chance and now you will be destroyed.

  24. Casey Stevens says:

    Great work guys, definitely inspiring but also practical. Thanks for sharing

  25. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks Casey it means a lot. I’m glad you find this info useful.

  26. Casey Stevens says:

    No worries. This is one of the blogs that I treat kind of like I have other people in the office rather than working alone every day. Reading about what people are up to and having other people sharing ideas etc

    Though now that I’ve typed that out it sounds a bit sad.

  27. Dan Norris says:

    I know what you mean. I joined a co-working space today actually. Community is important. Forums are great but they don’t replace working with people.

  28. Casey Stevens says:

    Cool, it will be interesting to see how that effects your productivity and all the rest of it. My current town doesn’t have a space yet so for the time being I will just continue to hang out in the comments :p

  29. Dan Norris says:

    Ha cool. I’ve done co-working before. It doesn’t really have much of an impact on productivity. I just need to be a bit more organized. Get a bit lazy working at home.

  30. Samir Madi says:

    Well done guys.. Great result and looks like you have plans to move forward and expand.. Not just settle, and that is inspiring.. Keep it up.

    Samir

  31. Co-founder note: Dan is not ‘lazy’ in a conventional sense. See: ‘Lazy’ according to DN: responding to 500 emails, building a new onboarding process, managing a team of developers, recording a podcast and writing a few thousand words for a blog post.

  32. Zac Headrick says:

    Hey guys I’m curious how you manage to hire a new person every 2-3 weeks with $15.5k MRR and two co-founders.

    Are these people part-time?

    Are they freelancers?

    I don’t know if you have any plans to share your hiring and management systems. I’m always looking for better ways to manage my freelance team and improve communication as well as productivity. Would love some blog posts about that as you get your systems dialed in.

    Great to see that things are rolling!

    Zac

  33. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks for the support Samir.

  34. Dan Norris says:

    Ha yeah I meant like you forget about the need to be organized. The swap to co-working this week has already resulted in me missing my co-founder call, forgetting lunch, forgetting my mac charger etc etc.

  35. Dan Norris says:

    Hey Zac thanks for the comment mate. Our staff are mainly in countries like the Philippines. I’ve hired devs there for years and they are great, and obviously much more affordable than western devs.

    All of our staff except for 1 is full time. They are contractors so some of them work atypical hours and do jobs on the side for other people.

    We’ve had a lot of interest about how we hire devs so I’ve noted down to write something up on that.

  36. Zac Headrick says:

    Cool Dan thanks. I am excited to follow your progress.

  37. Hugh Culver says:

    This is great stuff. I’ve only seen 2 other income reports, but yours wins for being from the youngest company. Man, loads to learn here as you grow your biz, while doing biz. Do you think you will need to put a limit on requests from customers?

  38. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks Hugh, our income reports go back 18 months when we were earning zero revenue with a totally different business. We are constantly balancing a clear and simple offer for people while maintaining our margins. So far so good, but who knows what the future hold. We have grown a lot quicker then expected and I think we are still just scratching the surface.

    [image: logo]
    *Dan Norris* *Cofounder** WP Curve *
    dan@wpcurve.com
    Mobile (AUS) 0434 152 966

    [image: Facebook] [image: Twitter] Latest post: 9 questions to you from the ICON14 conference

  39. Hugh Culver says:

    Well, I’m super impressed with this business model and (selfishly) hope it continues.

  40. ha, classic.
    you. will. be. destroyed.

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