My business just doubled in 1 week WTF? – June monthly report

A crazy thing happened this month. After taking 1 year to build up $476 in recurring monthly revenue I thought of a new business on Saturday, launched it on Wednesday and by the weekend I had build up another $476 in recurring monthly revenue. Told you it was crazy. All the details and more in this month’s report.

Background

If this is the first one of my reports you’ve read here is the high level background:

  • I sold my web design business a year ago to focus on building a more stable, scalable, fun business Informly.
  • I’ve been releasing monthly reports on the Informly blog for the last 6 months or so going through my progress.
  • I have struggled with a lot of chopping and changing, not enough paying customers and many other things but it’s been fun.
  • I gave myself a year to make it happen and it’s been 11 months so this month I decided to make a pretty big change see more below.

As you can see the monthly reports now have a new home (startupchat.co) so here are the historical reports if you wanted to check them out:

WP Curve launched

sidebar_bannerSo after shutting down 2 of my products last month to focus only on the agency version of Informly it became pretty obvious to me that I wasn’t going to hit my income targets any time soon (although I am happy with how Informly is now going).

Without going into all of the painful details, I decided to launch a new service WP Curve that gives founders live access to a WordPress developer for maintenance and tweaks 24 hours a day for $59. I will be running this as well as Informly from now on.

This is how it went down:

  • I thought of the idea on Saturday 22 June and I put a few posts in some forums I’m in to see what people thought. Generally people didn’t like the idea. Some people really really hated it!
  • The idea still felt right to me and in the past when  I’ve asked people about my ideas the results have been horrible so this time I decided to just launch it as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP – I love it how I can blame Eric Reis for all of my crazy ideas) and review the progress after 2 weeks to see if I should pursue it.
  • I though up a name (WP Curve), I didn’t spend a whole lot of time on that but it says what the service is so that is good enough for an MVP.
  • I registered the domain for $9.
  • I bought a responsive WordPress theme for $39.
  • We spent a few days refining the theme, modifying it, making sure all the responsive stuff worked, making sure retina graphics worked etc (not really necessary for an MVP but it was fun) and we put up wpcurve.com on Wednesday last week (26 June).
  • I wrote 3 blog posts on the site (more later on this) and tweeted those out but didn’t specifically tell people about the new service.
  • On Thursday I announced a special deal to my weekly email list and put some links up in forums I’m in (you can subscribe to my emails on the right).
  • My goal was to get 2 customers by the end of the week (the launch deal is $49 / month) and 5 by the end of the month (26 July).
  • By Sunday (4 business days) I had 10 paying customers.

There are still quite a few unknowns about this business so whether or not it is ‘a good idea’ remains to be seen. However after less than 1 week it’s now generating as much revenue as Informly is after 1 year so I’m going to pursue it.

The other cool thing is we are getting some great testimonials and the service seems to be working well.

testimonials

If you have any questions about it please post in the comments below.

Income

So in terms of income my monthly recurring revenue is up to $952. It’s not really the total numbers I’m interested in, it’s whether or not they are growing each month and by how much. This is obviously a huge growth (more or less double) for this month but it’s a bit of an irrelevant comparison. Now that I’ve let my list know and my forums the challenge to grow both products is ahead of me so we’ll see where this ends up by the end of July.

With the Informly product I migrated everyone away from the existing gateway and across to PayPal and I guess I had a few people who weren’t using the product  but were still paying for it and haven’t come across. So that was a bit of a hit but by the end of the month it had equalized with some new signups so the revenue each month is now broken up as follows:

  • Informly – $476
  • WP Curve – $476

Isn’t that totally bizarre?

Moving on.

Website traffic

Now that I have 3 sites I’ll report on aggregate traffic results here since I’m splitting up the content and I’ll break it up below:

  • Total visits: 12,342 (this is Informly and WP Curve since startupchat.co wasn’t launched until today)
  • This is actually just over last month’s 12,108 (2% increase)
  • Informly had 10,910 visits and WP Curve had 1,432 (in 6 days)

The chart below is the Informly analytics chart for visits.

visits

Here are the referrers for Informly. There’s not enough traffic on WP Curve for now but I’ll report on the traffic sources for that next month.

traffic_sources

Again traffic from Google has gone up (this month by 6.93%) but some other sources have gone down such as Facebook (down 36%), Twitter (17%) and LinkedIn (74%). I put this down to a lack of impactful content for the month, more on that below.

Content

There wasn’t a huge amount of content in June unfortunately. I’ve been putting out around 10 posts per month but in June there was only 4 articles on the Informly blog plus 1 notice about our affiliate program. However there were 3 articles on WP Curve 1 which did quite well.

Here is the breakdown. The comment counts include my own replies – I reply to every comment unless it’s spam and even then I tend to reply just for fun;)

  • Pivots, pirouettes and backflips – Informly May monthly report273 visits, 8 tweets, 37 comments. I often get good interaction with people on these posts I love that but they don’t tend to be big traffic / conversion generators.
  • Freelancers & agencies, use this website review template to win your next project [FREE TEMPLATE]410 visits, 10 tweets, 5 comments but it also had around 50 conversions. This is more along the lines of content I’d like to do. Directly usable highly targeted and lead-generating (all people who opted in are entered into an Infusionsoft sequence that lets them know about Informly).
  • Podcast #41 – 7 final blog conversion mistakes (including full list of 21 mistakes)101 visits, 9 tweets, 0 comments. Podcasts aren’t my most successful content from a traffic or engagement point of view.
  • Are you an epic content marketer? [TAKE THE QUIZ] – This one was my greatest disappointment of the month. It took me a very very long time, it was almost 5,000 words and included an interactive survey, lots of examples, a dedicated sidebar with links through to the people mentioned and a feature that enabled people to tweet their results. It took me about a week to do, it was a lot of work. In the past when I’ve spent that long on a post the results have been excellent. Not this time. It had 400 visits, 28 tweets and 8 comments. I guess it just wasn’t useful enough for people and maybe a bit wanky? Oh well, fail move on.

I was pleasantly surprised with the results of the posts on the WP Curve site:

The interesting thing in terms of traffic was however that I had the majority of my traffic to older content. After 1 year of creating content I can finally start to see those long term efforts starting to pay off as older content ‘passively’ drives traffic to the site. I am also deliberately sending more traffic to some of these pages with my sidebar widget that lists my highest converting posts.

top_pages

Guest content

I didn’t do any guest posts in June however one post that I actually write 6 months ago finally got published and the results were quite good:

Lessons I Learned from Selling My Web Design Agency was published on sixrevisions.com. It had 210 tweets, 16 comments and sent 225 visits to my site with 7 conversions (6 email optins and 1 new trial user) (3.11%). It was a nice surprise. I’d chased it up a lot of times and in the end just forgotten about it.

I also went on a bit of a podcast binge. I appeared in 4 podcasts.

I do have a few more guest posts to write for people once everything settles down.

What do you think?

Let me know what you think in the comments below and if you want to jump on my weekly email list you can sign up on the right. I love reading the comments here and the replies to my weekly emails. I hope you found this useful.

About

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

22 responses to “My business just doubled in 1 week WTF? – June monthly report”

  1. Mr WordPress says:

    Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in and view the post's comments. There you will have the option to edit or delete them.

  2. Well done on your ninja success! Great name, and a great concept. I just hope you don’t steal some of my clients!!!

    But in all seriousness, I really enjoyed the popular post on your new business website, and I think I referred someone to it because they were saying they weren’t getting enough traffic.

    Hoping for great growth in the new financial year for both of us!

  3. dottourism says:

    Great Dan, I love these posts and fantastic to see the early success of the Ninja idea. Look forward to seeing how this pans out. Good luck!

  4. Hey Dan – I’m excited to hear Ninja is taking off. I think I may referred one of those happy customers 🙂

  5. Brian says:

    Dude – that’s awesome news about WP Live Ninja! Great concept. So simple, so useful. Can’t wait to see that one develop.

    Thanks for the mention! I’ll have to have you back on the podcast to talk about WP Live Ninja!

  6. beckjamin says:

    Awesome post and inspiring story Dan! Keep up the good work!

  7. Well done Dan, I knew something was afoot when we chatted earlier in the week. I love the model, it’s kind of like Tweaky except it has a more personalized offering.

    My goal is to have enough traffic to my blog in three months time so I can sign up.

    PS – Glad you did this post – I was holding my breath!

  8. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks Carlie on the contrary I might be able to refer you some. I’m setting up an area on the site where we can refer any work out externally that isn’t considered a maintenance tweak. I think over time I should be able to refer a reasonable amount of work so I’ll get back to you about that.

    Thanks for the support, best of luck to you also.

  9. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks man I love putting these posts together it keeps me motivated!

  10. Dan Norris says:

    Yes thank you! Sorry I meant to get back to you and say thanks for that.

  11. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks man still early days but it’s a nice start. Thanks for commenting.

  12. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks Ben how’s your stuff going?

  13. Dan Norris says:

    Awesome Alex good stuff thanks for the compliment. Ha I’ll keep doing them I just wanted to move them over to a new site since they aren’t really all that relevant just to Informly anymore. I had a bit of feedback saying they weren’t the best thing for potential customers to see on that site also which is a fair point but I didn’t want to stop doing them.

  14. Dan says:

    Rock on Dan!

  15. VeloNomad says:

    Dan, this is actually really awesome for understanding how to apply these methodologies to our own sites. Great stuff. Man I love the interwebz.

  16. Jared Wade says:

    WP Ninja is a great business model IMHO, not sure why people in the forums were hating.

    Have you thought of adding a more high ticket package? For instance; I’m working on setting up a business to build high converting, highly optimised wordpress sites for small trades and services companies who want to improve their ROI from their online marketing efforts.

    I’m not that interested in doing the work myself, not least of all because I’m not much of a web developer and my expertise are limited to buying and customising themes with plugins and low level css changes.

    At this point in my business I have the option to either build myself or outsource it as a one off project on odesk or elance; in the early stages of the business I don’t have traction or cashflow to justify hiring someone full time.

    An enticing offer would be to have a monthly subscription, say starting at $199/month that would get me a certain number of “build hours” that could be rolled over to the following month if not used. As my business expands I could easily add more monthly build hours to my package and get a slightly better deal for purchasing larger packages.

    When I secure a project from a client I could send it through and get a quote based on the number of build hours will be used and I wouldn’t have to worry about doing my own outsourcing again!

    Just a thought!

  17. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks Tim me too!

  18. Dan Norris says:

    Hey Jared thanks mate. I think most people’s thinking is there isn’t any money at the low end in this space. That and a lot of people seem to be concerned that the open ended offer (we will fix any maintenance issues) will get abused.

    I have no interest in doing design / development stuff like that unfortunately. This might also make it a bi trickier to grow the business since that would be an obvious next step. But I’m looking forward to sending people to other places for that and maybe it will work both ways (agencies will send us clients who are more DIY type clients who aren’t ever going to spend big $$ on new websites).

    There are plenty of services offering what you describe already. You might want to check out James Schramko’s stuff he has lots of these types of services. I’ve just decided that this business isn’t for me. Doing the tweaks and maintenance is something I think I can scale independently of myself (we’ll see though there’s a lot to work out first).

  19. Tim Davies says:

    Your candor and persistence is inspiring Dan. Well done.

  20. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks man I appreciate that.

  21. Adam Lehrman says:

    Have you considered scalability by maybe setting up a way for other designers to do the work and you take a cut? Also, I suppose, in some ways, this isn’t that different than a managed WP hosting service…

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