2018 marked my third year running a software business. While last year was focused on growing existing products, this year was more about diversification. I’m now running six separate projects:
Autoplaylists and Autoresponder continued to be my only revenue sources. Here’s the numbers:
The subscriber numbers were mostly due to increased Autoplaylists churn once Google Music’s shutdown was announced. Autoresponder growth was steady, but not enough to compensate.
To reduce my exposure to future Google changes, I worked on two new independent projects.
Over the summer I launched Kleroteria in response to the shutdown of The Listserve. Both work the same way: people subscribe to an email list, and periodically one person is chosen to write to everyone else. My take mostly differs behind the scenes, with improved automation and free hosting (it runs on 13 free tiers, which was a fun technical exercise).
I was hoping to take over The Listserve’s 10k subscribers, but they had already deleted their email list by the time I reached out. Instead I settled for cold-emailing previous winners who’d provided their emails. This yielded about 500 subscribers from 2000 prospects. While this is a decent start, there’s no real revenue potential without much more growth. So, I hope to do some marketing in 2019, then look into options like Patreon or merchandise.
My second project was a bit of a departure: MinMaxMeals is my first content site. It launched a month ago, and has picked up a few dozen email subscribers and twitter followers so far. I plan to put consistent effort into writing and marketing over the next year. There’s a variety of revenue options if it gets traction, like affiliate links, sponsorships, or a cookbook.
Autoplaylists and Autoresponder each received maintenance and some minor feature work. Notably, this included handling a small crisis while at a friend’s wedding. I also attempted a few Facebook ad campaigns to little success.
On the positive side, I made good progress on Analytics for Google Payments. A reverse engineering breakthrough led to support for new data and a public beta. It’s now got its first 10 users, largely from a cold-email campaign I ran against owners of paid Chrome extensions. That also had the side effect of sizing the market: as it turns out, there a very few paid chrome extensions. So, I may look into supporting other merchant types (like Android or YouTube) to expand it. I’m a bit hesitant given its coupling to Google, however.
Finally, poor Repominder got little attention aside from a move to free hosting. I’m not sure it’s worth investing in now that GitHub seems to have stepped up development of similar features.
I’m pleased to have diversified in 2018, even if my new projects aren’t yet making money. I’m also proud of how much I got done – especially as my responsibilities at my day job increased.
Here’s hoping 2019 is similarly successful! Follow along by signing up below, and feel free to reach out with questions.