Everything Kind of Clicking into Place 🤞

August 2019 Retrospective

August was a great month!

I’ve flipped the retro format, leading with the monthly data and then going into the narrative. This is closer to how I actually structure the process when I’m writing, so I think maybe will flow a little more clearly.

Revenue

Look at that green!

Project Revenue Monthly Change
Place Card Me $1851 +15%
SaaS Pegasus $910 +250%
Chat Stats $130 +86%
Amazon Affiliates $35 +218%
Total $2926 +47%

This is a new all-time revenue high for me (by a fairly large margin).

I’ve got $3,000 in my sights!

Time

August 2019 Time

Time breakdown for August 2019

Achieved about a 60/40 split of sponsored versus self-driven work, but overall I felt like I was really effective with the time I had.

Last Month’s Goals

# Goal Grade
1 Delight my early Pegasus customers (to the extent possible) A
2 Reorient on big picture and second-half of the year focus A
  1. I’ve done everything in my power to elicit feedback from my Pegasus customers, and when I get it I’m super-responsive and (I hope) helpful. I’ve decided this is the best I’ll aim to achieve in the short term.
  2. I made some good progress on my big-picture reorientation, which also helped guide a lot of my behavior for the month (see below).

Reorienting for the rest of the year

I did manage to do some high-level thinking on what I’d like to focus on and achieve with the rest of 2019.

Here’s a short summary.

Revenue

2019 Revenue

Revenue through August 2019 against my yearly goal

One of my goals for 2019 was earning $30k from my personal projects and it looks like I’ll be right in that neighborhood.

Specifically, I’m about halfway there through 8 months, but Pegasus is only two months old and Place Card Me has strong seasonality that should peak in the last few months of the year, so I think I can get pretty close.

Time

I also had a goal to achieve a 50/50 time split between sponsored work and my personal projects. I’m guessing this will end up closer to 60/40 and I’m at peace with that.

The intent of the goal was to ensure I didn’t neglect my side-projects and I feel good about achieving that.

2019 Time as of September 1

All time spent through August 2019

Within the personal project bucket I’ve also decided on a few guiding principles for the remainder of the year:

  1. I will not try to launch any other projects for the purposes of earning revenue, but will instead focus on increasing revenue from my existing projects.
  2. If I do start something new it should be a passion project. I’ve got a few things I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but have decided against because they weren’t “practical”. And I’m giving myself the permission / mandate to go ahead and do them anyways if I feel like it.

I think the above split will be quite helpful.

I’m hoping it will allow me to focus on revenue-generating work that—while it might not be the most fun—can actually impact my bottom line goals. And then when I get bored or feel like indulging in something I can do that without worrying about it having to be “valuable”.

By separating the practical/earning side of things with all the other reasons I might want to do something (e.g. to learn, for fun, or just because I want something to exist in the world) I’m hoping I’ll be able to achieve more on both fronts rather than make compromises. Almost like splitting my time into two categories: “work” and “play”.

The month past

I applied a lot of the above principles to the month past and I would say it was a great success!

On the Place Card Me front, I worked a bit on SEO (I really want to rank well for “wedding place cards”—see what I did there?) and growing my top of funnel traffic.

However, the bigger change was introducing expansion revenue, in the form of allowing my customers to add table cards to their order.

The first new offering on Place Card Me since its launch.

In less than a week since the feature’s been live it’s been bought five times for a grand total of $15. Not exactly breaking the bank, but a good start to getting some money I never would have made otherwise!

With Pegasus, the major thing I did was threaten to increase prices (which I am going to actually do today). I emailed my list with the news that prices were going up soon, and in the four days between the email going out and the price hike I made 5 sales!

Time pressure: it works!

Finally, the last thing I did last month fit into the “passion project” category above. I made a revenue/time dashboard for my side projects.

Side Project Dashboard

The “side project dashboard”.

What I wanted to do is show people—including myself—that while the up-front time investment of building an online business is pretty high, the long term payoff ends up working out great. At the end of 2017 my hourly rate on working on Place Card Me was less than $3, but now it’s over $50. Pegasus just surpassed $4.50, but where will it be in a year?

Anyway, it’s silly and indulgent, but I think the data and visualization is cool and I’m proud of it. :)

This Month’s Goals

I expect September to be a busy month as I’ve got a few sponsored commitments. So I’m setting some simple, hopefully achievable goals:

  1. Do at least one thing to grow Place Card Me.
  2. Do at least one thing to grow Pegasus.

Short, simple, and sweet!

Recommendations

  • Podcast: The Art of Product. This is my favorite “work in public” podcast—and possibly my favorite podcast, period. Ben Orenstein and Derrick Reimer talk shop every week about growing their respective businesses. Any single episode may be a little hard to jump into, but it gets better and better the more you listen.
  • Product: Speaking of podcasts, my new favorite podcast-discovery site is Podhunt, made by the illustrious Mubs. My favorite feature is a podcast feed containing the top episode from each day which is a great way to quickly decide if you like something enough to subscribe.

That’s all she wrote! See you in October.

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