The Horse Finally Learns to Fly

June 2019 Retrospective

Last month I set myself a singular goal: launch my Django SaaS Template.

And I did! At least on Twitter.

It’s both wonderful and embarrassing that this might be my most popular tweet ever.

Now if you Google “Django SaaS Template” you should find Pegasus—and not just a demo anymore. It’s a real thing that you can buy and use to build your next SaaS app.

The launch was very modest, but real. Here’s a graph of uniques leading up to and after launch day:

Pegasus Launch Traffic

Look at that extremely modest spike and subsequent slight increase in steady-state traffic!

So, Pegasus is out in the world. Finally! It’s a serious weight off my shoulders.

Now, ordinarily this would be the time where I sit and wait some indeterminate amount of time for my first sale… but I actually already made one!

In the weeks leading up to the launch I reached out to a small subset of my mailing list to offer early-access. Most people completely ignored the mail, but one person decided to give it a shot. So now I have my very first real, paying customer. That was way faster than I expected!

Now that it’s out in the world, I’m planning to take a two-tiered approach to the project:

  1. Make it as awesome as possible—by listening to all my customers (even if it’s just the one), and being hyper-responsive to their input. I want the first 10 people who buy Pegasus to be completely surprised and overwhelmed with how helpful I am.
  2. Get the word out—by coming up with a marketing strategy and executing on it.

In addition, I think now’s a good time to pop my head up and see whether there are other things I should consider working on (i.e. Place Card Me).

Onto the retro!

Revenue

Well, ordinarily this would look like a pretty ugly month except for one tiny, lovely detail: for the first time ever, Pegasus isn’t at $0!

Project Revenue Monthly Change
Place Card Me $1697 -20.6%
Chat Stats $120 -33%
SaaS Pegasus $103 +%
Amazon Affiliates $37 -33%
Total $1957 -17.5%

Pegasus actually brought in more money in its first month than Place Card Me did in its first six. There are some serious upsides to selling something for $100 instead of $5.

The drop in Place Card Me revenue was a bummer though something I hope I’ve figured out. The gist of it is that Google launched a big algorithm update in June and Place Card Me’s search rankings took a nosedive.

Based on a bit of reading I had a hunch that if I had more content on the landing page it might improve the ranking, so I rolled out a different landing page with a lot more copy. Amazingly, it seems like this completely did the trick.

See the graph below where you can see the clear dip when the algorithm change happened in early June and restorative bump when I redid the page a couple weeks later.

Place Card Me Rankings

Google giveth and Google taketh away. Place Card Me ranking for “Place Card Template” from April-July, 2019.

Time

Timespend for June looks good.

June 2019 Time

Time breakdown for June 2019

I averaged about 7.5 hours of work per workday in June—almost back to full 40-hour weeks for the first time since becoming a parent.

Also, I was able to focus on Pegasus and Dimagi while catching up on some contract work which brings some much-needed income to the old balance sheet.

Between reduced work-hours, increased focus on side-projects, and lack of new revenue streams, I’m way behind my 2019 income projections. Hopefully this is the month where that starts to turn around!

Last Month’s Goals

Nailed it.

# Goal Grade
1 F*cking launch Pegasus already A

This Month’s Goals

As alluded-to at the top, I have three big-picture goals for July:

  1. Delight my early customers. If possible, I want to convert everyone who purchases Pegasus into an evangelist. So, my plan is to go above and beyond in any way, shape, or form that I can in order to improve their likelihood of success and happiness with the product.
  2. Spend at least 12 hours on Pegasus marketing efforts. Now that Pegasus is out in the world it’s time to start thinking about how to get eyeballs on it. I don’t totally know what this will be yet—could be blog posts, SEO, hanging out on forums, or even just talking to potential customers. But I know I should start investing time in this area if I want the project to actually succeed.
  3. Reorient on big picture and second-half of the year focus. I’ve been so focused on launching Pegasus recently that I’ve really lost sight of my big-picture plans and goals. So, I’d like to regroup a bit on my priorities and try to start shaping the second half of the year. This could include doubling down on Pegasus, going back to Place Card Me, or taking a completely different turn like writing or working on a new thing (hopefully not).

Gratitude

I was really struck last month by how gracious, supportive and helpful people—many of them strangers—have been through my launch journey.

In particular I’d like to extend a special thanks to my three Pegasus beta-testers: Tyler, Jason, and Michael. You guys are awesome. 🙌

Also big thanks to everyone who sent me a nice note of encouragement after last month’s retro. Your words were super motivating and really helped me reach this little milestone. 🤗

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