Place Cards, Profits, and my 15 Minutes of Internet Fame

February 2020 Retrospective

Current Status: Excited

It was a jolly good month. I got featured on one of my favorite podcasts, was heads down making big new changes to Place Card Me, and Pegasus magically pulled itself out of a sales rut.

Moreover, I’m feeling productive, energized, and optimistic. I’m in one of those “there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the awesome things I want to do” periods—a great place to be.

Let’s get into it.

Profit

Project Profit Monthly Change
Place Card Me $1142.86 -15.37%
SaaS Pegasus $1218.36 544.50%
Chat Stats $149.38 -16.45%
Total $2510.60 46.11%

After a disappointing January, Pegasus bounced back in a big way with its most profitable month to date—topping $1K for the first time ever!

Place Card Me stayed relatively flat, though is showing signs of an uptick after some big pricing changes.

Overall this is a great profit number and—after a rough January—puts me close to back on track for my $2200/month profit OKR for the first quarter of 2020.

Time

Feb 2020 Time

Time breakdown for February 2020

Despite another consulting-heavy month, I was able to spend 36 hours on Place Card Me—the most in any month since June, 2017. Here’s that data for the lifetime of the project:

Place Card Me all-time hours

Monthly timespend on Place Card Me 2017-now. Source: side project dashboard.

Overall it’s been super fun, focused work, and I’m making great progress on rolling out subscriptions into the product (details below).

Last Month’s Goals

# Goal Grade
1 Release new place card pricing / positioning A
2 Have self-service place card accounts and subscriptions publicly available B+

The first goal is done. I talked more about my process in this Twitter thread but the new positioning is now live under a feature-flag and being delivered to 50% of my traffic. I’ll likely flip that to 100% sometime this month—after looking a little bit at the data.

For the second one—accounts are live and I came super close to finishing up subscriptions but fell a little short. They’ll almost certainly go out this week.

Project Updates

In this section I give updates on my various projects.

Place Card Me

It’s been a super fun month for Place Card Me. I’m hoping to write up an overview of all the work I’ve done in a longer-form post but here’s the cliff notes version.

First, I changed my positioning. Till now, the way Place Card Me positioned itself was that you were purchasing a template—a particular design of place cards. The templates had prices—typically $5—and once you paid you got to use the template. It looked like this:

Place Card Me Prices Old

Now, there are tiers. There is a basic tier, and premium tier. It looks like this:

Place Card Me Prices New

Now why does this matter? Haven’t I just changed the words on the page without actually changing anything?

Yes—it works exactly the same—but now the prices are completely decoupled from the templates. This is important because in the future it’s not just templates that are going into the premium tier, it could layouts, fonts, number of guests, features, etc.

Basically, this change was a prerequisite to being able to unlock anything other than template-based pricing, so even though I pretty much still have template-based pricing, my ability to change my pricing in the future is much more flexible.

Second, I raised prices. At the same time I rolled out the positioning changes, I raised the price from $5 (for most templates) to $8. I don’t have enough data to say yet how it’s going, but early results look promising. This is the biggest price hike in the history of the site—a scary but also fun thing to roll out.

Finally, I added accounts. Now you can sign up for an account and you get a number of things: you don’t have to wait for an email every time you make place cards, you can keep all your sessions in one place, and—soon—you can sign up for a recurring plan.

Place Card Me Account

A new page that keeps track of all the place cards you’ve made.

All of this is building up to that magic feature that I didn’t quite get out the door: subscriptions. Basically, having someone sign up for an account, then sign up for a plan, and becoming a recurring customer. It’s the SaaS dream I’ve been chasing since day one, and for the first time ever will have the possibility of hitting.

More on those next month, inshallah.

Pegasus

As I mentioned above—from a sales perspective it was a great month for Pegasus.

Even better—despite only working a handful of hours on the project this month, I’m feeling really good about the progress I’m making towards figuring out subscriptions in Pegasus.

No—I haven’t even started working on them. But, by building them into Place Card Me I’m getting my head wrapped around the nuances of Stripe Billing, the best way to manage data integrations, some of the necessary flows and UI components, etc.

This is the Pegasus flywheel at its finest!

The Pegasus Flywheel

The Pegasus Flywheel. I’m in the part where working on a new product provides lessons and features for making Pegasus better.

Also, I just have to say that having a code template as a product is a phenomenal way to justify being heads-down coding for long periods of time. “It’s research!”

Me

Am I a “project”? Well, aren’t we all just works in progress trying to be our best selves?

Anyways, the big thing that happened to me this month was my Indie Hacker Podcast Episode came out. Check it out!

I listened to it and it’s actually not terrible! It does a good job presenting my story and my worldview. Courtland is an amazing interviewer and he must have a great team of editors because there’s no way that I am as articulate as I sound on the episode.

The best part has been having people telling me they were inspired by the episode. This tweet was my favorite:

The main outcome I’ve seen from the podcast so far is a bunch of new Twitter followers—probably about 250, or a 30% increase.

Do Twitter followers present any real-life benefit? That’s still unclear to me, but they do increase the amount of dopamine I get per tweet sent into the world, so yay?

This Month’s Goals

  1. Ship self-service subscriptions in Place Card Me
  2. Port subscriptions back to Pegasus

This month is a little funny because I think goal #1 is “too easy”—I’ll almost certainly be done with that by the end of this week—and I think goal #2 is “too hard”.

But, I’m going to try and push myself and see how far I can get. Excited to start building the general version in Pegasus!

Recommendations

  1. Podcast / Album: Broken Record—featuring Malcom Gladwell and Rick Rubin. I really enjoyed the episode with Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend as they talked about the painstaking process of editing a song for months and months. Fun to hear how music isn’t all just a product of blind inspiration. Also the album, Father of the Bride, is excellent.
  2. Life Hack: I just learned you can send any tab from your computer to your Android phone, natively, in Firefox and Chrome. As someone who tries to do all my “production” on a laptop, and “consumption” on my phone this is a great way to pass articles to read later to myself from one to the other.
  3. Podcast Episode: My Indie Hackers episode ;). Although my favorite Indie Hackers episode is still Lynne Tye’s.

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