The Rebound

June 2022 Retrospective

After the worst month I’d had in recent history, I had one of the best ones. Profits in June were near all-time highs, I hit all my goals, and I’m once again optimistic about the future. Go figure!

Last Month’s Profit

Project Profit Monthly Change
SaaS Pegasus $10,071.38 260.24%
Place Card Me $1925.86 -22.44%
Chat Stats $94.10 -23.08%
Total $12,091.34 123.87%

Pegasus had a huge rebound from a very bad May. Was this related to anything I did or just the random variance of a high-price, one-time-sale business model? I have no idea.

Last Month’s Goals

# Goal Grade
1 Spend at least 30 hours doing Pegasus traction/marketing work. A
2 Spend at least 30 hours doing Pegasus product development. A

These goals worked out great. Here’s the time data for the month, with a bonus detailed breakdown where you can see these in the top two:

June 2022 Time

Time breakdown for June, 2022

These goals served two useful purposes:

  1. They focused me on Pegasus for the month.
  2. They forced me to do more marketing work than I would naturally.

It wasn’t exactly as fun or as free as recent months, but that was kind of the point. And the result felt significantly more productive.

Spend at least 30 hours doing Pegasus traction/marketing work: A

I ended the month at 32 hours clocked. Where did it go?

Collecting Customer Reviews

It had been on my roadmap for a while to collect more customer reviews, so this month I set up Trustpilot and solicited reviews from my customer email list. Amazingly, ten people already took the time to leave nice reviews.

They were all positive and so fun / affirming to read. Here’s my favorite—from someone who I did an accelerator package with:

Tom Review

They liked it! They really liked it!

Did the existence of these reviews help with my sales numbers this path month? I have no idea, but they certainly don’t hurt!

As an aside, if I could do this again I probably wouldn’t use Trustpilot. They charge $300 a month just to show your star rating on their site. This article describes their shadiness in more detail. Unfortunately (as befits their business model) I’m kind of locked in now.

Working on the marketing site

Most of the rest of the time went to random little improvements to the marketing site. In no particular order:

  • I overhauled the email confirmation message you get when you sign up to be friendlier and nicer looking.
  • I kicked off an A/B test on the text of the main call-to-action button on the landing page.
  • I added a “how it works” section to the landing page, with an embedded video screencast.
  • I replaced the generic rocket picture on the landing page hero with a slightly-less-generic picture of a rocket shooting out of a laptop.
  • I started the process of making a much longer list of all the features in Pegasus—including all the stuff that’s been added since I last made any major changes to the marketing site (probably more than a year ago).
  • I changed the license purchase UI to highlight the benefits of an unlimited license more.
  • I reskinned the docs to look more modern (including adding dark mode, if that’s your thing).

Apart from the A/B test I don’t really have any way of knowing if any of these changes will make a difference, but overall I’m much more pleased with the customer journey from landing page to purchase (even if I can’t really measure it). My gut feel is that every little bit helps.

Overall, this is the type of work that I would never prioritize if not forced to do something in the marketing space, so I’m glad I had the time-based goal to force my hand.

Spend at least 30 hours doing Pegasus product development: A

I clocked ~exactly 30 hours on product dev. The result:

Wagtail integration

I shipped the Wagtail CMS integration with Pegasus. And I gotta say—Wagtail is pretty awesome. It’s kind of like Wordpress but if the editing UI was completely configurable by your own code. The Pegasus integration only really scratches the surface of what you can do, and I’m excited to play with it more. Quick demo video below if you’re curious:

Pegasus Wagtail integration demo

Addressing Technical Debt

In one of those “not sure what to do next” moments, I decided to tackle one of the lingering pieces of technical debt in Pegasus: ditching CoreAPI for OpenAPI3.

If you’re like 99.9999% of people out there, you probably just said, “huh?”. You can read more about it in this Twitter thread, but the TL;DR is that the technology that the Pegasus API docs and JavaScript client are based on was deprecated, and there is a new library/standard to upgrade to.

The process has been fun, informative, and frustrating all at once. The technology is amazing, and also weirdly difficult to find coherent information about. Now that I’ve mostly wrapped my head around everything, I’m kicking around the idea of wrapping up my learnings in a blog post to help other devs (and do a wee bit of Pegasus content marketing, of course). We’ll see…

Anyway, I’m quite happy with the work so far (not yet released). It’s quite important to me that Pegasus stays on top of technical debt, and while the idea of doing a release that doesn’t add any new features is a bit of a bummer from a marketing perspective, it’s a long-term investment in the product, customer experience, future word-of-mouth and so on.

Now that Pegasus is old enough (turned 3 a few days ago!) to have some technical debt, it may be time to think about formalizing how to regularly pay it back.

This Month’s Goals

The time-based goals worked so well this past month that I’m gonna try them again. There’s also an exciting bonus goal:

  1. Spend at least 30 hours doing Pegasus product development.
  2. Spend at least 30 hours doing Pegasus traction/marketing work.
  3. Onboard a new part-time Pegasus developer.

Yep, my solopreneur days may be numbered! Dawn of a new era? We shall see…