My Most Profitable Month Ever

November 2019 Retrospective

Putting out a stripped-down retro this month—saving my higher-level thoughts and plans for an end-of-year roundup.


First time crossing the $3k profit line! Woohoo!

Project Profit Monthly Change
Place Card Me $2226.77 +5.6%
SaaS Pegasus $941.30 +43%
Chat Stats $177.61 -14%
Amazon Affiliates $33.18 +100%
Total $3378.86 +13%

Place Card Me and Pegasus both had their most profitable months ever, with Place Card Me riding the end-of-year holiday place card bump and Pegasus making 5 sales at that juicy $195 price point.

Things are looking on track for my $3k average profit goal in Q4.

One thing that is weird—but I think good—is that this milestone doesn’t even feel like that big a deal. Like, my attitude is “of course I’m having my most profitable month—it’s holiday season and I have two real products now.”

Semi-predictable revenue is great.


November 2019 Time

Time breakdown for November 2019

I’m continuing to put in a higher-than-usual amount (72% this month) of sponsored time due to some upcoming Dimagi deadlines.

One major benefit of personal project work is that there’s rarely any external deadlines to work towards. This gives me the flexibility to pause some of my own work and jump in and help others meet more “important” externally-committed timelines.

The downside is that without discipline it can cause all personal time to get deprioritized—since it will never be truly “urgent”. But that can be overcome with a bit of discipline, which thankfully I seem to have.

Last Month’s Goals

One additional factor that helped me “give up” some personal time this month was that I was doing well on my goals.

# Goal Grade
1 Version 1 of Pegasus’s new team-based multi-tenancy launched A
2 Talk to at least one Pegasus customer, and email with 3 more B+
3 Zero Pegasus refund requests A
4 Publish one non-retro blog post A
  1. I shipped a major Pegasus release with overhauled team functionality and several other goodies—including a new “login with Google” option. The release was a tad rocky (there have already been two bugfix releases), but nothing too serious.
  2. I spoke to a potential customer but Pegasus ended up not being a good fit. I also emailed with four others. Close enough.
  3. So far, so good on the refund front. I’m attributing this to customer support/outreach bordering on obsessive, though it could also be luck.
  4. Published my “One Year of Parenting” post. It was well-received by friends and family and virtually unnoticed beyond that, but that’s not too surprising, given the content.

Login with Google

You can now sign up for Pegasus with Google. And add that to your own Pegasus app with no new code!

The Pegasus Master Plan

Last month I outlined my master plan for the next six months of Pegasus. And so far so good! I’m actually ahead of schedule so have adjusted the timeline below.

  1. November, 2019: Release overhauled multi-tenancy. Done!
  2. December-January, 2020: Build subscriptions into one of my own products, once.
  3. Feb-March, 2020: Bring subscriptions into Pegasus.
  4. April 2020-onwards: Start cranking up the marketing engine.

This is exciting because it means next month I’m going to start working on subscriptions!

And I’ve decided to do it with my least popular product: Chat Stats.

Why Chat Stats?

  • I want to add it to an existing product and not build something new, so my choices are limited.
  • Of my three products, it is the most subscription-like. I actually already frame the upgrade as a one-year subscription, I just don’t have any way to do renewals.
  • If I mess it up it will have the least impact on my bottom line.
  • Chat stats has long been neglected and I think it’ll be fun.

So hopefully this month—but possibly next month, I’ll change Chat Stats from a one-time fee to an annual subscription service. Should be fun!

This Month’s Goals

As a reminder, here are my Q4 OKRs:

Project Objective Key Result(s) Status
Pegasus Make Pegasus a best-in-class SaaS starter kit experience 1. Release overhauled multi-tenancy support
2. Zero new refund requests
1. Done
2. 0 so far.
Writing Find my voice as a writer and create content that resonates with people Two major blog posts by end of year 1 so far
Financial Achieve financial independence through passive income $3k average monthly profit for Q4 $3,185 so far

The key result for Pegasus is shifting slightly to start bringing in subscription work, but the objective remains the same.

So with that, here are December’s goals:

  1. Chat stats subscriptions in alpha
  2. Talk to at least one Pegasus customer, and email with 3 more
  3. Zero Pegasus refund requests
  4. Publish one non-retro blog post (year in review)

The first goal is my biggest—and probably hardest—one to hit.

There’s going to be a lot of scaffolding I’ll have to put in place to be ready for subscriptions, including adding the notion of user accounts to Chat Stats. And with continuing extra Dimagi work and holidays coming up it’s unclear I’ll be able to hit it.

But you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, right?


That’s it for the retro!

A few things I enjoyed this month:

  • Essay: The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius. This might be my favoriate Paul Graham essay ever (and that’s saying quite a lot from the guy who tried to push Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule out to an entire organization). The basic premise is that “an obsessive interest in a particular topic” is maybe the greatest predictor of genius/success—outstripping even raw ability and determination. It makes a lot of sense to me and applies to several people I know and admire in my own life. It also makes me wonder if I can have a 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th…) career in something totally random after I crack this whole passive income game.
  • Podcast Episode: Jason Calcanis interviews Chase Jarvis. I didn’t think I was the biggest Jason Calcanis fan based on a few random samplings of his Twitter, but his interview with Chase Jarvis is a shot in the arm of creative energy. I love how Chase emphasizes “being a creative” in every aspect of life—for example, just making some little tweak when you cook and seeing how it turns out. I’ve been much more interesting in the kitchen since hearing it with some good results!

See you in 2020.