September 6, 2019

$1k in monthly revenue (my all-time high)

Michael Lynch @mtlynch

This was my most profitable month since going full-time as an Indie Hacker. Two of my businesses had their all-time best months:

  • Is It Keto: $388.92
  • Zestful: $728.49
  • Total: $1,117.41

Zestful's revenue is very bursty, so I'm unlikely to sustain that regularly, but Is It Keto has been growing consistently by 30-50% per month throughout 2019.

In my August retrospective, I dive further into the stats and discuss how I plan to grow further: https://mtlynch.io/retrospectives/2019/09/

  1. 3

    Huge! what are your top traffic sources?

    1. 1

      Thanks for reading!

      what are your top traffic sources?

      It's 78% organic search:

      https://imgur.com/lTHVWXN

      I've tried Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest and not gotten much out of any of them.

  2. 2

    Congrats Michael!

  3. 2

    Hey congratulations man. I think I remember your posts talking about Zestful from before it was starting to make money, so very cool to see it is growing! Was there a specific turning point for you as far as what you did to start getting paying users for that project?

    1. 1

      Thanks! Though to be fair, I don't think Zestful is very successful at the moment. This month is an anomaly because it was a special request from a single customer.

      There wasn't a particular turning point in attracting more customers, but over time, it's risen in the Google results and attracted more visitors that way. Part of that was writing blog posts about how I developed it. I also answered questions about ingredient parsing on SO.

      The best decision I made recently was to raise my prices by 566%. I don't think it's attracted more customers (although maybe the price makes it seem like a premium service), but it reduced customer inquiries to just serious ones. Before that, I received lots of inquiries like, "We want to use your service, but we really need it to have feature XYZ," so I'd spend a week or two implementing XYZ and circle back, but they'd just never get back to me. Or they'd say thanks and spend like $15 on the service.

  4. 2

    It's surprising, at least for me, that a recently started blog with just two articles is making $400 per month. Maybe it's a sign that you should push more on that.

    1. 2

      Thanks for reading!

      To clarify, Is It Keto is more of a content site than a blog. It has two blog posts, but about 200 food articles. The month counting is a bit confusing because I count in terms of the number of months I focused on it, so I've worked on it for 8 months, but I launched it in January 2018, so it's 1 year, 8 months old.

      Although maybe the perception that it only has two articles is a bit of a signal to me to make the content more obvious from the homepage.

      1. 2

        When do you say articles do you mean the short description explanation of each product? I thought that clicking on the products would send me to an eCommerce.

        Two changes I would make:

        1. links should be opened in a new tab
        2. your current affiliate link gets blocked with an ad-block. I suppose that amazon pays a higher commission if you use the banner or that the banner has a higher conversion rate, but in my opinion, you should add to that an alternative that doesn't get blocked by ad-blockers
        1. 1

          When do you say articles do you mean the short description explanation of each product? I thought that clicking on the products would send me to an eCommerce.

          Yep, those are original articles. This is the most recent one:

          http://isitketo.org/green-beans

          links should be opened in a new tab

          I've heard people say this, but I haven't seen compelling evidence that it does anything. I'm more convinced by the argument that best practice is to accept default browser behavior.

          your current affiliate link gets blocked with an ad-block. I suppose that amazon pays a higher commission if you use the banner or that the banner has a higher conversion rate, but in my opinion, you should add to that an alternative that doesn't get blocked by ad-blockers

          My understanding is that Amazon pays the same regardless of what ad format the publisher uses. But as far as getting into an arms race to trick ad-block users into seeing ads, I feel like it's not worth the trouble.

          1. 2

            I've heard people say this, but I haven't seen compelling evidence that it does anything. I'm more convinced by the argument that best practice is to accept default browser behavior.

            Yes, please! 100%. Do not break the browser behavior, I and many others absolutely hate it.

  5. 1

    Zestful is a really neat idea. Did it come from working on Is It Keto?

    1. 1

      Thanks! It actually came from my earlier project, KetoHub. It's a search engine for keto recipe sites, but to make the recipes searchable by ingredient, I had to simplify strings like "1/2 cup finely chopped red onions" to just "red onions".

  6. 3

    This comment was deleted a year ago.

    1. 1

      Thanks for reading!

      Have you considered adding pomodoro functionality or time-tracking to what got done: perhaps having an archive of weekly logs with the daily tracking would be quite a compelling value proposition.

      Oh, that's interesting. I hadn't thought about that. From customer interviews, the biggest problem with What Got Done seemed to be not that customers thought that it was an insufficient solution, but more that they didn't experience the problem in the first place. Everyone I spoke to was using Slack or Telegram groups to share daily/weekly updates and they all felt satisfied with that. The things they asked for were more higher-level things like OKRs and goal-setting for career progression.

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