I launched Better Sheets as a video tutorial package of 8 videos on April 7th, 2020. The intention was to launch something, anything while I was in the trough of sorrow when building a SaaS. That SaaS doesn’t exist anymore, and this report is about where Better Sheets stands now.
It’s now been 14 months since launch. Better Sheets has over 2,100 Customers. For all you Indiehacker revenue gazers, Better Sheets made total revenue of $56,410.24 USD. This is $56k generated - not take-home pay.
The total revenue generated stands at $56,410.24
This includes both transactional sales of individual sheets, as well as memberships.
Averaging over 14 months ends up getting $4,029 per month.
92% of that comes from selling Memberships. Of which the vast majority is in a Lifetime deal. That lifetime deal is available on AppSumo marketplace.
8% of revenue is from selling digital info products: Sheets and Guides. All of which are available on Gumroad
I'll let in you in on some notes, processes that absolutely worked. These include launching a product, getting press, and a price change. And to be clear these are what drove revenue over the past handful of months. From February to May 2021. I post a lot of day to day successes on my twitter.
February 1, 2021
Notes: A little tiny spike in Better Sheets member sales around this date is due to launching a product., OnlySheets. The first script/code I made and sold. ::Celebrate Hacking::
Launching products is a form of marketing for everything I do. It's fun, exciting. I took a lot from the YC talk How to Launch Again and Again by Kat Manalac.
February 18, 2021
Drove FOMO. I announced this price change the week it occurred and many who wanted to buy actually bought it. Drove so many sales that Feb 18th is the “Best Day Ever” in Sales and Revenue.
March 11, 2021
The early days of March looks in hindsight, sluggish. Perhaps the moons were not aligned. But honestly it was a hangover from the price increase. In this time I took a look at where I wanted to go in far far future and decided that I needed to have a lower price point option going forward, but couldn’t keep selling lifetime deals at lower prices.
A monthly subscription is the answer here. I know that for probably the rest of the year, 2021, I won’t focus on this but to have the system set up and running would be magical. This early March period is when I implemented this. While it won’t drive sales now, it did allow for subscription sales when a lot of traffic came to the site in May. Looking back I am very glad I set this up.
April 7, 2021
I will say that this truly was luck. I happen to be in an odd timezone (Hong Kong / Singapore) but caught wind in the last hours of April 6th in the U.S. that April 7th is Gumroad Day. Within an hour of seeing this created some coupons and I thought of a little gimmick. Previously I had been thinking of creating 1 off coupons for people to discover. Easter eggs. But wanted to do like a hundred or two hundred. Well here was my chance, to sort of try.
I created 10 coupon codes one each for 99% off, 98% off, 97% off...etc. And announced this. It was a product that I wish sold more: Better Letters. Previously “Newsletter Creator”. A suite of sheets that powered my newsletter for 3 years and I had hoped others would get it and make $1k a month in sales and decrease their time in running a curated newsletter.
It truly was one of my favorite products but languished in sales. Today’s the day that changed all that.
Within 2 hours all 10 coupon codes were used. I created 10 more. Increasing the price by 1% each time. Within 4 hours those next 10 were used. I ended up making 99 in total. Some are still available today. You can see which ones are available here: coupons.betterletters.xyz
April 18, 2021
This was the first of two wonderful delightful profiles. The other had far more reach and impact due to two reasons. Business Insider puts their content behind a paywall and the mashable article covered more creators in the space.
May 1, 2021
The best press is the press that sells. This article alone drove 3 of the top 10 days in Better Sheets history. May 1st, 2nd and 3rd all broke into the top 10 with ease. I don’t have any stats of how many readers but I can imagine it’s a lot.
An interesting point is that some opted for the subscription over the LTD and thus these days proved my earlier thesis true to set up the subscription months prior.
The success of a journey is not where you end up but rather the people you meet along the way. My goal is not necessarily to only make money, but to empower others. It’s been a creed, a mission, I’ve been on for years now. The projects come and go but the mission stays.
The very first customer, Carlos, spurred on a great many weeks of motivation for me when he sent me a before and after snapshot of his google sheet.
Recently I’ve focused on making sure that others can make money on their own. I measure my own success by the success and happiness of others. Are others capable of taking their own messy ideas, forming them in a google sheet and getting them out to a public, for free or paid.
I also don’t think you need to hear of more case studies of people making hundreds of thousands of dollars to be sold that you can do this too. I have a suspicion that if I share with you 3 stories of people making a few bucks, you will get riled up and say “well I can do better!” and you probably can.
Jaan created a Stock Tracker of the Electric Vehicle industry for his EV Universe newsletter. It’s an awesome lead magnet now. You can check out the sheet improvement video and subscribe to the EV Universe newsletter.
Mike is a fellow Indiehacker @MikePrivette and has his updates on the Calculator here: indiehackers.com/product/the-job-indecision-calculator
Mike’s google sheet journey in his own words.
I started by buying the How to Sell Google Sheets For Fun and Profit product and that unlocked things for me. This gave me the confidence to make my first digital product The Job Indecision Calculator and start what has now become a passion for me. These products got me over my analysis paralysis and got me up and selling in about 3 days.
Mike’s already generated $241 with 34 sales. And look out for his next product. Yes he’s producing even more.
Jade Craven recently built Bootstrapper’s Press Directory and now sells it on gumroad. A google sheet lies at the heart of it.
But truly hours and hours of work goes into something like this and saves end users, Indiehackers - bootstrappers - founders valuable time in finding outlets that actually want their story.
"This House Comparison Calculator Spreadsheet was an essential tool in our successful home purchase."
Better Sheets currently costs less than $100 to run month to month. With most of the expenses being tools I already used before I started Better Sheets.
Total: $53 per month
*paid yearly for cheaper per month fee.
In addition to monthly costs, I choose to spend money on advertisting.
A few months ago I spent $1,009 on newsletters. I've continued to pick and choose some newsletters to sponsor.
Also spent $300 on podcast ads. These look to have paid for themselves so I have chosen to pay for more podcast ads that will be coming out soon.
You’re reading this on Indiehackers.com and you hack stuff. So why should you care about a guy who teaches google sheets?
If you haven’t made a single dollar online yet, here’s your motivation.
If you are struggling through a SaaS and making less than $1,000 a month, I bet you’ve got a few info products in mind.
As indiehackers I think we get in our heads too much. We build and build and build and forget that the world of revenue is wholly in sales and marketing. An info product, a course, a google sheet can get you out of build mode and into sales mode super quickly.
Create an info product that helps your ideal customer.
And even if you do go on to build your SaaS, your info product can become a great lead magnet.
Usually when I’ve written about my journey, about the process, about Better Sheets, we come to the end and think about what’s next. I would typically explain a bit about what I’m working on and talk about how I’m adding more.
I don’t know what’s next and Better Sheets doesn’t need more.
It needs to be better.
Looking ahead, I’d rather Better Sheets is easier on myself and on others. There may be times where I add a consulting package, do some calls, talk to users, and then turn it off. There may be some times when I go away for a week and dive into the onboarding, dive into the lifecycle emails and absolutely tear them apart.