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$56,000 Revenue in 14 Months Making Google Sheets

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.

TL;DR

  • Launched Better Sheets April 7th
  • Made 7 Sales in 1st Month
  • Appsumo brought 1M people to the window
  • In Q1 2021: New products and News drove sales
  • Price increase drove revenue increase in Feb.
  • Got great press which drove best days ever
  • Measuring success in people, not revenue.

Grand Total

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.

How did I make this money?

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

Main Drivers of Revenue

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.

  • Launch OnlySheets on Product Hunt
  • Price Change from $19 to $49 for LTD
  • Created a Monthly Subscription
  • Gumroad Day
  • Business Insider Article
  • Mashable Article

OnlySheets on Product Hunt

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.

Price Change

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.

Shoutout to @yongook and @patio11 for consistently repeating "Charge More"

Create Monthly Subscription

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.

Gumroad Day

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

Business Insider Article

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.

Mashable Article

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.

Measuring Success

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’s EV Universe

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’s Job Indecision Calculator

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

Mike’s already generated $241 with 34 sales. And look out for his next product. Yes he’s producing even more.

Jade’s Bootstrapper Press Directory

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.

Colin's House Comparison Calculator

Colin made this sheet for himself, his wife and his real estate agent. You can buy it now on gumroad.

"This House Comparison Calculator Spreadsheet was an essential tool in our successful home purchase."

What expenses are there?

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.

$6 - Google Workspace
$8 - Loom .com*
$10 - Gumroad .com
$29 - Outseta .com*

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.

Why Should Indie Hackers care?

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.

  • Cheat Sheets
  • Guides
  • Calculators
  • Checklists

And even if you do go on to build your SaaS, your info product can become a great lead magnet.

What’s Next?

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.

  1. 3

    thanks for sharing.

  2. 3

    What a legend, thank you so much for sharing!

    1. 1

      Merely a man, a mortal man. No Myth nor Legend yet.

  3. 3

    Hey Andrew, Thanks breaking down your success with Better Sheets. I've read about a few other makers that was in the trough of sorrow and then turned it around with nocode/simple infoproducts.

    Quick question. Appsumo drawn in is undeniable for getting eyes on product. I've heard they take a big chunk of change of product sales. Is that right? And is it as easy to sell on AS as oppose to say Gumroad?

    1. 3

      If you're a SaaS and go into the AppSumo Select program, which is their normal AppSumo, It's a 70/30 cut with 30% going to the app. But they do a TON more ads. They really do all the marketing and promo.
      Where as with Appsumo marketplace it's reverse. 70% goes to the maker. And if you're on the marketplace and the first product they buy on appsumo is yours you get 95%

      1. 2

        We just launched a SaaS on their Marketplace last week, and I can confirm - 70/30 (or 95/5 if it's a new customer).

        I've heard bad things about AppSumo users, but our experience overall has been pleasant. LTD on a SaaS seems like a bad idea, but we're not seeing any abuse, and we're learning a lot about our app and usage in the process :)

        1. 2

          It must be an "Andrew" thing.

      2. 2

        Thanks for clearing that up Andrew :)

  4. 3

    So happy to have seen you achieve this firsthand.
    You do offer SO MUCH VALUE, so totally worthy of success.

    To anyone interested, the stock tracker I improved the looks and functionality of, with the help of Andrew, is here: EV Universe Stock Tracker

    A lot of people have said the resource is easier to use now. Since I sourced most information from EV community, got tens of thousands of eyeballs on it and it was really important it's easy and logical to use.

    Cheers & thanks again

    1. 2

      I'm excited to see if/when you launch more sheets for your community.

  5. 3

    Great write-up, @AndrewKamphey.

    $56k is an amazing achievement. I'm glad to see your hard work paying off!

    1. 1

      Thanks Anthony! I implore others to check out Appsumo too. Get that pay off!

  6. 3

    Thanks for writing this case study - especially the main drivers of revenue.

    I do have a couple of questions:

    • would you try a different type of sale next Gumroad Day? I'm curious as to how an easter egg promotion might compare to a flat discount rate
    • have other product releases led to an increase in sales for Better Sheets? Such as a recent Twitter starter launch.
    • Have you gotten many sales since introducing the monthly subscription for Better Sheets? I assume most of your fans would have already bought when you stopped the lifetime deal.

    Also, thank you for your support when creating Bootstrapper Press Directory. I didn't see the potential in Google Sheets, especially over other options I commonly see like Notion and Airtable. I can see now that the simplicity of the product, in comparison, is its asset. It is really easy to create a product that doesn't overwhelm the buyer.

    I still prefer create a website page for many types of manual curation, but am becoming a convert. Which is impressive considering how much I dislike spreadsheets!

    1. 2

      Different Type of Sale? No I'd do one off coupons again. I'd do more. I'd try different ways to do one off coupons. I loved it. People loved it. Sales came in fast and furiously. it was exciting.

      Every time i launch a new product, it drives incremental revenue. Twitter Starters brought in a commanding $11 within the last couple of days. Pretty good for 1 hour of work of putting it together. And now it's a great cheap product to promote. It shows off the simplicity of Better Sheets. And drives as an intro to anyone who has't bought the membership yet. you pay $1, see what a cool sheet it is. Even if you don't use it you can watch a video of me and maybe become a member a month later. or a year later.

      The sales I got from the monthly subscription were about a dozen. The main page of better sheets now is focused on that, but I do have to put in more work later to drive FOMO around why now, and why stay on? I'm adding a new product soon, a short consulting call. I might include that or a group call in monthly or weekly that is only available for monthly subs. Something to differentiate it. Just thinking through this not really prepared to implement it right now.

      The lifetime deal will continue for a long time more. I plan on increasing the price again later this year. Just around the time I pass 200 videos available (I'm assuming) Currently at 160 videos available immediately.

  7. 2

    @AndrewKamphey how do you go about finding newsletterrs to sponsor? I built a reddit listening app (replyguy.app) and could see it doing well in a marketing newsletter.

    1. 1

      I read a lot of newsletters, I help a lot of newsletters (after running one myself for 3 years) A mix of sites and facebook groups

      Sites like letterwell .co, paved .com , thoughtleaders io, newsletters . co

      facebook groups: Newsletter Nerds, Newsletter Creators

      You might do better in business, small business, online business newsletters where people have purchase intent for building their business instead of marketing newsletters which are geared towards those who work in marketing agencies or are marketers for larger corps.

  8. 2

    This is awesome. Congrats and thanks for sharing!

    1. 1

      Hope it helps you out Michell.

  9. 2

    Interesting post. Thanks for sharing

    1. 1

      Hope it's useful to you!

    1. 1

      thanks for following the journey

  10. 2

    Huge congrats 🎉 Well deserved legend!

    1. 1

      You seem to be doing way better with Building with Bubble! Excited to see any reports on that!

      1. 2

        It’s not just about the revenue side of things. You’ve done such an incredible job at building an building an audience, sourcing distribution channels, and building something that people genuinely value!

        All of these don’t come easy. You should be proud of everything you’ve done to-date 🙌

  11. 2

    Congratulations, Andrew!

    Marvellous work 🔥😃

    1. 2

      Thanks Jay! Lots owed to you! For being able super power my twitter.

  12. 2

    Awesome post @AndrewKamphey and thanks for the shoutout! I definitely could not have done this without you paving the way first.

    For anyone interested - the next product idea is here: https://www.indiehackers.com/post/freelance-toolkit-e8b0f002fe

  13. 2

    Really appreciate your taking the time to write this! You're completely right, it's got me fired up about trying an info product or two while building my SaaS product (more slowly than we'd like.)

    1. 2

      Great way to serve customers before you have SaaS customers. and can turn into a way to make money back on paid ads later. Some companies have a long onboarding funnel and turn a simple pdf or lead magnet into a revenue maker instead of a cost center.

      1. 2

        Do you have any opinions on how to approach branding / identity in this case? I'm torn between trying to use info products and content to build the brand (under which we'll eventually launch the SaaS product) vs. keeping it a little more separate and have audience-building efforts that are more linked to me / the other founders.

        1. 1

          build the brand if you want to sell it.
          Anything you do for the brand is for yourself too, eventually.

          1. 2

            thanks. Oddly, I hadn't thought of the "selling" part... but that makes sense.

  14. 1

    Great story dude. Where do you find the podcast or newsletter to sponsor?

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