Growth October 21, 2020

Hit $1K in revenue in 2 days!

Janel @Janel

I launched a Gumroad Info Product called Newsletter OS

It's a comprehensive Notion dashboard that helps newsletter creators curate, write & grow their newsletters.

I spent $0 on Promotion & Creation, and already have locked in some nice pre-sale revenue.

Sales stats:
Day 2: >$1k revenue
Day 3: >$1.4k revenue, 99 customers

Twitter stats:
201 likes
51 retweets

Why build this in the first place?

I love writing my weekly newsletter, BrainPint and over the past 6 months, have developed a system that helps me grow, track milestones and even write to people to request cross-promotions or deals for my readers.

I've wanted to create and sell my own info product for a while now, but kept wondering what to make, as I don't like to sell stuff for the sake of it. It actually has to be valuable and actionable. I want people to be WOWed by my product because I take a lot of pride in my work.

Anyway, I had an epiphany one evening that other newsletter writers would benefit and save a lot of time with what I've already built.

So I set out to make it better and load it with resources. And I decided that I would launch it on Gumroad and Twitter. All of this happened relatively quickly.

How did I do it?

  1. Made an MVP of the product on Notion
  2. Thought of name for the product
  3. Took screenshots of the main page, and sneak peeks of valuable pages inside to build credibility

Dashboard

  1. Created a product on Gumroad & drafted copy on Gumroad's product page
  2. Created graphics on Figma
  3. I set the opening price to $10 as I was unsure if I was going to make sales or not, and wanted to test the waters. I felt that it was underpriced for the value I'm providing, but wanted to reward the first few people who believed in me. Told people it was only for the first 20.
  4. Wrote a thread on Twitter, and let it rip!
  5. I had set an initial quantity of 20 and that actually ran out while I was having dinner. So after a while, I increased the price to $15.

What's the tech stack & how much did I spend?

Notion: Where I house the dashboard (free! You can build it even on the free Personal Plan)
Figma: Making the graphics (free)
Flaticon, Icons 8: Getting the icon for the launch (free)
Gumroad: Where I will sell & distribute the product, and customers will make the purchases. Gumroad has a free tier that takes an 8.5% transaction fee + $0.30 per transaction and I started off with that. But once I sold out of the first tier, I paid $10 to upgrade to Gumroad Pro, which takes 3.5% + $0.30 instead.

P.S. I also bought a domain NewsletterOS.com for $8 on Namecheap. I will use that as my landing page in the future. For now, I want to focus on the product, so I have forced a URL Redirect (302)

What did I learn?

  1. All the good ideas in the world aren't taken. If you have the limiting belief that all the useful things in the world are already built, it's time to change that.
    There's plenty of stuff that people want to use, and will pay for, if you help them solve a problem.
  2. Audience matters. I don't think I would have done as well if I wasn't known for loving newsletters.
  3. Friends liking and RTing your stuff helps you get reach. Thanks to everyone who did!
  4. If people reply to your sales tweets, keep engaging with them. Answer any questions they have. Have your DMs open. Be appreciative of your supporters!
  5. If you're selling something on Gumroad, make sure you allow your customers to decide how much they can pay you. My prices were pay-as-you-want with a minimum price of 10/15. Some people (and I love all of you who did that) paid much more than the list price.
  6. If you're unsure how well you product will do, underprice it for the first X users, then raise your price. I had 25 copies available for $10, added a few more then bumped the price to $15. My friends are still saying it's way too cheap for something that helps people with their workflows and saves them time, so I'll likely hike it another time.

The pre-order launch surpassed my wildest expectations.

If you're writing a newsletter and need some help structuring your workflows, do feel free to check out Newsletter OS

For everyone on Indie Hackers that has supported me, a huge thank you! It couldn't have gone as well without your help.

  1. 6

    I've recently got an idea of writing a whole book about UI/UX stuff.

    But the thing is I wanted to verify if anyone will be interested. Since it's really hard to keep motivation of making a very good-quality book plenty of screenshots, while you don't have any pre-orders.

    So will see how it goes. I'm not sure if I should tweet about non-existing book, since it will take months in order to write it.

    But if I got so many pre-orders, I'm pretty sure I'll put all my efforts into it :)

    Thanks for motivation! Followed you on Twitter

    1. 4

      I would suggest you come up with a working title for your book Victor, then slap it on your profile page and start embedding yourself in the conversations influencers in your target market are already having.

      You don't need a product to start doing this. In fact, it's better to start before you even have a product.

      For more details see this post 👀

    2. 2

      You could also start a newsletter. Every week, you'd have a reason to write and take a couple screenshots. Then after a few months, you'd take what you've written, add something extra and have a book (and perhaps the first audience to sell it to).

      1. 2

        Awesome!! Thank you so much, indeed it's a good idea

      2. 1

        I love this idea. Agreed!

    3. 2

      Thank you! @most has given really great feedback below. Build your credibility before you do a pre-order.

      I found that having some framework or content page shows people that you're serious about putting out something good, so you don't have to write the content yet but at least draft a content outline!

  2. 4

    What kind of audience does your Twitter account have? A thread on Twitter with 201 likes and 51 retweets being the sole(?) contributor to 99 sales seems nuts! Congrats!

    1. 1

      A mix of people really! Newsletter writers, readers, creators, Indie Hackers, investors, marketers, VCs, no-code makers & random interesting people.

      I did post it in two small paid communities I'm in, but that didn't drive most of the sales. Apparently some people dropped links into their writing communities and I'm super grateful for that.

  3. 3

    @Janel Wow! Just wow! Thanks for a very informative article and congrats on the success! May it keep showering $$$ ! Well deserved !

    1. 1

      Thanks loads, glad it was helpful.

  4. 3

    "Friends liking and RTing your stuff helps you get reach. Thanks to everyone who did!"

    I'm going to capitalize on this. Thank you

    1. 1

      Yup! Make sure you give your friends 5x the support that they give you, before you ask for any support.

  5. 3

    Maybe I misunderstood, but is "Wrote a thread on Twitter, and let it rip!" all you did for marketing to get such exposure?

    1. 1

      That probably accounts for 90% of my sales.

      I did drop links in two paid communities that I'm a part of. Right now I'm focused on perfecting the product itself so won't go too hard on marketing till after launch.

  6. 3

    Thanks for sharing Janel

    And +1 on #5 — A lot of people seem to love the pay-what-you-want feature

    Any thoughts on niche marketplaces like Notion Everything?

    1. 1

      Thanks Dru!

      I love Notion Everything myself (it's run by my friend Valentin) and find it a great place to discover products as it's sorted by category. I have it earmarked as a future marketing channel. I think some content creators use it as their main source of promotion for their products.

      However, I feel like there's always a chance to cast a wider net. For me that first net was the community of newsletter writers on Twitter.

      It's hilarious because some people who pre-purchased my product have never even used Notion before, but want to get it due to the value they see that it brings.

      I'm a marketer by heart, so I think a lot about channels, effort and impact.

      For my product, I found it best to go live on Twitter first to get that virality spike + initial sales, but I'm sure niche marketplaces like Notion Everything will help myself and other creators bring in regular sales in the long run after the initial hype fades (though haha, hopefully it doesn't)

      So my thoughts on niche marketplaces - they're great, but they work best for discovery, post a product's big launch.

      1. 2

        Great points. Proprietary distribution is where it's at.

  7. 3

    Great post, Janel ! I will be featuring this pre-sales and marketing strategy at Growthunt

    Will be reaching out for more info soon. Cheers!

    1. 3

      Thanks, just checked out Growthunt and wow, what a collection. Love it!

      1. 1

        Thanks for the kind words, Janel !

  8. 2

    This is great @Janel. Congrats on all of this. Looks like a great product!

    1. 1

      Thank you Gordon. I always try to do things with excellence, so I'm working super hard this week to ship something great.

  9. 2

    Hi Janel,

    I just purchased to support you and because I´ve been looking for something like this recently.

    Good Luck!

    J

    1. 1

      Hey J, thanks so much for your support. It means a lot! Hope you'll like it when I deliver on Friday.

  10. 2

    Congratulations Janel! That is pretty inspiring ⚡️

    1. 1

      Thank you, and so happy to hear.

  11. 2

    Nice you can also check https://audiencehunts.com to find sponsors for your newsletter

    1. 1

      Guess what, it was already included even before my pre-order went live ;)
      database picture

  12. 2

    Congrats! I got in there early. 😇

    1. 1

      My forever supporter. Thank you Rosie! You were the second one to purchase. Means a lot.

  13. 2

    Congrats! I am one of the customers ;) Very excited about this!

    1. 1

      Gene. Super thankful for your support. You've gone far & beyond. Appreciate you!

  14. 2

    Congrats on your success!

    Would you mind telling a bit more about how did you reach your initial customers?
    You've mentioned that you made a twitter thread. In my experience, if you don't have decent twitter followers then you're not bound to get much traction.

    What advice would you give to someone who had not build up a twitter audience and looking to launch something on Gumroad?

    1. 3

      Thank you!

      You are right that if you don't have a lot of Twitter followers, whatever you build, no matter how good it is, will take longer to get noticed. It's like tweeting into the void.

      I have built up a following of creators, indie hackers etc. by building in public and sharing unique insights, some about the newsletter world. Through my sharing, I've built some sort of credibility.

      If you want to get started on building an audience, you can check out my twitter thread below.
      Tips on How To Build Your Twitter Audience

      My friend @trulykp (a truly illustrious maker) has also created pre-orders for a product that might solve your needs. Check it out here

  15. 2

    Congrats Janel! It's incredible to see your journey! Almost $2k in 3 days, hope it's gonna make it $5k for you 🚀!

    1. 1

      Not quite at $2k yet, but hopefully soon! Thank you!

  16. 2

    Congrats Janel - it's so exciting to follow along your journey. Great launch!

  17. 2

    Another incredible milestone! Well done Janel 🎉

    1. 1

      Thanks Lachlan for your support!

  18. 2

    Inspiring. I'll buy! Thanks for all the clear details. Once you discover your pricing will you use the gumroad affiliate process and ask your buyers if they want to partner with you and refer others?

    1. 1

      Thank you for the support!

      Affiliate programs are at the back of my head for sure, having been an affiliate for others. I'm keen to explore having affiliates, but need to figure out how I make it work as the current pricing is on the low side.

      In the meantime, for the next 8 days, I'm laser focused on getting the product right. Well, more than right, I want it to make people go wow. Cheers

  19. 2

    Thanks, really interesting story.

    1. 1

      Thanks, glad you found it interesting!

  20. 2

    Congratulations!! :)

  21. 2

    Way to go, Janel! On to 5k!

    1. 1

      Thanks so much! I don't know if I can get there, but one can hope :) Targeting 3k at least this year.

  22. 1

    Congratulations on the huge success!! Was curious how you end up delivering your notion dashboard to users? Is it a public link or a PDF export? If it’s a public link, how do you make sure nobody “discovers” it without paying? Again, congrats!!

    1. 1

      Thanks! I can't control who shares it or not (just like ebooks or paid newsletters), so I just have to trust that people are honest :)

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