Growth September 28, 2020

Hit $400K as a solo founder (DesignJoy Update)

Brett Williams @brettwill1025

3 years ago DesignJoy was born with no money and no business plan, and of course - no team. Fast forward to today, only one of those things have changed - I now have 💰. Over the weekend, DesignJoy reached $400k in revenue. Here are some updates:

  1. I recently put DesignJoy up for sale on MicroAquire, but quickly realized that DesignJoy was in no position to be aquired, though to date I've received well over 50 inquiries, with about 10 being semi-serious. Afterall, DesignJoy remains a solo-business. Once you remove me from the equation, the business ceases to operate. I'm in the process of removing DesignJoy from such platforms and focusing on running it as usual.

  2. I finally took the time to update my "sample work" section on the website. Just about every prospect I spoke to prior to signing up requested additional work samples, and I had neglected that portion of my site for far too long. I still have more work to do in terms of uploading more samples but you can see my progress here: I strongly believe this is the biggest selling point to DesignJoy, so I'm not sure why it has taken me this long to get this up.

  3. I've streamlined my plan options. Previously, I had a lower priced plan that excluded such requests like branding and web design. Then, I had a higher priced plan that included all types of design requests. I have recently combined these into one plan as 99% of customers were choosing the higher priced plan anyway, which is good because there is far more margin there. It also simplifies the decision for a customer. In addition, I've added a Design + Webflow plan for those looking for both development + design. This is now double the price of my previously most expensive plan, and as it turns out, it's the new favorite. 🎉

  4. I'm in the process of rebranding DesignJoy away from being an "unlimited design service". From my experience now working and speaking with hundreds of customers, it's apparent that clients are simply looking for a more affordable and accessible way of aquiring high quality design rather than an "unlimited" model. If anything, the term "unlimited" is confusing and lends itself to a lot of questions.

  5. I'm in the process of cutting Memberstack at out the equation when it comes to payments. Because I use Webflow, I have integrated Memberstack to handle the subscription portion of DesignJoy. But this means I get hit with twice the fees, since Memberstack integrates with Stripe. Recently, however, Stripe has revamped their checkout experience and I finally figured out how to easily integrete it with Webflow. This will save me almost $300/m. 🎉

  6. I've began offering power-ups 💪, something I've wanted to do for quite sometime. So far I only have one, which is real-time Slack communication. But more are on the way!

In terms of traffic to, IndieHacker remains my largest referral (thanks guys), but as of recently, another site is closing in tighly. That site is called DesignJoy is often featured on landing page inspiration sites, and this new one must be popular. I believe it launched on Product Hunt not log ago, but it continues to send a ton of traffic to DesignJoy. Webflow also featured DesignJoy in a blog article regarding great pricing page examples, and that also sent a fair amount of traffic. Aside from these two sources, a side project of mine ( which was built in just 24 hours pushes a lot of traffic over to DesignJoy, and Scribbbles continues to go viral now with over 20,000 downloads.

Anyways, nothing "huge" here I know, but I like to be as transparent as possible, even with the things that seem small. If nothing else, I hope my story here inspires you in your own journey. Feel free to reach out in the comments if you have any questions about my experience thus far. Go crush it today. 💪

  1. 2

    That's beautiful Brett, very inspiring. I'm impressed that you manage to offer such a level of quality at that scale. I suspect you can take it 100x higher. Godspeed!

    1. 1

      Thanks, I appreciate the encouragement. :)

  2. 1

    Awesome Bret, can you share some more thoughts on marketing. What worked for your other than posting on IndieHackers/landing folio ?

  3. 1

    Hi Brett, we've started and we're getting a lot of traction. We're developing a platform to overcome the issues you mention, maybe it's worth looking into a collaboration? You can contact me at [email protected] :)

  4. 1

    Well done man! very useful and inspirational! Thx for sharing! ;)

  5. 1

    This is fantastic @brettwill1025 Congratulations! All the best for the future :)

    Will also add Landing Folio to the Submit Juice Directory

  6. 1

    Amazing - and it's incredible you have been able to run this all by yourself, I'd imagine (from working at an agency that has similar concept) at this time you had at least a few people working for you.

    PS: I sent an email to [email protected] a few months ago, but wasn't delivered.. just wanted to mention it .. but sure you sorted it out already.

    Have you thought about focusing some time on SEO? I think you could benefit a lot, especially as you're not 100% sure this 'golden era' will last..

  7. 1

    Hi Brett,

    Your portfolio is stunning, congratulations on hitting the milestone! I have a few questions though:

    1. If someone needs to get one design done, will they have to purchase a subscription as well?

    2. How did you build the DesignJoy website itself?

    Thank you!

    1. 2

      @HumzaKhan Thanks buddy.

      Yes, you're correct - at the moment I only offer subscriptions and not one-off requests.

      The DesignJoy website is built in Webflow, utilizing Memberstack for the account creation/subscription management. :)

      1. 1

        sounds amazing, more power to you!

  8. 1

    This is fantastic! Way to go. How many hours are you working each week?

    1. 1

      I would estimate about 60-70 hours per week on average.

  9. 1

    How much would you say is your ARR?

    1. 1

      @rosiesherry it changes all the time. Currently sites at $312k. Since March/April business has exploded.

      1. 1

        @rosiesherry I normally pay no attention to ARR since my plans are monthly, and most clients can't afford an ongoing subscription at over $1k per month long term, so clients typically use it off and on as needed.

  10. 1

    How are you planning to do the "coming soon" full-stack development offering?

  11. 1

    Massive congrats, mate! It’s awesome that there’s enough technology out there to let you do your design thing without having to spend a ton of time on code.

    Also, I’m emailing you to offer a power-up.

  12. 1

    Hey Brett, thanks for the awesome post this is super inspiring :)

    I'm having a similar problem with memberstack's fees, how did you manage to easily integrate strip checkout with Webflow?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated :)

    1. 1

      @speedpoint This method does not work with a "cart" per se, but works well for my business case. Here is the direction I'm following:

  13. 1

    That's awesome to read! Are there any interesting trends regarding your revenues? Time of year, consistent growth, ebbs and flows? I'm always curious to see how money flows into companies like this. Nice work!

    1. 2

      Thanks! Business pretty much exploded in March/April for whatever reason. Went from $10k MRR one month to $24k MRR the next.

  14. 1

    Wow, your scale is very impressive as a one man operation. I it continues to grow!

  15. 1

    According to SimilarWeb, Landingfolio has ~80k visitors/month consistently, glad to hear you're getting consistent traffic.

    1. 1

      Yes, it's been great. Not confident it will last much longer, but enjoying the ride. :)

      1. 1

        Hey brett!

        Question. I’m building out something for my content marketing agency and will also be using trello for project management.

        But I noticed that you have a sign in on your website? What do they get access to through that? Any help/insight is appreciated!

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