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How I made $101,578.04 selling colors online

How I made $101,578.04 selling colors online

Today is a special day. Dracula PRO has hit 100K in sales, which is absolutely insane. When I started this thing, I never thought this would happen.

Monetizing an open source project is very difficult, so I decided to share my personal journey and lessons learned.

Here's a visual timeline from $0 to $101,578.04.

🧛‍♂️ draculatheme.com/pro/journey

I hope this can be helpful and inspire your own journey.

$0 (Jan 2020)

Getting Ready

January 2020

✉️ Although I had traffic coming to the site, there was no way for me to contact people directly, so I began to build an email list.

🧐 People are tired of using crappy products with no support. That's why I decided to focus on creating a premium experience instead.

🏥 Don't be afraid to tell your story, even if you're sharing the most difficult moment of your life. Being vulnerable online is an advantage, not a weakness.

$9,918.01 (Feb 2020)

Building in Public

February 2020

🔑 Before launching to everyone, I asked some of my close friends about their opinions. Getting early feedback is key to a good product launch.

🤫 People are afraid of sharing sales numbers as they think this will attract competition. The only competition you have is yourself.

✨ Every milestone was shared publicly. Regardless of how big or small, I started to create a habit of publishing quick wins.

$17,476.46 (Mar 2020)

Reacting to Refunds

March 2020

💰 I never had time to work on my open source projects, but now that I was monetizing, I was able to spend more time doing something I love.

😢 It’s painful to process your first refund request. It feels like you failed and that you’re not good enough. Still, you have to understand that there’s no such thing as the perfect product.

📣 Sharing stories from users is really important and creates social proof. Your first customers are the most important - make sure they are happy.

$29,734.00 (Apr 2020)

Going Viral

April 2020

👀 Transparency is a scarce resource. When people see someone sharing numbers and lessons openly, they get inspired by that, and you get credibility in return.

😱 One day one of my tweets went viral. That caused a huge spike in traffic and sales. It definitely helped, but it's a one-time event.

⚙️ When you're a company of one you have to do engineering, marketing, accounting, etc. Creating systems is crucial to manage everything.

$52,879.37 (May 2020 / Jul 2020)

Adding More Value

May 2020 / Jul 2020

🔄 By listening to users and implementing their requests, I was able to create a feedback loop. Keep adding value and people will notice.

😩 I decided to write a book and give that for free for existing customers. I never wrote a book before, so I was super scared.

🎙 Once the book was out, I did many podcast appearances to spread the word and attract a new audience. There's no such thing as "build and they will come".

$87,733.80 (Aug 2020 / Dec 2020)

Being Consistent

Aug 2020 / Dec 2020

🎃 To keep people interested and maintain the momentum, I created a community challenge where users would share their setups on social media.

🤓 As the number of users grows, the number of support emails also grows. Because of that, I decided to increase the price.

🐢 Some days people would buy a lot. Other days I had almost no sales. Never underestimate the power of being consistent, especially when things are bad.

$101,578.04 (Jan 2021 / Feb 2021)

Hitting The Mark

Jan 2021 / Feb 2021

🌎 Pricing is hard, especially when you have to deal with different economies on a global scale. To address this, I implemented Purchasing Power Parity.

🤩 Don't look for a shortcut or some secret formula. Just be yourself and do your thing. Build your own journey and share it with others.

🏁 When you're creating a product there's no finish line. Although I'm happy to hit 100k, this is not the end, it's just the beginning.


Thank you for reading. I hope you found this useful. Feel free to ask me anything, I'll reply to every single question. 🙏

  1. 2

    If you don't mind me asking. How did you implement Purchasing Power Parity on Gumroad?

    1. 2

      I've used a combination of Cloudflare Workers, Gumroad, and Vercel to build that whole Purchasing Power Parity workflow. It was definitely a lot of work to build that workflow for 160 countries, but you can automate most of that using their API.

      1. 1

        Nice, I respect that. I ended up giving Paddle a spin and using their localisation pricing (calculating the PPP myself). Paddle's fees just ended up being too much so I moved back to Gumroad. Been thinking of experimenting with PPP there too. Thanks for this :)

    2. 1

      PPP is a really cool thing to do. Congrats.

  2. 1

    Did you write your copy? If not, please get me in touch with that person!

  3. 1

    Inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey so far so openly.

  4. 1

    Landing page is lit!

  5. 1

    Congrats on the feat Zeno! That's one of the fastest side projects I've seen that's so successful revenue wise.

    1. 1

      It definitely took a lot of time to get to this point since Dracula existed way before Dracula PRO, but I appreciate the kind words ;)

  6. 1

    Congrats @zenorocha !

    Mind elaborating on the " premium experience " that you were offering to get people to sign up initially?

    1. 1

      Sure! It all starts with the distribution model. Regular Dracula users rely on the open-source version, which means inconsistent updates and a lack of support structure. By building a premium version, I can offer proper support via email.

      Apart from that, I included a bunch of bonus materials - including a book, wallpapers, icons, screencasts, etc.

      However, the most important thing is the price point. Not everyone can afford $99, so at the end of the day pricing is what separates a product made for the masses and a product made for a selected group of people.

  7. 1

    Congratulations Zeno. I took note of the idea to write book and send it to existing customers for free.

    1. 1

      An educational piece is definitely a great addition to any product.

  8. 1

    WOW! This is amazing. Congrats on the product and thank you for sharing.

  9. 1

    Congrats on the product Zeno! Very nice and informative post too!

  10. 1

    Congrats Zeno! How did you bring people to your site before writing the book? Is that all from your Tweets? And did you send periodic content to your email list to keep people engaged?

    1. 2

      SEO was way more impactful than social media. The open-source theme is what brought people to the site. I did send periodic content via email. The entire archive is located here: https://draculatheme.com/blog

  11. 1

    Congrats! So awesome and well deserved!

  12. 1

    Very cool Zeno! Congrats on the success!

    PS: I tried loading your personal site, and I was getting and SSL error. Might have just been my computer being weird, might not be. Though you should know. :)

    1. 1

      Ohhh thanks for letting me know. It seems to be okay for me over here ;)

      1. 1

        No problem, I think it was an issue with the weird firewall I am behind

  13. 1

    Big success, Zeno. Congrats! Did you ever imagine starting off that it would be possible to monetize an editor theme to this extent?

    1. 2

      I never thought people would pay for an editor theme. When you look outside, there are only free options, so building something like that was really challenging. That's why I tried to position in a way where you'd not only get the actual themes, but also a bunch of other resources to make you more productive.

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