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29 Comments

I grossed over $3M selling WordPress themes, now a co-founder of Lemon Squeezy. AMA!

  1. 2

    Oh that's great Jason.

    What were the challenges you faced during the early days of your Startup trying to sell WordPress themes?

    P.S

    I like the beautiful UX of Lemon Squessy. If interested, I wish to feature your interview and product on a course discovery blog am working on - https://www.chandracourses.com/

    Venkat

    1. 1

      The biggest challenge in WordPress for me was staying true to what made me successful in that space to begin with. It's easy to get wrapped up in what's working for everyone else and try and replicate that even though your own thing is working perfectly well. I fell victim to this very thing in my 4th year, trying very much to expand beyond the happy little pond which led to complete burnout in 2014 (when I sold the business).

      1. 1

        Appreciate your reply Jason. I understand what you would have experienced. Good luck to you. Keep in touch!

  2. 2

    Hi Jason,

    Word press themes is an extremely competitive business. How did you manage to compete and yet emerge successful?

    Congratulations and best wishes for your next adventure!

    Regards,
    Debo

    1. 1

      I was fortunate to get started in the WordPress theme business in 2008 when there was only a handful of competitors in the space (we're all friends to this day). My personal success in that space was a result of doing my own thing instead of trying to replicate what was working for everyone else.

  3. 2

    I am curious to see how this can differentiate itself from Gumroad and other 100s of similar platforms to sell stuff for the digitaleconomy. Literally everyone incl. squarespace and wix are trying to push the "sell your product here" agenda.

    1. 1

      Right now, to be honest, our MVP is on par with Gumroad in way of functionality. Our user experience diversifies us, but the true value in what Lemon Squeezy can do for you beyond what already exists is yet to come. We feel like our vision and roadmap make it very clear how we plan on making a statement in the space. At the end of the day, we built Lemon Squeezy because we wanted something different to sell our own things and we're hoping others find value in our approach.

      1. 2

        Thanks! Sounds good, will bookmark it!

  4. 1

    Congratulations!

    Because there are two questions I have.

    I'll try to make this short!

    1. Did you use growth hacking at all, as I've heard how unsustainable it can be for scaling-up.

    And number 2.

    ...How did you make customer acquisition sustainable, and scalable?

    Thanks,
    And All The Best...

    (P.S your site was really user-friendly, and I enjoyed the experience of visiting it!)

  5. 1

    Congratulations Jason 🎉

    How did you find your early users for Lemon Squeezy?

    P.S. I like Lemon Squeezy a lot! Can it be used for handling subscription payments for a SaaS product? Right now, I am using Paddle.

    1. 1

      Thanks! Yes, you can handle subscriptions for SaaS using Lemon Squeezy. Good example of this is another project of ours called Iconic.

  6. 1

    Hi Jason, thanks for doing this. Actually, I did check out Lemon Squeezy a few days ago for design inspiration. The UI is amazing! I'm curious how you got your first customers? And what channels do you use for marketing? Keep going!

    1. 1

      Hey @kaltenbrunner ... appreciate you checking it out and for the kudos. Our first customers have all been a result of marketing though free channels available to us including personal social accounts (mostly Twitter) and newsletters. We were able to build enough interest to launch a small/selected beta and then publicly soon after. Affiliate marketing is starting to work for us as well.

  7. 1

    Just a note: Gumroad does not allow you to change your country in billing details without contacting the support. I think this is not good in the recent digital nomad culture. So if Lemon Squeezy fixes this, it will be an advantage over Gumroad.

    1. 1

      We're definitely trying our best to make things easy-peasy lemon squeezy for everyone, everywhere.

  8. 1

    how you manage your finances and where you invest how when where anything??

    1. 2

      Most of the revenue from the WordPress theme business (2008 - 2014) was put away in standard retirement/investment accounts (8-12% interest). When I sold the business in 2014, we put enough in standard accounts to live on for the next few years as I experimented (and failed) with other ideas. Once that runway had expired, I started doing freelance again to re-build enough runway to work on Lemon Squeezy part time.

  9. 1

    I am testing Lemonsqueezy with a tiny product that I built in one day, I am also working on templates with wickedtemplates.com.

    I really enjoy the workflow from Lemonsqueezy, is a nice checkout compared yo Gumroad moodal....

    How did all started with the themes, were you alone or a team?

    Thank you.

    1. 1

      The theme business was a solo effort I started in 2008 (sold in 2014) after teaching myself design and development using open source WordPress themes as a starting point. You can read more about that journey here. Lemon Squeezy is very much a team effort by the entire Make Lemonade crew.

  10. 1

    I'm more interested in your Wordpress business, what is it ?

    1. 1

      I was actually one of the first to launch a premium WordPress theme business in 2008 called Press75 ... sold in 2014.

  11. 1

    Congrats on your success so far. That's an awesome domain name!

    1. 1

      Appreciate that ... we'll see how it goes. Orman Clark is the mastermind behind the domain/brand.

  12. 1

    How do you decide what features to put in each pricing tier?

    Something like affiliates could be interesting in the free tier as a growth channel.

    1. 2

      Agree with this question re how do you determine pricing for each tier and how much to put into each?

      ETA: Love the website btw added it to my swipefile.

    2. 1

      Honestly hours of talking and maths to figure out what goes where based on complexity and costs on our end to offer those features. Affiliates is a feature were working on for sure which very well might be lumped in the free plan.

  13. 1

    I love that you had both hits and misses, I have had them as well and its funny how you can feel like a genius and an idiot depending on how the latest project is going even though your the same person the whole time! Okay some questions but first let me say your website, viewed on a desktop, looks really, really nice, very creative and clear. I would add one more section at the bottom labelled "Get Paid" with some details to close the loop on why they're there in the first place. It has every step but that one.

    Questions:

    1. How do you find the right balance of talking tech and not talking tech in your pitch on the main page?

    2. How do you get people over what is a real onboarding process without them having to have a technical understanding? DO you have a lot of tutorials, videos, explainers, etc.?

    3. Is the bigger challenge getting people to start a trial or convert from trial holder to continuing user?

    4. This is likely a crowded market space, what do you consider your main USP or standout feature/benefit?

    5. How the heck did you manage to score the domain name lemonsqueezy.com ?

    1. 1

      its funny how you can feel like a genius and an idiot depending on how the latest project is going

      👆This nails exactly how I feel weekly (sometimes daily).

      1. The copy/messaging on Lemon Squeezy was spearheaded by Orman Clark and then a combination of all the founders coming together to create a cohesive non-savvy biased message.
      2. Onboarding magic is a real challenge depending on the project and I feel like I've personally learned how to remove as many barriers as possible via projects like RIVYT and Leeflets. For Lemon Squeezy, we wanted the user to be able to create, share and sell products within 5 minutes of signing up. We did that by hand-holding the user (via the experience) through the most import parts of getting started. You get to witness where you've stumbled almost immediately and we've reacted by refining that experience as fast as possible based on what new users do once they're in.
      3. In my experience, getting people to try the fancy new thing is cake (especially if you've properly thought through your onboarding flow) compared to getting them to actually use it and then pay for it.
      4. Right now, to be honest, our MVP is on par with Gumroad in way of functionality. Our user experience diversifies us, but the true value in what Lemon Squeezy can do for you beyond what already exists is yet to come. We feel like our vision and roadmap make it very clear how we plan on making a statement in the space.
      5. Orman Clark had a vision for Lemon Squeezy as a brand long before we all came together, but I'm glad he snagged that domain a few years ago.
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