Who still feels proud despite no revenue in 2021?

I haven't made any money yet in 2021, but I don't feel like I'm losing.

Is anyone else experiencing a sense of accomplishment despite not having any revenue? I'd love to know what's happening in your startup world that's making you feel proud.

Last month, we achieved:

  • 1.8k unique visitors to our website, which is up 282% mo/mo
  • 282 expecting parents completed our quiz
  • 4,349 accounts reached on Instagram + 2,421 new IG followers (total engagement is up 519%)
  • We're 84 people away from 1,000 newsletter subscribers!!!
  • Completed a product requirements document for my technical partner
  • I'm learning about how to structure a founder agreement

I know this isn't the norm (or maybe it's more common than I know?), but when I launched Poppylsit, I didn't think about how I would make money first. I just wanted to help expecting parents.

Today, this feels good enough. I know the money will come.

  1. 4

    The fact that you will actually be helping parents with your product is a big thing in itself. These are great achievements as well.

    Even though I have made $2 so far, I am happy that my LearningInTech Kit is helpful for a lot of people who got it for free.

    1. 2

      Thank you!

      When I made my first amount last year, $.19 cents (LOL), there was something so awesome about that. And it felt better than any check I'd previously received. It doesn't feel like our society allows for a long window of building / creating before we make money, but I think we'll all be better off for it.

      Congratulations to you and your $2. We all have to start something, and what a gift to share helpful resources for free.

  2. 3

    I spent 3 years plugging away slowly on a side-project, when I was ready and confident enough I went all in to turn it into a business.

    This is how the revenue grew when I made the decision:

    2018 - 2019: £1,203,218.03
    2017 - 2018: £837,227.00 - 5th child born 😂
    2016 - 2017: £709,253.00
    2015 - 2016: £398,837.00
    2014 - 2015: £237,201.00 - 4th child born 😂
    2013 - 2014: £160,970.00
    2012 - 2013: £144,971.00
    2011 - 2012: £50,335.00 - 3rd child born 😂
    2010 - 2011: £8,155.00

    We peaked around £1.5 million just before COVID and dropped loads since then, but it's slowly rebuilding itself and things generally look positive.

    Also, for those that don't know, I still (co)own the business, but don't do anything for it day to day.

  3. 3

    No, not at all. I spent X months working on a project (I don't even want to admit how long) and had one customer in a month. It's been so heartbreaking that I can't even look at it now and can't get myself to market or improve it anymore.

    So now instead I went back to another unfinished project because as long as it's unfinished it's not a failure. Then I'm going to release it and leave it for another unfinished project.

    Please send help.

    1. 1

      Please send help, lol! You don't need help. You just need your people to help push you up this hill.

      I just shared this in another response on this thread, but literally yesterday, someone told me that there isn't failure in the startup world, only feedback - and that's so true for you in getting out your projects. I'm also sorry to hear about your heartbreak.

      I didn't know that was possible, but I absolutely understand the feeling. The last 4 months of last year were agony. It was no after no until I finally felt hopeful after a yes.

      How good will it feel when you release your next project?

      IDK. Whatever happens with Poppylist or your projects, the stuff we're learning and teaching ourselves, I know we're all going to be so much better off than when we started. Rooting for you!

  4. 2

    I started my personal newsletter this year. It's made $0. There isn't even a paid tier yet… and there might not be for a long time?

    It's hard not to feel like I'm "competing" with others who are already crushing the newsletter game, or to not feel like expectations are high for whatever thing I do. So I've been keeping very quiet about it. But ultimately I'm in no rush, it's not a competition, and I'm proud to have taken the first baby steps.

    Thanks for the motivational post!

  5. 2

    If you are happy or not always depends on your target goals. My project Maxout doesn't have any paying customer either (yet). I don't even have such great numbers as you have.

    But I'm also not expecting any bigger growth. As I posted in a blog post about building Maxout, this project fulfills me in so many other ways that I don't need revenue to see this as a success.

    The fact that I'm learning so many things from running this project is already a huge success for me and having built this app makes me proud every single day.

    Money is just on top.

    1. 2

      You're so right. I plan to make money, but what's happening before the revenue has been really special. I didn't expect the community aspect, and I certainly didn't expect to make an entirely new group of friends through Poppylist. It's almost like people needed me as much as I needed them during this pandemic.

      I'm so happy for you to hear that your app makes you feel proud every single day. What more could we ask for?

      How has your work/personal relationship been with your brother? I read the blog and love your approach to no meetings & no deadlines. I agree that we can empower people in a big way without those arbitrary, traditional work rules.

      1. 1

        You built more than just a cash machine. And I think that's especially true for bootstrapped founders.

        My brother and I are pretty pragmatic about getting work done, so we are pretty good at keeping work and personal stuff separated. When we communicate about Maxout it stays professionally and if we chat about private stuff, we don't mix in work.

        I guess that doesn't work for everyone. But then again, you don't have to build a company with your siblings.

  6. 2


    I'm also still at $0 from my not-day-job projects but nonetheless really proud because in January I took a project from idea to ready-to-launch. Just waiting on the OK from Apple to put it in the App Store, then for the first time I can enjoy $0 revenue from lack of sales rather than lack of execution 😉

    1. 2

      Hi Zack! hahah yes. $0 from lack of sales is wayyy better than $0 from lack of execution. I love that. Looking forward to sharing in your excitement when Apple gives you the OK to launch in the app store. Congrats!

  7. 2

    Celebrate the small wins! You're making progress. :)

    1. 1

      Yes! Thank you, Tiffany. I am celebrating from Austin, Texas, by taking the day off tomorrow and taking my daughter out of school for the day :)

  8. 2

    We're on the same boat. It's okay, as long as we learn along the way!

    I made 0$ so far with my book (https://dev-concepts.dev), but I'm still busy writing it, so there's nothing much to worry about.

    Also made 0$ with my SaaS after 21 months of efforts (https://medium.com/swlh/20-months-in-2k-hours-spent-and-200k-lost-a-story-about-resilience-and-the-sunk-cost-fallacy-69fd4f61ef59), but it's okay, I've learned a ton, and it's not over yet ;-)

    1. 2

      I loved your medium article. It's refreshing to see vulnerable and open writing from men. Usually, you only hear major success stories. Someone told me yesterday that in the world of starting our own startup, that there's no failure, only feedback. And I think that speaks directly to what you've shared. I can sense in your article that you still have the energy and passion behind your work. So I'd say keep going. Thanks for your response, and yes - always learning!

  9. 2

    Though am in great need to make revenue as soon as possible, am happy on the update i did on my app - www.zimexapp.co.zw . The changes have increased traffic by 100% and bounce rate has dropped to 40 - 50% range.

    1. 1

      Yes, I definitely understand the need to make revenue. We have a 20-month-old daughter so the pressure is there. Congrats on your update and those results are amazing. It looks like you've been listening to your customer to have your numbers increase so much. Wishing you revenue (soon) and lots of happiness!

  10. 1

    Sarah, nice to see that Poppylist is gaining traction. Keep it up!

    1. 2

      Good to hear from you - and thank you so much! I'm still open to getting a chat together regularly. Maybe we can share calendars in March to find a time!

      1. 1

        Awesome. Sent you an email. :)

        1. 1

          @snholli Did you get the email? I haven't received anything from you yet.

  11. 1

    🥳 Sarah those numbers are awesome! Congrats! Keep going!

    It definitely sounds like you're resonating with your target audience--expecting parents.

    Hope you see more momentum in February 😁

    1. 1

      Thank you, Michael! Momentum feels almost as hard to maintain as it did to gain it. Appreciate your support!

  12. 1

    Definitely agree with you! Money will follow a solid product or service that provides people real value. It sounds like Poppylsit is doing that so it is only a matter of time!

    I don't have any revenue for Dynomantle yet, but I'm still really proud. I'm only getting 1-2 users a day, but the feedback those users have provided has been amazing. I also personally use the product every day and don't think I could live without it anymore. The only thing stopping Dynomantle from growing is a better onboarding experience so that others can experience the value that I do.

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