Accept Custom Donations in Shopify

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Solo Founder

I built DonateMate after talking to my Dad about a Koala hospital. Inspiration comes in weird forms.

August 30, 2020 $100MRR reached!

By the end of August I made it to $100 MRR. This was a huge step for me, and something that I felt really validated the idea.

Overall, customer response has been amazing, one customer even sent me a package of swag for the work I put in for them. Onwards!

August 17, 2020 Pricing plans validated

I had my first sign up for the new Pro Plan today. That validates the proposal that people are happy to pay more for this app.

It's been a wild ride up to this point. Most of the onboarding is automated, but I am still working on customer requests at least once every two days.

My user churn is pretty high at the moment, the onboarding issue is the first thing I can see that needs to be addressed.

August 15, 2020 New Payment Plans

After a few weeks I found that I was getting a steady stream of sign ups. 2-3 per day. This was a good build, but after discussing with my mentor I decided it was time to introduce a new plan structure to allow for faster revenue growth.

I removed the 14 day trial period and introduced a new Free Plan, this was to increase the number of sign ups. I also introduced a new Pro Plan, that would remove branding and offered a higher throughput.

July 24, 2020 Launch!

The launch of the product was pretty low key, it literally happened when I was asleep. Working from the Hong Kong timezone, all the stuff that Shopify does happens while I'm asleep. Except for the times when my 1 year old wakes up during the night. Eek.

July 24, 2020 First Customer

This again happened while I was asleep. But I got my first customer. When I launched, I offered a 15-day trial period and a single paid plan for $5. My strategy was to test the market out and see what was going to happen with things, and fix many many bugs along the way.

My first customer (still a customer!) was really great to work with. I was super excited and did way too much work for them. But it worked!

July 24, 2020 App Approved!

After a bit of back and forward, DonateMate was approved to the Shopify App Store. While there were a few things that I did not totally agree with, the feedback was generally really helpful. I had to remove on feature, which I thought was a bit heavy handed, but ultimately it helped to get it moving in the right direction so that's really important.

Halfway through the process I had to park it for a few weeks but found my groove again and got stuck into the issues. Overall the process took 6 weeks, but I could have easily had that finished in around 4.

Next step, launch! 🚀

June 16, 2020 App Store Review

This process started on the 10th of June, when I first submitted the app.

The initial stages were all automated, and I was thrilled to see these positive reports come back.

After making it through the initial stages, you go into a discussion phase. This is where a Shopify App person actually uses the app and gives you some feedback. Now for some back and forward.

June 10, 2020 MVP

So it took me longer than I had anticipated to get here. But I finally got a version finished that I was ready to put out into the world. Was it good? No. Did it do what it needed to? Sort of.

I had a functioning app, one that I was pretty happy where I had it. The app wasn't perfect, but that's not the point of an MVP. It was good enough. It was time to submit it to the Shopify App Store.

May 2, 2020 Initial Idea

After the 2019/20 bushfires that ravaged across Australia, a local koala hospital was in need of updating their e-commerce solution and turned to Shopify. One of the major drawbacks was the inability to collect custom donation amounts. Thus the idea was born.

When I started looking into the idea, I found the Shopify docs really easy to get around. I figured I would give it a go and see what happened.

I built DonateMate after talking to my Dad about a Koala hospital. Inspiration comes in weird forms.