September 23, 2020

$5,000 MRR and $15,000 in revenue in 80 days!

Kevin Conti @Kevcon80

80 days into Software Ideas, and we've hit the $5k milestone!

$5k is significant, because it's the halfway to the typical founder goal of $10k MRR. We're on track to hit it in less than half a year at our current pace!

I recorded the entire experience of starting this company here, if you'd like to read it. It goes into every detail!

Thanks to everyone who has helped Software Ideas reach this milestone!

  1. 2

    @Kevcon80
    I'm deeply impressed by your journey and your quick success. Committing to 20 hours a week (and probably even more, as this doesn't include your marketing efforts) in addition to a day job is a very serious commitment.

    How did you find the "courage" to commit to such high workload? Were you not afraid of the possibility of not finding enough time due to your other commitments, and letting down your loyal paying customers?

    How do you overcome these hesitations?

    1. 2

      Thanks for the kind words!

      I wasn't afraid because I knew I'd pull an all-nighter if I really needed to, in order to deliver. It's non-negotiable in my mind for me to not release a newsletter for a week, I feel that I'd owe everyone a refund. So I always get it done.

      It helps that I don't have kids, and my girlfriend is understanding that, sometimes, I have to take time away from our relationship in order to make the business work.

  2. 2

    That’s so great! The lesson is loud: a clear & simple value prop = conversion

    1. 1

      Thanks! To be honest, I think that is perhaps to simplified, but a great starting point. How others can find an idea and turn it into traction is exactly what I'm exploring in The Foundation course

      1. 1

        Can't find the link to the course, could you post it?

        1. 1

          It's currently a work in progress. The first video is up and available for subscribers on the membership site

  3. 2

    Hey this is very inspiring! thanks for sharing!

    few questions:

    • how long did it took from plain idea to launch?
    • how much time (daily/weekly) do you dedicate to this? If I understand correctly is a side-project of yours? Or you work on it fulltime?
    1. 3

      Thanks Aleksandar!

      1. I came up with the idea to sell the research I was already doing in mid-june. Over the next few weeks, I talked to 35 potential customers and validated the "product risk, channel risk, and market risks" by pre-selling $200-ish of the newsletter.

      If you're interested in seeing those conversations, or are curious what I mean by product, channel, and market risks, I released all of the conversations I had for free inside of this template

      1. This is a side-project, for now. I'm currently investigating bringing on the first employee/contractor to assist with some of the due diligence involved in the newsletter, since the project is big enough now that I'm struggling to find time between the actual writing and the distribution and growth roles.

      My goal would be to get to something like $10k profit, at which point I'd strongly consider leaving my day-job as a developer and focusing on this full-time!

      1. 1

        this is impressive ! Kudos and congrats again!

  4. 1

    Awesome work Kevin. Have been following your newsletter for last few months -- very inspiring.

    quick question - which software / membership tool you are using?

    1. 2

      Thanks Davesh! I'm not using a membership software. My customers have subscriptions in Stripe, and I leverage that api to handle all of my membership status stuff for the website.

      I actually wrote an opportunity about how a founder could improve that process in one of the newsletters!

  5. 1

    It's the self reported revenue. You didn't connect Stripe.com to the reporting.
    But good luck! Thanks for sharing!

    1. 2

      Hey Alex,

      All my metrics are public: softwareideas.baremetrics.com

      The reason I don’t self-report is that I have about $300 of MRR on a separate stripe account, and IH doesn’t support linking multiple stripe accounts. I wish I could get verified! (Nudging @csallen)

  6. 1

    This is an awesome result, sincere congrats to you! Well done :)

  7. 1

    Love the concept of Software Ideas - keep rocking!

  8. 1

    This is a damn fine idea, sir. My only concern with subscribing is that I’ve seen previous concepts in different areas. And over time, the quality tended to go down because the person tried to scale or wanted to outsource to someone else who didn’t have the same level of quality. Other than that, I’m pretty sold on signing up.

    1. 1

      Hey Raymond,

      If that ever happens, call me out on that and I'll give you a full refund.

      I won't pretend like outsourcing will never happen (anyone who said that would be lying), but at this point there are only way I would outsource the actual "ideas" part of the work is if I found someone who would bring the quality of the newsletter up, because of their business acumen in various markets or prior experience.

      The quality of the newsletter is my unique selling-point, so I'm just as concerned about it as you are.

      1. 1

        OK, I think I’m going to try it out.

        1. 1

          Thanks for your support and I hope you like it!

  9. 1

    Awesome work Kevin. I think this proves if you truly probvide value pertaining to a customer struggle, you can do relativley well. Wishing you goodluck on your way to 10k!

    1. 1

      Thanks Paolo and looking forward to posting a $10k update sooner rather than later!

  10. 1

    Kevin, such a great accomplishment. Congratulations!!! I can feel the energy!

  11. 1

    Congrats! I wonder how you cope writing those newsletters because from my understanding it requires a lot of effort and time.

    1. 1

      Thanks!

      Each newsletter takes between 15-20 hours to research, write, and edit per week. So yes, it's a ton on my plate as a side-project, but it's quite reasonable as a full-time gig. I'm actually currently working with a writer who is better than me to help with some of the more easily outsourced parts of the issues, such as gathering metrics.

  12. 1

    Wow, this is awesome! Congratulations Kevin!

  13. 1

    Solid work @Kevcon80 -- I've really been enjoying the newsletter, esp. the 'Hidden Gems' section.

    I've recently been analyzing projects directed at no-code (potential) founders and would be interested in hearing more about those kinds of opportunities.

    1. 1

      Hey Joe,

      Thanks for being a subscriber! I'd actually love to pick your brain for a second, since you brought up the Hidden Gems issue (which I've had to shut down since most people didn't like it as a core issue) and no-code.

      I've been thinking about implementing a milestone-based referral system. It might look something like this:

      Refer 1 person: Unlock a monthly issue where I go through all the opportunities of the month and discuss alternative MVPs that specifically use no-code.

      Refer 3 people: Unlock a bonus monthly "Hidden gems", where I cover 1-3 ideas from the archive that haven't been taken yet, and update them.

      Refer 5 people: Unlock a bonus monthly "Micro-saas" issue, which is focused specifically on micro-saas opportunities.

      Would you find a system like this motivating enough to go and try to get referrals? Or would you prefer a more simple system, where you can refer people and you make around $11 per referral, and the person you refers gets a discount?

      Or, if neither is interesting to you because you're not the type of person who likes to refer, or you wouldn't want to refer Software Ideas, please let me know! I'd rather hear that then a fake preference of the first two.

      Thanks a ton!

      1. 1

        Interesting to hear that most ppl didn't like it...

        @ Referrals: I don't usually refer and when I do, I definitely don't do it for the $.
        I'd go with the 1/3/5 ppl scheme though. It's more 'fun'...

        BTW my comment wasn't really about the 'hidden gems' but rather the no-code opportunities :-) I do code myself but would welcome more no-code focused content. Cheers.

        1. 1

          Cool, thanks for the feedback Joe!

  14. 1

    Congratulations Kevin 🙌 Looking forward to your $10k milestone post 🙂

    1. 1

      Thanks AK! Same here, haha!

  15. 1

    Congrats on the growth Kevin! You’ve done an amazing job.

    1. 1

      Thanks Gabe! I appreciate it!

  16. 1

    What is your renewal rate looking like? (Considering 3 month plans it will be interesting to see how much LTV this initial cohort generates).

    1. 1

      Not at 90 days yet, but you can look at all my metrics here:

      softwareideas.baremetrics.com

      So far, churn has stayed pretty low! I'll start to have information around churn in October

      1. 1

        Awesome. Great work so far, here's hoping renewals work out well :)

  17. 1

    Signed up a little ago mate!

    Unfortunately not in spam nor primary ?

    All the best and excited for your growth

    1. 1

      Hey, thanks for signing up!

      Are you saying that you signed up for the free issue and it hasn't arrived, or that you paid for a sub and you haven't gotten an email yet?

      Either way, mind emailing me at [email protected] if it doesn't arrive in the next few minutes? I'll get that squared away.

      1. 1

        Yeah signed up for the free one. Lo behold I got it 10 mins ago, not sure what happened there.

        Looking forward to converting to paid soon - did a tweet shout out too!

        1. 1

          Hey thanks a bunch for the shout-out! It means a ton when people help spread the word

  18. 1

    Hey @Kevcon80, you're killing it! That's a solid milestone, congrats.

    The quarterly pricing I find really interesting. Would love to hear your thoughts behind it (a link to an article is good if you've already wrote about it)

    1. 2

      Thanks! There's no article yet, but here's my thought process:

      I spoke to Ben Tossel of Makerpad, who only does lifetime subscriptions for his No Code education company. He does this to align incentives properly. If he were to charge monthly, students would be rushed to cram in all of the knowledge so they don't have to pay for the following month. By limiting options, he actually better sets up his students for success.

      In the same vein, if you're actively looking for a new business idea, it's a mistake to take the first one that sounds good and build it. You should be constantly looking at and evaluating new ideas, talking with potential customers, until you find one that has clear traction and you decide to commit to. This goes against what most people imagine the process is like, which is that you choose one good idea and that's that.

      Also, a Software Ideas subscription includes access to a video series called The Foundation (in the works), which needs to be consumed over time, not binged all at once.

      So that's coming from the customer perspective. From a business perspective, I of course would rather have a customer for three months than a single month, so exploring that opportunity makes sense. It also benefits me to have my readers more aligned with what I believe it really takes to find an idea that suits them (the process I mentioned above), since they're more likely to be happier with their purchase.

      I plan to eventually offer an annual plan too, since soon there will be a Software Ideas community included in the subscription, and I'm sure people will want to commit to it for a year in exchange for a discount. But since I want to better understand the churn of the project, I'm holding off on offering an annual plan.

      1. 1

        Great insights, appreicate the explanantion.

        I really like the idea of aligning the pricing to the incentives of your customers and tailoring pricing to make sure they enjoy the product more.

        1. 1

          No problem Harlan and glad you found the explanation valuable

  19. 1

    Congratulations, you’re living the dream!

    1. 1

      Thanks Sammy! It's definitely been a fun ride so far :)