In my last update I mentioned that leaning into search ads was starting to have a massive impact for Thankbox.
There's no bigger proof of that than the fact that in just the first 11 days of this month I've beaten my previous best milestone (which was October). I also had the best day in terms of messages created on Thankboxes, which was 198!
I'm already sitting at ~$220 of sales for November. I've been selling, on average, about 4 or 5 Thankboxes a day.
I'm advertising in the UK right now and have already had some really big companies and organisations use Thankbox for their employee occasions.
Now that the top of the funnel is mostly working my next goal is to address what follows after a user creates a Thankbox - helping them use the product and guiding them to a sale. I'm working on a whole new and improved dashboard as well as a pricing plan for smaller teams.
Really excited for what's ahead 🎉
And it's plain old search ads 😂
I cannot believe it took me that long to lean into them.
I actually did try some adwords right when I started, but at that point my landing page wasn't really great and I picked keywords which were super competative so once I saw spend going through the roof I just paused them.
I then spent months trying out different ad channels - Facebook (as much as I hate them), LinkedIn, Twitter, but none of them really had any effect.
Thankbox is a product that people either need now (e.g. someone in their company is leaving and they need to organize a card) or they forget about it. So, in retrospect, paid search was always going to work.
A couple of weeks ago I finally decided to try search ads again, but instead of going straight with google I decided to try Bing ads.
Incredibly, the very same day I saw a couple of Thankboxes being created by people coming from those ads. Over the next several days I had over 10 new users creating and buying Thankboxes that I could only attribute to the Bing ads.
I am super thrilled as I think that this can finally be a stable channel that can bring enough traffic to more than pay for itself. I think I'll start experimenting with Adwords again in order to get exposure to the biggest search traffic via Google.
To say I am excited would be an understatement. I am absolutely buzzing!
I discovered that on this day last year I had written down the idea of what would become Thankbox.
I even did a twitter thread about it, going into how the idea evolved into execution: https://twitter.com/ValCanBuild/status/1319548815515537408?s=20
First thankbox sold: 05/05/2020
50th thankbox sold: 28/08/2020
100th thankbox sold: 23/10/2020
From 1->50: 116 days
From 50->100: 57 days
Getting from 50 to 100 took half the time as from 1 to 50.
Keep at it, peeps! 💪
Last week I was invited to be interviewed for Scottish Business Podcast - a relatively new podcast that covers Scotland-based businesses.
The host was interested in the fact I was bootstrapping Thankbox and that's what our chat revolved around.
I was really happy to get this exposure, even if it's fairly local. Since this was my first ever interview of this form, I knew it wasn't going to be perfect. It actually turned out better than I expected, though there is clearly much I need to improve in my speaking & delivery.
It's a step towards getting more exposure and future interviews and I'm happy for that.
I had a goal for August to pass £100 in sales and with just a few days to go I'm happy to say I've made it!
Thankbox is an interesting SaaS product - different, I feel, compared to most other ones on IH, in that it doesn't have a subscription part.
All of the money I make is from individual sales, so I can't really use the term MRR.
I do have an idea for a subscription product for it in the future but for now I am happy with this result.
Having only launched in mid May, the sales from August represent almost 40% of all sales so far - which is massive for me. Even at these small numbers I feel incredible pride at having my product be used and make money.
With the sale of Thankbox #50 I am really feeling the rhythm of Thankbox pick up.
Every month since our launch (May) our revenue has grown. I keep telling myself that it's hard to measure it as reliable growth because it's not a monthly subscription product, but it definitely feels nice.
I've also started really seeing the networking effects of Thankbox kick in, which is great since I am relying on that to be the main growth driver.
One awesome example is that my first ever customer was someone who worked at Ubisoft. This month 2 of his colleagues made Thankboxes for people in their team.
Another one from last week is I saw a Thankbox being made by a user of a big UK company and 10 minutes later another one was made by a different person in the same organisation.
It's super thrilling to see and I can't wait to have these compound even more as more and more people are exposed to Thankbox - either as receivers, or message contributors.
July was a really strong month for Thankbox.
It finally reached the point where people and companies that I don't know are using it (always exciting).
The big achievement in July, though, was that users used it to collect a total of $1.3k for gifts for Thankbox recipients! One of the biggest Thankboxes we had $240 in it! It's kind of scary to be entrusted with this money but it's so exciting to be facilitating people collecting for gifts for their friends and colleagues.
Now I just have to get my revenue to match that number 😂
2 months into launching Thankbox I can finally see the first bits of traction appearing 👏
Today was the best day yet, selling 6 Thankboxes in one day. Yeah, it's only £30, but it's clear indication that we're doing something right.
We also reached another big milestone - at one point we were storing $700 in pending Thankboxes. It's awesome to see people trusting Thankbox with their cash and pooling such large amounts (often $100+) for recipients.
Right now its the end of school year in the UK and Thankbox has been a great hit amongst parents collecting for gifts for their kids' teachers. I'm hoping we ride that wave out with some more boxes sound and a lot of good will spread around ❤️
Over the past 10 days, since selling the first Thankbox, I've tried to extract as much feedback from users and analytics as possible.
One thing I noticed from my analytics was that a lot of people were clicking the "Create a Thankbox" button on the landing page, but because that redirected them to sign up first, no-one was following through.
So I decided to reduce that initial friction and made it so you can populate the Create Thankbox form completely and then only be asked to sign up once you're ready to commit. The hope is that results in more follow through.
I'm trying to follow the north star I set for myself with this project - make it as simple as possible for the user, even if it means it's difficult on my end. This is why, for example, when you share a Thankbox link for your friends/teammates to contribute to I never ask them to sign up - I just ask for an email to send an "edit link" after.
That, combined with other improvements in the overall UX, has made me confident enough to launch on Product Hunt. Thankbox is now live there 🎉
Very eager to see how it does. Keeping my fingers crossed that the PH community is receptive to it!
I am super happy to announce that after 10 days of hard work on the MVP Thankbox is now launched!
It's been close to 3 months of building part-time and dealing with a lot of legal and accounting headaches around the business model (some which I am still resolving) but finally Thankbox is now live and getting small bits of attention.
I was super thrilled yesterday because as soon as I tweeted it out someone from Ubisoft picked it up, immediately made one and used it as a leaving card for one of their workmates. They got 14 people to add messages and sent it the same day netting me my first sale!
It was so exciting to see it being used and for exactly the reason I made it. I managed to get a lot of feedback from the first few use cases and used it to build up the next set of tasks and already added some improvements based on it.
The first user was so happy with it that I ended up using his feedback as the first ever user testimonial on the landing page.
Now it's time to get the next 10, then the next 100.
Feeling super excited and grateful for this week 😍
Thankbox addresses a key frustration I've faced in the many different teams I've worked with - how to celebrate a member's occasion. Be it a birthday, farewell or just expressing gratitude for a job well done.