Inspiration for Coders
Welcome to my third monthly income report on the Coders’ Startup.
I’ve decided to create these monthly income reports for two main reasons:
- To serve as a proof of concept and an inspiration to aspiring software entrepreneurs
- To help hold myself accountable for the continued growth of my business
Creating and growing an online business has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. But along the way I have realized that there are things that I’ve done that contributed to a disproportionate amount of success.
In other words, not all results are created equally. I could spend 3 hours posting links to articles on Facebook, or I could spend 3 hours setting goals and reflecting on past failures… At the end of those 3 hours, which of the two tasks do YOU think will make more of a difference in 3 months time?
Hint: It’s NOT the Facebook posts!
So I’m treating the time I spend on these income reports as a valuable insight into the current health of my business, as well as a spring board for planting the seeds of future growth.
And hey, if I just happen to inspire the heck out of a few of you, then job well done right?
What’s Shakin’ in June
The month of June has been a sort of “preparing for the the attack” kind of month. I’ve implemented two new strategies for growing my business this month:
- Started using YouTube Advertising
- Hired a sales funnel expert
The thing to note about both of these ventures is that there’s an up-front investment of time and money with a slightly longer than short-term return on that investment.
When it comes to the YouTube ads, I’ve seen very positive results thus far, but I’m only measuring success at the moment by looking at my average cost per lead. As of this exact moment as I’m writing this post, my average cost per lead has been $1.39. This is after spending about $530 and receiving 382 email leads.
When I compare the results of my Facebook ads of days past, I’m able to extract that the average email lead is worth about $6.00 to my business… so if those numbers hold true with my YouTube leads, this means that the 382 leads I acquired could potentially bring back just shy of $2,300.
Now that kind of extrapolation is VERY unlikely, as I’ve never tested the YouTube ads channel as a lead acquisition source before, so these are completely untested waters. I really haven’t a clue what the ROI is on the money that I’ve spent thus far… but I’m continuing to invest because I feel confident that I’ll receive more than $2 per lead back in sales over the next 90 days or so.
The reason I believe I *will* receive at least $2 per lead back into my pocket is that I’ve noticed that conversion rate for my YouTube ads traffic has been higher than my Facebook traffic. My facebook traffic tends to convert anywhere between 20-23%, whereas my YouTube traffic is converting between 27-30% at the moment. So this tells me that the YouTube traffic is a bit more engaged and interested in what I have to offer, so I’m hoping this will lead to more engagement in the long run and therefore more sales.
The issue with this is that my sales funnel takes about 25 days or so to run its course, so I won’t really start seeing any potential sales come in until at least July 20th. So in the meantime, I wait with bated breath to see what kind of results this new source of traffic will produce.
Hiring a Sales Funnel Expert
The other news for the month of June was that I hired a sales funnel expert to take a look at my current funnel and essentially tear it apart.
Thus far, I’m feeling very good about the whole process, as the gentleman I hired seems to know his stuff and has great connections in the industry. He just happens to be a local fellow who lives about 1.5 hours from my home, which was a funny coincidence since I found him via an Entrepreneurial group that is mostly made up of people from the USA.
In any case, we’ve had a couple of meetings and he’s already pointed out a few spots in my funnel where I can definitely improve.
For example, he feels that I have such a great lead magnet that’s converting so well, that I should consider turning it into the tripwire product instead and just come up with a new lead magnet. He also felt that my eBook might not have been a great tripwire product, as it’s quite a long book… so if someone were to buy it, they’d likely take a while going through all the material and will likely not be able to engage with my current lead magnet, which is a 10 part video series.
He also doesn’t think that me having a long sales funnel is a good thing and that I should shorten it up. Where have I heard *that* before?! When I tried to shorten my sales funnel previously, I found that there was a huge drop off in sales… but that’s likely because I didn’t have the right tripwire, nor did I have very compelling copy.
So, long story short, he’s going to be redesigning my funnel and we’ll be changing a lot of stuff around. I’ll likely have more to report next month on the progress of this project, but it is scheduled to wrap up by September 1st, so it will be a while yet before you hear any final thoughts on the results.
Lessons Learned in June
One big takeaway from the month of June has been a mindset shift with respect to my procrastination. As you may or may not have heard, I’ve been struggling with procrastination lately and hadn’t really been able to identify the reason for it.
Since the beginning of my entrepreneurial career back in June of 2012, I have been going at an incredible pace. I’ve been cranking out content, learning a HUGE amount about marketing and sales, testing new ideas and reading tons of books/taking online courses. But lately things have seemed to grind to a halt.
I was thinking that maybe it was just burnout, as I’d heard so much about it from podcasts and blogs. I figured that since I’d been going so hard for so long, I was bound to hit a wall at some point. But the only problem was that I didn’t feel like I was burnt out. I still had enough energy during the days and I didn’t fully dread doing any and all work, there was still some work that I found to be very fun and rewarding.
So what was the problem?
My thoughts on it at this exact moment was that I lacked a clear path of where to go in my mind. I didn’t really know what I should focus on next in order to grow my business. I figured it was something to do with paid advertising, but what’s the path I should take to tackle the work needs to get done?
So this lead me to a point where I’d get ready to get to work in the morning, then I’d sit down at my desk and stare at my computer screen… I’d check some stats like:
- Blog traffic via Google analytics
- Udemy Sales
- Kindle eBook Sales
- Conversion rates on LeadPages
- Podcast downloads
- Metrics from InfusionSoft sales funnel
Then I’d check my emails and respond to any customer questions and clear out all my inboxes.
And then, I’d browse Facebook for a while, then retire to my living room to play some video games.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Hopefully it doesn’t! If it does, then maybe you’re lacking a plan of action like I was.
In any case, I had been listening to (and still listen to) the 66 day experiment podcast with Alex Barker and was interested in trying out this whole “making a new habit stick” concept. It seemed like this was exactly what I was struggling with, I needed to form a habit of getting to work right? Yes!
Forming a habit of getting work done everyday was definitely one key the success, the other key was to outline exactly what work I needed to get done every day that would have a positive impact directly to the bottom line. So what this meant for me in my business was that I wanted to get back onto the content creation train. I challenged myself to create a new blog post every day for 66 days, so by the end of June, I had planned out the 66 topics that I would be blogging about.
Note that this related to my programming business and not the Coders’ Startup, I’m still planning on releasing a new episode of the Coders’ Startup weekly (and an income report monthly).
Now let’s get to the good stuff. The breakdown of my revenue for the month of June 2015.
I find it very useful as an outsider looking into someone else’s business to see where the money comes from, and where the money goes. Sometimes you can identify patterns in other people’s businesses that can transfer over into your own. Whether that be from income, or the way the profits are re-invested.
So I hope that you’ll be able to gain some new insights into your business based on the June 2015 figures below:
|Java Training Course||$4,579.07|
|Database & SQL Course||$322.52|
|Java eBook Sales||$955.65|
|Udemy Course Sales||$240.97|
|Computer – Hardware||$36.00|
|Computer – Software||$419.07|
|Computer – Internet||$243.89|
|Computer – Hosting||$45.11|
|Telephone – Wireless||$206.23|
|Bank Service Charges||$164.65|
|Meals & Entertainment||$19.25|
|Transaction Processing Fees||$62.39|
|Payroll – Employer’s Share of Benefits||$319.60|
|Payroll – Salary & Wages||$80.44|
|Advertising & Promotion||$398.71|
|Total Operating Expenses||$7,018.18|
Net Profit $276.03
The biggest expense for the month of June is yet again the salary that’s paid to me. I will be drawing a larger than normal salary from my business for the next few months as I need to save for my upcoming wedding in August. I’m thinking that once September hits, my salary will be able to decrease and my Advertising expenditure will increase.
But overall, it’s nice to see that I had a profitable month and that the revenue has grown slightly since the month of May.
I’d still like to see my revenue figures hit at least the $8,300 mark, as this is what I’ll need to earn every month in order to achieve my goal of having a six-figure year for my business. This six-figure goal is one that I calculated back in December 2014 as it seemed like my business was growing by 300% year over year, so that would mean my business would be capable of hitting the $100,000 mark by the end of 2015.
As of the end of June, I’m right on track to achieve that goal with just over $50,000 in revenue year-to-date. So I’m happy to see that and I’m hoping that my revenue figures do nothing but climb until the end of the year!
Alright, I look forward to seeing you again in next month’s income report and as always if you have any questions, please post them in the comments section below! We love to hear from our readers/listeners.
All the best,
6 thoughts on “June 2015 – Income Report”
Nice site and congratulations on your ongoing success.
I would appreciate if you could give you opinion on few things:
1. What’s the angle that’s working best for selling the programming type courses? In case of Java, I see in ur sales page, it shows how one could become highly Java programmer and as a career choice.
2. One time payment for life time access seems like a bad deal for the author/seller. I understand that it may give some much needed cash infusion.
3. Did you mention infusionsoft costs in your report? I couldn’t see them. Is this an expensive undertaking?
Keep up the good work and looking forward to more from you!
Great questions Joe,
1. I’ve found that my customers are typically people who are already working some sort of job in the IT field. This is very commonly people in a QA role that wish to transition to programming (as QA and Dev usually work closely with one-another). So since these are the most common type of customer, I word my marketing message to attract them specifically. I’ve tried focusing on students before, as they are super engaged and willing to learn, but I’ve found that they always say the same thing “I’m broke, I can’t afford your course!” I hope that answers that question.
2. I tested a monthly subscription model for about 2 years and found that on average, people stay active as customers for about 3 months, then they jump ship. To receive the same amount of money from the monthly subscription model, I’d have to charge $165/month and that scares the hell out of people. So I’ve found that it’s MUCH more attractive for my business to have a one time fee. Now it’s important to note that I also offer a payment plan as well that comes to $87/month for 6 months.
3. InfusionSoft charges a one time fee of $2,000 for their onboarding and training, then they charge about $250 or more a month for someone like me who has a list of about 20,000 subscribers. So InfusionSoft is an investment that’s only accessible to a small business that’s already gained some traction in the market.
Thank you Trevor for your insightful answer!
1. It’s interesting and kinda makes sense that there are people out there from the QA world who want to transition to programming roles and the sales message of a better career will resonate with them.
I would think there are also a group of people who either want to start a career and may not have any background in programming. I hear you about students and not able to afford the cost of the course.
2. The pricing is tricky to finalize. In some ways a course can be delivered and no monthly subscription needed but if there are ongoing lessons on new things that people who will need to learn as they go, then monhtly subscription will be a good fit.
The downside with one time fee though is that you need constant stream of new customers and I’m trying to figure out how one could make the monthly subscription model attractive to customers. If you look at raywenderlich.com, they seem to have done it with iOS tuts. Not sure how they are doing revenue wise.
3. I recently came across ConvertKit which seems to offer lot of features for email marketing but with much easier user interface. You could check it out.
Keep rocking it!
Yeah I heard that Pat Flynn recently changed to ConvertKit. I checked out their pricing and they’re more expensive than what I’m paying with InfusionSoft.
As for the monthly payments, as I mentioned, the 6 payment plan is pretty good in terms of a subscription model. Like I said, I had trouble keeping people on my program for more than 3 months, so keeping them paying $87 for 6 months is WAY more attractive to me. But your point of offering ongoing new material would likely help keep people on longer, however, this violates my cardinal rule of passive income. I’d rather do the work now, put out a complete product and have people pay one time for it, rather than having to constantly add to the course. Just a personal preference.
As for the downside of needing a constant stream of new customers, that’s actually not a problem for me at the moment. I’ve consistently grown my stream of leads over the last 3 years. I’m at a point now where I get about 100 new leads every day. And once you figure out paid advertising’s ROI, that stream of leads won’t ever stop.
I recently launched a second version of my product that doesn’t include any access to me (or my forums). This allows me to charge much less for my product as it won’t require any long-term time commitments from me personally. So far it has been going well, but it’s only been a couple of weeks, so it’s way too early to call that a success. I’ll talk more about that in my August income report
Ah! ConvertKit, I didn’t look too deeply into their pricing so it’s interesting that they end up costing more the InfusionSoft.
I see that your videos are very detailed which is good but at the same time very long. Is that something works for your audience? I see Udemy courses and typically videos are shorter even for technical subjects.In the similar vain, are short emails better with link back to blog or longer emails that have pretty much the whole book in them 🙂
Good luck with your recent roll out of your product. I agree with your goal of passive income. By removing the real time access via forums or email reduces the time commitment on your part an one more step towards passive income. It’s funny that tech moves fast so there may be changes from time to time that will need updates..it’s different for some evergreen concepts like time management or say how to find your strengths etc.
Even within tech, the concepts remain the same for long period, the implementation specifics will change over time.
The thing about paid advertising is that once you figure it out and get a consistent inflow of leads, it works like magic. I have been split on the concept of free traffic via natural search/SEO/links vs paid ads. The lure of free traffic causes lot of people to get blind sided. It’s a long term thing which relies on content marketing heavily.
A combination is the way to go. You had mentioned in an earlier post that you tube was working well for you. I wonder any other channels that may be effective for your audience? How about facebook? It’s pretty targeted
As an aside, I think the image of laptop on your home page takes up too much space and on 15 inch laptop screen, it seems as if the site doesn’t have a whole lot of content until I scroll down. Thought you may want to know from a user perspective.
Good luck with your roll out and looking forward to hearing from you.