January 2017 Income Report

13 Feb 2017

This is part 25 in my series of blog posts documenting my attempt to take BugMuncher from Side Project to Profitable Startup. If you've not yet read the previous parts, you should definitely start from part 1.

Up until now these monthly posts have been somewhat awkwardly titled “From Side Project to Profitable Startup”. I’ve decided to drop that title format now that BugMuncher is profitable, so these posts will just be referred to as [month] [year] Income Report”.

Ok, the real reason for the change is I was running out of alliterative titles, and months beginning with J were always the hardest.

I will also start publishing these posts on (or near) the first of the month, instead of waiting until the 11th to see how many 10 day free trials convert, which I think confuses things. Starting next month I’ll just use conversion rates as they stand at the end of the month. This means the numebrs will be slightly skewed in February, and some conversions could potentially be counted twice, but from March onwards it will all balance out.

Anyway, on to the numbers:

The Figures

  This Month (January 2017) Last Month Change
Savings (end of month) £3,918.45 £4,366.73 10.3%
Monthly Recurring Revenue $3,360 $3,125 7.5%
Actual Revenue $3,816.25 $3,125.00 22.1%
Fastspring fees $303.20 $232.83 30.2%
Expenses £2,732.71 £3,819.96 28.5%
Income £2,303.62 £2,169.59 6.2%
Average Month on Month Growth 10.5% 10.6% 1.0%
Paying customers 56 51 9.8%
- Personal Plan 27 25 8.0%
- Startup Plan 21 18 16.7%
- Corporate Plan 8 8 -
Free plan subscribers 97 70 38.6%
Unique users on landing page 6,182 2,547 140.6%
New Free Trial sign ups 81 52 55.8%
Free Trial sign up rate 1.3% 2.0% 35.0%
New Paying customers 6 6 -
Lost Paying Customers 1 2 50.0%
Free Trial to Paying conversion 7.4% 11.5% 35.7%
New Free plan customers 26 24 8.3%
Free Trial to Free plan conversion 32.1% 46.1% 30.4%
Paying to Free plan downgrades 1 0 ∞%
Profit £-448.28 £-1,610.84 72.2%

Once again, not a profitable month, but once again, there were some non-recurring large expenditures. Revenue has grown healthily, and my usual recurring expenses are the same, so BugMuncher is still in profit over the long term.

January was also a month for record breaking - both unique users on homepage and free trial sign ups are the highest they’ve ever been. Unfortunately, most of this traffic came from a popular blog post - How I turned my side project into a profitable startup - and very few of those went on to sign up for free trial. This is a problem I frequently face with the BugMuncher blog - very few of my readers are in BugMuncher’s target audience. Still, I’m grateful for each and every reader.

Someone downgraded from paying to free for the first time since I launched the free plan. But it’s still a lot better than that first month where 3 people downgraded.

Expenses

Supplier Expense Amount USD
Total £2,732.71
Me Salary £1,445.29 -
Me Home office allowance £54.71 -
Linode Hosting £20.98 $25
Digital Ocean Hosting £8.39 $10.00
SauceLabs Selenium Servers £57.90 $69.00
Accountants Annual Return £961.25 -
Accountants Quarterly RTI Submission £57.60 -
Pingdom Uptime monitoring £9.95 -
Heart Internet Domain Renewal £8.39 -
Crowd Justice Crowdfunded Legal Challenge £50.00 -
Talktalk Internet £37.95 -
O2 Mobile Phone £20.30 -

Like last month, January was pulled just short of profit by an irregular large expense. This month it was paying my accountants for preparing my annual return.

The £50 to CrowdJustice was my contribution to a crowd funded legal challenge against the UK’s frankly disturbing “Snoopers’ Charter”. The campaign raised a total of £53,313, you can read more about it at https://www.crowdjustice.org/case/snoopers-charter.

Revenue

I know I’ve said it many times before, but it really is getting hard to stay ahead of that 10% MoM growth target as revenue increases. And if February 2016 is anything to go by, next month could be when it finally gets me.

But it wont, ever the optimist, I’m sure February this year will be good, and there’s still a small buffer between me and the 10% target line.

Freeloaders

I’ve not really been paying much attention to the freeloaders to be honest. So one of my jobs for February is to analyse the free accounts, to see if there’s any high profile customers, how much impact they’re having on the server, and how many of the free accounts are actually in use.

I can say that the freeloaders still haven’t overloaded me with support requests, in fact I rarely hear from them at all, so that’s good.

Plans for February

As I mentioned above, I’ll be checking in on the Freeloader accounts. I’ll also be starting my first CPC advertising campaigns on Reddit and Facebook, with the help of my marketing guy. We’re trialling a small budget on each, and then I’ll throw some more money at any that are successful.

Other than that I’m going to keep working my way through the list of minor bugs that I should have fixed ages ago, and resisting the urge to add any new features. After all, February is only a short month, and I wouldn’t want to overwork myself.

Thanks for reading

- Matt

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