My Best Month Ever: $23,109 revenue (+ November 2021 updates)
Hello everyone! This is Tony 👋
I just had my best month ever in my entire indie hacking journey, and I’m excited to share it with you all!
🤑 I made $23K in November 2021 as a solo dev
Here is the full breakdown:
Sales Tax: $1,726.13
Paddle Fee: $1,489.81
Net Earnings: $19,893.08
Breakdown by product:
Revenue contribution by products
For comparison, last month I made only around $3K.
Why did it blow up?
A few things happened to me this month that contributed to this incredible success.
🏆 Reason 1: DevUtils was featured on HN
At the beginning of November, DevUtils got featured on Hacker News.
The traffic from HN is of extremely high quality, and relevant to DevUtils. The post stayed on the front page for only ~6 hours, but I made $3K from sales from it over the next 2 days.
Sales from HN
What gets me excited about this is not only the sales, but the fact that DevUtils was posted on HN by someone else, and that it got to the front page.
If you search on HN for DevUtils, you will see that the app is posted there once every few months, each time by a different person. I have no idea who any of them are, but I’m grateful that they shared my app on HN!
This gives me strong validation that my app is useful, and that many people want to share it with the community. It definitely has a future.
Speaking of which, stay tuned for the next version, coming out next month!
🎉 Reason 2: I released Magic Sidebar Beta!
It will change the way you use Twitter!
Magic Sidebar – A new enhanced experience for Twitter.
If you are curious what Magic Sidebar does, check out this thread.
I invited people to use the beta version for free and offered discounts for early birds. As soon as I released it, people were excited and wanted to pay for it immediately.
Some early supporters (Gene, Damon Chen, Daniel Vassallo, Minh-Phuc Tran,…) opted-in for the annual subscription Pro plan, which contributed significantly to my revenue this month. (If you are reading this, thank you so much! 🙏)
The total revenue from membership was around ~$10K.
Black Magic has reached $1,629 MRR at the time of writing this.
As of now, the Magic Sidebar is still in beta, but it’s open for everyone to try. Some early bird slots remain.
You can refer to this pricing page to see all that Magic Sidebar has to offer. If you are serious about growing on Twitter, I think you will like it!
🛍️ And then, there was Black Friday! (Reason 3)
Black Friday was responsible for half of my revenue this month.
I ran a 30% discount on DevUtils, sold ~400 copies, and earned a total of ~$10K in revenue.
What I did:
Created a discount code
Put it on the website
Shared it on Twitter, some GitHub repos, and with friends and family.
And the sales came. As simple as that.
J/K haha, that’s not all of it. But I’m only half kidding 😂
On the one hand, it was really what I did on Black Friday. Not much preparation was needed. If you run a Black Friday deal, I bet you can do all the preparations in just 1 day.
On the other hand. I worked hard for the past 1 year to:
Grow an audience on Twitter.
Push out new DevUtils versions consistently every 1-2 months.
Start a newsletter, write frequently.
Update landing page at least 5 times.
Ask for more feedback, ideas, testimonials.
Update the demo videos, app screenshots, documents, pricing page, etc.
…and a lot of other things
It’s not an overnight success, I prepared for this. But to be honest, I only expected perhaps $3K or $4K of revenue. $10K is a lot and it totally surprised me.
I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported me all this time, whether on Twitter, in this newsletter, or in person. Thank you all so much! 🙏
For BlackMagic.so, I didn’t run a Black Friday deal.
I had already offered an early bird discount and I was quite busy with the beta test of the sidebar, so I didn’t even think of it.
Looking back, I think I should have done something for Black Magic on Black Friday.
If you have a SaaS, you should definitely do it.
📰 Other updates and learnings from this month
1. Learning: Black Friday is a good opportunity to test your price.
I used to think that giving discounts was unfair to the existing customers who had paid the full price. But that’s not true.
Public promotions like Black Friday are well known to the public. People expect the prices to go down. It’s normal.
You can use this opportunity to see if you can increase your revenue by reducing the price to a lower point (like 30% or 50% of the current price).
Lower price = affordable to more customers, which could mean higher revenue. I say “could” because it doesn’t always work out. That’s why you have to test it.
The ideal time to test your low price point is 1 week before Black Friday, or even earlier. Compare the conversion rate with that of your typical price.
I missed my chance this year because I learned about this a bit late into the campaign, but I will definitely do that in 2022.
I learned this from a recent Gumroad Newsletter Issue. You should definitely check it out.
2. I started writing public notes.
You can check them out here: Tony’s Public Notes.
This is where I share my tips, notes, and FAQs.
3. Twitter contacted me about BlackMagic!
I talked with Aba (DevRel Community Manager). She liked Black Magic and contacted me to see if there was anything the Twitter DevRel team could do to support me and the developer community.
I have never seen any company that is so friendly with its dev community! I’m honored to be on her radar! We are discussing some details on the opportunity (that I can’t reveal yet). I’m super excited about this!
4. I started a Slack community for people who build with Twitter API
It’s called “Twitter Makers”, and we discuss things related to building tools/SaaS/apps with Twitter API. You can join here.
🙌 That's all!
Wow, you have reached the end!
I didn’t realize this newsletter would be so long! 😂
I hope you learned a thing or two. It took me a whole morning to write 🤣
If you like what you read here, please share it with your friends. I will greatly appreciate it!
Until next time! 👊