Welcome to the March monthly growth report here at SelfMadeBusinessman.com.
Every month I give a status check on the progress of the website and have a candid chat with my audience about what's working and what isn't. You can see past monthly growth reports.
Some of the main benefits of doing this are holding myself accountable on my goals, as well as keeping myself and this website "grounded". By that I mean, it's important to show that I do NOT have all the answers and most importantly that I don't think I do either. These monthly reports will show that I am struggling just as much as everyone else to grow my blog and monetize my projects.
After 5 months on the road I'm finally returning back to the Boston area to settle down for 4-6 months.
The road trip has been fantastic, and we've traveled through over half the states, spending almost 500 hours across 20k miles in the car.
However from a business perspective it has definitely made things more difficult.
Usually I am only able to put in about 30-40 hours a week, which is not enough to get a startup off the ground. On top of that, I didn't get to do any of the networking or demos I was hoping I might get too
Although there is a lot of chatter about the digital nomad lifestyle and running a business from anywhere, in my experience it is horribly impractical, for the following reasons:
Proper Work Environment - Spending every night in a hotel does not make for a great work environment. Aside from the obvious issues of internet (sometimes it's slow, or nonexistent), you also run into issues around just having a proper setup. I believe this contribute to the tendinitis I got in December, which made it difficult to type at length for about two months.
Getting Into A Groove - One of the keys to being productive is getting into a groove. There are some tasks I just don't want to try to squeeze into a 30-60 minute period, because I don't want to break them up. It can be hard to find stretches of long, uninterrupted time while you're traveling and sightseeing.
Time Conflicts - There's just a lot of conflict between traveling and working. For example, I spent about 500 hours in the car, most of which was unproductive. That's about 2.5 months of full-time work that was lost. In addition to that, you have the lost time of packing and unpacking, and getting set up, or having to go out to dinner and eat because you don't have a kitchen or prepared food. Every day about 4 hours of your time is sacked in transit.
As a result, although Ninja Outreach has been growing every month, it hasn't been growing as fast as I would like.
According to my estimations, by the end of the year we are expected to be at around $6k monthly recurring revenue, which is significantly shy of my $10k goal. Although $6k does cover our costs, it is not enough to pay anyone a salary. It is also not attractive to investors who are looking for fast growing startups.
But that's about to change.
I think everything is going to come together in April, because not only will I be home with a lot of time on my hands, but we are also releasing our long awaited web application, which has been without a doubt the biggest thing holding us back. Based on my experience, this could easily double our daily sign ups, and increase our conversions as well.
Additionally, my estimations right now are very conservative, and assume only a modest linear growth as well as no improvement in key metrics such as average value per customer and churn, all of which I think will improve over time as the product continues to develop.
Plus, we're also going to be revamping our marketing strategy, which couldn't come at a better time. Our goal is to focus on doing some webinars, as a way to show off the new web application and the new chrome extension, which you can download for free here.
In short, I think that April and May are really going to set the tone for how the year ends up, and it will be interesting to see if things improve as much as I think they can with the new release of our web application.
Traffic and Income
Traffic to the blog is steady. I have been including SMB articles and links in guest posts that I have been doing as part of the NinjaOutreach campaign, so maybe that will pay off a few months from now with an increase in organic traffic - we'll see:
Right now I only monetize my blog with AfterOffers, which continues to hover at around $100/month.
Conclusion And Goals
There is still a long way to go but I feel like things are starting to turn around - but will I meet my expectatations for April/May?
My goals for last month were:
- Get 25 paying customers (Success!)
- Release the NinjaOutreach Web App (Fail! But should be soon)
- Release the NinjaOutreach Chrome Extension (Success!)
- Write 10+ Guest Posts for NinjaOutreach (Success!)
My goals for this month are:
- Get 50 paying customers
- Release the NinjaOutreach Web App
- Hold two webinars for NinjaOutreach