Reading good blog posts is one of my favorite ways to learn about business.
There’s a lot of noise out there, lots of blogs are not worth reading. When your time is limited, it’s important you get to the good stuff quickly.
Here are the blogs I get solid, actionable business advice from consistently.
Most companies start when someone has an idea, and they start making something: a product, a consultancy, a SaaS app, or whatever.
In the early days, the founder is really involved in making the product. If you are a technical founder, you write a lot of code, build your website, setup email marketing and other tools, etc.
As your company grows, your role changes, and you have to take off your “maker” hat to work on building your company. This is a difficult transition as a technical founder, because the only thing you know is making products.
“Real artists ship.” –Steve Jobs
“If you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long.” –Matt Mullenweg
You’ve probably heard of an MVP, it stands for Minimum Viable Product.
The term was popularized by Eric Ries, It means that you should ship when you reach minimum viability, not a moment before or after that.
You shouldn’t take MVP to mean that you should ship a piece of crap. The emphasis in MVP is on viable, not on minimum.
On Overnight Success
“The first time I tried to build a product it was a staggering success, guess I just got lucky.”
“If you build it, they will come is totally true.”
“It’s so easy to make money with SaaS, you just set it and forget it.”
On Agencies Moving to Products
“Adding a successful product line to my Agency was easy, I had plenty of free time and the early lack of revenue totally made sense.”
On Version 1
“I love all of the development decisions I made for version 1.”
“I wouldn’t change a single line of code if I had to build it all over again.”
“We reached product/market fit right away, we didn’t even have to make any changes.”
“Support doesn’t really take that much time out of my day.”
“Support is my favorite part of building products.”
“I’ve had great luck with AdWords.”
“I wish we hadn’t spent so much time blogging.”
“I’m so glad I added in all those features early on, it makes my life easier.”
Add yours to the comments 🙂
I’ve been selling products for 5 years now, starting with premium WordPress themes.
I now have a plugin business and a SaaS product. I’ve learned a lot, this post is basically everything that worked and didn’t work for my theme business, and where I see the theme market today.
A brief history of premium themes
Matt Mullenweg forked b2 to create the first version of WordPress in 2003. Around 2007-08 the first premium theme companies started popping up. (There’s a nice history of premium themes here.)
One of the first was Studiopress, founded by Brian Gardner. Studiopress quickly escalated into six figures per month, and other theme businesses such as Press75 found fast success as well, and the theme gold rush started.
Lots more players jumped into the market over the next several years, and that trend has continued. Some market leaders emerged (Woothemes, StudioPress, Elegant Themes), and new distribution has changed the game (Themeforest).
Fast forward to today. The market is incredibly saturated, prices have dropped, and theme quality/bloat has become an issue.
A lot of people in the WordPress community have published transparency reports in the last year, and I wanted to gather them all in one place.
It’s mostly for statistical data for presentations, and to analyze what business models people are using. I also have some knowledge that isn’t public information (from my own businesses, and people I know) that gives me a little extra insight.
Personal note to all my fellow business owners: don’t compare yourself and feel bad because you aren’t making what some of these businesses are. There is a lot of back story to these that you don’t know about, none of these people were overnight successes. If that’s you, read this post about jealousy by Cory Miller, and this post by Matt Medeiros.
There are lots of people I left out, if you want to be included in this list or update your numbers please leave a comment or shoot me a tweet.
Update: some of these numbers are different than the source links, or don’t have sources. That’s because people have shared numbers with me personally but have not published anything about revenue publicly.
Here’s our email opt-ins for AppPresser in October and November of 2014:
Obviously I did something genius in between October and November to make this amazing feat take place. This happened a while ago, so I had to dig through the internet archives to figure out what happened. Here are a couple screenshots from those months.
One of the most important things you can do to grow your business is get feedback from your customers.
If you don’t know what your customers are looking for and why, no amount of tweaks to your site will have much of an effect. To find out the right headlines, media, content, and even product features your customers want, all you need to do is ask. Armed with that data, you can a/b test your site copy, onboarding processes, and marketing materials to increase conversions.
There are several ways to get feedback, including live user testing with friends and family, talking to customers on the phone or in person, and online surveys and polls. We’ll be focusing on surveys and polls, since they are the easiest to implement.
Setting up a conversion funnel is a great way to see how well you are converting on your website, and where you can improve.
A funnel is a visualization of the steps you want people to take on your website. For example, the top of the funnel would be visiting your homepage, and the bottom would be hitting the purchase confirmation page.
You can add steps in between as well, like visiting your pricing page, reading a blog post, or subscribing to your email list. A conversion funnel doesn’t have to be monetary, it could also show how well you are doing with email opt-ins, downloads, social sharing, and more.
If you read my previous post on basic growth hacking, setting up a conversion funnel in Google Analytics is a great first step. Let’s set one up.
I recently decided to start focusing on growth for my company. After doing some research I stumbled on lots of articles about growth hacking, which is a term coined by Sean Ellis.
It refers to data driven marketing strategies like analytics, conversion rate optimization, and customer retention. Any company can use these strategies, and they can be very effective. Before diving into these strategies head first, it’s important to have a general idea of what they are, and how they work together.
In this article I’ll go over the general buckets of growth hacking, and how you can get started.