After taking some time off, I returned to Fantasy Congress in December. I also took time to reflect on a really weird, yet pretty good year for myself.
- $853 total revenue
- 2 new customers
- 5 churns
- $687 MRR
By the end of November I was ready to jump back into Fantasy Congress. Evaluating other ideas and struggling to find freelance clients reminded me that while Fantasy Congress is frustrating, it's still my passion. There's nothing else I'd rather do right now. Taking a break also gave me new perspective on old problems. I spent December fixing bugs, launching an annual subscription plan, and preparing to launch on Product Hunt. Other highlights of the month include my featured article for Elpha, being a guest on another podcast, and writing some well received content for GetADevJob.io.
2020 Year in Review
To be honest, I wasn’t particularly excited for 2020. My year started with exhaustion and disappointment after spending 2 years grinding away at Fantasy Congress for next to no returns. Though I validated my MVP in 2018, I made the unwise choice to take it offline and rebuild. Coming into 2020, I was still rebuilding the product. By this point it was painfully obvious I had spent too much time rebuilding and vowed to launch ASAP. If no one signed up, at least I knew it was time to cut my losses and call it quits.
I launched Fantasy Congress to my email list in February and people did sign up. And they didn't immediately churn. In it's first month, Fantasy Congress was earning $257 MRR. I was elated. Having real people put their hard earned cash into something I created was so, so rewarding. And validating. My customers were depending on me, and doing right by them brought my drive back.
In March I started this blog! Inspired by Michael Lynch's retrospectives and the building in public movement, I decided to blog about building Fantasy Congress to improve my focus and accountability. By and large, this was one of the best choices I made this year. Blogging has benefited me in more ways than I can count.
The rest of my year was, considering the circumstances, pretty great. Coronavirus happened, but my life didn't change too, too much. And for that, I am immeasurably grateful. When the pandemic started I thought everyone would churn from Fantasy Congress, but they didn't. And I actually got a handful of new customers. In June I was invited to join a peer group run by DK the Human and connected with other indie hackers in "real" life. Peer mentorship is so valuable, and I'm especially thankful for the friendship and support that came from that. I lost my part time job due to the pandemic, but the silver lining was I went back to working on Fantasy Congress full time. Other highlights of the year include being a guest on multiple podcasts, getting press, and paying myself for the first time. And the biggest highlight was hearing from a lot of people about how much they loved what I was doing, and how important it was. Like the previous years, I made mistakes and learned a lot. But for the first time since starting this journey, I started to feel like things are coming together.
Stats and interesting numbers for the year:
- $6,135 total revenue
- $687.56 MRR
- 95 customers
- 1,140 registered users
- 160 leagues created
Out of my total customers, 16 were educators who paid $149 for the year and 79 were recreational players who subscribed at $9 or $19 per month (the cheaper price came from a promo I did for the launch). Though educators made up only 17% of my customer base, they brought in roughly 40% of my income. No educators have churned yet, but 55% of recreational players eventually ended their subscription. I should note that this number also includes people who didn't convert from a free trial (Not sure how to separate this info in Stripe yet).
More than ever, two things became very clear to me in 2020: The value of having a product you can charge at a high price, and the value of a B2B business. This became apparent when I launched the educator's plan in July. Just a handful of educators almost doubled my revenue for the year! And the value goes beyond money. They also seem more invested in Fantasy Congress and have sent me great feedback. I've read plenty about the advantages of B2B, but was still surprised by how much easier everything felt.
- Launch Fantasy Congress on Product Hunt
- Try for press again
- Evaluate the feedback I received this the past year
- Send "State of Fantasy Congress" email to users
- Start tracking my hours again
- Tweet once a day!
Distribution is still my biggest hurdle with Fantasy Congress. Getting it in front of potential users is a struggle, but I haven't tried that hard honestly. For January, I'm going to try some quick, short term promotion (Product Hunt/press). Then, I'm going to get serious about my marketing strategy while I evaluate enhancements for the coming year.
I also set a very different goal of tweeting once a day. Something I want to practice more is putting myself out there. This blog was actually a huge exercise in that. So when looking for more ways to continue pushing myself, with out a significant time investment, twitter came to mind. I don't have strong feelings about a particular kind of content, so it will probably be a mixed bag of indie hacking, engineering, and my latest weird hyper fixation. Never expected anything to come out of this blog, but it's opened a lot of doors for me. So, we'll see how tweeting goes.
This year was...dumb. Really dumb. But I have no room to complain. My life is still staying the course with the same family and friends there to support me. In a lot of ways, me and my business are poised to have our best year ever. So cheers to 2021! I'm feeling hopeful.