Just when I thought this year couldn't compare to 2020, January showed up and said "hold my beer." Yet, with all the insanity, Fantasy Congress had it's best month ever. In one month, I've already made a third of my total revenue from 2020.
- $2,074 total revenue
- 20 new customers
- 6 churns
- $823.29 MRR
Today's post marks a full year of blogging and it's crazy to look at how far Fantasy Congress has come. I'm not going to discuss the insurrection or other political events that happened in January, but despite it all, Fantasy Congress had it's highest grossing month. Seven different schools (one of which bought four accounts) and two recreational players signed up for annual plans. This meant I got a lot of cash up front, but now I'm not sure what to expect for February.
Started accepting purchase orders
Around fall of last year, educators started asking about purchase orders. With out going in to too much detail, a purchase order is a legally binding agreement between a buyer and seller that the buyer initiates. I was worried about accepting purchase orders at first because of the legalese behind them. They're also primarily used for bulk orders, which I thought didn't make sense for SaaS products. But as luck would have it, many schools can only buy stuff through purchase orders.
I took a "building the bike while riding it" approach, meaning I haven't figured out every aspect of the process yet (mainly, what happens when it's time to re-up the subscription). But two big benefits have come out of purchase orders so far:
- Schools seem more willing to buy multiple accounts.
- They pay with check which I deposit directly into the bank, meaning no Stripe fees.
Mobile banking makes depositing the checks very easy. And there's something really satisfying about receiving payment in physical form. For me, it makes the business feel so much more real.
I spent a lot of time this month thinking about what worked in 2020 and what didn't. Upon reflection, tracking my hours and trying for press coverage seemed like goals I should leave in last year. Maybe I can come back to these again some day, but the way I currently approach them isn't working for me.
I also took time to comb through all my user feedback and prioritized what I wanted to work on in the next few months. For the first time, I sent an update to my email list with a planned road map.
Launch on Product Hunt
Product Hunt was a real bust. A bug with their scheduler caused me to launch late and I finished the day in 11th place. Fantasy Congress was still featured on the main page and I got a lot of traffic, but no one signed up using the special coupon I created and only one visitor converted to a trial (they've since cancelled). Several people showed up from Twitter and Indie Hackers to support me (which I really appreciated), but Fantasy Congress failed to resonate with the greater Product Hunt audience.
Regardless, I'm glad I went through the motions. I have a much better understanding of how PH works and their audience, which could come in handy for future projects. And originally I planned to launch on January 6th, so uh...it could have been much, much worse.
Tweet once a day
This was intended to help me become more comfortable with putting myself out there and taking up space. It was a great exercise. I only missed two days out of the entire month, and each day I became more comfortable speaking my mind and participating online. I also noticed myself doing things I was normally too scared to do, like asking for feedback and sharing more about my business.
The tweets were purely for me and I didn't put a lot of thought into them. Yet, practicing something every day that made me just a little bit uncomfortable really helped me grow. I also gained over 100 new followers! Overall, this was a fun way to push my boundaries and I'd like to continue it into February.
- Make changes to the point system for Fantasy Congress
- Simplify adding students to leagues
- Automate activation emails
- Display league transactions (adds, drops, trades) in app
For several months, I've put shipping features on the back-burner to focus on marketing Fantasy Congress. Most indie hacker advice centers around the idea that "build it and they will come" is the fastest path to failure. But, it's kind of working for me. Most of my attempts at marketing have been total failures, but Fantasy Congress is still growing. I brought this up to some of my peers and was surprised to learn that many of them don't actively market their product. Most are growing through word of mouth.
This got me thinking: Maybe, just maybe, Fantasy Congress has some unfair advantages that make actively marketing it less necessary. And maybe, if I focus on iterating off of feedback and shipping the best product possible, that will be enough to reach ramen profitability. A girl can dream, right?
That said, February is all about shipping features to improve user experience. I might run some ads on Facebook or Reddit since they don't require much effort on my part (I had some meager success with ads in the past). But overall, I want to double down on decreasing churn instead of focusing on customer acquisition. For this month at least. We'll see how it goes.
In January, my business experienced a lot of growth. This is giving me the confidence to break away from conventional wisdom and dabble in forging my own path.