The first 8 weeks of The Web App Challenge
The Web App Challenge | February 26th, 2013
Wow, the last eight weeks have gone quickly. On December 31st I announced my goal of going from no idea what to build to having a profitable web application making $5000/month at the end of six months. You can read that post here.
Meet my developer
Since about week three I’ve been working with an awesome Rails developer. I just realized I forgot to introduce you to him. So, dear reader, I’d like you to meet Sam Baumgarten. He’s awesome.
I chose Sam because he was the most eager to work on the project, and he’s an excellent developer. Weeks later I am thrilled to be working with him. In fact, I am the bottleneck on development progress on ConvertKit. If I were faster at getting designs and markup completed we would be even further along!
Sam has also been writing some blog posts about the process on his blog, which you can read over here: Sam Baumgarten.
ConvertKit is currently in alpha, meaning that I am running it on my site (in a few places) and a few other people are testing it out. Once we have the kinks worked out we will be inviting all the people who preordered to start using it. That should be within the next two weeks.
After that, I’m not sure what the rollout plan to the general public will be. We may just open it up or do an invite-only system for a while. Either way, preordering now is the best way to get in first.
The Web App Challenge started with a budget of $5,000. This is the money I personally invested. I knew this alone wouldn’t be enough to reach my goals, but investing such a small amount of money forced me to collect money from customers as early as possible. I’m happy to say it’s been working great!
Here is the current financial status:
- + $5,000 (Starting Budget)
- - $2,246.50 (Development)
- - $125.86 (Hosting)
- - $17.30 (Domain & Certificate)
- + $3,028 (Preorders)
Cash on hand: $5,638.34.
Yes, you read that right: After building an MVP of ConvertKit, I have more money on hand than when I started. Preorders have been such a success that it has entirely covered what I’ve spent on development. It is important to note, though, that those preorders will cover the first four months of service for those customers, meaning I won’t collect any more money from them for quite some time. That will need to be accounted for in my cashflow planning.
The number I really care about is monthly revenue. Not how much I’ve collected already, but how much my current customers will be paying each month (not including churn, since I don’t have any data for that yet). With the 19 preorders I have now, ConvertKit will make $1009/month, meaning that my goal of $5,000/month by July 1st is 20% complete.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I hate tracking my hours. For the first few weeks of the challenge I included updates with how much time I spent on each task. My idea was that it would be cool if I could total up the number of hours spent on design or marketing at the end of the six months.
Turns out, tracking time is annoying. I just want to work on my company without having to remember to write down what I worked on. If I wanted to track time I would do client work.
So, the time breakdown is no more.
All the posts
Here are all the blog posts from the beginning:
- Starting The Web App Challenge: From Zero to $5,000/month In 6 Months
- Finding Ideas For Your Next Project
- Finding a Developer
- Don’t throw away your competitive advantage
- Helping People Who Help Themselves
- The Best Marketing Method I Know
- Naming your product
- Step-By-Step Landing Page Copywriting
- A sneak peek of ConvertKit
- Can software-as-a-service preorders work?
Other Web App Challenges
Since I announced my project, a few other brave individuals have started their own. Here is a list of a few people who told me about their own Web App Challenges. I don’t have any affiliations with these people other than I like that they are building products in the open:
Property Management App
Project Summary: To create a SaaS application using Rails for the real estate industry in the UK. Yes, there are current solutions, but as Amy Hoy said, “Saturation shows that a market exists.”
The Niche Finder
Project URL: http://devcomsystems.com.
Project summary: With ThankBee, Android app developers can:
- Invite buyers to friend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, or to join their mailing list.
- Invite users to give them valuable comments and feedback (possibly solving issues that would normally end up as negative reviews).
- Promote their other apps and services.
- Offer special discounts or trial codes to users who cancelled their purchase.
- Manage any number of Virtual Assistants easily, all from one simple-to-use dashboard
- Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for quick reference to common repeatable tasks
- Custom Tasks & SOPs have colour-coded Priority Levels
- Set SOPs to reoccur on the VA’s to-do list
- Business Owners receive notifications if scheduled SOPs are not completed on time
- Statistics on task completion timing and scheduled SOP completion percentages
- VA’s can have multiple clients, making the managing of daily workload much simpler, as everything is in one location.
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