This is part 28 in my series of blog posts documenting my attempt to take Saber from Side Project to Profitable Startup. If you've not yet read the previous parts, you should definitely start from part 1.
Heads Up Before August 2018 Saber was known as "BugMuncher", so you'll see the name BugMuncher instead of Saber throughout these older posts. You can read more about the name change here - BugMuncher rebrands to Saber.
Usually, I hate the phrase ‘emotional roller coaster’, but fuck me, was April an emotional roller coaster. It started well, really well, I was up $260 monthly recurring revenue in the first week! Then in the middle of the month things started to go down hill.
What ensued was a cavalcade of cancellations the likes of which BugMuncher had never seen. I lost 5 subscribers in a week, leaving me $47 down on March’s MRR. It didn’t stop there either, I remember joking to Sophie in the afternoon of Tuesday the 18th that it had been a good day as no one had cancelled, and no subscriptions had expired - by that evening I’d lost another one.
Eventually the haemorrhage of customers stopped, but I was left feeling disheartened and fearing the worst. It wasn’t until the 26th that things started to turn back around again, when I got a new $199 Corporate subscriber, and then on the 28th two new Startup subscriptions were started. Somehow, I managed to finish the month up on March.
This Month (April 2017)
Monthly Recurring Revenue
Average Month on Month Growth
- Personal Plan
- Startup Plan
- Corporate Plan
Unique users on landing page
New Free Trial sign ups
Free Trial sign up rate
New Paying customers
Lost Paying Customers
Free Trial to Paying conversion
So there we have it, 7 cancellations in one month. I spent days looking for patterns or reasons for the cancellations, but there weren’t any. Some hadn’t used BugMuncher for ages, and I’m guessing just forgot to cancel earlier, some told me they loved BugMuncher but it wasn’t getting enough use (a common problem on smaller sites), some told me they only wanted BugMuncher for a pre-defined development period, and one had their payment fail, and I was unable to get in touch with them.
I can only conclude it was a crazy coincidence, and of course the more customers I have, the more I have to lose. It was also a kind of blessing in disguise, as while I was trying to figure out why I was losing customers, I found BugMuncher was broken in IE 8 and 9, and while I doubt that caused the cancellations, as those browsers are rarely used, it was good to be able to find and fix that bug.
April’s Exodus has also given me a much needed kick up the ass, as I’ve been spending a lot of my time on a new project, and BugMuncher had been a bit neglected, so I’ve started dedicating more time to BugMuncher again.
In other news, I’ve finally been able to add the “most popular” label on the middle plan again! The last time this was the case was January 2016. I have no doubt that the new pricing structure is the reason for the Startup plan’s sudden gain in popularity.
Hits to the website were down on March, probably because I didn’t publish any blog posts in April, and I didn’t really do any marketing. However, signups and conversions were actually up, maybe this whole marketing thing is a waste of effort… Of course I don’t actually believe that, but clearly my marketing efforts have not been particularly effective.
Home office allowance
Barnstaple Work Hubs
Tree Tops Chartered Accountants
End of year & quarterly submission
April was an unusually expensive month, as now the weather is warming up I’m back to renting a desk at the co-working space, and this month I paid for both April, May, and one day in March. I also had some accounting expenses. The good news is I still made a healthy profit this month.
Oh dear, that 10% MoM growth target is slipping further and further out of reach, the funny/annoying thing is I actually had $634 of new monthly revenue in April, which would have been more than enough to bring me back up to over 10% MoM growth, but all those cancellations ruined it for me.
Plans for May
As I said, I’ve been focusing a lot more time on BugMuncher through the latter part of April, and it seemed to make a difference, so I’ll be keeping up with that. I’d like to post more to this neglected blog as well. I also plan on turning 32 in May, well, I suppose I don’t really have a choice in the matter, but I’ll be taking a few days off around my birthday :)