Articles tagged 'entrepreneur'

2014 Year In Review: One Programmer's Side Business

As Patrick McKenzie celebrates his 9th year in review and many other folks write theirs up, I believe I’ll write my first. It’s been a big year, and I have a lot to be thankful for.

Don’t know me? Makes sense. I wrote Rebuilding Rails, an ebook about understanding Rails by building a Ruby web framework from the ground up, as a result of Amy Hoy’s excellent 30x500 class. I’m writing a Ruby web app deployment class called (edited to add: now-defunct) Rails Deploy In An Hour. I’m employed full-time as the Analytics lead at OnLive, a cloud-gaming company. I have a wife and two kids, so selling products on the side is an adventure I don’t really have the time for — but I don’t let it stop me :-)

Let’s start with dollar amounts before explanations. That’s why I’d be reading if I were you.

Revenue in 2014

Amounts are net of processing fees and refunds. Also, it’s Dec. 23rd, so not quite done. But pretty darn close. Tell you what: if anybody buys a professional package of Rails Deploy In An Hour, I’ll update this to reflect it :-)

  • Rebuilding Rails: $7,679.35 - 208 non-refunded sales, 6 refunds
  • Rails Deploy In An Hour: $1,277.70. That’s three pilot students and one professional package buyer. Plus 1 sale-and-refund of developer package from a guy who thought I was farther along than I was.
  • Misc - affiliate sale, guest episode: $600.00

Rails Deploy In An Hour is doing… okay. I reopened the class a few weeks ago and I haven’t done much for it since then. I’m waiting until more of the class is finished to seriously advertise for it, which means no sooner than January and more likely February.

Amazing how little traffic it takes to make money.

Rebuilding Rails is basically flat year-over-year. That’s not amazing, but honestly better than I expected. My flurry of activity for the new class is breathing more life into it. I’m not doing much marketing for Rebuilding Rails itself right now. It has some nice posts that still bring in visitors, and an autoresponder email class. I’m playing with the idea of doing more of a second edition of Rebuilding Rails, but I just can’t justify it right now. Maybe in 2016?

(Do you just want more dollar amounts? My First $1000 in Product Revenue may be the right place for you.)

Products

Last Year’s Goals: I knew I wanted a new product. I didn’t think about much more.

This year I launched Rails Deploy In An Hour to its pilot class of three people, and I’ve made one continuing sale. It’s a deeper, more involved and more expensive product than Rebuilding Rails and it’s going to take awhile to really finish — not that such a product is ever 100% finished. I have three chapters done of seven, and two videos of at least ten, plus several miscellaneous guides well under way. Overall the class is probably 35%-40% done, though the software works fine now. This class? It’s too many pieces. I’m managing, but it’s a lot.

Product Observations

When I create and promote fun content, I get more subscribers, more goodwill and more engagement.

When I ask my audience to buy things, or even sit through being asked to buy things, I lose those things, by and large.

So this product trek is kind of an alternation — “power up” my audience by giving...

30x500 - why?

I took Amy Hoy’s 30x500 class awhile back. A buyer of my book asked whether I thought it was worth it. Here’s what I wrote back:

Yes, I’m a 30x500-er, and yes, I’d recommend it. “3x5er?” Not sure. We don’t have a good collective noun :-)

I’d say the course is absolutely worth it if you’re serious...

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