What I Learned From Increasing My Prices

Last month Bidsketch had the biggest increase in revenue it’s ever had.

Before that, the biggest increase in revenue came when FreshBooks emailed a million people and mentioned Bidsketch as a new integration.

I got so many new sales notifications that day, I thought someone had hacked my server. It was nuts. (This was easily a 10x return over simple top of the funnel strategies like giving away templates for proposals and contests we’ve tried in the past.)

Last month’s increase in revenue was double that one.

Conversions and traffic didn’t increase, though. Nope, the reason I saw this kind of growth was because I redesigned my plans and increased pricing for new signups.

Continue reading “What I Learned From Increasing My Prices”

How’d I Grow Revenue 3x in 2011?

So I decided to check out how most of my growth in 2011 happened. I was looking for anything that lead to an increase in signups, traffic or revenue.

The blue line is traffic and the pink is revenue:

Revenue and Traffic Graph

Note: Graph from DigMyData.com

One thing that jumps out is that revenue growth was been strangely steady throughout 2011. Nothing gave me a huge jump in revenue at any point in time it seems. Actually, the graph is a little misleading because October, November, and December revenue growth was slooow. I saw about 4x growth in January over those months (3x in a few others).

Anyways, things that worked:

  • Getting a blog post and tweet from 37signals for a Highrise integration
  • Doing an AppSumo deal
  • Doing a couple of interviews (Mixergy and strangely enough The Startup Foundry)
  • Cross promotion email with My SEO Tool

Those gave me some nice traffic and resulted in more signups but the best was definitely the integration (which is consistent with what I’ve seen in past integrations).

So what did I learn?

The “needs improvement” stuff:

  • Traffic hasn’t dramatically increased in a year
  • I didn’t try enough enough new things — I need to experiment more and push on the things that seem to be working
  • Annotate more of my experiments (there were several things that I tried and went nowhere but I can’t remember since I didn’t jot them down anywhere)

The good:

  • Do more integrations and make sure they get promoted
  • More cross-promotion emails
  • Interviews are stressful for me but take the opportunity when asked
  • Revenue kept increasing even though traffic stayed about the same (on average)

What about SEO?

While my monthly total traffic at the end of 2011 was about 13k/month, I stared with 10k/month. Not a huge increase.

If I look into search traffic I see that it increased from about 3.5k early in 2011 to about 7k by the end of the year. Double the traffic and it basically accounts for the 3k/month increase I had by the end of the year. OK, but I need to do better.

Top Referrer Sites?

  1. diythemes.com — 9,304
  2. speckyboy.com — 5,192
  3. appsumo.com — 2,414
  4. ryanscherf.net — 2,134
  5. freshbooks.com — 1,013 
  6. news.ycombinator.com — 1,010
  7. mixergy.com — 846

Interestingly enough the highest converting sites look very different from this list. The other thing that jumps out form looking at the list is that I need to do a better job of getting write-ups on other sites. These numbers are lame.

So while I had 3x increase in revenue and did some work on the conversion side of things, it wasn’t an amazing year on the marketing side of things. This year I’m already off to a better start and have some new things I’m excited about trying 🙂

Going to Some Conferences

I’ll be going to the following conferences:

MicroConf  (late April) – http://www.microconf.com/
I look forward to the conference all year. Mainly because there are so many startup founders like myself there and it’s a smaller conference which means you can spend quality time talking with the speakers.

ISVConv (mid July) – http://www.isvcon.org/
Haven’t been to this one but I like the list of speakers and it sounds like it’s going to be lots of fun. Looking forward to it 🙂

MozCon (late July) – http://www.seomoz.org/mozcon
Another one I haven’t been to. It’s an SEO conference which is new as well so I’m excited to see how this turns out. Being that it’s an SEOMoz I think it’ll be great.

Business of Software (late October) – http://businessofsoftware.org/
I’ve gone to this one the last couple of years and while I’m not 100% sure I’ll be going this year, it’s one of my favorites. Very likely will be going again.

If you’re going to any of these send me an email I’d love to meet up: ruben@bidsketch.com

2011 Review and 2012 Goals

So much happened in 2011 that it’s tough to cover it all but I’ll briefly go over the major events in this post.

Bidsketch…

Unfortunately, I didn’t write down my 2011 goals but I there were so many things that happened with Bidsketch that were amazing. Some of it was hard work and some of it was luck  (you do in fact get luckier the harder you work).

The major highlights:

  • Gained enough revenue to support my family and quit my job
  • Over 10k in monthly recurring revenue by year end (almost 3x increase over December of 2010)
  • Interviews on Mixergy and TechZing

To say it was a good year for me is an understatement. I feel incredibly lucky.

Where could I have improved last year?

More marketing and outsourcing. While I did a fair amount of both throughout the year, I stopped outsourcing and spent more time doing development after I quit my job because I only had one source of income. Thing is, after I had grown revenue to give me a cushion, I waited longer than I should’ve to start outsourcing again. I’ll do better next year.

2012 Bidsketch Goals?

Just one… Double my December, 2011 monthly revenue. Way harder than it sounds. In fact, if I don’t grow much faster than I’m growing now I won’t even come close.

Personal…

Moving out of Florida has been a major goal of ours for a long time. A condo I was underwater on and the day job made it difficult to leave. Plus, with a wife, three properties and 5 pets, it’s not an easy or cheap thing to do.

But last year we were able to move to Washington (state). Spokane to be exact. The main goal was to be in a place where we would easily be able to do the type of outdoor activities we love to do (hike, ski, snowboard, etc). We’re 45mins away from a ski resort and much closer for some great hiking. The move was a big win!

The other goal, one I’ve had for an even longer time, was to gain freedom and control by quitting my day job and never working for another company again. After years of hard work, I was finally able to achieve this goal. Simply put, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Personal goals for 2012?

Become a father for the first time! We’re the middle of the adoption process so that will likely happen in about 6 months. It’s both exciting and scary at the same time 🙂

 Final thoughts…

2011 was one of the most productive (and luckiest) years I’ve had. Personally I’m in a good place and professionally I’m very motivated to do better than last year.

Bidsketch has grown past the what I saw it becoming when I launched so I’m not 100% sure where I see things going right now. I’ll have to take some time to set long term goals and decide on which direction to take things.