I’ve officially entered what feels like the indie hacker death march:
Profitable enough to be incredibly busy.
But not enough to hire as much help as I need.
As a result, this month has felt chaotic and stressed out. It’s Easter holiday and here I am working like a maniac just to get on top of things.
I’ve got exactly 50 minutes before my next demo to finish this post, so it’s going to be brief.
Here’s what I learned and earned in March 2021.
Looking for all my income reports? Find them here
Income Report for March 2021
Real quick, here’s a recap of my projects that earn income + what they are:
- Not a Nomad Blog (Blog) – Travel and photography blog. Used to be my most profitable project before the pandemic. Started 5 years ago.
- Affilimate (SaaS) – A unified revenue dashboard for affiliates. It also helps with attributing conversions back to content. Started 2 years ago.
- Blogging for Devs (Free Newsletter + Paid Community) – Teaches developers about blogging and SEO. Started 10 months ago.
Net profit: $3,577.70
Despite making more revenue in March 2021 than last month, my net profit is lower due to higher expenses. I had an approximate net profit of $3,577.70.
$3,577.70 (Net profit) = $6,072.56 (Revenue) - $2,494.86 (Expenses)
This is before things like taxes, health insurance, and basics like rent in Berlin.
Total revenue: $6,072.56
Some very cool milestones this month! Despite not touching it, my blog broke $1K in revenue. It’s not my focus but it’s nice to have something that is actually pure profit.
Affilimate had its most profitable month since the pandemic began, with $1.7K in revenue. It also had its most expensive month, because I ventured into the questionable world of paying for content (more on that later).
- Not a Nomad Blog* ($1,000.55) – Affiliate earnings: $557.24, Ad revenue: $443.31
- Case Study website* ($190.70) – Affiliate earnings: $190.70
- Blogging for Devs ($3,096.93) – Community memberships: $2,956.47, Affiliate earnings: $140.76, Newsletter sponsorships: $0
- Misc ($1,784.38) – Other projects
*Note: Content sites like these operate on a minimum 2-3 month delay in terms of earnings landing in your bank account. Some cancelations and returns are likely to reduce this number.
I’m not going to lie: It was an expensive month. I spent almost $1,000 more this month than last month, while only doing $500 more in revenue.
- Content sites (-$18.70) – Digital Ocean: -$18.70
- Blogging for Devs (-$1,194.33) – Zoom: -$53.67, Circle: -$99, Google Cloud Platform: -$25.64, Hacker News course licenses: -$655.20, Donation on behalf of event guest: -$360.82
- Shared monthly expenses: (-$1,281.83) – Adobe Photography Plan: -$12.15, Ahrefs: -$125, Coworking address: -$50, ConvertKit: -$188, Namecheap: -$13.16, GSuite (Personal Site): -$5.62, Google Cloud Platform: -$236.07, GSuite: -$37.83, Commissioned Blog Post: -$440, ProBlogger Job Listing: -$75, Copy.ai Premium: -$49, HelpScout: -$50
What happened in March
This month has been a struggle in a lot of ways.
First off, I got the bright idea of hiring a content angency to help me produce content for Affilimate. Unfortunately, what I got back was full of plagiarism and not high enough quality for me to publish.
I basically bought myself a ton of work and this wasted the exact time I was trying to save by outsourcing.
The upside is, I’m now hiring a writer! And I’m talking to some very cool people so far.
I'm hiring a freelance writer! ✨— Monica Lent (@monicalent) March 29, 2021
We'll work together on the blog for @affilimateio, an analytics platform (SaaS) for affiliate publishers. Our content helps current + prospective customers grow their revenue with data 📈
Referrals + RTs appreciated!https://t.co/xdJfRM0vQ3.
All in all, a learning experience.
I also utterly failed to send the Blogging for Devs Newsletter this month. I sent it once, at the beginning of the month.
I’ve also decided to stop taking on sponsors.
I’ve got a few more spots to send out. But after that it’s going to return to pure value + a few community pitches. I’m open to some “sponsored content” if a brand truly aligns with the audience, but other than that, no more sponsorships. Why not?
- Too much communication overhead
- Few sponsors truly aligned with the audience
- It’s one-time income
I’ll be re-focusing on growing the community sustainably instead.
I failed to launch the newsletter referral program I wanted to, so now that’s on the table for May as long as I get it together and start sending the newsletter regularly again.
Took most of the month off of Twitter. Too busy working to tweet.
Some positive things that got done:
- Set up HelpScout for Affilimate and LOVING it
- Migrated all our support docs to an integrated Help Center
- Almost done with a migration to Customer.io from Sendgrid
- Really made the Affilimate homepage beautiful
- Published two new blog posts + one guest post + blog redesign
- Posted my content writer job ad on ProBlogger
- Got an awesome shoutout from Affilimate customers in a FB group
- Did a podcast episode with The Entreprenurial Coder
- Am running the BFD Spring Accelerator and it’s awesome so far
- Kicked off the process to set up a new business structure
- Finally: Affilimate’s MRR is highest it’s ever been, and almost all annual subscribers renewed (!!!!)
For April, my big goals:
- Finish the onboarding revamp for Affilimate. – I’m going to finish this or die trying.
- Send the Blogging for Devs newsletter weekly. – Gotta get back in the saddle and on a schedule.
- Double our SaaS MRR. – Things are finally moving, now it’s on me to keep up with it!
Twenty minutes to spare until my demo, I’m off to prep the app.
If you’d like to see what’s up between reports, I’m on Twitter @monicalent 👋