Entrepreneurship Journal, 3/18/2019

Here’s what I shared in my last entrepreneurship journal post:

  • I had sold $400 worth of tickets for my workshop
  • I had gotten accepted to my first national-level conference (RubyConf India)
  • I had gotten some big guests on the podcast
  • I had visited my new client in person
  • I had started writing a new book, Rails Testing for Beginners

The reason I haven’t written since my last post—3 months ago—is because no one thing had happened that I felt was worth writing about. I was mostly focused on getting my book written.

My book is now done. Today was the first day of sales. Here’s a list of what has happened since my last update. When I look at the complete list, it actually does seem fairly noteworthy.

In this update I’m going to mainly talk about three things: products, conferences, and podcasts.

Products

I sent out my “open cart” email this morning to my 683 subscribers just before 8am Eastern. I more or less immediately made three sales. Things slowed down for a while after that and I was concerned that I had already made about all the sales I was going to make today. Sales have continued to trickle in though at about one per hour. As of now, 5:47pm Eastern, I’ve made 12 sales for a total of $388. I priced the book at $49 and offered a $20 launch discount. Most people used the discount code but for whatever reason two people paid the full $49.

My launch window lasts from today (Monday, 3/18/2019) to Friday. I’ve heard that about half of a launch’s sales come near the beginning and the other half near the end, or something close to that. So if my first day was $388 it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect that my entire 5-day launch would be something like $388 * 2 = $776 in sales. I would be very happy with that number.

In late August/early September 2016 I launched an ebook I had written called Angular for Rails Developers (AFRD). According to my records, I made $312 on the first day of that launch and a total of $663 (including the $312) in the first 5 business days of the launch. In the 30 days following the launch I made about $1600. I list how much I made every month from August 2016 to June 2017 on this page.

Earlier today I was kind of bummed because the first day of the Rails Testing for Beginners (RTFB) launch seemed lackluster compared to what I remember the first day of the AFRD launch having been. But no, I looked back and saw that the first day of AFRD was only $312. At the time I checked the AFRD sales numbers, RTFB had already done $330 in sales and it was only mid-afternoon. This was encouraging to me. If day 1 for RTFB was a little better than AFRD’s day 1, maybe RTFB’s first month will be a little better than AFRD’s first month of ~$1600. That would be great.

The one thing I don’t want to repeat, though, is the decline that AFRD experienced after around month 3. I’ll worry about that later though.

My current plan is to do for RTFB exactly what I did for AFRD after launch: record some video walkthroughs of the book and add a second $99 video package in addition to the $49 just-the-book package. I figure if it worked for that, it will probably work for this. By the way, I don’t believe my $99 AFRD package accounted for any of the $1600 of revenue in the 30 days after launch. My memory is that I launched the video package in October 2016 which is what accounts for the fact that October was a relatively good $1580 month. (October 2016 was AFRD’s best calendar month, in fact. The $1600 over 30 days post-launch straddled August 2016 and September 2016, which were $868 and $1053, respectively.)

In addition to adding a video package I plan to take stock of what I could have done better for this launch and do it better next time. Here’s the list I have so far:

  • Better launch ebombs* to share that are more relevant to the launch
  • Videos (on the sales page and in the ebombs)
  • Sample chapters
  • Measure conversion rates
  • Better email broadcast filtering so I only launch to people who have been on the list for a while
  • Testimonials

*”Ebomb” is a term from 30×500 which basically means “educational blog post”.

I haven’t yet decided when exactly my next launch will be. Maybe in about a month, around mid-April. That’s a little tough because I have some speaking and travel coming up. Which brings me to my next topic.

Conferences

I think first set an objective to speak at a conference sometime in early 2018. I submitted a whole bunch of proposals but couldn’t seem to get anything accepted. I actually got one accepted for something like June 2018—RubyConf Kenya—but I couldn’t go because it was in the middle of a class I was teaching for a client. Later in the year the acceptances started flooding in. I ended up scheduling conference talks for September 2018, October 2018, January 2019, February 2019, March 2019, April 2019 and May 2019. Not only were the conference talks high in quantity but high in quality (at least some of the time). These conferences included RubyConf India, RubyHACK, and RailsConf. These will all be great for my credibility, especially RailsConf.

So I’ve gone from “I can’t get a conference talk accepted to save my life!” to “Help, I’m speaking at way too many conferences!” It’s a really nice problem to have, of course. I don’t plan to apply to any more conferences in the near future. All the travel is expensive from both a monetary and an opportunity cost perspective. (I don’t get paid for these talks, nor do most of them cover travel expenses.) It’s good to know though that whenever I feel like starting to speak at conferences again, it’s something I’ve done before and that I can certainly do again.

Podcasts

The Ruby Testing Podcast has continued to go well. The only two measures of success I know of that really mean anything are that I’ve gotten one consulting lead out of the podcast and that I’ve gotten some really “big” guests on the show. I can’t believe Kent Beck came on the show. I’ve also reached 20,000 downloads, but I don’t know exactly how “good” that is. I don’t have a frame of reference.

My experience of hosting The Ruby Testing Podcast has shown me that the answers to the two crucial questions of a) “If I make a podcast, will people actually listen to it?” and b) “Will I be able to get good guests and have compelling things to talk about?” are both yes. With this knowledge, I’ve decided to take what I’ve done with The Ruby Testing Podcast—a relatively narrow podcast—and create a new, broader podcast that’s just about Rails in general. I plan to call this new podcast Rails with Jason. I thought this would be a natural name based on the fact that my main website is CodeWithJason.com. Maybe someday I’ll go even broader and have a Code with Jason podcast. I’m not ready for that yet though.

Bringing it all together

My intention, and expectation, is that the activities of blogging, writing books, speaking at conferences and hosting podcasts will synergize with each other to increase my product sales and increase my quantity and quality of my consulting leads. I think to some extent this is already the case, it’s just hard to tell exactly how much.

See you next time

I plan to write another update at the end of this launch, which again ends on 3/22/2019.

One thought on “Entrepreneurship Journal, 3/18/2019

  1. Pingback: The juicy details of my $988 book launch | Jason Swett

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