March-April 2019 Recap & Roadmap

So, the first full month (and a bit) of running Proseful is done! I’m aiming to write a monthly recap and roadmap to help me reflect on what I’ve accomplished, lessons learned and next steps.

Photo by Tyssul Patel

Because Proseful was launched in the last few days of March, I'll cover both March and April in a single recap.

Recap

Some of the highlights from March-April 2019:

  • Officially launched March 27 🚀🎉🙌

  • Released blog navigation. Now you can add custom links to your blog's navigation. This is a feature I needed for the Proseful blog in order to link back to the main website. I also wanted this for my personal blog to link to my social accounts.

  • Released profile photos. Customize the look of your blog by adding a profile photo. This is another feature that I wanted for the Proseful blog for branding purposes, as well as for my personal blog. Definitely makes the design pop.

  • Shoutout to Kuba. My friend and former colleague at theScore, Kuba Subczynski, used Proseful to publish Params Modules for Phoenix. After posting it to ElixirStatus, he was invited to appear on the ElixirMix podcast mid-May. Kuba's helped me out a lot. As a solo founder, it’s great to have friends who are interested to test things and give feedback. Definitely helped keep me motivated. Thanks Kuba! 🙏🙇‍♂️

  • Announced on Indie Hackers. This resulted in some great questions and feedback from the IH community and a large percentage of visits. A few people also signed up to try things out. Thanks IH friends! 👍

  • Wrote a launch post on the Proseful blog and posted it to Twitter.

  • Wrote a separate launch post on my personal blog and posted it to Twitter.

And some stats for the curious:

  • 1 paying user: Still just me (personal blog) so far.

  • $7 recurring revenue: One paying user (me) equates to $7 monthly recurring revenue.

  • 142 monthly unique visitors (March): Almost half of visitors came via the Indie Hackers post. A good chunk also came from LinkedIn and Twitter.

  • 64 monthly unique visitors (April): Most of this was direct traffic, likely myself and other friends who are using the platform, with a few via the post on Indie Hackers.

Roadmap

Most of my time has been focused on developing features to meet my own needs for the Proseful blog and my personal blog. Very little time has been devoted to marketing. I'm satisfied feature-wise at the moment, so next steps will focus more on getting the word out.

Here's what's on the plate near term:

  • Freemium subscription model. Currently, the subscription model is a single paid plan with a 14-day trial. I'll be changing this to a free plan and a "pro" plan. With the Free plan, blogs will be limited to a .proseful.com domain, lower quality images (to help reduce bandwidth) and Proseful branding. The Pro plan will allow you to use a custom domain, Google Analytics, higher quality images and the option to remove the Proseful branding.

  • Switching to "marketing mode". Once the freemium model is released, I’m planning to switch into marketing mode. This will mostly involve writing content that I believe will be valuable to people; technical stuff, business stuff and various other things that I'm learning while making Proseful. Also, I'm a noob when it comes to marketing, so I have plenty of research and thinking to do on this.

Lessons learned

  • No thundering herd of users. Since it's likely you won't have this lovely problem, you can probably launch a lot sooner than you think. I launched with a lot of back-end plumbing unfinished, and it hasn't been a problem. In hindsight, there's a lot more that I could have put off to launch sooner.

  • Think harder about how to release sooner. I launched Proseful with only a paid plan and a free trial period. Now that I’m thinking more about marketing, it’s becoming clear that a freemium model has some major benefits. In hindsight, it’s easy to say that I should have simply launched with a free plan, and later introduced a pro plan. Launching with just a free plan with basic features would’ve allowed me to launch months sooner.

That's it for March-April. Stay tuned for the May update!


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