Living by Doing

I'm a single founder in pursuit of happiness

21. April 2014 22:14
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

MicroConf 2014, Las Vegas

21. April 2014 22:14 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

My jetlag from my first US MicroConf is lifting and I am starting to feel “normal” again, whatever that means.

As last time, my head is full of impressions and ideas and I will try to document some in this blog post.

First, I want to extend my thanks to Rob Walling (@robwalling) & Mike Taber (@SingleFounder) without these two fantastic, selfless and friendly founders MicroConf would not be a reality and my mind would not be blown away plus my chance at being Awesome™ would be way less.

As I wrote previously, I recently did the last implementation of stuff I learned at MicroConf 2013, Prague, so my MicroConf To-Do list was empty.

Let me tell you, it is not empty any more, it is full of stuff to do the next 6 months until MicroConf Europe in Prague.

My main takeaway was actually not from one of the speakers of this year but something I got from Patrick McKenzie (@patio11) in between talks – he called it “Mad Libs” a game of words that I am going to use to generate content.

The game goes something like this; you create a sentence

“Protection of images online by adding a watermark”

Then you substitute some of the words to generate a large numbers of headlines, in my example they would be:

“Website recognition of images online by stamping them with a watermark”

“Brand recognition of photos on facebook by adding a watermark”

“Protection of photos on facebook by adding a watermark”

Etc.

Etc.

This system has currently generated 140 headlines that I am coding an Article system around, this way i can add and show these articles on the homepage-

This will help me catch what Patrick calls “Snowflake queries” and at the same time help me lift my Google ranking since I have dropped and I am getting less and less visitors from Google.

Another takeaway from the conference is that I added a “Downloading” page that the user is automatically redirected to, this way I get a page view more than previously, lowering my bounce rate and lifting my average page view.

The next big takeaway was from the attendee talk by Jordan Sherer (@widefido) who (also) is selling software to consumers, besides being a funny person I realized that I do not educate my customers about what the software can do for them and what their problem is.

This is a copy problem but first I need to investigate why people are buying just as Joanna Wiebe (@copyhackers) keeps telling me in her excellent books.

Status

Since last week the conversion and revenue has come down a bit, but since it has been Easter and this means days off in Europe I hope it is just a temporary thing, but as I wrote above I am going to concentrate on the google side of things, by creating at least one article every day I am at the office.

This will (I hope) improve my number of visitors that has been declining the last 6-8 months.

But on the bright side, my conversion is still high, and I did have some higher price point orders and multi license orders that helped keep the revenue high.

15. April 2014 17:08
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

Attending MicroConf

15. April 2014 17:08 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

I'm attending the MicroConf conference this week learning how to be even more Awesome and meeting old and getting new friends.

I launched the new website one week ago and the first weekly results are in and the conversion is up close to 50% (an all time high) the revenue is higher than in a long time, even though the number of visitors still keeps dropping.

YES!

7. April 2014 22:24
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

The new website is live!

7. April 2014 22:24 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

The new watermark website is live!

www.watermark-image.com

I like it although as usual I shipped before I was completely satisfied.

But I wanted it live before MicroConf next week, so I worked through the weekend and got it ready enough for release.

Now i want to improve the software so it looks like something you would expect from the new website.

The status of my progress is not where I wanted it, I have struggled to improve my revenue and I believe that I must improve the GUI to improve the revenue.

31. March 2014 22:05
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

Who I am and what I love

31. March 2014 22:05 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

As you might have guessed, if you have read more than one post on this website, is that I suffer from the imposter syndrome in conjunction with self-questioning and self-doubt.

I apparently come out online with the vibe that I might be depressed, and even though that might be true. I also told recently that I was the most optimistic person someone had met, go figure.

One of the reasons for my struggles is my insecurity about who I am and what I love doing.

So one of my mentors recently told me to figure out what I am not, so here goes.

 

I am not a programming geek.

I am not an OOP geek.

I am not a gadget geek.

I am not a Linux geek.

I am not a computer hacker nerd.

I am not an App nerd.

I am not a website designer

I am not a website frontend full stack developer

I am not a copywriter

I am not a SQL nerd.

I am not a C++ hero.

 

I am a tinker, inventor and builder of stuff. I also am a human booster and integrator with I high level of rightness and fairness.

This means that I love to read some Hacker News articles, but find many uninteresting, I love solving problems by creating software or building website, although I am not interested in “building fantastic technical website using the latest technology” ™.

So there you go

That is who I am, nothing more and nothing less.

Status

So as promised I did little last week, but my main employee working on the new website got a lot done and I got most of the copy moved over, still a day or two until release, but getting there!

Revenue was up, this was because I got some higher price point sales.

 

24. March 2014 16:04
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

Accepting myself

24. March 2014 16:04 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

Between my day job, mastermind, taking care of my daughter and managing my father’s house I have done close to nothing on my TSR business this last week.

It tears at me and stresses me, because I really want to succeed in this field too. I do not even know why, it’s just some inner drive to be better, and do something, more than nothing and something that other will say “that is cool” about.

One thing I did get to use some time on last week was attending a meeting arranged by an advisory board group. I joined the group by invitation from its creator after having had an advisory board arranged by them.

And while eating and talking to those I was assigned in group with I realized that I am an interesting person with an interesting story, and my world view and the way I run my consultancy business is interesting.

So maybe I should work on accepting myself instead of (still) trying to be something I am not.

Status

This week and last

Not much, and probably not much this week either

Status

 Detailed information here

 

17. March 2014 18:56
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

It is time to stop growing and start listening to the customer.

17. March 2014 18:56 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

I was looking at my declining numbers last week after I wrote the blog post and was thinking to myself that working as hard as I have been squeezing the last dime out of the customers it seemed like it did not pay off the way I wanted it to.

On a side note, but related I made a new tracking feature in the website so I know where the user was before buying – and I know how many visits the user has before buying.

From that data I discovered that:

  • 90% of the people who buys the software initiates this by clicking somewhere in the software
  • 75% buys the software the same day as they install it. 
  • 50% buys the software within 1 hour of installing it

So it became clear to me that I needed to make it easier to install and try out the software to boost the revenue.

After thinking and talking about this with friends and my mastermind groups, I realized that i have neglected one important part of running a business.

Helping the customers!

 

The new website

Therefore, I have started making changes to the software and the website that will improve usability and user friendliness.

I have made it easier to download the software; you can do that in one click now instead of two or more.

The most important change is one that yet has not helped any customers.

I have modified the page shown after the customer has been running the software for the first time.

This page now ask the user a simple yet scaring question (Stolen from here: http://brechtpalombo.com/)

 “What lingering question might keep you from buying the software now? Please be brutally honest.”

Man was I in for a rough ride – the first answer came in with devastating critic, words such as Rubbish, Old fashion, crappy software and incompetence was among those written to me.

Even though it stung a lot, I read all comments ignoring the foul language and focusing on reading between the lines to understand what the user is frustrated about and where I can improve.

Now, I have a lot of improvement in the software to do, so I will stop writing and start programming.

Status

The revenue is a little up but needs to Improve if I ever is to get above the 4x and I believe the next big change will be mostly from an improved software, not from the new and improve website that is almost done!

Last week

I have been working on improving the user experience, firstly by making it easier to download the software, but I have also been looking into improving the software itself.

Next Week

I will be improving the wizard firstly, then the main GUI afterwards.

The new website is ready, but I need to change it to support the improved download experience.

The numbers

 

Week Orders Revenue Visits Conversion
40 147% 181% 109% 135%
41 212% 275% 111% 190%
42 141% 185% 105% 135%
43 206% 254% 113% 182%
44 171% 215% 107% 159%
45 229% 285% 104% 220%
46 247% 313% 109% 226%
47 300% 395% 106% 283%
48 312% 413% 96% 323%
49 300% 423% 96% 312%
50 271% 349% 93% 291%
51 218% 303% 85% 256%
52 171% 209% 75% 228%
1 259% 315% 86% 301%
2 282% 382% 98% 288%
3 247% 333% 93% 266%
4 241% 288% 96% 251%
5 218% 273% 91% 239%
6 247% 311% 91% 271%
7 276% 369% 87% 319%
8 259% 381% 96% 269%
9 271% 371% 85% 318%
10 218% 299% 93% 235%
11 247% 325% 91% 272%

7. March 2014 11:10
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

Live

7. March 2014 11:10 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

I was writing a post about how bootstrapping a company is like running a marathon.

But it sucked.

The meaning disappeared and the words were all #%¤%.

What I wanted to warn you about is that when you reach your goals, when your dreams comes true; be prepared.

The best way to be prepared is to slow down and live while life is available.

That is more important than winning, than pushing, than reaching goals.

Live.

Status

So looking at my numbers I get a big surprise. I thought everything was going great, but it looks like it is going worse - the conversion rate is really low and the average order value is going down.

Damn.

Last week

I discovered an error in my build script, so i fixed that and made it so the dll's needed for the software is embedded into the software.

This week

Still working on the new share feature and the new website

Status

Week Orders Revenue Visits Conversion
40 147% 181% 109% 135%
41 212% 275% 111% 190%
42 141% 185% 105% 135%
43 206% 254% 113% 182%
44 171% 215% 107% 159%
45 229% 285% 104% 220%
46 247% 313% 109% 226%
47 300% 395% 106% 283%
48 312% 413% 96% 323%
49 300% 423% 96% 312%
50 271% 349% 93% 291%
51 218% 303% 85% 256%
52 171% 209% 75% 228%
1 259% 315% 86% 301%
2 282% 382% 98% 288%
3 247% 333% 93% 266%
4 241% 288% 96% 251%
5 218% 273% 91% 239%
6 247% 311% 91% 271%
7 276% 369% 87% 319%
8 259% 381% 96% 269%
9 271% 371% 85% 318%
10 218% 299% 93% 235%

3. March 2014 20:41
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

How to do a reality check when you doubt your abilities.

3. March 2014 20:41 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

When you live in a world comprised of hacker news updates and tweets/articles/podcasts from high profile thinkers and entrepreneurs like James Altucher, @Patio11, Seth Godin and Swiss Miss it is easy to lose some perspective on reality.

You might think that you have nothing to offer to the world. That everything has been made before and that the stuff you are dreaming about is useless and not worth making.

Second reality by Future Crew

I certainly think like that from time to time.

This happened (again) last week after I released the new higher price point versions and after the initial high over my accomplishment, I started to get some mental jitters again.

Small bubbles of worrying started to creep in asking if anyone really needs my product, I worried if anyone needed the new features, and questioned if it really works.

At the same time I have been working on a new upload feature, and since the documentation for the API I am using is [redacted] it has taken and astonishing long time to get it to work(ish).

All in all a lot of doubt and uncertainty has been creeping into my brain.

I believe this is all normal.

Being a single founder and entrepreneur is a hard and bumpy road.

The thing that helps you get through this kind of mental obstruction is

  1. How normal you realize this is
  2. How little you fight it
  3. What tools you have at your disposal to help you work through it.

I am getting pretty confident that it’s totally normal to get these kind if thoughts – and if you don’t take my word for it, go read some of James Altucher post’s – he is the master of “normalizing” the “not normal”

I am still a beginner at not fighting it, but I am (painfully) aware of the importance of this point.

This time I ended up relying on one of the essential mental-realigning tools when being a single founder, my mastermind group!

I went to a mastermind meeting and one of the other attendees said that he thought i was a success and that i had “made it” and that he thought of me as a success.

The thing that really made me realize that my “problem” perhaps was a little off scale was that I actually is looking up to this guy because he has taken the leap and has built a SaaS web app and is making recurring revenue (= the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow)

So I have had my mental energy return to normal levels and started moving forward once again.

Status

Last week

I worked on the new sharing option (and made a little progress) and tweaked the website a little, most notably I added a price slider to see if I could bump up the sales of the Share and SecureShare higher price point versions.

The last thing I did was reaching out to three (3) sites that had articles about windows tools for WordPress, and the result was amazing – I got two (2) responses the same day that they would review my software!

Next week

Work on the new sharing feature, hopefully launch the new website.

The numbers

I had higher hopes for the revenue and even though it is high I had hoped (dreamed) of beating the record.

 

Week Orders Revenue Visits Conversion
40 147% 181% 109% 135%
41 212% 275% 111% 190%
42 141% 185% 105% 135%
43 206% 254% 113% 182%
44 171% 215% 107% 159%
45 229% 285% 104% 220%
46 247% 313% 109% 226%
47 300% 395% 106% 283%
48 312% 413% 96% 323%
49 300% 423% 96% 312%
50 271% 349% 93% 291%
51 218% 303% 85% 256%
52 171% 209% 75% 228%
1 259% 315% 86% 301%
2 282% 382% 98% 288%
3 247% 333% 93% 266%
4 241% 288% 96% 251%
5 218% 273% 91% 239%
6 247% 311% 91% 271%
7 276% 369% 87% 319%
8 259% 381% 96% 269%
9 271% 371% 85% 318%

24. February 2014 15:43
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

The sound of crickets

24. February 2014 15:43 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

As an entrepreneur, you have to push changes to your product, homepage or business all the time, and the better you are at adapting changes the more fun you are going to have.

Sometimes the changes are small and easy (or at least trouble free) to push out and sometimes they seem a bit harder.

When I moved my free version away from the most prominent place on the download page, this was a small change that involved a lot of worrying.

Worry because I was afraid what my user would think of the change.

Last week I did a small(ish) change again, and again I worried if it would blow up in my face.

I introduced a higher price point of the TSR Watermark Image software - two new versions with some new features and some new pricing (29/69/139)

The result was absolutely nothing, or actually it was better than that because it was “the sound of crickets” I got zero complains and no hassle only some more revenue!

The lesson is, it is ok to worry, but not more than you still pushes out changes!

Status

Last week

I release the new 3-price point layout of the download page.

I released a new version with support for uploading the watermarked images to WordPress after watermarking.

Added WordPress, Facebook and FTP logo to the download page.

The Conversion did go down some, but the higher price point orders made the revenues go up – three cheers for the higher price points!

Next week

I am working on a version with the option of uploading to eBay that I am having some good progress on and will release this during the week, also the new website design are almost ready – hoping for a release this week.

 

Week Orders Revenue Visits Conversion
40 147% 181% 109% 135%
41 212% 275% 111% 190%
42 141% 185% 105% 135%
43 206% 254% 113% 182%
44 171% 215% 107% 159%
45 229% 285% 104% 220%
46 247% 313% 109% 226%
47 300% 395% 106% 283%
48 312% 413% 96% 323%
49 300% 423% 96% 312%
50 271% 349% 93% 291%
51 218% 303% 85% 256%
52 171% 209% 75% 228%
1 259% 315% 86% 301%
2 282% 382% 98% 288%
3 247% 333% 93% 266%
4 241% 288% 96% 251%
5 218% 273% 91% 239%
6 247% 311% 91% 271%
7 276% 369% 87% 319%
8 259% 381% 96% 269%

17. February 2014 22:34
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

How a one-character change boosted conversion 73%

17. February 2014 22:34 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

I read this interesting article about the psychology of pricing and thought that I would test a minor change – removing the $ sign from the prices.

Sometimes you just have to do the test, not because you believe it will work, but just because it might.

I honestly do not even know why I ran this test; I cannot remember why I thought this test would be something I should test.

Nevertheless, testing it, I did, and the result was shocking and unbelievable, but numbers do not lie – and the numbers are that it boosted the conversion by 73%.

This is after 2776 visitors and three days, so it might be less after a week or two, but due to the other changes I have made in the last week I had to stop the test and just change the website to not use the $ sign anymore.

As Andy from successfulsoftware.net told me at the MicroConf in Prague, this will probably drop in the weeks to come, it usually does, and so will this – but even if it’s a .1 or .2 point lift in conversion I’ll be happy because that will convert to around 10000$ more revenue a year!

As I wrote some weeks ago, I have also been asking many customers about why they bought TSR Watermark Image so I could write better copy text.

Then the other day I noticed that the copy text shown in google, (Title and meta description) sucked and believed that I could do better.

This also seems to be true; my clickthrough rate from google has jumped around 20%, although it is too early to tell if it will keep on, I think it will.

The last change I did was that I completed the higher price points, I now have three products priced at 29, 69, 139 and this will raise my average order value and lower the apparent price of the smallest version since the user will compare it to a 139$ version.

Two days in, no one has bought the higher priced version, but as you can see from the numbers things are beginning to move up again.

10 ways to boost your conversion rate

  1. Split test $ sign
  2. Have a higher price point
  3. Have an really easy way to download the software and add a buy now button that links to the checkout procedure (this gets me a double in conversion from the average conversion rate)
  4. Improve your copy to mirror what the customers are thinking when they get to your site
  5. Improve your product
  6. Simplify what happens after the user clicks buy
  7. Add Trust builders, reviews and user feedback
  8. Add 90 days money back guarantee
  9. De-clutter your website, remove everything but download and buy now
  10. Split test everything (ok, I ran out of ideas)

Status

Last week

Look above

This week

I’m looking for how to improve the value of the higher price points, especially I am looking into adding the ability to upload to wordpress, shopify or another well know product out there, do you know any?

 

 

Week Orders Revenue Visits Conversion
40 147% 181% 109% 135%
41 212% 275% 111% 190%
42 141% 185% 105% 135%
43 206% 254% 113% 182%
44 171% 215% 107% 159%
45 229% 285% 104% 220%
46 247% 313% 109% 226%
47 300% 395% 106% 283%
48 312% 413% 96% 323%
49 300% 423% 96% 312%
50 271% 349% 93% 291%
51 218% 303% 85% 256%
52 171% 209% 75% 228%
1 259% 315% 86% 301%
2 282% 382% 98% 288%
3 247% 333% 93% 266%
4 241% 288% 96% 251%
5 218% 273% 91% 239%
6 247% 311% 91% 271%
7 276% 369% 87% 319%