Living by Doing

I'm a single founder working on improving my business and myself.

6. May 2014 22:27
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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How I grew my revenue 481% in 6 months (and a few weeks)

6. May 2014 22:27 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

A little more than six months ago, i participated in my first MicroConf conference, and my life has changed so much in some ways and not in others.

My way of looking at and doing business has changed a lot, but my motivation has not.

Recently I have been reading books and talking to many people about motivation and Monday when I was at my monthly mastermind meeting, we talked a lot about motivation.

One reason for this is that in my “old” business life (five years ago and before that) I was motivated to work because I believed that it would somehow lead to me getting recognition, fame and fortune.

 

This almost killed me.

 

Now I am motivated because I want to create a fantastic work environment, one where people can blossom, one where they have the energy surplus to work on becoming better persons than they were when they started. A work environment where people help each other, not because they have to but because they want to. A work environment where there is laughter and happiness where there are feelings and honest people that dare.

The best part is that this is happening!

I do motivate people to do better, to become better and to get better and I love it.

But, there is still an area where I can learn a lot from my fellow mastermind’s my employees and friends, namely self-motivation!

I usually only do stuff that I can finish in a day at max and prefer if I can finish It in 5 minutes J

To improve my grit and perseverance I will start playing “the game”, not to win, but to have fun.

My new game will not have an end, it will not start and never finish and there will be no winners, losers, heroes or villains.

There will only be playing and being appreciative of what I have and what we accomplish together.

More specific I will write articles, many articles and it should be realistic to write 100 before the next MicroConf.

This together with an improved GUI and a clearer message on the homepage, should be able to lift my revenue to the double of now and then I will hit the magical 10x !

Last week I hit 5x revenue compared to my pre MicroConf level.

It was my best revenue EVER. The best conversion EVER (and even the traffic went up a little)!

All because I kept on doing a little every now and then - on the website, the software, the link building and the message on the homepage.

 

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

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

3. March 2014 20:41
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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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
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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%

3. February 2014 22:12
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

How to make more doing nothing.

3. February 2014 22:12 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

When I finally broke out of my bad business relationship 4 years ago, I was in a pretty bad shape.

I could work only for a couple of hours before my brain shut down an even a simple programming problem would become unsolvable.

For this and many other reasons I promised myself that for the first six months I would say no to all new projects and all offers of partnership etc.

The first time someone asked me to become part of a new (exciting) partnership, I had to sit on my hands and force my mouth to say 'No', no easy feat since I had just sold my “life works” for a lollypop to save my life.

This ‘No’ and the next one and next one slowly led me to get more energy since I concentrated on helping my existing customers, and only enough to make the amount of money I needed for paying my bills.

Yves Klein painting

After saying no to “everything” for a year and a half I was invited by a previously colleague to pitch my idea for a project he had, he liked my ideas and the rest as the saying goes is history, this project led me to build up my business that now has 5 employees.

Last week I went through the same rollercoaster again, even though in a much smaller scale.
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27. January 2014 16:13
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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Goals and Happiness

27. January 2014 16:13 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

I have this 10x goal for my TSR business and this blog is part of how I try to be accountable and get some work done every week.

This has worked somewhat but I have also been doing other things to keep me focused and on track.

This blog has a status at the bottom that summarize how the last week has been going and where I am on my 10x goal.

For as long as I have had a smartphone I have had a special account where the orders tick in. In the beginning when I got an order a week it was a huge kick every time the bell was struck, and later when i got more than an order a day it was a constant reminder that I had done 'it'.

Lately with this blog (but not because of it) and mastermind groups (but not because of them) I decided to focus more on my growth and my revenue.

This goal setting made me really focused on the orders, and I kept a weekly track by marking all orders as read Monday morning, and then my unread counter on my phone showed how this week’s progress was going, if I was ahead or behind the needed number of orders to reach my weekly goals and grow my revenue.

DON'T EVER DO THIS!

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30. December 2013 00:01
by Anders Thue Pedersen
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Fear and Entrepreneurship.

30. December 2013 00:01 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

I'm afraid all year round, afraid I'll fail, afraid I'll go bankrupt, afraid the users won't like my software, afraid my peers won't like my ideas and afraid that everyone will figure out I am an imposter.

I have fought the fear. I have been running from the fear. I have tried to barricade me away from the fear.

Nothing worked.

This is what i feel like when I am afraid.

This is how I feel like when being afraid!

Then I did the only thing left to do, I started to talk about the fear. I told friends, family and business associates about my fear.

I told my friends how afraid I was of not being a good programmer, employee, and friend. One said, "You are the fastest programmer I know", another said "It sounds like you are an excellent boss".

I talked to my wife about how I was afraid where everything was going and how I had no plan, and she said that in her optic I was good enough and a great employer.

I even talked to an employee and told him how I at least once a week on my way to work thought about if today would be the day they (the employees) called my bluff and figured out I was afraid if what I did was okay. He did not believe me and told me that I was so sure and so confident.

I was much less afraid before my 'success', when my watermark software revenue was 1/4 of now I was very calm about it, but now I am afraid it will go away and never come back. I am afraid I cannot 10x my revenue and I am afraid someone will call my bluff.

See a red thread?

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16. December 2013 12:57
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

Getting help is not as bad as you would think!

16. December 2013 12:57 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

An important factor of my current website revenue has been that I joined a mastermind group.

This has helped me do stuff I did not believe I could. I have received help when I had doubt on how to do new things and I have even received code pieces that helped me by speeding up my completion of a new feature.

Before attending a mastermind group, I had a hard time doing stuff I did not feel I mastered. Creating a website selling software was something I had never done and knew nothing about so even though I knew how to code and had ideas for products (I even had a friend making real money selling software!). So basically I had NO excuses for not doing it, and still it took me a long time getting started.

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