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Software Businesses On 5 Hours A Week

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How Patrick McKenzie built a small software business from nothing to the point where he could quit his full-time job, plus tactical advice for other small businesses on how to save time by outsourcing, automating, and eliminating low-value tasks.

Published in: Technology
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Software Businesses On 5 Hours A Week

  1. 1. A Software Business On 5 Hours A Week<br />Patrick McKenzie<br />
  2. 2. The Problem: Making This Sucks<br />
  3. 3. The Big Idea<br />$60 budget<br />1 week schedule<br />Big Hairy Audacious Goal: $200 a month<br />
  4. 4. Bingo Card Creator – July 2006<br />
  5. 5.
  6. 6. Why Did It Sell That Much?<br />
  7. 7. Version 1.02 – Now With Less Crashes!<br />
  8. 8.
  9. 9. AdWords, Halloween, Google… Oh My!<br />
  10. 10. A Brief Aside About EMDs<br /><ul><li>Mini-sites targeted at individual customer needs: $200 + $10 per year (~$500 for this one, for the domain)
  11. 11. Exact match domains (“halloween bingo cards”.{com|net|org})
  12. 12. Declining part of my strategy, but still print money three times a year.
  13. 13. Why lease traffic when you can get it for free?</li></li></ul><li>The Big Idea: Scalable Content Creation<br />
  14. 14.
  15. 15. Make It A Web App<br />
  16. 16.
  17. 17. Holy Cow. This Is My Day Job.<br />
  18. 18.
  19. 19. Adventures Since Quitting<br />
  20. 20. Five Quick Bits Of Advice<br />
  21. 21. Charge More<br />Programmers consistently underprice. Double it, then go higher.<br />Avoid pathological customersby charging more.<br />Revenue is dominated by customers on most expensive plan spending other people’s money.<br />Recurring revenue is the best kind.<br />
  22. 22. Make Web Applications<br />Faster iteration.<br />Easier support.<br />Dramatically higher conversion rates.<br />Recurring revenue is the best kind.<br />Better tracking of actual use than MiniPeace.<br />
  23. 23. Figure Out SEO<br />Free traffic from interested people = free money.<br />Single best thing you can do for SEO: create a reason why people who do not buy your software should cite your website anyhow.<br />Second single best thing: create a system which makes content at scale.<br />
  24. 24. The Inverted Iceberg Rule<br />Photo: <br />Natalielucier<br />on Flickr<br />
  25. 25. Optimize. Everything.<br />All factors in success of a software business are multiplicative.<br />A/B testing: 5% increase in conversion rate, once per month, is ~70% increase in revenue per year.<br />A/B testing is cheap & easy to get started with.<br />More advanced: funnel optimization, first-run experience, etc.<br />
  26. 26. In Five Hours Per Week!?<br />
  27. 27. Three Keys To Avoid Wasting Time<br />Outsource<br />Automate<br />Eliminate<br />
  28. 28. Stuff To Outsource<br />Web design<br />Web content<br />Self-contained programming projects<br />Customer support<br />
  29. 29. Stuff To Automate<br />Routine customer support tasks<br />Drudgery – license generation, keyword analysis, etc<br />Server maintenance/monitoring<br />
  30. 30. Dashboard O’ Goodness<br />
  31. 31. The Big Idea: Scalable Content Generation<br />Automate production of high-quality pages responsive to specific user needs, around a template and/or data source.<br />Outsource the production of text for those pages.<br />????<br />Profit!<br />
  32. 32. Make One Page<br />
  33. 33. Do It 941 More Times<br />
  34. 34. … Without Going Spare<br />Live Demo Time<br />
  35. 35. It Really Works<br /><ul><li>Total sales: $39,270
  36. 36. Total investment: $3,000
  37. 37. 251 activities / 942 have generated sales
  38. 38. Top selling activity: I didn’t even know people did that.</li></ul>And 226 More!<br />
  39. 39. Stuff To Eliminate<br />Checking Google Analytics 37 times per day<br />Worrying about competition<br />Development which does not meet demonstrable customer needs – see Lean Startup<br />
  40. 40. Thanks for Listening<br />Blog at http://www.kalzumeus.com<br />Slides will be posted. See @patio11<br />Send me email. I love chatting about this. patrick@kalzumeus.com<br />

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