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Hard truths from my 2022 indie revenue
Something has to change...
It’s tax season. Was doing up the sums and came to this figure for my indie* revenue in 2022:
* indie means revenue that’s everything outside of consulting
Not per month, but total for the year!
After 3 years being indie, can't help but feel my progress is too slow.
Damn this is hard af.
$6.2k was total revenue for the entire year of 2022, at about $510 average monthly (non-recurring) revenue. I believe most of it came from sales of Carrd plugins, about $1.2k from Lifelog subscriptions, the rest of about $200 from Buy Me A Coffee donations.
I remember right around the same time last year I did the same calculations for indie revenue in 2021 and I actually did around $11k:
Lifelog = $1200
Plugins For Carrd = $900
Sweet Jam Sites = $500
Keto List Singapore = $1100
Social impact patronage = $1300
Others (random freelancing) = $6000
Sweet Jam Sites and Keto List had stopped earning since, and donations in 2021 were high due to a viral project. I also still did occasional web design freelancing back then that contributed to the indie revenue, which I no longer do. All these were stopped in 2022. I’d trimmed my portfolio a lot. So that explains the dip from last year.
But if I compared just year-on-year growth of only Lifelog + Plugins, it’s $2.1k vs $6.2k. Not too shabby, almost tripled. Which checks out with what I knew about the 3x growth of Plugins while Lifelog was stagnant.
So it’s $6.2k spread across 2 projects, across 12 months, after 3 years of being indie.
Not a great report card, if you ask me…
Frankly, $6.2k feels pretty insignificant in the bigger scheme of things, especially for the things I need to pay for to feed the family. That’s like maybe enough for 1 month… 1 year’s revenue just enough for 1 month! 😅 It’s not a great look if I’m seeking ramen profitability.
And I won’t sugarcoat this or try to find a positive glass-is-half-full angle. It’s nice to get $6.2k extra cash, and I still have my consulting as the main income stream to feed the fam, but realistically, objectively, $6.2k isn’t not even close to what I aspire to be. And at this rate, I won’t ever hit the bare minimum of my aspiration—to be able to survive on indie revenue, at least $5k/m—in a decade maybe.
Even if I do want to keep consulting in my portfolio, am I really okay to wait a decade to grow to ramen profitability? Not really. I’m not even sure I want to nor have the energy to keep going at consulting for another decade, well into my 50s.
But one thing I know for sure – whatever I’m doing now isn’t enough.
Something has to change.
What should I do? What can I do?
Broadly, I see three ways.
Increase revenue of existing projects
Find new sources of indie revenue
Specifically, some ideas:
Double down on Plugins to increase revenue - launch more free and paid plugins, buy more ads, find more distribution channels, launch projects for it, get affiliates to distribute it for me. I’m already doing a lot here, so it’s a matter of compounding further.
Continue building Lifelog - side project weekend is working, keep going.
Launch/pivot the projects that’s already half-completed anyway, to see if they bring in new revenue sources - Sheet2Bio, Career Conversation Cards, Inclusive Design SG.
Launch something(s) completely new to create fresh income streams. Truth is, diversity in my portfolio is down. Launch info products, digital downloads, single feature micro SaaS (like fixmyspeakers.com earning $5k/m from ads).
Cut costs. Cutting monetary costs will have minimal effect as I’m not spending much on servers, ads etc. But cutting effort/time (also a cost) will help. Where is my focus? If someone were to see where I spent the most time on per day, what conclusions would he draw? My days are generally split in Outsprint, Plugins, and building in public on Twitter. First 2 pays, the last one, not so sure other than being fun and social. I can cut down on time spent, but all the sunk costs on building up momentum there will be lost. Since I’m spending so much time there, perhaps it’s time to build something based off my Twitter audience? Some Twitter tool, info product, community?
What else do you think I can do?
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