I know this might sound like bragging, but I want to share a good news with you. My little startup – chandoo.org, has reached another milestone in May 2011. We have recorded sales of $100,718 in May 2011 alone!
In this post, I want to share the revenue break-up and how I reached this milestone.
First some graphs:
Trend of Revenue by Product – for last 13 months:
My revenue comes from 3 components:
- Product Sales (60-80%)
- Advertising on Chandoo.org (10-25%)
- Affiliate Commissions (5-10%)
In May 2010, I have launched a new product – VBA Classes. We had 650+ people signing up for this, a very large number compared to what we estimated. And that is the main reason for the huge bump.
In the above graph, I did not show the VBA Class sales.
Trend of Total Revenue – for last 13 months:
There are two important things here.
1) Obviously, the huge bump in May 2011 which is explained above.
2) A change in total revenue pattern from Jan 2011. If you observe, prior to Jan 2011, My revenues are around $10k per month. But I relaunched Excel School and kept it open ever since. Now, it contributes heavily to both my top line and bottom line every month.
Number of Customers & Repeat Customers in last 13 months:
The best part about this is that, each month we are adding more customers. Also, many customers are repeating. They are coming back to Chandoo.org to purchase something else too. Very good indication that my marketing & customer service is good.
So how did the $100K month happen?
Since I started my Excel School Online Training program in Jan 2010, many customers have written to me and asked me to start a training program on VBA. But due to various reasons, I never started it. That is until May 2011. During last weeks of April, I announced that we will be starting an online VBA Training program, named VBA Classes in May.
We got some very good response for that. So I went ahead and opened the enrollments for the program on May 9th. The enrollment was open until May 21st and then we closed the doors for new students (we will be re-opening this program in September this year).
I estimated that we would get around 150 students for this. Since the course is priced at $97 per student, I assumed, we would make as much as $15k from this.
But, I was wrong!!! We made more than $80k from this course enrollments.
Why so many people joined?
- Many of my old students have been waiting for this program. So they lapped it up immediately. A total of 112 out of 650 are previous students of Chandoo.org (either Excel School or Financial Modeling Classes).
- We combined courses to create lucrative offers: After announcing about the VBA classes, few people emailed me and asked, “Why dont you combine Excel School with VBA Classes?”. So I did just that. I gave my customers 4 choices –
- VBA Classes ONLINE Access – $67
- VBA Classes DOWNLOAD Access – $97
- Excel School + VBA Classes – $167
- Excel School + Dashboards + VBA Classes – $247
And our customers love it. Many of them went for either $247 or $97 option.
- We made a very good sales video: Since this is the first time we are doing a VBA Classes, many of our customers had questions and doubts. So I made a short sales video (15 min) and put it on YouTube and linked it from our sales page. Many customers told me they liked the video and understand the potential this course has. Watch the sales video here.
- Limited Signup Period: Because we kept the registraion window open from 9th to 21st May, we created a sense of urgency. This helped in closing more sales.
- Many other reasons: I think the success of this (and other products) is not because any one action we do, instead this is because we follow certain values and provide awesome value to our customers.
[Related: How to launch products online?]
$100K Revenue is great, but what about expenses?
Obviously, to reach such a level in revenues, I had to spend good bit of money on various things. Other than the regular monthly expenses, we spent,
- $7500 on affiliate commissions
- $8000 on partner fees
- $500 on software licenses and misc.
So, about 16% of the money we earned goes for expenses that are not usual.
Obviously my revenues will not be anywhere near $100k in June as VBA Classes is no longer on sale. But I am sure our products will grow slowly and we will add customers each month.
I have plans for few other products in coming months. So they should add to our monthly revenues. We are also planning to discontinue atleast 1 product.
Also, I want to make sure that this spike in revenues does not side-track me or tempt me to spend money foolishly. We still want to be cheap while making our customers awesome. We want to stick to our core values and continue the hard work.
Key takeaways for you:
Not that I became wiser or profound after this month, but I want to share a few lessons I learned with you all.
- Never shy to charge more: When I thought of giving a fourth option for $247 that includes Excel School, Dashboard & VBA training, I was skeptical whether anyone would join. But I was proved wrong almost immediately as many people opted for this. So the lesson is simple. As long as you are delivering excellent value, get rid of the self-doubt and charge appropriately.
- Get Help: I cannot imagine launching the VBA Classes without the help of Ravindra, Vijay & Hui.
Ravindra – My VA helps in student enrollment, invoicing, sending receipts, email customer service.
Vijay and Hui – are our VBA faculty and together we will be teaching the classes.
In order to scale your business, getting right kind of help is a must.
- Partner with others in your niche: Another big reason behind the success of this month is my affiliate partners. They helped spread the message and got me lots of new students.
That is all for now. I hope you found this helpful. I will continue to share my story with you as my little company progresses.
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