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EXECUTION Selling Software Plugin - Just made my first sale today!

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SebPP

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“Congratulation! You’ve just received your first payment through Stripe.”

These are the first words of the Stripe email notification I have received earlier today.

Yes, I have just made my lifetime first entrepreneurial sale today!

For those who are interested, here is the long story behind this Stripe notification.

If you haven’t experienced it yet, I hope my story will inspire you to resolutely seek for that very first sale. It’s totally worth it and rewarding.


As I have mentioned in my intro thread, I'm currently a 9-to-5 slowlane software engineer, but my long term goal is to build my SAAS business.

I'm working on it since the beginning of last year. It is progressing well (MVP ~80% completed), but due to my very demanding regular job, it is not progressing as fast as I would want.

Anyway. Last November, while developing the core functionality of my SAAS product, I wanted to integrate a very important feature. So, I searched for an existing software component that would offer this feature.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any that would fit my need. But during my search on forums like Stackoverflow, I discovered that many other developers were also desperately looking for something similar.

I immediately realized that there was an unfulfilled NEED there. So, I decided to build this component myself and to package it as a reusable software plugin component.

It took me 4 weeks to develop/test/document this component.

The idea was to develop this component, integrate it to my SAAS and also offering it for sale on CodeCanyon.

I knew I was losing Control and a big 30% commission on each eventual sale, but at the same time my long term goal is my SAAS and I wasn't planning on focusing too much on this plugin. This was more for the experience of selling something, and if I could make some money, why not. No big expectation there.

So, at the end of December, I was finally ready to upload my plugin with all the descriptions/visuals/demo I also had to prepare on CodeCanyon.

But less than one hour after the upload of my files, Bam! I receive an email from CodeCanyon saying that my plugin is rejected with no real explanation given.

Wow! What a big slap in the face!

Being a perfectionist guy, I put all my heart into this. I wanted it to be perfect, so I ensured that the code was of very high quality. I had documented everything. It was fully unit tested. I took lots of time to prepare a nice description and appealing preview pictures, etc...

And what? A guy somewhere in this company just decided in less than a couple of minutes that Nope! My product didn't worth to be put on their website.

I was hearing in my head the voice of MJ DeMarco telling: “I told you! This is what happen when you violate the commandment of Control!”

So, I decided to take responsibility for this.

I had worked so intensely on this project that I couldn’t just let it go, and it is not every day that you have the feeling that you are on something for which a real NEED exists.

I then took the decision to sell it entirely by myself and having full control on it. I will prove to myself, that No, I haven’t worked for nothing and I will not let anyone at CodeCanyon or at any other similar company deciding if my product worth it to be bought or not.

This would delay my SAAS business, but at the same time I thought that this would also provide me some good experience that I will be able to reuse for this venture.

I thus spent the whole month of January building a Website to sell this software component.

During this month, I learned lots of things such as integrating with a payment system, integrating with an email provider, learning to create a good copy, etc.

As I said, I will need this knowledge for my SAAS business. So, even if it hasn’t directly progressed since last December, it will still benefits from all of this experience later.

Finally, in the first week of February, my Website was ready to be launched.

I started to do some Google Ads PPC. But, this was also totally new for me, so I did it wrong. I received some irrelevant clicks, and of course had no result.

Second week of February, I learned everything I could on PPC and AdWords. I learned how to create “the perfect alignment” between the keyword, the Ad and the landing page.

I also improved the copy of my homepage, created an About page and added lots of small other improvements.

Things started to get better, CTR and Ad Quality started to increase and the bounce rate decreased as well. But still nothing.

Finally, in the middle of this week, I receive though my contact page an email from a company in Italy asking for more information about my product.

Wow!! I was really excited. It was like a small victory.

My product upgraded from the status of “Absolutely Nobody Care” to “Someone has shown a little interest”.

Fast forward this morning. What a surprise when I saw on my cellphone the email notification from Stripe! The Italian company had just bought my software plugin.

I made my first lifetime entrepreneurial sale!

I still have a long way to go before being in the Fastlane, but I have just sensed the feeling of what it means having built a money tree system. It is a great feeling!

This sale also give me the validation that yes, there is a Need for my product, which you can never be sure until someone opens its wallet.

On the Fastlane Forum, we are all looking forward to make the big bucks with a Fastlane business. But each baby step, each small victory we make during the journey is in reality a gratifying experience and is totally worth having.

My plan is now to continue to grow this project by creating a steady and growing flow of visitors to my website so that I can make regular sales. And of course, I will also finish the development of my SAAS which I still consider to be my long term goal.

I don’t know where it will go, but I will keep you updated with the number of sales in this progress thread.
 

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IKWUJE JEREMIAH

New Contributor
Feb 18, 2019
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Such a hard but profitable experience.

If I may ask:
how did you feel like after the first rejection on codecayon? What was your morale like when you made no sale for all those days?
 
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SebPP

SebPP

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Such a hard but profitable experience.

If I may ask:
how did you feel like after the first rejection on codecayon? What was your morale like when you made no sale for all those days?
Yes, my morale was very low at that time and I felt this rejection as an injustice.

I wanted to throw in the towel with this project. On the other hand, for having read lots of entrepreneur biographies, I know that rejection is also part of the entrepreneur journey.

I knew that if I abandon at the first big roadblock, I would not go very far on the FastLane. After all, isn't the entrepreneur goal to solve problems? So, I decided to address the challenge.

And you know what? Retrospectively, I consider it as a very positive thing.

I do not depend on a monopolistic platform that dictates the rules. I have full control on my project.

Also, having made my first sale without them, all by myself, actually makes me more proud of this achievement.
 

NMdad

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less than one hour after the upload of my files, Bam! I receive an email from CodeCanyon saying that my plugin is rejected with no real explanation given.
What a great lesson about taking control.

Sounds like an FTE, which fueled your motivation.

Nice execution!

How can you reach more potential customers? Can you tap into other channels where your potential customers already hang out?

So what's your next step?
 

NMdad

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What you learned about control and execution will undoubtedly pay dividends for other things you pursue--like your SAAS.
 
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SebPP

SebPP

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Jun 12, 2018
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Montreal, Canada
How can you reach more potential customers? Can you tap into other channels where your potential customers already hang out?

So what's your next step?
The funny thing is that I was actually the first customer of my product.
My potential customers are software/website/SAAS developers who like me are trying to implement the same feature.

When you develop a new feature as a software developer, it's like having a problem to solve. You are seeking for the best/efficient way to implement it.
And one of the best practice is to not re-invent the wheel (i.e. re-implementing everything from scratch). So, usually you check if there is not already a third party plugin/component that you could integrate on your product before implementing everything.
  • It saves you lots of time and money (1 hour of software development can cost as much as 100$).
  • The third party plugin developer has already solved most of the problems you would have certainly also encouter by developing it from scratch yourself.

Now what does a software developer do when he searches for an existing plugin?
- He simply ask Google. that's it.

This also means that, in this context, a potential customer is very contextual to the moment when the need arises.
If a developer search for a plugin in Google, he needs it NOW. The next week, it's too late, he would probably already had found a solution for this problem.

So, my point is that the best way to reach my potential customers is simply via Google (SEO) in the long run, and via Google AdWords (PPC) in the short term.

This leads to your second question: What is my Next Step?

With my current Cost Per Click, I would be profitable with a Conversion Rate of 2%.
I don't know yet what my conversion rate is, however having already been able to make that first sale (With a Sub-Optimal Website and a bad PPC campain) gives me the hope that I'm not so far.

Currently, my Google Ads Score is low and I still have lots of room to optimize the conversion rate of my Website.

So, for the next few weeks, I will focus on both improving my PPC Score (to lower the CPC price) and optimizing my Website Conversion.
Among the thing I'm planning to do very soon:

  • Asking a professional copywriter to rewrite the content of my Homepage.
    • This is actually already done. I have engaged one of the best top-rated copywriter on Fiverr to do this and I have just received the copy. The result looks very promising. I'm going to integrate it on my Website this Week-End.
  • Creating a FAQ with the goal of addressing every single hesitation a potential buyer could have.
  • Integrating some customer testimonials on my Website (I need to make more sales for that, as I refuse to write fake ones).
  • Writing at least one case study that demonstrate how my plugin solved the specific problem.
  • Making some social media connections.
  • Contacting some bloggers that have already written articles about similar plugin.

I think that all of these actions will:
  • Improve my conversion rate
  • Help to improve my Ads Score (Better Landing Page Experience Score + Lower Bounce Rate)
  • And help to improve my SEO for the long term.

Hope that makes sense.
 
Last edited:

404profound

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Man, that is an inspiration. I've been working on my app since October, love hearing stories of other successful devs. Congrats.
 

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