– Monthly Income Report January 2015

It’s already mid-february when I write this. Honestly, I can’t say why I pushed it away for so long, I just didn’t feel like doing it. But what good are income reports if you don’t continue?
Thanks a bunch to Cezar Floroiu for gently reminding me that I had kept you waiting. Sorry for keeping you all waiting.

LinksSpy was on a “stable” trajectory for January, but I’ll talk about that later. First let me get some boilerplate out of the way.


You can find all my income reports here:

These are the ground rules for my income reports:

  1. I publish income reports for two reasons: a) Accountability helps me push forward. b) I know that most of us compare ourselves to internet-famous people like Patrick McKenzie, Brennan Dunn, Nathan Barry and others. I am no stranger to that and it is hard to feel good comparing yourself to them. Well, compare yourself to me and you’ll feel better instantly 😉
  2. I will only cover what I make from LinksSpy – no consulting, no day job
  3. I am terrible at accounting – so most numbers (especially expenses) are not 100% accurate.
  4. I have an agreement with Nathan Powell of that I will stop income reports by the time I hit $1,000,000 annual run rate. According to Nathan that should happen sometime in June 2015 – we’ll have to see about that.

The Numbers

Last Month’s Revenue

In December monthly recurring revenue (MRR) for LinksSpy was $1,210 from 41 customers. I had lost 13% MRR, which was giving me headaches. Especially because by the time I wrote the income report it had dropped further down to $1,087 and that was painful to watch.

This Month’s Revenue

January was a special months in that LinksSpy lost $193 MRR and added only $57 MRR – if one looks only at new customers. However, for people who started using LinksSpy after MicroConf Europe the discount (3 months for free) ran out, which brings LinksSpy back up to $1,245 from 42 customers at the end of January.


Again, most cancellations where from people on the lowest tier plan and who had been a customer for just one month.


Due to the way LinksSpy is set up my costs are really low. It was one of my design goals to keep most things running on Heroku‘s free tier. This is partly because I’m really cheap and – more importantly – because I didn’t know how well LinksSpy would do and I was afraid of catastrophic failure.

That now has the benefit that I can spend all ma moneyz on marketing.

Total expenses:

  • $36 to Heroku for database, SSL and Papertrail
  • $73.61 in Stripe fees (More on that later)
  • $49 for Drip
  • $12 for
  • $10 for Google Apps/GMail
  • $189 to oDesk for programming
  • $99 for KingSumo Giveaways license
  • $130 for blogging services
  • $50 for Twitter ads
  • $40 for StumbleUpon paid discovery
  • $80 for a VA

If I didn’t miss anything (which I probably did), the total costs were $688.81.


For the time being, I don’t plan on making any profit from LinksSpy. I want to focus on growing it as fast and as big as possible, thus I’m re-investing everything back into LinksSpy.

LinksSpy made roughly $476 in profit this month. That means it has made a (small) profit in three consecutive months and I really really really really really want to change that (i.e. blow that money on marketing).
Something always keeps me from doing so.

My war chest is filled with a bit of money and my intention is to spend that money on marketing.


I have not included traffic numbers before in my income reports, but I think they help give a better perspective. So I am going to include them here: 1,003 sessions – 821 users 1,800 sessions – 1,345 users


It feels like I made very little progress in January. In early January I finished the integration of the VATMOSS form during signup. VAT MOSS is a ridiculous new European law that effectively now stops any non-business customer in the EU from using LinksSpy – that’s what “setting the environment for startups to grow and prosper” looks like.

Additionally, I overhauled LinksSpy to send out better receipts. I have to rework this again, because it’s still not perfect. blah

I also added an XML-sitemap to the LinksSpy homepage – finally. I don’t know why I pushed that away for so long. And I did some link building and outreach, which is showing positive effects already.

Lastly, I started a giveaway for an Online Marketing Starter Pack and got some friends to contribute prizes (Brennan Dunn’s Double Your Freelancing Rate, Dave Collins did a website teardown). The pack was worth more than $1,000.
I did so many things wrong with that and I will dedicate a full article to my failure there, but it resulted in only 100 new email addresses to my list.
Which is waaaaaay less than what my friend Josh Earl managed to pull off.

What to Focus on Next Month

In February I am going to focus on growing my list with my new lead magnet (Get a free competitive link analysis in exchange for your email address). I plan on doing PPC ads for this as I have some money in the war chest. We’ll see if that works.

My Takeaways

I did a bit of outreach, started and failed horribly with the giveaway. I did marketing – way more than coding, which is great.
I learned a lot from the failed giveaway – or so I hope. I’ll run another one in March – we’ll see how that goes.

Not much else that I learned this month except that the road ahead is long.


January ended on a higher note than December and I am glad for it. I didn’t exactly grow the business, but I managed to keep it steady.
There are so many ways to improve it and I’m looking forward to iterating the product.

I am still on the look for a mastermind group(assuming the group meets after 16:00 UTC – 1 p.m. Eastern Time). If you have a mastermind group and would like me to join you, please reach out to christoph@$ANY_DOMAIN_I_OWN

Share Button
About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.


  1. Hey Christoph,
    It seems to me you have concentrated on stuff that is not unimportant, but probably will not move your MMR too much in the right direction. Have you planned ‘big picture’ activities? At this stage of your startup, I would think you need to find ways to 2x and 3x your income.

    Cheers and good luck.

    • Hi Boris,

      thanks for stopping by.
      I’d like to think that at the stage that LinksSpy is at, almost anything can 2-3x my income. Mainly because LinksSpy is still a really, really tiny enterprise.
      What would you consider to be big picture activities?
      How would you approach it?


  2. Like @Cezar – I was waiting for this 😉

    +1 I’m wondering what those “big picture” activities are too.


  1. […] January monthly recurring revenue (MRR) for LinksSpy was $1,245 from 42 […]

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.