– Monthly Income Report December 2014

I don’t want to write this. I am afraid of writing this, because I feel like writing it will make it more “real” somehow. I wrote those two sentences and immediately switched tabs and opened up 9gag – to get away from writing this income report.

It’s not that LinksSpy is doing terrible or anything. It’s just that MRR fell from $1,392 to $1,210 at the end of december (and has since fallen to $1,087). That is causing me some anxiety.

Before I get too deep into this for the intro, here are a few things you might want to know before you read the full report.

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 “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 November I had increased my MRR to $1392 from 46 customers. It was a month of great growth (~ 134% over the previous month), mainly due to being featured on ProductHunt at the end of October.

This Month’s Revenue

LinksSpy got $125 of new MRR in december, but it lost $509 MRR. Just look at the graph below:


So at the end of december LinksSpy had $1210 MRR (according to my memory) coming from 41 customers.
Of the people who cancelled, only one was with LinksSpy longer than one month. The rest signed up right around the time LinksSpy was featured on ProductHunt.


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.

Total expenses:

  • $36 to Heroku for database, SSL and Papertrail
  • $57.59 in Stripe fees (More on that later)
  • $49 for Drip
  • $20.62 for Retargeting with Perfect Audience
  • $29 on FacebookAds
  • $5 for email / Google Apps
  • $350 for a developer (including hiring process/test project for 2 developers)
  • $149 for a promotional video (View it on the LinksSpy homepage)
    If I didn’t miss anything (which I probably did), the total costs were $899.61.


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 $310 in profit this month. I am going to spend this mostly on marketing in January.


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: 301 sesssions, 211 users 1,103 sessions, 685 users


I was away on vacation for 10 days right before christmas and then I didn’t really do anything for the remainder of the year.

The main things I got done were the video and finishing the code for the new “give me your email” incentive. I need a better design for the resulting PDF files before I can push it live. And I am yet undecided whether I should put the incentive on the front page; maybe instead of the promotional video;
Or maybe below the promotional video.

Sadly, I made next to no progress on my other content piece/marketing asset. This involves writing about 200 articles on SEO topics – I have finished a grand total of 1! Yay…

Lastly, I think that I have not found product/market fit with LinksSpy yet. My customer base is too small to be really sure about churn rate, but it seems to be somewhere in the 10-15% range, which I have been told is too much.
Looked at it from another perspective: I added $125 in new MRR last month, but at $1,210 MRR total that growth would get entirely cancelled out by churn. So in addition to more/better marketing, I feel like I also need to find a way to lower churn.

What to Focus on Next Month

First of all, I am going to focus on the giveaway I am starting tomorrow at I hope to collect a few hundred new email addresses – we’ll see how it goes. I’ll write a detailed after action report once it’s over.

Secondly, I will hire a VA to help me setup a process that will make sure that my email list gets an email from me at least twice a month.

Thirdly, I lost contact with my blog co-author – he just stopped responding to my emails – which is not good ™. I think about replacing him with an agency, but they cost twice as much and I am not entirely happy with the sample content they delivered.

My Takeaways

A rather interesting fact I learned this month is that on top of the standard 2.9% + $0.30 fee Stripe also charges a currency conversion fee of 2.0%.

Interestingly, I keep repeating myself here: I have to do more marketing. Somehow it seems like I don’t follow through with that.
Oh well, I’ll try it again: Christoph, do more marketing!


December was sobering in that I lost a lot of MRR and January didn’t exactly start out any better. I hope that the marketing I have planed for January will help turn the tide, but I am unsure on the effectiveness and my ability to follow through on the commitment.

I feel bad for the latter, but I feel that I have no option but to soldier on.

I think that my work schedule will be more predictable going forward, which would allow me to join a mastermind group again (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

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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.

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