LinksSpy – Monthly Income Report March 2015

LinksSpy has been rather stable in March with only a slight upwards trajectory of about 4% in terms of realized MRR while at the same time losing 5% of the users.

But before I dive deep into this, 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

CAVEAT: I’m changing the way I retrieve MRR data. I’m using going forward to get data. This will change some numbers, but nothing major

Last Month’s Revenue

In February monthly recurring revenue (MRR) for LinksSpy was $1,285 from 39 customers.

This Month’s Revenue

March ended with $1,296 MRR coming from 38 customers. This is more or less the same it was in February.

LinksSpy MRR graph

LinksSpy MRR graph by


Due to the way LinksSpy is set up my costs are relatively 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
  • $75 in Stripe fees
  • $49 for Drip
  • $12 for
  • $10 for Google Apps/GMail
  • $40 to oDesk for research
  • $195 for blogging services
  • $7 for Github
  • $8 for Calendly
  • $8 for Dropbox
  • $20 for
  • $25 to oDesk for five articles of my next content push
  • $960 for three guest articles

If I didn’t miss anything (which I probably did), the total costs were $1,484.90.


For the first time in five months I spent more on LinksSpy than I earned from it – fantastic news.
The bulk was spent on hiring an author with an existing audience for three articles. It’s going to be interesting

Traffic 919 sessions 1,113 sessions


Firstly, I finished the new integration in early March and beta testing is now well underway. This is great news for my users as they will be able to get more up-to-date link opportunities, which will make it even easier to get new links.

Secondly, LinksSpy now automatically checks each entered URL for a redirect. LinksSpy uses an exact match algorithm, meaning that when you enter “” LinksSpy will only look at links to “”. This allows users to laser-focus their campaigns – John Turner has written a detailed article on how to leverage that.
The problem here is when “” redirects to “”: Browsers follow that redirection and people end up linking to “” most of the time.

In essence, this leads to campaigns showing very few link opportunities, when – with the right URL – there would be 100’s of link opportunities. Anyways, this is now “fixed” and users get alerted to the redirect while still having the flexibility to use the URL they entered. This has improved onboarding quite a bit.

Thirdly, I redesigned the incentive landing page where people can opt-in to my email course while getting a competitive link analysis report as a lead magnet. I also put a bit of work into the homepage, which now has CTAs for the link competitive link analysis report.

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Lastly, I did my taxes and hired a new writer for the blog. Taxes were tremendously fun… NOT.

What to Focus on Next Month

In April I’m going to focus on the onboarding process. The feedback I get from users points me to them often not seeing enough value right after start.
I have some ideas on how to improve onboarding and that is what I will be focusing my time on.

My Takeaways

I definitely improved my email marketing, which will be a great asset moving forward. I’m super stoked about the new feature I am developing and hope it will deliver great results. If my predictions are true (they probably aren’t), this feature will help reduce churn.

At the moment updates to the underlying data are few and far between (>1 month between updates on average), which leaves a lot of room for my customers to forget about LinksSpy. Not a happy place to be in ™.
With the new feature at least customers on the highest plans will get weekly updates, which should help quite a bit.


Baby steps to victory. That’s all I’m going to say for this month.

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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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