October's Occurrences

I’ll start by resolving last month’s cliffhanger - both of the overdue subscriptions ended up being cancelled, not a great start to the month. And in the spirit of start as you mean to go on, October didn’t really get much better.

I’ve changed things slightly again - I’m no longer including my personal savings in the savings column, as they can fluctuate independently of BugMuncher’s performance. So from now on, the savings column is simply the balance of my business bank account.

The Figures

  This Month (October 2016) Last Month Change
Savings (end of month) £5,687.40 £5,746.64 1.0%
Monthly Recurring Revenue $2,516 $2,495 0.84%
Actual Revenue $2,561.23 $2,407 6.4%
Fastspring fees $210.26 $179.07 17.4%
Expenses £1,814.08 £1,959.92 7.4%
Income £1,729.84 £1,496.56 15.6%
Average Month on Month Growth 10.5% 11.3% 7.1%
Paying customers 40 41 2.4%
- Personal Plan 19 21 9.5%
- Startup Plan 14 13 7.7%
- Corporate Plan 7 7 -
Free plan subscribers 33 10 230.0%
Unique users on landing page 2,368 2,481 3.8%
New Free Trial sign ups 69 50 38.0%
Free Trial sign up rate 2.9% 2.0% 45.0%
New Paying customers 3 4 25%
Lost Paying Customers 4 1 300%
Free Trial to Paying conversion 4.3% 8.0% 46.0%
New Free plan customers 20 10 100.0%
Free Trial to Free plan conversion 29.0% 20.0% 45.0%
Monthly Burn Rate £59.24 £245.02 75.8%
Runway 8 Years (96 Months) 28.8 Months 233.3%

Well, in terms of both percent and dollar growth, October was the worst month for revenue since I started this crazy mission. The feeling of failure is only exacerbated by the comparison to last month’s awesomeness.

Initially looking at the figures left me feeling pretty hopeless, would this be the beginning of the end? It wasn’t until I dug a bit deeper that I discovered what was really going on:

Throughout October three paying subscriptions downgraded to the new free plan!

Now, you would be forgiven for thinking this is a bad thing - I did at first. But then I realised - these three subscriptions signed up to BugMuncher when there was no free plan. Chances are they didn’t need all the features of the paid plan, but that was their only choice. Understandably, once the free plan was introduced, they jumped on it.

The good news is, all new subscriptions already know about the free plan’s existence when they sign up, so they’re much less likely to later downgrade to the free plan.

October is likely to be a bit of an anomaly in this sense, there will always be occasional downgrades from paid to free, but I’m unlikely to ever see it on this scale again.

Users hitting the website stayed fairly constant, but free trial sign ups are up, which is understandable, as this is the first full month with the free plan.

The real star of October was definitely burn rate, as I only lost £59.24! At this rate I could survive 8 years with my current runway, I’m not even sure that counts as a burn rate, it’s more of a ‘slightly smouldering’ rate. Profitability by the end of the year is looking increasingly likely.


Supplier Expense Amount USD
Total £1,814.08
Me Salary £1,345.29 -
Me Home office allowance £54.71 -
Digital Ocean Hosting £7.94 $10.00
Linode Hosting £19.86 $25
SauceLabs Selenium Servers £54.80 $69.00
Barnstaple Work Hubs Co-working Space £180.00 -
Pingdom Uptime monitoring £9.95 -
Tree Tops Chartered Accountants Quarterly RTI Submission £57.60 -
Heart Internet Accidental renewal of an unwanted domain £28.78 -
Talktalk Internet £35.20 -
O2 Mobile Phone £19.95 -

This was a fairly standard month for expenses, and I’m happy to report the once again, I resisted the urge to expense any sandwiches, discipline win!


That pesky 10% growth target is closing in on me again, curse you exponential maths. Still waiting for the fabled hockey stick growth curve, so far BugMuncher’s growth curve is more closely related to a drunk man trying to walk in a straight line.


I now have 33 “freeloaders”, so in just 6 weeks, the number of free subscribers is already catching up on paid ones, and I expect free to overtake paid by the end of November.

At least the freeloaders still aren’t adding any noticeable load on BugMuncher’s servers, or my brain.

Plans for November

October was a really unproductive month for me, during which I teetered on the edge of burnout (more on that in a future post). So through November I’m still going to be working on the custom questions update. I also want to do some more blogging and marketing, as both of those tasks were ignored throughout October.

Back when I was freelancing, I frequently worked 4 day weeks, which was awesome, because as much as I enjoy programming, I really don’t want to spend 5 days a week staring at a computer screen. I’ve decided that through November I’m going to try working 4 day weeks again, and see how it affects my productivity. My working week will be Monday to Thursday, and on Fridays I will only be answering urgent support emails. In fact that’s why this post didn’t get written on the 11th like they normally do. The 11th was a Friday, so I spent the day working on my new project car instead of staring at a screen :)

That’s it for this month, thanks for reading.

- Matt