December's Details

With the end of the year looming, I had predicted December to be a quiet month. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t maintain my 10% month on month growth, as businesses would be winding down for the year. Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.

The Figures

  This Month (Dec 2015) Last Month Change
Savings (end of month) £16,600 * £17,089 N/A
Monthly Recurring Revenue $967 ** $838 15.39%
Average Month on Month Growth 11.8% 10.6% 36%
Paying customers 21 19 10.5%
- Personal Plan 8 9 11.1%
- Start Up Plan 10 7 42.9%
- Corporate Plan 3 3 -
Unique users on landing page 2,275 3,759 39.5%
New Free Trial sign ups 34 44 22.7%
Free Trial sign up rate 1.49% 1.17% 32%
New Paying customers 4 3 33.3%
Lost Paying Customers 2 1 100%
Free Trial to Paying conversion 8.82% 4.55% 93.8%

* My savings figure is an estimate, as after changing my Fastspring payment terms from 8.9% to 5.9% + $0.95, I didn't realise I had to sign a new agreement with them, which I didn't do until the 4th January, so I'm currently missing two payments from Fastspring. I'll update this post with the correct figures once the payment arrives.

** $967 is my current MRR, but revenue in December was actually only $849, as I granted two of my $59 / month subscribers a free month after I accidentally overcharged them by $10 in November.


So while December was a fair bit quieter in terms of page views and sign ups, my conversion rate was actually better. More importantly, revenue grew by over 15%, and my average month on month growth has also increased to 11.8%. So overall I’m really happy with that.

My only disappointment was that I reached $967 MRR by the middle of December, so for the rest of the month I was really hoping I’d get another paying customer or two, and crack the $1,000 MRR milestone. Writing that I realise how ridiculous it sounds - December vastly exceeded my expectations, yet I still found a way to be disappointed. But I suppose that drive to always achieve more is what lead me to start a company in the first place.

I really feel I’ve nailed the value and pricing of the Bootstrap and Start Up plans, and the fact that I now, for the first time ever, have more Start Up subscribers than I do Bootstrap subscribers seems to confirm that. I can finally put a Most Popular badge on the Start Up plan! Huzzah!

Revenue Growth

By the end of December I was still smashing my 7% MoM growth target, and have crept further ahead of the 10% target. I’ve even beaten my projected recurring revenue for December of $926.53. This graph makes me happy:

A quick trip to the good ol’ Startup Growth Calculator makes me even happier. If I can maintain 11.8% MoM growth, I’ll be profitable by the end of October, and will have only used £7,500 of my savings. In fact I can now grow at just 5.2% month on month, and still reach profitability before the money runs out. 2016 is shaping up to be a good year :)

Now I know when I started this series of blog posts I said I wanted to be profitable in 9 months, it’s even in the title, but I always knew that was a lofty goal. That’s why I made sure I had enough money saved to survive for 18 months with 0% revenue growth. I’m now 4 months into my 9 month quest, so I thought I’d check out what I’d need to do to reach profitability by May (my 9 month target). Turns out I’d need to start growing at 30% MoM, so while I’m not going to rule that out entirely, I’m also not holding out much hope of it happening. As long I reach profitability before I run out of money I’ll be a happy man.

Where’s the Profit?

Last time I said I was going to start analysing profit as well as revenue, unfortunately I can’t until Fastspring pay me, as I currently have no idea how much I’ll receive for December’s revenue. I’ll update this post as soon as I know, which should be around the 20th.

Free trial to paying conversion rate

A while back I changed BugMuncher from a 30 day free trial to a 10 day free trial (see this post for details - Your Free Trial is Too Damn Long!). One advantage of a 10 day free trial is it means I don’t have to wait as long to evaluate my free trial to paying conversion rate, but up until today I hadn’t thought to include it in these posts. Of course because of the 10 day trial I can’t know the conversion rate for sure until the 10th of the following month, but the figure in the table above is the current value, and I’ll update it if it changes before the 10th. I’ve also updated previous posts to include the conversion rate.

As I’m now going to be including this statistic in all monthly round-up posts, I’m going to start publishing these posts on or after the 10th of the month, so that I’m not having to go back and update them later.

Downtime (me, not the server. But also the server)

Since I started this crazy mission, I’ve been working more hours than I ever did as a freelancer. By December I was really starting to feel it, so decided I was going to take some time off. I spent the 21st of December achieving Inbox Zero, and then from the 22nd of December to 3rd of January I didn’t work on BugMuncher at all. I answered a handful of support emails during my time off, but mostly I just relaxed. Christmas day was awesome, spent at home with Sophie and the kittens, and we had a quiet but enjoyable New Year with family. It was a great reminder that I need to take time off every now and then.

The BugMuncher server also decided to take a little Christmas holiday, as I host BugMuncher on Linode, and they suffered a DDoS attack that brought BugMuncher down for a few hours. These kind of attacks on service providers are becoming more common, so I think I need to build some kind of redundancy into BugMuncher, utilising multiple service providers.

Moving Forward

My mission for January is to improve BugMuncher’s landing page, as I often have people tell me it’s not immediately clear what BugMuncher is or does at first glance. I’d love to hire someone to help me here, but I’m not even sure what I need - is it marketing, copy writing, design, or something else entirely? If you think you can help, or know of any one that could, please let me know either in the comments, or email me on

Thanks for reading, I’m going to be doing a bumper edition of this blog series that looks at all of 2015 later this month, so if you like all the numbers and feelings you don’t want to miss that :)

- Matt