I went for a double launch, and it’s not quite happening. It’ll end up being two close launches.
I’ve been in the trenches early this year, strategizing and figuring out where I want to go with my business. I gave a pretty thorough personal year in review/preview on my personal blog a few weeks ago, if you want to catch up.
In that post, I said that, “I don’t want to be afraid of experimentation.” For me, 2017 is about experimentation.
Four years of the Post Status, and two years of the club
January 21st (Saturday for me, sorry not sorry I didn’t write this over the weekend…) marked the two year anniversary of the Post Status Club, and the four year anniversary for the site as a whole.
Thanks to you all, Post Status has been more successful in two years as a membership site than most people would’ve likely guessed. There are around 850 active members, a net increase of just under 300 from the year prior.
Based on the current rate of growth, we should pass 1,000 active members with a good bit of the year left. That was my two year goal, but if I accomplish it in three, I’ll still be very proud.
Revenue for Post Status
Everybody loves talking money. You can do the math in your head or I can do it for you. I didn’t put it on my personal (public) blog but I’ll share it here, and tell you exactly what I paid myself. I did last year, so why not again?
- Excluding the Publish event, Post Status made about $114,000 in gross revenue in 2016.
- About $31,000 of that is Post Status Partner agreements.
- The Publish event made $44,000 in total income, including sponsors and tickets.
- It cost about $39,000 to perform, not counting my own time (I never “bill” myself for my own time). So it made around $5,000, but that’s expensing the whole Philly trip to Publish, and I would’ve spent $1-2k going there anyway, so you could maybe say it made slightly more.
- I paid about $15,000 to one-time or recurring contractors, and had another $21,000 in non-conference expenditures, including hardware, software, monthly services, etc. The Non-contractor expense seems super high, but I also bought a lot of stuff this year, which I normally don’t do.
- I paid myself $65,647 after pre-paid taxes.
So if you count the event, Post Status made $158,000 in 2016. Technically, that’s a 73.6% growth rate. But in reality, I prefer to exclude the conference for calculation purposes, as it was basically a break even event despite high revenue.
Excluding the event, the gross revenue increase is about 24%. I’m quite pleased with that.
Goals going forward
I think I can achieve higher revenue in 2017, and be more profitable. I’m going to pay myself the same amount, as it fit okay with our lifestyle.
Specifically, I want to make at least $10,000 in new gross revenue from the job board. I want to make $25,000 in new member revenue (that’s a ~250 net increase of members). I want to decrease non-event expenditures by at least $5,000. So that would be $40,000 in new gross revenue.
My goals for my business have never been just about Post Status. Post Status is my baby, but I’ve always said that I wanted to grow and figure out how to create and maintain quality for two or three legs of the business. I intended to start in 2016, but held off for a variety of reasons.
Two launches I’m talking about today have to do with experimentation. I’ll cover the one you all expect first, then the one that will definitely be a surprise to many.
I know the job board is the least surprising (or maybe most surprising?) announcement ever. But I’m finally pulling the trigger on it. Emails are going out to launch partners to submit jobs in the next couple of days. I tried to get it ready for that today, but it didn’t happen and I didn’t want to hold off on this post any longer.
I held off on this job board for two years, and there’s reasons for that beyond me being inadequate (thought that’s part of it).
One was my Google penalty. I was afraid of trying to sell a job board — which needs eyeballs to succeed — while under the banhammer of Google and have no search traffic. Until recently, even specifically seeking something on Post Status via Google would’ve been a challenge.
Thankfully that is fixed now (thank you Google friend!!!) and Post Status has seen a return of search traffic to the levels prior to the ban — which was when the membership component launched two years ago.
My other uncertainty was around whether this is something I want to deal with day in and day out. There’s higher potential for support, confusion, and whatnot. Thankfully, Katie is really excited to manage the day to day editorial efforts, and I made the decision to (for now at least) limit job postings to members only. Anyone can view, but for now I’m only letting members post on behalf of their companies.
So, with those taken care of, I’m going to launch it. To better prove it, here’s a screenshot of the landing page (with the prerequisite “10up is hiring” sample content).
Partners, patrons, and bulk corporate members will get first crack on submissions, so I can manage the onboarding, then I’ll open it up to everyone. But YAY, IT’S ALMOST HERE. Once it launches, you’ll all have to find something else to troll me about in Slack.
Introducing Commerce Notebook
I’m launching a new vertical. It’s like Post Status, except for eCommerce — all of eCommerce.
It’s called Commerce Notebook.
It’s not WordPress specific, it’s about managing stores, consulting for eCommerce, and generally being an enthusiast or professional in the eCommerce space.
It’s a very different space from the professional WordPress one, and I’ll have to earn my stripes, I know.
I’m not expecting instant success, and for a while it’ll be totally free. But I think this is a great market, a really nice blend with Post Status, requires less additional time than most other ventures I could tackle thanks to a lot of complimentary overlap with Post Status, and most of all I’m super passionate about it!
You may be skeptical. You may be right! From a content perspective, eCommerce can be much more evergreen than “WordPress news” and analysis. So the processes for Commerce Notebook are much more about visitor engagement and conversion, followed by drip content and resources to keep them engaged. So it’s less day-to-day staying on top of every tiny thing in the ecosystem than with my corner of the WordPress world.
Anyway, I don’t need to get to into all of that. You should definitely read the welcome post, where I “introduce” the site, and myself to the eCommerce community.
Post Status members will of course have special access to many things I do at Commerce Notebook. But follow along over there, because it’s definitely a different journey than Post Status, and I’m really excited about it.
More to come?
These aren’t my only objectives for 2017. In fact, I think to make Commerce Notebook most successful, I need to dip my toes into physical eCommerce at some point. I’m already spinning around how best to do that. At a bare minimum, it means finally putting all this swag I have around up for sale!
This year, I felt myself sometimes running out of stories to tell. I tell the best stories when I’m doing a lot of different things, learning, and engaging. Those activities had their lulls at times this year, and it showed. I know I can be a lot more efficient with Post Status, so my challenge to myself is to utilize that efficiency while embracing these new projects.
Just developing new features for Post Status and building a new (albeit very similarly designed) website have me ready to go with stories I want to tell.
So, I may fail this year. But I will have tried! I hope you stick with me through these new endeavors, and that you follow along. You all as customers mean so much to me, and I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunities you’ve given me.
Here’s to 2017! 🍻