Be Bold, Be Brave, But don’t be stupid

October 29, 2016| Mike Stott

There’s a lot of decisions to be made when running your own business. Especially when running a digital online business like epic plugins. Here at epic plugins we sell premium WordPress Plugins and premium WordPress themes.

I, Mike, am the director of the Company (Epic Plugins Limited) and this is now my full time job. I have to take this seriously. Any decisions made which are the wrong ones can directly impact my own livelihood.

So today I want to write about some of the big decisions I’ve made recently. I also want to cover why I wasn’t stupid (or at least why I still listen to your feedback on my decisions).

The decisions I want to cover in this post is the following:

  1. My decision to move to a subscription based payment model – and the feedback received
  2. My decision to move all my plugins away from CodeCanyon (for ‘mikemayhem30303’) – and whether I’ll move the other ‘epicplugins’ account to direct
  3. My decision to quit my job – an update on how I’m feeling, and what I want to focus on

Moving to a subscription based payment model

This change is a raw, very recent change. It’s an emotive change. It’s perceived as a change which is asking for a bigger commitment from you. In the post about moving to a subscription model I also mentioned I was moving away from PayPal. The reasons for this were:

  1. PayPal doesn’t allow subscription switching without a special account (which is hard to get in the UK – rumours have it your subscription business needs to be up at 5k pcm before they allow it)
  2. PayPal can be pretty brazen at times with their responses and their refund ‘not as described’ and ‘sold on eBay’ as options aren’t great

But, let’s not be stupid. This move away from PayPal got quite a lot of feedback. PayPal is still loved by the masses and it’s trusted. Stripe still has some ways to go with that.

Edit – here’s the response from PayPal (reference transactions is required for allowing subscription switching)..as feared it isn’t straightforward.

Thank you for contacting PayPal regarding enabling reference transactions.

I understand you need reference transactions enabled on your account however reference transactions are the highest risk product that we offer and to be enabled for reference transactions it requires an application process.

In order for this to happen you need to be vetted and underwritten or have a service added onto your PayPal account called Virtual Terminal and Website Payments Pro which have a combined cost of £20.00 per month. You do need to go through an application process and also a telephone discussion so we gather more information from you.

I was to keep offering PayPal as a payment processor I needed to make another change. I needed to stop offering ‘levels’ of subscription. That’s the ‘personal’, ‘plus’, ‘professional’ type licenses at 3 or 4 different prices.

I had a look at the data on the sales since the levels licensing was introduced. Almost 99% of people purchase a personal license. So this decision was pretty easy. Simplify my pricing. Don’t alienate my customers.

So… PayPal is now back. It’s back because of your feedback.

Moving all my plugins away from CodeCanyon

You’ll see in my upcoming transparency report that CodeCanyon is mucking around even more. They’ve now rolled out ‘Author driven pricing’ which puts a pricing decision into the hands of the authors. It means you’ll get a devaluation of creatives work as people try lowering their prices to stoke sales. However, CodeCanyon is still a good source of traffic for me.

The decision here is do I still want to sacrifice getting the customer’s information (and save their 30% commission) or do I want to keep getting traffic from them and capture the customer data another way.

For now, I’ll be keeping the epic plugins account on CodeCanyon. Even if it is giving me pain.

Quitting my job

This ones an easy one. It took me almost 2 years to make the decision to leave my 9-5. Even when I did leave I signed a contract to go back and help them out for 15 days until they found a replacement. While I still have loyalty to the Company that I started at after I graduated (totalling 7 years there), each time I go back is harder. Each time I go back I am reminded of the reasons I wanted to leave

  • Traffic sucks. It really does. This time of year when everyone is back to work following holidays. When the schools are back. Traffic sucks the life out of me.
  • Meetings, meetings and meetings. OK I’ve not had to attend any in my days back. People still go to them. People still waste time in them. Especially when it’s a large ‘cross business unit meeting’.
  • Performance reviews, office politics, ‘away days’. I don’t know why this is central to big companies operations. Sure it’s good to critically review yourself each year (and I do in my annual review on here) but to then have to fit into a ‘pathway’…   I want to walk off the path.

So do I miss it? I miss the people. I don’t miss the work. But I still see the people. So it’s not all bad. If you’re thinking of quitting your job to focus on your own business here’s my main take away

  • Take the risk. But do it once you have a business which pays your bills. Don’t worry that your business has to replicate your current salary. Work from the bottom up – what’s your minimum income needed. Once you have a business doing that in revenue then make the move.
  • Longer term, you’ll find more opportunities and gradually you’ll find the extra time you have you end up making cool things.

I hope this helps you if you ever have to make a big decision in your business. Sometimes it’s not clear until a good few months (or even years) after the decision as to whether it’s the right one.

My new way of thinking

After all this I’ve come to a new way of thinking. I’ll be sharing this in the upcoming transparency report. If you’ve not signed up to hear about the latest news from me you can do so using the form below.

Categories: Epic Plugins

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