Transparency Report #1 – April 2016

May 3, 2016| Mike Stott

It’s taken me ages to commit to writing this type of monthly report. Ages. Why? I’ve always been scared that it comes across as bragging or shouting hey look at me, things are selling..  I don’t want to become ‘that guy’ or be like the image below


No one wants to be that guy. However, I’ve been reading a lot of other blogs that do share this type of information and our recent opinion poll, showed a whopping 81% of you believe that this is something that should be done. It’s interesting. It may help you learn what has gone well, and what could have been done differently. I hope it inspires you.

Do what scares you.

One area that I know we need to improve is bug fixes, we develop fast and push out updates and well, all bugs have software, then it takes a few iterations to stabilise and then by that point new features are underway and the cycle begins again. This can’t go on.

You’ll have seen that I recently quit my job. So things will get better here when I’ve the time to fully focus (in a few months). These transparency reports give me something to look back on. To compare the future to. I’m starting to build the habit.

So, how did April go. I’m still working on enhancing the sales reporting system we use (so CodeCanyon is just shown as a single slug when commissions are paid via PayPal), and I’ve decided to hang it all out in the open, freelance included.

Update: I have now developed the sales reporting system I use to show CodeCanyon sales on the day they occur. This is slightly different as the payment on the 15th in the chart below the updated chart is for March sales. It also skews the picture a little.

Updated chart

[UPDATE: 1st Feb 2017. The Sales Dashboard in Zero BS CRM has been improved to have transaction tagging. This means I can filter transactions. The featured image shows the position allowing for full splitting]

As previously mentioned, I’m including freelance in the charts however given how sporadic freelance can be I’m going to strip that out for the transparency reports as well as introduce new Sales Analysis as I develop the internal tool for tracking sales. There’s some cool charts I’m working on and I’ll share these as updates to this post.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 15.22.41

Updated chart – without freelance and ebooks

Sales from eBooks are also included in the chart, these are personal small books not related to WordPress which make a small amount each quarter ($20 to $40). I don’t promote these books or do anything with them, true passive income (but small amounts).

[coming soon]

Previous chart

The previous chart had a mismatch between month’s sales for CodeCanyon and a large spike on the 15th when commissions are paid via CodeCanyon. This accounts for the difference in the overall sales volume between the first and last chart below.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 16.42.17

It’s not in the $100,000’s, but it’s respectable. There have been some hefty chunks of freelance in there but generally I try and focus the freelance towards features which can benefit the products in the whole (rather than something totally different, like building a website for pink cars).

CodeCanyon I’ll be enhancing the reporting tool to pick up the day-by-day sales but for the time being it will be kept as a single slug on the 15th.

I won’t go into the detail of the freelance due to client confidentiality, however if you find that I’m doing way too much freelance slap me. I want to keep things focussed on the two areas highlighted in the post where I quit my job (which is WordPress  plugin+theme development, and the web-app challenge).

How did the Direct and CodeCanyon sales breakdown?

As mentioned above, I’m still working on our internal tool for this, so April’s report I’m bringing the information from my trusty Google Analytics (that’s a lie, as analytics is flawed if someone doesn’t return to your site after purchase). Also it misses the information from my second CodeCanyon account (as they only allow analytics for Elite authors – yes, I’m only elite with one of my accounts there)….  and they won’t let me combine accounts, so hey, that’s a gripe for another day.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 16.58.20

The Conversion Rate always slightly concerns me, it’s diluted due to the number of demo websites and the ways in which visitors actually convert, also I’m tracking things under this account like hits on the help site. So it’s a metric I don’t trust 100% but I do give it attention. My internal sales tracking system will be cleaner breakdowns of item sales, but in the meantime this’ll have to do (pretty aint it).

So what went well, what did I do and what didn’t I do?

This section will get more meaty as I have more focus and time to try new things with the site, but one thing I didn’t do this month just gone (but I did a couple of months ago) was run an end of month ‘fire sale’. So direct sales died off near the end of the month. I may run one of these at the end of May – so keep your eye out – I send these to the mailing list with some pretty hefty discounts.

There’s a ton of other things I didn’t do too, but time is my enemy at the moment, here’s to the future and I hope to be able to write many more of these reports.

It’s great to have you along for the ride. If you have any questions about the metrics or in general, please do comment 🙂

Categories: Transparency

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