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Transparency Report #19 – October 2017

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Last week I published September’s transparency report a little late due a lot of reasons. Today I’m publishing the 19th of these reports covering October’s activity.

In this report I’m covering a lot more about the marketing side of things (and whether it’s worthwhile) as well as WordCamp sponsorships!

These reports will also cover the financials, this time there’s another change (when I include recurring renewals) to the display which will show the general progression of the revenue from plugins, themes and zero bs crm.

Financial Overview

That’s the usual chart you’re using to seeing. However going forwards (and this will be easier to notice in the November report) the chart I’ll be sharing is the one below

This shows the progression but also includes Renewal income. In October 2017 we had the first couple of renewals in (totalling $21.99) so hard to see on the chart. Renewals were fully enabled for all sites (Epic Plugins, Epic Themes and Zero BS CRM) throughout November, December and January so as the months progress this should stand out a little more.

Things have been going well still for Zero BS CRM. As the days go by though we always think “Oh man, it’s not going that well this month”. Then at the end of the month it kind of turns out OK.

This is because at the moment we aren’t selling daily, and each day with zero sales plants that little seed of doubt in your mind as a product seller.

Still, I can’t complain personally with revenue figures around $6k for October, however it’s worth remembering that Zero BS CRM is a joint venture, and we’ve been spending revenue on various marketing activities the past couple of months… so onto the marketing side (which has been a lot of fun!)

Zero BS CRM – Marketing Fun

I quite like including this chart below, as we use it to track the cashflow after expenses (but before we withdraw any “profit”). The last time I wrote like this I was recommended Profit First to read. While this was a different take on matters, it was primarily focussed on people without a financial background (I was an Actuary before making the move to running my own business, so I’m more than comfortable running projections like this and knowing how much to leave for distributions) 🙂 #firstworldproblems

So, even though Zero BS CRM *almost* broke $4k again in October (we ended at $3995!) the actual cashflow was lower than when we were just under $3k. This is because we have started giving back to the WordPress community. We’ve done that by sponsoring WordCamps.

What’s a WordCamp (I’m presuming it’s the same capitalisation as WordPress…) they’re great community events run by local people. They cover talks, networking and (usually) some free tasty grub. I wrote about attending my first WordCamp in more detail in this post.

For the WordCamps that we couldn’t attend in person we gave our tickets to some of our Zero BS CRM happy users. So that they could benefit from the talks (and help us get the word out about Zero BS CRM).

 

WordCamp Manchester

This is my home town. So I would have loved to be able to attend in person. However I was double booked at a wedding so I couldn’t make it this time.  🙁 it was too late to arrange a ticket give-away here. Next time we’ll be there in force though.

WordCamp Baltimore

We decided to also sponsor some US WordCamps (since they fell in our sponsorship window). The majority of UK WordCamps were ending but there’s still plenty of WordCamps happening in the United States.  We sent one of our CRM users acquaintances (the actual user couldn’t attend at short notice) but the attendee had great fun (and tweeted about us a lot) 🙂 thanks for taking the time to attend 🙂

WordCamp Seattle

We did the same with WordCamp Seattle and sent one of our CRM users there (with some swag too) to represent. Scott was able to attend a couple of talks and do a bit of networking. The busy life of an Entrepreneur though meant he had to also deal with his customers (and make some emergency deliveries). Check him out if you’re around Seattle 

We are also sponsoring…

WordCamp US

We went quite large (for us) with our sponsorship of the main US WordCamp coming up in December (1st to the 3rd). We’ll be there with some swag and also sending a couple of our CRM users yet again (lead by Dave, our happy CRM user)

What’s more (and shipping permitting) they’ll be attending wearing our brand new “season 1” t-shirts for Zero BS CRM

… as well as us representing at the event with 2,000 stickers available from the swag area so pick one up if you’re there 🙂

Also…   Woah.. landmark bucketlist achievement… Matt Mullenweg spoke to us…

Granted, it was to let us know WordPress.com now support 3rd Party plugins, so anyone who is on the business plan over at wordpress.com can use our Zero BS CRM and it’s extensions.  The change Matt suggested is now in the first FAQ of the extensions bundle page.

WordCamp Sau Paulo

Why would we sponsor this WordCamp you may ask? We can’t speak Spanish.. (or Brazilian Portuguese)

But, our CRM is fully translated into these languages and our very own support star, Diego, is based there and will be attending on our behalf.

Again, he’ll be rocking a Zero BS CRM t-shirt (again, assuming we’re not let down by shipping)

 

Does sponsoring pay off?

I think it’s a little selfish to think this way, but as a business owner any “marketing spend” should be tracked as to whether it’s returning on the investment ($$s spent). This lets you know whether to do more of this.

I can (directly) attribute at least one bundle sale to a WordCamp sponsorship, but there’s added non-financial benefits of sponsoring events like this, such as

  • Sponsoring gives back to the community and helps these events keep going
  • Attending in person, you can meet some good friends and potential business partners
  • We’ve been able to send people on our behalf (which makes us feel happy)
  • Matt would never have found us without our sponsorship (so it does get your product in front of eyes)

Granted, the return would be 10x if we could personally attend (and this time next year, assuming no major product issues) we’ll be attending more of these events. I’d encourage anyone to attend these if it’s up their street and they either use WordPress or sell products for it.

What’s coming up next for Epic and Zero BS CRM

The good news is that in October we took the plunge and took Zero BS CRM from a “side project” of Epic Plugins to it’s own company and product. This means we can fully split out the income and expenses and it also gives us more incentive (it just feels more of a real thing to us, even though in reality nothing has changed).

We have some great new additions on the way in our roadmap for Zero BS CRM and these include

  • Automations – take the pain out of doing things yourself and let our CRM robot automations help you
  • Mail Campaigns v2.0 – boosting the features of this great extension to really rival other email marketing software
  • Twilio – send SMS from your CRM to your contacts (all from your contact’s CRM pages)

If you’ve not used Zero BS CRM yet, it’s the perfect product for you to manage your customer relations with and you can join other happy Entrepreneur’s by purchasing the Entrepreneur’s Bundle Today (and lock into the current price for good)

Until next time 🙂 where I’ll be looking at the renewal experience of Epic Plugins and Epic Themes as they start to come through.

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3 thoughts on “Transparency Report #19 – October 2017

  1. “I think it’s a little selfish to think this way, but as a business owner any “marketing spend” should be tracked as to whether it’s returning on the investment ($$s spent). This lets you know whether to do more of this.”

    There’s definitely nothing wrong thinking about your return. A sponsorship is framed as an investment and many businesses that sponsor a WordCamp don’t see a positive return. It’s super helpful to know that. Then you can make the educated choice on how much you’re spending to give back.

  2. Mike/Woody,
    Loved the transparency!! You guys are trying so hard and doing so many things right!! Why not make easy for us to know more about you, and your products. I know ZBS well (and love it!!) but I don’t know what else you do. I would rather know less about the finances and more about other ways you can solve more problems for me.

    If you ever need a testimonial, I am here. I am now running multiples sites with 5K contacts and it works. Integration with WOOCommerce works great too. I am soooo looking forward to some of the automation and tagging features coming up.. and YES Campaign 2.0 because I know you two poured your heart into it!!

  3. Good stuff Mike! Keep up the marketing efforts — they’ll pay back in dividends over time!

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