October, 2020, marked five years of Dans’ family living in Mauritius. He posted an AMA on Twitter
From October 21, 2020, Dan had been with his wife for longer than he hadn’t been.
Informal Income Update
- June was the first month he earned over $3k from side projects
- In July, revenue from side projects equaled 51% of his salary.
- In September, income from side projects surpassed his job salary for the first time. This was due to the ilo.so launch.
- MRR and revenue for Subsail and ilo during September, 2020.
- Time from idea to $1k in revenue for his three SaaS.
Dan hit 8k followers in January, 2021. At that time, he had his best week for impressions and third best for new followers.
- In the 4 weeks leading up to July 4, 2019, he had received 289k impressions
- He got 100k tweet impressions in May, 2020. He also hit 37k impressions in the first 3 days of June.
- Correlation between amount of tweets and impressions. May/June 2020
- Twitter statistics between May – July 2020
- He got the same amount of Twitter impressions in the first 3 days of September, 2020, than he did in all of April
ilo is a Twitter analytics tool that focuses on surfacing engagement and follower metrics.
Dan started working on Ilo in July, 2020. Two days later he launched and started accepting people onto a waitlist. He had 40 alpha users within the first week. By mid August, he had reached 100 users and removed the waitlist.
It reached 300 users by September 3, which included 10 paying customers. This was partly due to the launch of earlybird pricing. The pre-launch sale generated $2,150 in revenue and led to ilo passing 400 users. It hit 498 users by September 11. At that time, it’s MRR was $47.
It launched on Product Hunt on September 17. The launch quickly led to 150 new sign ups and ilo passing $3k in revenue. Within 24 hours, 199 new users had signed up. It ended up being #2 product of the day.
Soon after, ilo was tracking 183m impressions, 49m engagements and 131k tweets. It reached 825 signups on September 20. 3 days later, ilo had $4k total revenue and 40 paying customers.
ilo in 2021
It passed $1.5k MRR in May. This was 45 days after it reached $1k MRR.
Subsail is a SaaS product that makes selling and managing magazine subscriptions easy.
Dan created the platform in 2016 and publicly launched it during Autumn, 2017.
He experimented a lot with the pricing for Substail. He shared his experiences at Subsail’s pricing journey from usage-based to tiered pricing and back again.
- In 2018, Dan ran an email newsletter about indie mags. It later grew up and became the Subsail blog. He shared the original files on Twitter.
- Subsail generates $2k a month with only 5-10 hours week each month. However, he did a lot of work on the product pre-revenue.
- April, 2020 numbers
- In May, 2020, Subsail had hit $979,290.71 in sales.
- In June, 2020, Subsail sold 659 subscriptions and processed 1,530 renewals. The total sales and renewals processed since May 2017 was $1,824,028
- 9,253 were subscriptions sold in 12 months leading to October 2020, generating $360k for indie publishers.
- It processed $2.2m in orders in three years (December, 2020.)
Magpile is a wiki-style database of magazines, curated and maintained by its users. It was the first product Dan created and was launched in 2012.
Behind The Scenes
Dan doesn’t tweet about Magpile often, but has shared a couple of behind-the-scenes facts.
- 8k+ people visit @magpilecomevery month. (June, 2017)
- The Pinterest account had over 207k monthly viewers, despite not posting on their for over a year. (May, 2019)
- There are 3.1k titles and 22.4k issues listed on the site. (September 2020)
In October, 2020, Dan announced that he was joining Sharath Kuruganty to build Shoutout. By the third call, they had the launch version scoped and ready to build. By the months end, he tweeted that he was ceasing work on the project due to time constraints.
A data and analytics platform for tracking social and sales data from across the web.
It was acquired in 2021.
Gloat is a service offering Ghost installations and updates for non-developers. It was separated into two offerings: hosted Ghost sites and ad-hoc services.
He launched a new version of the website on July 6. Later that month, he sold 7 installs in 9 days. Each install was for Ghost + members + newsletters. He completed 25 Gloat installs by mid September.
In October, he reported earning $675/month from installations. The site also generated an extra $500–$1k of custom development work each month. By January 6, 2021, he had installed 60 sites (including hosted options.)
He stopped offering Ghost theme customizations in early 2021 due to the time involved.
Dan launched a service offering Ghost hosting on November 5, 2020. He got 3 customers by mid-November. He retired the Ghost Hosting domain on November 23 in favour of
By December 16, he reached $100 MRR. At that point, Gloat was priced annually. This meant the service had higher revenue but slower MRR growth.
Cove is commenting and community platform for Ghost blogs, built on top of memberships.
Dan launched the landing page for Cove on April 11, 2020. On April 28, he published the landing page. He had 18 sign ups and 8 installs by May 4, however didn’t have any MRR.
Dan launched the MVP in May, 2020. At that time, he didn’t have all the features he had advertised. He got his first paying customer within 2 weeks. He got his second customer on June 9. Both customers bought yearly plans.
Tools for Ghost
Tools for Ghost is directory of the best hosting and add-ons for Ghost publications.
Super Themes Co.
Super Themes Co. offers modern Ghost themes for web and email publishing with memberships.
On December 20, he reported having made $1k of sales of Substation in the previous 30 days. At the end of the year, he shared an image of the linear growth of Substation theme sales.
How Dan planned to spread out—and hopefully increase—his income in 2020.
Dan launched three Saas products in 2020. This post shares how he is planning to market the products in 2021.
How Dan got started podcasting in 2012, plus some ideas on how to battle fears of recording a podcast.
How Dan uses maker platforms to become more productive in his own work, and to get inspired by other creators.