If you are a maker yourself, please, help me with your answers πŸ‘‰ The Maker Report

∕ Finance

Financially, this wasn't a great year. I would say it was a tragedy. Although I made more than one sales (17 to be exact) that didn't even cover my product-related expenses.

πŸ’Έ Product related expenses

Sum: $383.56

πŸ€‘ Product related income

Sum: $346.96

  • +
    Donation: $5 ( TheHashtagCalendar )
  • +
    Story View Pro sales: $266
  • +
    Gift Hunt Pro sales: $24.99
  • +
    Gift Hunt and Story View bundle: $34.99
  • +
    Discount Hunt: $15.98

πŸ”— Purchased domains

Number of purchased domains: 12

∕ Product stats

I could acquire a few users with all the products I launched and based on the stats from Google Analytics I reached a few thousand people. As I summarized the distribution channels it was clear that compared to product development I spent almost zero time getting my products in front of potential customers.

Hashtag Calendar

Get inspiration and find the best hashtags for your Instagram posts.

  • 40 hashtag notification subscribers

Google Analytics Stats:

  • 2 174 users
  • 7 439 pageviews
  • Avg. session duration: 1:54

Distribution channels

  • Launched on Product Hunt
  • Sent cold emails to magazines and blogs (to 10-15)
  • Added to my profile on Indie Hackers
  • Posted about it to a subreddit
  • Sent DMs on Twitter to 10 profiles with a social focus

CreativeDevJobs

Open positions and projects for developers with a creative mind.

  • 40 position alert subscribers
  • 127 published positions (collected and posted by me)
  • Number of (probably) stolen credit cards tested on the site by malicious actors: 591

Google Analytics Stats:

  • 316 users
  • 2 209 pageviews
  • Avg. session duration: 6:38

Distribution channels

  • Launched on Product Hunt
  • Sent cold emails to 30 creative agencies
  • Sent cold emails to 10 HR agencies

TWiS

Select winners from Instagram comments and mentions in business profiles.

  • 30 registered users
  • 16 draws

Google Analytics Stats:

  • 633 users
  • 2 524 pageviews
  • Avg. session duration: 2:30

Distribution channels

  • Launched on Product Hunt
  • Sent cold emails to 10 social media agencies
  • Sent cold emails to 10 blogs and online magazines
  • Sent DMs on Twitter to 10 profiles with a social focus

Story View Plugin

The plugin brings the story content format to WordPress.

  • 15 sales
  • 36 free downloads

Google Analytics Stats:

  • 2 439 users
  • 4 066 pageviews
  • Avg. session duration: 1:01

Distribution channels

  • Launched on Product Hunt
  • Sent cold emails to 150 blogs that are running on WordPress
  • Added to my profile on Indie Hackers
  • Posted about it to a subreddit
  • Submittd to ~30 smaller product directories
  • Created a Google Search Ad

Maker Goals Menubar

Manage your Product Hunt Maker Goals from your desktop.

  • 270 downloads (176 macOS, 69 Windows, 25 linux)
  • 1 Product Hunt Golden Kitty (probably "adopted" by a postman πŸ˜₯)

Google Analytics Stats:

  • 756 users
  • 1 010 pageviews
  • Avg. session duration: 0:25

Distribution channels

  • Submitted to Product Hunt Makers Festival
  • Launched on Product Hunt

Re-Product

An open market where you can trade with your unused stuff without involving real money.

  • 6 registered users
  • 8 published items

Google Analytics Stats:

  • 97 users
  • 823 pageviews
  • Avg. session duration: 5:26

Distribution channels

  • Submitted to Fixathon
  • Added to my MakerLog profile

Gift Hunt for WordPress

Online Treasure Hunt on your WordPress site.

  • 2 sales
  • less than 10 free installs

Google Analytics Stats:

  • 528 users
  • 1 474 pageviews
  • Avg. session duration: 2:08

Distribution channels

  • Launched on Product Hunt
  • Added to the WordPress free plugin directory
  • Wrote a guest post to an online magazine
  • Sent cold emails to ~15 e-commerce related magazines
  • Ran 2 Facebook campaigns
  • Posted it to Facebook groups
  • Posted it to the WordPress plugins subreddit 2 times

Discount Hunt for Shopify

Online Treasure Hunt in your Shopify store.

  • 2 paying customers
  • 7 installs

Google Analytics Stats:

  • 80 users
  • 361 pageviews
  • Avg. session duration: 3:14

Distribution channels

  • Added to the Shopify App Store
  • Ran a short Google Search campaign
  • Mentioned in a comment on Product Hunt
  • Sent to 65 Shopify stores

∕ Tech stack

tech stack

Learning new things and refreshing my dev skills was one of my goals after I "returned to the keyboard", so I started the year by getting familiar with Netlify and Jekyll to set up my personal site.

After that, I completed the JavaScript 30 course which was on my list for a while and I used my newly acquired knowledge to build the HashtagCalendar.

For Quizy (which I haven't launched officially) I used Docker to set up my local dev environment and as the core feature of this product was to store the collected information in a Google spreadsheet, I got familiar with the Google Sheets API.

This was the first time I configured a VPS (on Linode) to host my application. Luckily, I had some dev ops experience previously, so at least I know what to search for. First, I created a simple LEMP environment, later I also had to set up Node for other projects.

Although I didn't officially launch Quizy, it became the first application where I had to implement some kind of payment gateway. For that, I used Braintree (and their Drop-in UI).

While building CreativeDevJobs I became familiar with the Google Jobs API and also used AMP for the first time.

For TWiS I had to recall my Facebook API knowledge, but this time I implemented some Instagram endpoints. A few things has changed since I last used their API, but most of it was the same.

Story View bacame my first WordPress plugin completely developed by me. Because it is a premium plugin, I also had to figure out how to handle the automatic upgrade process.

I probably learned the most while building Maker Goals Menubar. Almost all the things I used were new for me ( Electron, GraphQL, Apollo, React, Node.js, Express ). Luckily, I could use this knowledge later on to build my upcoming products.

And I also used Heroku the first time for one of my applications.

I knew that I only scratched the surface of these tools, so I completed a basic Node.js course to strengthen my knowledge. And I used it to build Re-Product for Fixathon.

Gift Hunt became the first WordPress plugin I submitted to the WordPress plugin directory, so I became familiar with most of their requirements while I was working on the plugin.

And Discount Hunt was the product where I used most of the things I learned while I was building Maker Goals Menubar. React, Node.js, GraphQL, MongoDB, and Koa.js were my tools to complete this app. Oh, and of course, I got familiar with the requirements to submit an app to the Shopify App Store.

To learn all these things I used free video tutorials, blog posts, and other free resources most of the time. Luckily, the quality of freely available content is really high and this was it was easy to acquire new knowledge.

I'm extremely thankful for Wes Bos and Brad Traversy for all the great things they create and share.

∕ Goals

I had only a few goals for this year. Sadly, I couldn't reach all of them.

πŸ“š Read 6 books

I've read 8, so πŸŽ‰ You should know that I haven’t read any books for years. So for me, 8 books in a year is like 24 for someone else πŸ˜‚

β€πŸƒ Run 500km

After a small injury I reduced this goal to 250km (in my mind) and I reached that (I ran 270km), but I really wanted to run 500km so I failed this one.

πŸ’° Generate at least the same amount of income as last year

As you can see by the numbers above, I didn't even come close to this. Huge fail on this one.

πŸš€ 1 major release every month

I launched 9-10 standalone products this year and a few major updates but if I’m honest, I failed keeping the monthly release.

✍️ Publish 30 blogposts

Almost. By the time I'm working on this site I published 25 posts. That's 25 more than last year πŸ˜„ Writing my daily backlogs helped to build a habit and I’d like to keep that in the future. My goal for next year is to write blog posts mainly about my ideas and learnings and I’ll publish my daily backlogs on another platform. Probably on Indie Hackers.

Product Hunt Makers stats

  • πŸ‘ 222 of 229 goals reached!
  • πŸ™Œ 1313 cheers and comments given
  • πŸ’• 2095 cheers and comments received
  • πŸ”₯ 34 weeks streak

∕ Fun stuff

Travelling wasn't on the top of my list for this year and probably this will be the same way in 2020 as well, still, I had a few great trips with my girlfriend.

In January, we spent a few days in a small Hungarian town, called AlsΓ³petΓ©ny.

In front of our accomodation in AlsΓ³petΓ©ny

At the end of May we took a trip to Italy, and visited Padua, Venice, Nesso, Como and Milan. Lake Como is one of the prettiest part of Italy, so it was a good choice.

In the end of summer, we spent a few days at Lake Balaton and I had one of the nicest views for my morning run.

I was working on my Fixathon project during this trip, so I could try how does it feel to be a digital nomad :D First, it was strange but I got used to it pretty soon.

Morning run view

We've had a few smaller trips near Budapest during autumn, but nothing special. I was focusing on building products for the holiday season.

Don't ask me what's happening on this picture :D

∕ 2020

I haven't set my resolutions for 2020 yet, but that'll be something I'll do in the first days of next year.

I'll keep adding my goals to Product Hunt Makers (you can follow me here: @feriforgacs) and I'll also move my weekly backlogs to Indie Hackers (my IH username: feriforgacs) and I'll try to be more active on twitter as well (@feriforgacs).

∕ Summary

At the beginning of the year, my expectations were really high and I can't say I lowered them after I saw things are not going as well as I expected, so I'm not happy with my results. I'm not sad but disappointed because I think I saw what was and is the problem (lack of product "marketing") and I didn't really do much to solve it.

At the moment my problem is that I can't say that any of the products I created took off so I can't choose one to keep working on. I don't think that Story View has enough potential to become a much bigger product even though that was the most successful by the number of sales.

I think Gift Hunt and Discount Hunt have a much bigger customer base so I have to find better ways to reach them.

I'm happy I choose to go full time on my projects and I'm also satisfied that I learned and actually used a ton of new things.

I'm also happy that I had the opportunity to get in touch with other makers and felt a bit that I am also the part of this community.

Basically, this is what helped me keep going despite I didn't have much success with my products.

To win a golden kitty was something I absolutely didn't expect at the beginning of the year and although it is not going to help me pay the bills it was a huge "power-up".

I'm grateful to everybody who purchased one of my products or pushed the upvote button on Product Hunt. The cheers I got on PH makers are also really helpful when I'm running out of energy.

The small success with my products also helps me to feel more motivated than at the beginning of the year and running out of money is also motivating πŸ˜… So the first few months of 2020 will be really busy and I can't wait to see how things will work out.

2020, show me what you got. πŸ’ͺ