/ Backstage

Two months after Muna launched

by eelco

Just about two months ago, I “launched” Muna. In parenthesis, because it was no big confetti-music-dancing-champagne launch-party, just me who changed some DNS records. Yeah, living that solo-founder life. About 30 days ago, I wrote about the first 30 days. Now again, after 60 days. First off for me to think about the things that went well and not so well, and for you to get a view backstage.

I was fortunate enough to have some beta users who turned customers to share this “special moment” with. Most of the last 30 days I focused on marketing again and only spent a limited amount on shiny new product things.

New features

Since I spend 80% on marketing, I don’t focus on new features too much. Though some really nice additions were added. These are all based on direct feedback from the earliest users. I really enjoy this time in the business the most, since you know every user and their companies personally (note-to-self: try to keep a personal connection with every user for as long as possible).

“Keep a personal connection with every user for as long as possible.”

Some of the new features were:

Easier to pick dates

A nice, and needed, change and win is a “date picker” written in JavaScript. The former way did work with just simple HTML select fields but was clunky, to say the least.

Introduce new hires to your team

Another really nice new feature is the ability to automatically send an introduction email about a new hire to all employees in your company. This is a surprisingly strong feature: keeping everybody in the loop about new hires, makes for greater bonding.

Smoother navigation

The navigation within the app had a complete overhaul. It takes up less space now—leaving more room for the real content. The background can now also be changed to match your branding (see organisation settings).

Confirm user emails

Formerly not needed, but every new user needs to confirm their email for some features to fully work. This is mostly to prevent malicious use of the app.

Small bugs

Various smaller bugs have been fixed. There’s is still a limited list of (known) bugs that are mere annoyances. I do have extended the test-suite of the app too.

Stats

The stats. The numbers. Those digits some of us business owners obsess over (I still look at some numbers too much, interpolate freely, and dream about a bright and happy future). I am a realist, so let’s see what the real numbers say.

Customers

None of the customers churned since they subscribed and are actively using the product. They also provide some amazing feedback (I’ll get that Guide UX sorted -really soon, Kevin!). Also really happy to welcome three new customers, all not bigger than 30 employees. Just slightly below the target I set for myself.

Accounts

There’s a total of 36 accounts. These are accounts with some activity since sign up. This number is fairly high compared to the customers, I think, and only a small percentage will likely convert. I “blame” traffic from the wrong channels for this. I’m purging accounts with no activity at all after 30 days of signup (with a heads up if a valid email is available). This is currently a manual job but will be automated soon. I don’t mind people go and try the service, but having stale data is a waste of resources (one that is limited to a bootstrapped business!).

“Don't focus on the wrong marketing channels. Hang out at the places your ideal customers is too”

Other numbers

Daily visits, mostly to the blog, are fairly consistent, but a bit lower than I am comfortable with. I reckon that when adding more content, i.e. blog posts, and focusing more on SEO, this will increase. This is still the kind of traffic that’s most valuable since the content is (and should be) highly focused on my target audience.
The one number that is way too low is the newsletter signups. I still believe it’s valuable to have an engaged email list. People that are interested in the business, the topics the blog covers or are interested in behind the scenes from running a solo-business (with an article like this).

On marketing

I focus my efforts mainly on marketing. Last period this was no different. This still is not easy. The return on investment is not immediately visible, which makes it really hard to be consistent. That's likely the reason people tend to focus on the product (design, code) since you immediately see results.

Cold email outreach

The hardest thing to do of all. Even though I know and do bring actual value: cold-selling is tough and doesn't come naturally to me. I need to rethink this strategy and extract the things that work and remove what did not. Easier said than done. The results of it have been slow and low, to say the least, but one or two possible leads have come from it these last days.

Twitter content

Through some interesting content I source myself, the Twitter following has been slowly growing, thus are the referrals to the site. Finding leads through Twitter (use Tweetdeck's searches) and starting a conversation has been helpful too.

Articles on the blog

I wrote four articles about specific subjects that should be useful to my target audience. Little traffic is coming from searches (DDG, Google, Bing), but looks like there is a small uptick. I do need to share it on more, different and more niche places. I am cross-posting to Medium, but that's a crowded place and not easy to find the right audience.

I did post my “Running a business is 80% marketing and only 20% product” on IndieHackers. It's doing quite well and currently is in the top 10 of “top post of all time”. While this, after more than 20 days, still results in traffic to the website, it's not valuable traffic, since it's not my target audience (IndieHackers is a site for people that want to or have just started a business).

Answers on Quora

I just recently started to answers questions on Quora. There's little traction going on—nothing big—but I enjoy helping and I can pitch Muna a little bit.

There are still some ideas floating around about “side-projects as marketing”. This is still something I am exploring but feels a bit premature still at this stage.

All my marketing efforts are manual tasks, a.k.a. “things that don't scale”. And this is totally fine and expected. I do need to think how to be even more precise with my targeting. I currently describe my audience as “small online/saas businesses”. And while these are easy to target in terms of lingo (developers, developers, developers!), it's not precise enough. Ideally, they should be in the stage that their number of employees is growing and are still managing all things employees manually. If you know or are such company who wants to join some other happy customers, say hi.

About plans and pricing

I mentioned this in the previous blog too, but changing the pricing based on number of employees is now top on of my list. I've chatted with customers, and the conclusion is that this makes just much more sense. Muna will be cheaper for existing (and future) customers too. Revenue will take a hit short-term, but by doing it soon, I hope this will help increase customers/revenue long-term. Next to user-based pricing, I am looking into “add-ons”. There are some features in the making that would do great as options (not needed for every organisation) and thus great as add-ons too. I'll share more once there is more.

Concluding words

The last 30 days have been interesting and exciting. Although most numbers are lower than I hoped for, overall I am happy with what is going on. Muna is profitable, but not close to the goals I have set for it. Obviously, this is calculated, and the only way is forward.
I am also happy that I greatly reduced the time I work on Muna now. A lot(!) of hours were put in the first stages of development, thus am glad I can now enjoy other activities besides things behind a screen.

Onwards to the next 30 days!

Let me know if you have any questions after reading this article.

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