November Income Report

episode-97

In November, I acquired Mail2Cloud to double my monthly user base, installed a pop-up to drive activations, and spent $3500 to launch new website TheTopInbox.com.

Activation Pop-Up Post 2pm

I’m aggressively testing ways to get new users who install the chrome extension to send their first scheduled email. If they do this, they are more likely to use the tool more in the future, get more value from it, and become a paying customer.

The popup gets activated the first time someone opens the gmail compose window after 2pm on their local time. It says:

Hey, its getting late!

Most people don’t check their email this late in the afternoon.

You should schedule this email to be sent later at 6am tomorrow morning.

That way you’ll be at the top of their inbox right when they jump into their email in the morning!

They’ll be more likely to see your email, open it, and respond! [close Thanks for the Tip!]

Brad Feld describes the importance of driving new user satisfaction and decreasing churn in his recent article. In short, more founders should focus on driving adoption and decreasing churn versus pure user growth.

Blockbuster Deal: Acquired Mail2Cloud to Double User Base

My first email to Mail2Cloud was a cold email to their sales department on June 21st, 2016. The deal took 6 months to complete and I paid a deal price I barely liked:

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I found the extension by looking through the Google Chrome app store and seeing that the tool had a healthy user base and over 2000 reviews. This sort of legacy in the chrome store is very valuable and very difficult to buy:

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It did basically the same thing that SndLatr.com did (another tool I own):

  1. Schedule emails to be sent later
  2. Track email opens
  3. Set reminders in your inbox

This acquisition added almost 34,000 users to the tool however the challenge is in getting them to re-authenticate with the extension to actually start using it. If I can’t do that, 34,000 users is just a pointless vanity metric.

As part of the acquisition, I made the commitment to rebrand the Mail2Cloud product to TheTopInbox.com which had no branding, no website, and no history as of November 1st, 2016.

Here’s how I made that happen.

Spent $3500 To Launch TheTopInbox.com

I paid a local austin agency $2500 to design this and a developer $1000 to code it (hired using my Facebook update). Scrappy baby!

As I’m building the suite of tools that Sales People love using, I’m executing a combination of investments by my own Toptal development team and acquisitions of other companies.

I’m letting most of the tools I acquire keep their old names like http://sndlatr.com so no one knows how powerful or big my real userbase is.

Bragging about this only makes me a target. Some estimating over 1m weekly active SDR and Account Executive users.

With the Mail2Cloud extension I had to rebrand it and launched TheTopInbox.com to play off my podcast The Top Entrepreneurs which just passed 3,000,000 downloads.

These are the first 10 things I did to grow the podcast.

Here is the resulting site (click for full experience and pay careful attention to what I did on mobile):

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-6-47-54-am

By placing product ideas across the top it makes it easy for me to study heatmap data (I use this tool to do this) to see what folks are most interested in.

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-6-50-55-am

This heatmap shows me that most visitors are clicking “Mail Tracking” over the other 3 features across the top (maybe I should invest more there!) and that about 10% of cold traffic actually clicks “Add to Gmail”.

Additionally, I use HotJar to get screenshare recordings of what users are actually doing on TheTopInbox.com:

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-4-25-57-pm

Here is an example of a live video.

I use these recordings to see how the site appears on all mobile devices and browser combinations along with desktop types and browser combinations.

Hot Tip: When Neil Patel came on my show and told me he gets 4000 new customers from Youtube every month, I decided to try his strategy out. 

When you search for “Send Email Later Gmail” in Youtube now, you’ll see this tutorial video ranking very close to the top because I’m using TheTopInbox.com to drive it views:

Think of this like visual SEO. The future 😉 Will report next month on how many customers I get from this.

Alright, let’s get into what you care about. Income and expenses.

Income/Expenses

These income and expense numbers do not include income from the Podcast, or any other of my business ventures except for TheTopInbox.com.

Total Software Subscription TheTopInbox/SndLatr Income: $2,269

Total Expenses: $16,168

Expense Breakdown:
Advertising $0
Car and truck $19
Contract labor $11,919
Meals and entertainment $1,032
Office expenses $24
Other business expenses $1,375
Supplies $108
Travel expenses $1,849
Utilities $398

$11,919 Contract Labor Notes:

Expenses are only expenses related to TheTopInbox.com. For example, $11,919 spent on contract labor was a combination of product updates I paid my toptal developer to do, $3500 I spent to have the website done, and other contract labor I use for my podcast.

TopTal: $2185 (I hire the worlds top 3% of developers using Toptal and pay them as contractors so I can keep 100% equity in my company) Here is a breakdown of the payments to my developer in November:

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-4-05-25-pm

$1,375 Other Business Expenses Notes:

Drip: $1 (Use this for marketing automation, like more than Infusionsoft, and like the drag and drop editor so I don’t have to hire a developer to code my marketing funnels)

Acuity Scheduling: $10 (I use this to schedule user feedback calls in my calendar. The tool gives me a link which I send to people I want to meet with and they can then pick a time. Saves me email back and forth)

HostGator: $36.85 (Renewed hosting on several domains, bought new domain for new project which will be revealed next month)

SndLatr: $5 (Use to set email reminders, schedule emails to be sent later)

GoToWebinar: $265.43 (Use this to close $50/mo new customers on my software products). Will probably cancel this soon and switch to Google Hangouts.

Leadpages: $97 (Use for webinar landing pages)

SumoMe: $20 (Use for email capture on this blog. Blog list now over 45,000)

What’s coming up in December

I’m working on 2 more acquisitions which should close before the end of the year and double our user base again.

Will keep focusing on driving up usage along with letting people buy annual $50 plans (new – didn’t have in November).

I’ve also been offered many deals from potential partners and investors in the business. I’ll share more in December about how I analyze those deals and if I decide to take one or not.

I’m analyzing one currently that is a multi-million dollar deal.

Will hang in comments for a bit to answer questions!

 

  • Michael

    Thanks for sharing so much of your bussiness insights. Just noticed thetoponbox.xom is not working.

    • Jason

      Thanks Nathan. I will be paying close attention to watch how you grow. Michael, it’s http://www.thetopinbox.com. You have the top “on” box.

  • Rob

    Thanks Nathan for this peek into your system(s). I’m going to use some of these tools and processes in our new startup.

  • Really appreciate your transparency. Trying to convert your techniques into ones used for mobile developement. You must be rubbing off in me because I actually paid a Dev to start updating my games instead of me doing it myself. Big difference already. Thanks!

  • Rubbing off on me(iPhone keyboard).

  • Blossom

    Pretty cool… following you

  • Do you mind sharing the name/website of the local firm you used to design the site?

  • Jicouple Tran

    good