Today we are bringing you a case study from Jake Fisherman, a programmer who created a MacBook software that makes him $1 000 every month. In this case study, we are going through how he got the idea for the software, how he developed and marketed it, then we shall see the revenue he got for each month.
His idea was to create an audio visualizer for the touch bar on MacBook Pros.
Jake had this idea for a long time but wasn’t sure if someone had developed it already. So, during quarantine, he searched online and discovered that no one had built it. That’s when he started the journey of this project.
This is arguably the most important part of launching a successful software, affiliate site, business, etc. Jake spoke to a lot of developers about the project. The estimate was roughly in the range of $6 000 - $10 000 to develop it. Mac developers aren’t very many out there, and the complex nature of creating an audio app on Mac didn't help either.
With this big cost in mind, Jake knew this would be costly for him, and he needed to be careful with the procedures he’d take. He wasn’t sure if many people would buy the app for him to get his money back, but he felt very strongly about wanting it for himself, and that drove him forward to create the app.
Jake made a quick poll on Reddit within the Mac and MacBook Pro subreddits to see if this was something people would pay for. Over 400 people voted and the statistics were:
This definitely made him a little nervous. He spoke to many potential customers about the idea and most would say the same thing, "That's super cool! But I don’t know if you would get your money back".
Jake also posted on his YouTube channel to explain the idea, and the response was a bit reasonable. He then finally discovered that he was taking the wrong approach because he was just telling and explaining the idea in words with nothing to show. He needed to show the people what the idea would be like. So, he created an animated video of the idea and he posted it on Reddit again.
The result was that the post blew up. And the most impactful comment on there was:
"Hey, I would pay 5 bucks for this, and I'm sure other people would too" and it had a lot of upvotes.
That was when he knew that he should go forward with the project.
At that time, Jake was following many principles from the book All In Startup by Diana Kander. The main concept of the book is, "Before you put any money into your startup, you need to have concrete evidence that somebody is willing to pay for it and that you are actually targeting your customers' problems."
Creating the Software
Even after getting anonymous comment support on the Reddit post, Jake still wanted to reduce the risk in the project.
He started discussing with a new developer about creating an MVP (Most Viable Product). The new developer started working on the visual aspects of the project while he worked on learning and understanding the coding aspects of the audio parts of the program. He had taken a few Python programming courses in college, so he understood all the basics of programming, but looking at audio code written in swift was way over his head.
However, he kept at it.
It took them roughly 3-4 weeks to get the MVP done, where the app could make use of the microphone, or the audio system to gather the audio data and produce visuals based on that data. This is when he launched on Patreon.
Jake charged early adopters of the software $3/ month to get beta access, and $5/ month for beta access and to get your name on the site. By the end of the 3 months, Patreon had roughly matched the cost of paying the new developer (and two others when there was something he couldn't figure out). This panned out to about $1 200.
He saved a lot of money by learning the audio side of the program and eventually doing more coding himself. However, the biggest cost was time.
Once Jake got rolling into a groove with coding, he became addicted to learning it. Reading other people's coding journeys, it felt like a lot of others dealt with this too. Coding was all he could think about all day long. In the shower, at the gym, trying to go to sleep. Jake says:
"I distinctly remember being mid rep at the gym and going: "Yes, that's the solution to the bug I've been looking for, how did my brain just come up with that now". It was awesome and terrible at the same time because my brain was on fire while solving my coding problems but it was impossible to shut off."
Eventually, the software was ready to launch after 3 months.
Jake launched the project officially at the end of January 2021, and he couldn't be happier with the results.
The pricing model he used is $5 for a 2-year license or $10 for a lifetime.
He also uses Paddle as the revenue collection service which doubles as the licensing service. They do a great job and handle all the taxes worldwide, so he can sell to every country without worrying about tax issues. They take between 10-15% of the transaction price.
You'll notice that profit gradually went down before rising back up in May. It was quite high initially because of the launch, and it landed in a high spot on Product Hunt after being featured on the platform and made its way around social media.
Once April hit, revenue was being generated only by organic search or word of mouth. In May, the site started to rank better for more broad search terms.
Plans for the Future
After hitting the goal of making approximately $1 000/month with the software, Jake plans to write some articles to get more traffic to the website. It has some really solid backlinks from news outlets talking about the software, but the new articles will help to rank the content easily in the future.
We hope you guys enjoyed reading about his journey, and it inspires some of you to take on software projects.