Issue #3: MRR here I come! 🚀 Or maybe not? 🤔

The Stripe chart is not flat anymore

Wooooooo! 🥳 

Yeah the title and subtitle are not click-bait, it really happened! 🤣 

But it’s bittersweet as I’ll explain later.

Starting from today’s issue, I’m moving the overview of the current status to the end. Those interested in looking at the current stats can still do it, but at least we start talking about the most interesting stuff early on. 🚀 

The first paying customer

As anticipated the gross volume chart is not flat anymore! 🥳 

BUT

The MRR chart still is. 😭 

The reason is that the first paying customer already canceled the subscription. It would be more than fine as I don’t expect users to subscribe for a long period, but what hurts is the reason behind it.

User subscription cancellation

The best would probably be to reach out and ask what was the expectation and also if it was related to the job board or the CV analysis.

The plans for NextCommit

In the “To push or not to push“ section of the last week's issue I already shared my concerns about making NextCommit profitable. The TL;DR of my concerns could be summarized with:

  1. people are less inclined to spend their own money (B2C),

  2. subscriptions imply commitment, and commitment is scary, even more so if we’re talking about committing with your own money

  3. landing a job is not a consistent issue people are facing, and this makes committing to a subscription even scarier.

From the data I have right now, I cannot really extract any meaningful statistics, but let’s play this game anyway. 🤣 

I have 140 signed-up users, and 1 paying user. This results in an astonishing conversion rate of 0.7%. This is damn low, especially considering that tons of users do not even signup. 😕 

However, my organic search is also ridiculously bad. According to Google Search Console:

  • 31 clicks,

  • 186 impressions.

I don’t know what’s the acquisition channel of my first customer, but for sure organic search can be improved. Let’s just assume for a second that I’ll be able to get to 10k signed-up users with the same conversion rate, and everyone buying the monthly subscription at 11.90 EUR.

This makes an 800 EUR MRR. 😅 

Ofc, they’re not peanuts to throw away, but still way below my target goal.

I know that the math is off, but as I mentioned, with these low numbers there’s really not much that can be done, it’s more to have some VERY rough idea. Moreover, this doesn’t take into account churn which I expect will be a big component. For example, it could be that I convert 7 users every 1000, but also lose 5 every 1000.

However, the interesting thing is that reaching that amount of traffic could unlock the potential for sponsored job posts. ✨ 

This would move the business model from B2C to B2B and hopefully, conversion would improve, alongside the pricepoint.

For all these reasons, I will focus mostly on SEO instead of building other features.

But I still need to better understand why the first paying customer canceled due to “Quality less than expected“. I could have huge amount of traffic, but if the product is useless, well also the traffic is. 😅 

Programmatic SEO

I’m not at all an SEO expert 😅.

But I’m learning and experimenting and seeing what works or seems to work, and what does not.

This week I added a page for each company with the corresponding job posts.

Company page of a random company

As you see from the screenshot, there’s not much content associated other than the website and the base URL the job posts have been extracted from.

I then generated the sitemap and submitted it to Google Search Console.

8k+ pages! 🎉 

What’s in the sitemap for now? You can check it out yourself here, but basically:

  • one page for each category,

  • one page for each country,

  • one page for each company.

Are those pages going to be indexed and ranked by Google? Who knows. 😅 

Maybe they won’t because there’s not much content associated with each page, or maybe they won’t because the internal linking structure is not optimal, etc.

On the page content, this could be improved by adding an “about” section for each company, it’s not a piece of information that I currently scrape, but it should not be hard to implement. Maybe a few days?

On the internal linking structure, if you open the app you quickly realize there’s no link to go to the companies’ root page with the list of all companies. If you go to the URL https://app.nextcommit.careers/companies you see nothing. 🤣 

When I implemented those pages, I added a section in the menu as well. But when I deployed it to production the API crashed. This is the reason:

API server instance type

I was lazy and didn’t implement pagination so all the 8k+ companies in a single call were being returned and the API just crashed. 😅 

This is another easy thing to do as I’m already paginating the job posts, I just didn’t have the time to do it.

Another thing that I could do is generate one page for each job post. For those who experienced the very first version of NextCommit (you can see a snapshot here), you might remember that each entry was expandable and showed different sections “Compensation“, “Role and Responsibilities“, etc. I do have that information already, so I can do it again but on a separate page. The only caveat is that it might not be fully accurate, or the text is just the output of an LLM that hallucinated. But maybe it’s not that bad, the worst thing that could happen is probably a user complaining about wrong information while the best thing is that the app starts getting ranked higher. I’d say that it’s worth the risk. 💪 

This is also another thing that I’d like to experiment with:

Ranking higher takes time, it doesn’t automagically happen in one night. 🪄 

That’s why this week I thought a lot about other paths that I’d like to give a shot.

What should I bake next?

Lots of people in the indie hackers’ community often say:

Ship fast!

Indie hackers community

I agree with that, but I also think that it’s important to allocate the proper time for thinking and planning rather than just build and ship whatever comes to our minds. 😅 

I have a Trello board that I use to store ideas, and I already have more registered domains that live projects, so better be careful. 🤣

Considering the learnings from NextCommit, this time I’d like to work on something B2B.

No-code user journey testing

This is one of the ideas that I came up with.

The idea is to empower non-tech persons to test user journeys without engineering help.

In my career I saw this problem often where there’s a need for end-to-end testing, but never the time to implement them because of higher priority tasks on the engineering team.

But what if the engineering team is not needed anymore? 🤔 

Imagine a very simple form with just 2 fields:

  • an input field asking for a URL,

  • a text area where the user would describe what has to be tested.

Let’s take NextCommit as an example. This could look like as:

  • URL: https://nextcommit.careers

  • Text area: “Make sure that the filters are working and showing results according to the selection, and ensure that all the sections except for ‘Search’ require a login“

I also spent some time exploring it in a Jupyter Notebook to evaluate technical feasibility.

Experimenting e2e QA

I think it’s a very interesting project and the offering is very specific, which makes it a good candidate for a bootstrapped product. But at the same time, the range of cases that this could bump into is huge and unpredictable, and this puts on the table a lot of hidden complexities. 🤯 

I decided not to pursue this path as it seems like an idea that would fit a bigger team, maybe VC-backed, as it could lead to quite some effort dedicated to proper researching and handling of different scenarios.

Moreover, the currently existing solutions based on recording the actions from the browser and replicating them, such as the one offered by Datadog, are cheap and good enough.

Customer experience industry

Among all the different industries, customer experience interests me. Others like healthcare, and fintech would also be good candidates, but I’d avoid anything that might require some strict regulations. ❌ 

At the same time, customer experience is HUGE:

  • customers onboarding,

  • customers support,

  • customers retention,

  • etc.

and each requires a lot of effort.

There are quite some companies in the space like Intercom, Customerly, Crisp, Zendesk, Vitally, etc. and they’re either trying to focus on a specific area, or they’re big enough to try everything.

I had a look at those to have an understanding of what this space looks like, but I’m still wrapping up my thoughts. I also don’t want to focus too much on what exists already.

What did I do then? 🤔 

The best way to better know the problems to solve is to ask the people facing them. 😃 

I started preparing some questions and I’ll try reaching out to people who dealt to different extents with customer experience/success, ask those questions, and take notes. ✍️ 

I’ll start from my network and then move to sending cold emails or DMs on LinkedIn I guess.

Ideally, I should be able to understand the most painful problem and focus on that as a starting point. The trickiest part is probably that companies already relying on some solution would not be willing to migrate/try even a beta for free unless they’re unsatisfied with the current solution. But let’s see, one step at a time. 👣 

In the meantime, I also registered a domain. But if you’re reading this within the few days after the publication, the button does nothing as I’m still preparing the form. 😂 

So, what will I be building?

That’s the point! I don’t know yet. 😂 But I want to figure it out by talking to people. It might even happen that everyone is just happy and it just doesn’t make sense to jump in the mix.

Conclusion

Not many features or marketing updates this week, but mostly about what could come next. So the next weeks I’ll explore the customer experience space and continue working on SEO-ing NextCommit.

I’m eager to see what I’ll write in next week's issue.

I hope you enjoyed it! 👋 

If you’re interested in following my journey, make sure to subscribe or follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn!

Appendix

Overview of current status

Here are some snapshots of different stats.

NextCommit

Users

In the last 7 days, I got:

  • +43 signups, now at 139 (+45%)

  • 77 active users (sum of daily active users, not weekly unique active users) (it was 74, +4%)

Summary stats (from Clerk)

New sign-ups (from Clerk)

Active users (from Clerk)

Stripe

Gross volume (from Stripe)

Plausible Analytics

Analytics of the application usage and landing

Google Search Console

Google Search Console

Personal branding

X

X Premium analytics

Beehiiv newsletter

Active subscribers

Join the conversation

or to participate.