One Person Business: Better Sheets
$100k revenue in 2 years, selling Google Sheets tutorials. Interview with the founder inside
A gentle reminder that I’m doing a referral giveaway. More details here.
Launched in 2020, Better Sheets is a great place to go and learn how to utilize Google Sheets for data manipulation and analysis, automation, data visualization, and aesthetic design.
Andrew sells access to a vast number of resources that range from styling your sheets better to becoming a power user. He currently offers 186 videos and 8 courses on the matter.
The pricing model is pretty straight-forward:
Free, $0: see what's going on. Gain access to a small set of videos to test the waters;
Monthly, $19: access to all videos, courses, and topics. Better suited for people seeing if this product is as fit for them;
Yearly, $190: access to all videos, courses, and topics. Better suited for people committed to getting the most out of Better Sheets;
Lifetime: pay once, own it forever.
But who better to tell us about this, than Andrew himself. He was kind enough to answer a couple of questions to help us out better understand his business. It’s a very short interview, as I’m still figuring out if this is a good concept for this context. If you do enjoy it, please let me know and I’ll try to do more in the future. So let’s get to it.
Some parts of this might have been edited for clarity, and changes have been approved by Andrew.
What's your background?
I have a degree in theatre. Grew up in Florida, USA, moved to Chicago after college and spent 4 months there before returning to Florida to work on Cruise Ships in the theatre. My hope was to do film/video and I ended up getting a promotion and working on ships as a Broadcast tech. Then I got a new job working with digital signage, where I learned a lot about IT infrastructure, content, and ExcelVBA of all things. After that, I left ships and went to Los Angeles. Worked in film/video for a couple of years then got a full-time job. Within 2 months got a promotion to be the "Google Sheets Guy" at the office. The official title involved Digital Operations. Worked in broadcast television for 5 years, behind the scenes. Ended up leaving to pursue my own projects running a newsletter and trying to build a SaaS.
How many attempts (failed or not) did it take you to get to a profitable product like Better Sheets?
I've had side projects and side-hustles seemingly all my life, to varying degrees of success. While I floundered with jobs in L.A, I grew a social media growth hacking agency. Was at one point doing over $3k a month on the side. Was also running a newsletter that brought in $1k to $2k a month but it was spiky income as I was selling ads. After quitting my job, I hired a designer and developer to build a SaaS for my clients. It failed after I didn't monetize it and Instagram crushed my agency's role in growing accounts. I knew it was coming for months/years and worked on other projects, but just didn't do it fast enough - had terrible positioning and also didn't monetize it. I tried to build a database and SaaS around the newsletter, which fueled the growth but not the revenue. Sold the newsletter in 2020. I failed at working with a cofounder to build a tool for newsletters in 2020 as well. But it was the start of Better Sheets. On April the 3rd 2020 I started Better Sheets, as a side project.
How did you come up with the idea for Better Sheets?
I had a unique skill in doing Google Sheets - some people told me. I was employed for 5 years doing Google Sheets and was looking to create a fun creative place people could get inspired to do more with Sheets than they ever imagined. Thus that's how I started Better Sheets. 8 videos in 24 hours, a landing page with Carrd, and Gumroad for payment.
What's your current MRR, and how long did it take you to get there?
MRR is still under $100 a month but my revenue per month is over $4k. Since I mainly sell lifetime subscriptions.
Side note: you can learn more about the numbers in a recent Indie Hackers post.
Are you still a solopreneur, or have you hired someone to help you? If so, why?
I run Better Sheets day to day by myself. I make all the videos and run the website. The 1st two iterations of the website I made myself. The third one, which launched on the 3rd of April, 2022 (two years after starting), I started in Ruby on Rails. But I quickly got ahead of myself and couldn't figure out how to program a few things I wanted. So I hired a part-time contractor for the last two weeks of the year (2021). He worked fast, he was fun to work with and produced good code. I brought him on for a longer contract (part-time still) from February to April to launch the new site. I also have continued to work with him and look forward to working more as the project grows.
If you could give one piece of advice to people jumping on the solopreneur bandwagon, what would that be?
Charge for your work. It's something I wish I told myself 4 years ago. Validation can be easily lost, when you give something for free and then try to charge later. You get much faster "validation" when you charge upfront. I wrote a book about it: https://kampheyapproved.gumroad.com/l/charge.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I'm training others on Google Sheets, who wish to add revenue to their business, agency, consultancy, and coaching services. I hope to see more one person businesses in the future.
Thank you Andrew for the availability to answer these questions. For the people reading this, Andrew has quite the indie hacker background. I recommend you check the timeline on his personal website to learn more, and maybe find some inspiration for yourself.
This is a good Twitter thread
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Until next time - Guilherme
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