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Why I stopped sharing open revenue reports...for a while

Open report can inspire people and build transparency. However, you need to consume these revenue stats with critical thinking.Written on December 21, 2020 ·
5 min read
Why I stopped sharing open revenue reports...for a while

Introduction

Building in public is closely connected to sharing all your business metrics. From analytics to revenue stats, you share anything you have to establish transparency.

I'm big supported of the movement and used to follow this mindset for my products as well. But lately, I've changed my mind and stopped sharing revenue stats in a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

In this post, I want to explain the reasons behind this decision and back it up.

There are three main reasons behind the decision:

  1. Pure revenue numbers are useless
  2. People become "over-inspired"...*cough* copycats
  3. It affected my mental health

Let's deep dive into more details about those bullet points.

Pure Revenue Number Are Useless

The Open Report initiative is about sharing all your business metrics for two main reasons (at least for me):

  1. Build transparency
  2. Inspire people to follow their dreams

Lately, I've noticed a third reason that quickly gained popularity.

People tend to focus on revenue reports and pure numbers without backing up their stats. And the obvious reason is that they want to earn "easy" followers and boost up their personal/company branding.

Daily, you see people share that they reach $10k MRR with a product. They usually share their Stripe/Paddle dashboard to back it up.

It's always an impressive achievement and a huge milestone for every founder. But...

The sad reality about these numbers is that they are very subjective. And I'm gonna elaborate with an imaginary example.

A $10k MRR business has costs. These costs might be some (or all) of the followings:

  • $3k AWS costs
  • $2k GTP3 API fees
  • $3k outsourcing fees

The "real" profit might be even smaller than $1k.

But when you see the "impressive" numbers $10k MRR or $120 ARR you feel amazed!

Then, you follow these people and their "advice" blindly. You turn them into gods and neglect to admit that all these stats aim for personal branding.

Or the other hand, a maker may have a stable SaaS business with $2k MRR.

And the problem comes when makers, like this one, starts doubting their skills. They may say, "They reached $10K and I'm stuck only at $2k"

When in fact, the maker has costs between $200 - $300 and her/his business is more profitable than the previous one.

But impostor syndrome kicks in and affect his/her mental health and his/her business too.

In the whole analysis, I don't even consider the fact that makers/founders live in different countries, with different PPP (Purchase Power Parity).

Makers who operate their business from Asia, cannot compare their revenue to someone's who lives in San Francisco.

Copycats Will Always Copy

It's the obvious side effect. Once you share that your business has significant revenue, people will start copying you.

One of the most certain things in life

Sometimes competition is healthy and helps you push yourself harder, or boosts your creativity.

Sadly, most times it's just toxic.

The first time you see your work on someone's else portfolio or launch, you feel angry and disguised.

Inspiration is different than pure copying.

In the last few months, I've seen products identical to mine, with the same copies, with the same typos. I 've even seen my products with a new logo published on marketplaces.

The only good thing is that always copycats "die" quickly.

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In the end, vision cannot be copied. And without vision, no business (or person) can survive.

Protect Your Mental Health

This is the top reason why I stopped following and engaging with revenue stats for the past 2 months.

They make you feel miserable.

If you scroll on Twitter for five minutes, you'll find at least 1 person who made 100x more money than you.

Repeatedly, I caught myself comparing my work and results to other people's stats.

This comparison made me feel like I was failing.

If they make $10k per month and I don't, the problem is me or my product

In most cases, this is not true.

You cannot fast-forward success and compare your work with other people and products.

  • They may have 10x your experience.
  • Their products may be more mature.
  • They may have a bigger budget.
  • They may have a bigger community.

And the list goes on.

Of course, your product may not be good enough but you don't have to let it get you down.

For a long time, I let it control me and it made me want to quit.

But...

I found a way to fight it back and understand that I have to mind my own business and don't give a fuck about anything.

Wrap-up

In 2021, I'll start sharing stats again.

Want to be as transparent as possible and document my whole journey.

Now, it doesn't control me. I control it!

Make good sh*t! And share your successes! 🤘

If you liked this post, you can follow me on Twitter where I share daily tips about bootstraping, product development and indie-hacking mindset.

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