/ review

2015: Year in Review

The good 'ole review post for the past year. Looking back at what my goals were for my previous review and contemplating the future is always energizing to me. Let's take a look at that previous list of goals for 2015 and see what I tried and attempted and what worked.

You can find my 2014: Year in Review here if you'd like to have a look.

Some quick highlights from 2014:

  • Increased overall gross annual income by $40,000.
  • 85 paying customers

What happened in 2015?

The local biz:
  • Local business grew sales by 117.5%
  • Customer base grew by 152%

For 2015, the local business got some serious traction. Early on in 2015 I released an update to our online booking system to allow recurring service at a discounted rate. So, with this we started adding to our monthly recurring revenue which helped us grow a good monthly base. Aslong as we kept our customers happy, they have stayed on with us. We love our recurring customers.

Since the niche that I'm in allows us to test other additional services to our customer base we were able to try carpet cleaning as well as window cleaning. In late 2014, we purchased a steam carpet extraction unit and cross-sold carpet cleaning services to new customers. Part of our increase in revenue was due to some of this work.

In my goals last year I had the bid idea of adding a carpet cleaning business. We tested it, I personally think the work is far too technical for additional training of complete newcomers. It wouldn't be worth the return on the actual physical investment of my time.

Doing some market validation in late summer of 2015 I personally invested $1,500 for some professional grade window cleaning equipment. This easily paid for itself and returned about $3,000. Biggest lessons learned from this is that the work is fairly easy. If you're afraid of a ladder I wouldn't suggest getting into it. But, if you're good for going up a few stories and can keep your legs steady, the work can be rewarding, both physically and monetarily.

The window cleaning idea for me was validated, so, I've been in the process of developing a web application for a selected warm market. The web application I've been building is built on RoR utilizing Stripe as the payment system. The idea is: have an administrative interface that's accessible via a computer or tablet. This will allow us access to the most important information from our fingertips, and let me or customer support do simple tasks, like make bookings on the fly, create new customers, take payment information over the phone, reschedule for the customer, etc.

The other happenings in 2015:

I didn't follow through on my SaaS ideas. I have developed a greater desire to create a SaaS product in the near future. There are a few ideas that keep re-appearing in my mind that I will act on soon. It's those ideas that are always on your mind that you should act on.

I did start develping a window cleaning company and it will launch in early 2016. It could have the potential to be a statewide company. We'll see how well the launch goes.

I didn't blog as much as I'd have liked. As a positive, I did read more books on business and direct marketing than I planned.

Goals for 2016:
  • Stick to a manageable number of projects
  • Hunker down on window cleaning niche and organic customer growth
  • Focus on building a sustainable & profitable business
  • Pursue one SaaS product, build beta and market for paying customers
  • Read more books
  • Take personal time, focus on health and wellness
  • Be more creative