paint-brush
How I made $100k in Revenue Selling Tutorials on Google Sheets by@kamphey
990 reads
990 reads

How I made $100k in Revenue Selling Tutorials on Google Sheets

by Andrew KampheyJuly 17th, 2022
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

Better Sheets celebrated 2 years on April 3rd, 2022. I generated $100k in revenue in 24 months selling Google Sheets tutorials, templates, Google Scripts, Google “software”, and Info Products on Google sheets. Big thanks to AppSumo Marketplace.
featured image - How I made $100k in Revenue Selling Tutorials on Google Sheets
Andrew Kamphey HackerNoon profile picture


I’m late. I know. I’m so late. Better Sheets celebrated 2 years on April 3rd, 2022. It’s now May.

So what have I been doing?


Just passing $100,000 in top-line revenue, selling Google Sheet Tutorials and Google Sheets.


Yep, I generated $100k in revenue In 24 months selling Google Sheets tutorials, Google Sheets templates, Google Scripts, Google Sheets “software”, and Info Products on Google Sheets.


But really what I was doing was launching a brand new Better Sheets site. A slick UI for members to see all the videos, find them by tags, by formula, and get all the available products in one list. Before this Better Sheets was spread out over a duct-taped site with Algolia, Loom, Outseta, Gumroad.


Now I built a new site with Ruby on Rails and have everything in one place.

Usually, you’ll see these posts with some extra promotion at the end. No worries there.


You won’t be prompted to upvote on Product Hunt. I launched Better Sheets a couple of weeks ago on Product Hunt and it already got #1 Product of the Day.


https://twitter.com/Kamphey/status/1519935911810977793


So no need to go there. I’ve packed this post with as much useful information as I could. If, after reading it, you still have questions, ask them.


And I have a free version. So no pitch to you to add to my own revenue. You can access Better Sheets for free. At least a portion of Better Sheets. Free members get 64 videos to watch. While members get 177 and all the products are included.

Here are some past articles I’ve written at different milestones

Membership Milestones

Revenue Milestones

A Few Notes

Before we get too far, HUGE CAVEAT. I’m absolutely indebted to the marketplace Better Sheets is featured on: AppSumo Marketplace.


I consider each sale of Better Sheets as revenue at the listed price. As I write this the price of Better Sheets is $69. For the first year+, it was $19 lifetime. Yes. Really. Lifetime for $19. Even though I make at most 95% of that, and most of the time 70% of that, I count the “top-line revenue” as the price it’s listed at. Which in the first year was $19, then $49, and right at this moment it’s $69.


All Stripe payments take a 3% - ish cut. And even selling info products on Gumroad, will have a cut. Obviously less than Appsumo since Gumroad is a payment portal, not a marketplace where buyers are discovering me. Gumroad isn’t actively working for me. It’s very passive.


But generally, Gumroad takes 5% (now that I’m over $10k lifetime revenue via Gumroad) But that’s not accurate in totality. I sell some $1 items and they charge 30 cents for each transaction, like Stripe. So I actually get 67 cents when I sell a $1 product. Just wanted to note that.

Take Home Pay

So just be warned, the take-home pay is much much lower.

For those itching to know what the take-home pay is, here’s quick back-of-the-envelope math you can do. $100k, just cut out 30% to make the math easier. So $70k. Take out about $5k for development costs (more on that later). And $3k for marketing costs. Also, take out another 20% to 40% for taxes. We’re left with under $50,000 over two years. So roughly $25k a year.

Breakdown the Revenue

Here’s how that revenue came to be.

82% is from selling memberships to Better Sheets.

Membership includes access to videos and sheets. Breaking down further roughly 2% => Monthly Membership 80% => Lifetime Memberships.

16% is from selling info products and software.

These are templates and sheets and scripts that I sell for those who wish to only purchase individual products. For example OnlySheets, Better Letters, and a sheet of Twitter Templates.

2% is from selling Workshops and Consulting.

Some folks have needed substantial scripts written for them or needed more hands-on help in a group setting. I’ve created 2 workshops and consulted with a few people. At times charging $49 for half an hour or $99 for an hour. And one of the workshops was $199.

Which Platform Did You Get That Revenue?

I mainly sell memberships through AppSumo.

96% of membership revenue has been through AppSumo. I also sell info products and software via AppSumo as well as Gumroad.

The majority of info product and software sales have so far come via Gumroad itself.

And some consulting has been paid for via PayPal while some via Gumroad.

Here’s the percentage of Total Revenue per platform

  • 85% - AppSumo
  • 13% - Gumroad
  • 1.5% - PayPal and Outseta

What kind of paid marketing have you done in the past 2 years?

AppSumo does a lot of the marketing and promotion on my behalf. Which brings meaning to their 30% cut. For them, I've created a free template package that's gotten 34,000 downloads as of May 2022. And wrote a blog for them which drives some sales.

I’ve also spent $1k on newsletter ads in late 2020 and in early 2022 I started a TikTok channel, Paying an editor $360 for helping with videos. I also paid out another $504 to newsletter ads in 2022, so far.

How much does Better Sheets cost to run?

At this moment it costs less than $50 per month to run Better Sheets. Bettersheets.co is running on Heroku. I also pay for Loom yearly (roughly $8 per month). I almost doubled the cost to add Sentry but ended up canceling the paid plan as I didn’t need it moving forward.

https://twitter.com/Kamphey/status/1519921629991964673

What can others do to replicate this?

If you love building and explaining, then you might be looking at Better Sheets as a model of what to do to monetize your knowledge or your “passion”. I don’t think you can replicate the success, just like I don’t think anyone can replicate anyone else’s success or failure.

But I do think you can replicate the initial start. The initial process.


I made 8 videos. I put 4 out for free and put 4 behind a paywall. You don’t have to choose Gumroad now. You have a choice of hundreds of options. From No-Code to Low-Code, to Code. You can add a Stripe integration easily with stripe checkout and a couple of HTML sites with Ruby on Rails and Tailwind. Heck, it would look killer if you merely copy the code from an inspiration site like LandingFolio.com Disclaimer: my pricing section on Better Sheets homepage is from Landing Folio.


In those initial videos, you don’t have to teach a structured course. Talk about your experience. Show what you do day to day. Show off the last thing you learned and implemented. Breakdown your own success story. Show off a step-by-step process. Without commentary and without justification. Just show it. You’d be surprised how many people just want to look over your shoulder.


And then from there, make sure to talk to users. Talk to customers. Talk to clients. Talk and listen. I knew I had about 20 to 30 video ideas when I started. But I made the grand gesture of saying “I’ll make 100 videos” I was nervous to start. But when customers asked questions it was like sweet sweet manna from heaven. Every question got a video response and that video was added to Better Sheets.


Over time those sometimes didn’t make it into the Better Sheets catalog. In all, I have 177 videos now available to all members. But I have another 300+ which I’ve made for 1 member and sent to just them. I should probably go through those and find some that all members would benefit from.


Jakob Greenfeld is doing this with his “Scraping the Web” course. Available on Gumroad right now.

What can other IndieHackers do to help creators?

Originally I called Better Sheets a nonlinear course. It’s both a good way to describe it and a bad way. If anyone sees the word “course” they will immediately think of a structured set of videos taking you from point A to point B. Even though I add the descriptor “non-linear” it just does not help describe what the set of videos is and allows a user to do. I think there are better ways to describe what Better Sheets is, does, and how it works.


The new site I made is customized for Better Sheets but I think a non-linear course platform could be very good for creating more interesting new types of courses. I’ve already gotten interest in making a site for others who are currently on platforms like Teachable or Kajabi.

I was excited to see @kenneth_cassel building Slip, but also disappointed to see it go the way of web3 and abandon slip altogether:


https://twitter.com/KennethCassel/status/1470438097284390916

I think it’s outside the scope of a single indie hacker to be able to make a course platform that includes video hosting. The costs are still incredibly high for CDN and Data consumption on the level of Video. Heck YouTube is barely profitable, if at all. And it’s been around for 17 years.


Do you think any Indiehacker wants to build for 17 years? Most of us can’t even focus for 12 months.


I think though, using other platforms like YouTube/Vimeo/Loom for hosting provides a simple solution to that hosting problem.


YouTube is a great platform to see video courses and distribute them, but there’s much more we can do around the video. For example: in Better Sheets new site I add not just “tags” or “keywords” but add all Formulas as a tag.


So you can watch a video, see a new formula in google sheets you never knew about, and in one click see other videos featuring that formula.

I also link directly to a google sheet many times. A link in the description is a great way to feature these, but I separate it out of the description. Knowing that most videos will have a sheet link.


Course platforms are great and Info Product platforms are great. But it would be amazing to see the best of both worlds come together. I think Gumroad’s been great to a point. Their email workflow automation are cumbersome. Same with Mailchimp and ConvertKit. And indie hackers who focus on email automation to courses/info products could find a wide ocean of opportunity.


For example, I want to send an automatic email to each person who bought 1 product and nothing else. But I have 20+ products on Gumroad. That would take me a week to select those paths, then write each email out specifically for each one. It’s a worthy project and I should do it. But I also know that each one would probably be seen around a dozen times in the next week or month. So it’s not high on my priority list.


But if I had a system that could create those 20 with a single template. That’s worth $29/month or $99 a year. I would work on it for one afternoon. Check the stats each week to see if it converts and if it does, tweak to convert more.

Follow along as the journey continues into Year 3

Find me on Twitter: @Kamphey

Check out Better Sheets at BetterSheets.co


Also Published here