Admin’s Helper – Some Numbers 2021

Topic: Numbers, learnings and plans for AppExchange “Admin’s Helper”
Target Group: (Aspiring) AppExchang ISVs
Complexity: Medium

The end of the year is a good time to take stock of my AppExchange business. Maybe my learnings encourage and help others on their way to the AppExchange.


Apps released: 4 (3 paid, one free)
Active prod. installs: 120
Most popular App: Case Quick Close (64 active prod.)
Most popular paid app: Knowledge Article | Any Object PDF (24 active prod.)
Least popular app: Simple CPQ (7 active prod.)
Support Cases per Week: 0.8
Paying customers: 18
New paying customers/month: 1.7 (Last 4 months)
Revenue per year: 1.080€
Weekly effort support & maintenance: 4h
Total cash investment: Ca. 9.000€
Total time investment: Ca. 600h
Profit: Clearly no 🙁

1) Boring Sells
Boring but clear business value apps like Case Quick Close are most popular.

2) Paid is Hard
I released all my apps for free at first and switched three of them to pay later. Setting and an app to pay immediately reduce the installs massively, no matter how small the price. Getting the credit card from accounting is the hard part, the price doesn’t matter that much.

3) LinkedIn Likes != Installs != Revenue
Fabulous Confetti is very popular on LinkedIn and my most fun app to develop. The likes and fun does not translate into revenue.

4) Marketing is hard
Marketing is by far the hardest part of the business. Nothing I make more mistakes and take longer to figure out. I might need to partner up with some marketing genius.

5) Nobody build’s an app alone!
Even I’m technically alone, so many people helped me along the way. Thanks @Paul for proof reading everything! Thanks to my small “Indy-ISV” groups for the fun evenings we had! Thank’s to all the people who do code-review, beta testing or provide feedback. Thanks @Ruth for all the marketing tricks! And thanks to all the others I can’t name here personally.

I’m slowly but steadily getting new customers for my app, slowly but steadily.
I hope for a low churn rate. Combined with a higher price next year that should slowly create a small but passive income.
The number of support requests is getting smaller each month. I think that’s since my apps and documentation becomes better.

1) Simple CPQ becomes Quick CPQ
Simple CPQ had some promising elements but failed to sell. The feedback I got was: A basic but easy-to-use CQP is needed in the market.
I will transform “Simple CPQ” into “Quick CPQ”. I will keep the focus on great UX and easy to use while adding Product Bundles and Teared-Pricing for Quotes.

2) Refactoring
I will refactor all my apps from the ground up. So much I learned and I want to do differently now.

3) Marketing
I need a better plan for marketing, that’s still my weak area.

Business take away:
AppExchange is no ‘get rich quick scheme’ but hard work. I was pretty naive there. As many others said, profit maybe come after quite some years.
My consulting business on the other hand profits massively from the connections and experience I get. So I would say the apps paid themselves but indirectly

Personal takeaways:
Every time again!
Yea, the financial numbers are disappointing, but I got around to accepting the long-term nature of the business.
Personally, It’s so satisfying to build and release the apps. It’s almost like a hobby.
Building something is different than being a consultant since I build it for me. I can do whatever I want whenever I want.
If I feel like confetti, I’ll do confetti, if I feel like Flows, I add Flow support. That freedom can’t be measured in money.

My paid apps were free for some time which got them a lot of installs.