There's been a disturbing trend in my business over the past couple of years - a significant decline in sales, now only about 35% of what they were just two years ago.
I can't blame anyone else for this, of course. Before I describe how this happened, and what I'm doing to fix it you'll probably need some context. The majority, easily 96% or more, of my income comes from software (I'm a third party developer of RapidWeaver addons), with a smidgen (but slowly increasing percentage) from reselling hosting services.
Since sales have reached an all-time low, and me now starting to worry about whether I'll be able to pay the mortgage next year, I've started digging into how exactly this happened rather than just attributing it to seasonal trends.
And that itself indicates one of the reasons why I find myself into this predicament. Rather that taking a periodic look at the state of my business (every month, say), I fell into the habit of thinking it was just because "summer is always slow", or "it'll pick up the next release I push out", etc.
Last week I also realized that I've been treating my business as if I've been hired solely to provide customer support. This means that while my business is now known for legendary support, other things suffered as a result. I fell into the trap of working on customer support first thing every day, and then thinking I was scott-free the rest of the day when I hit inbox zero.
Needless to say, a business is not purely customer support. Especially indie software businesses.
So, while I've been spoiled in the past with a fairly steady income coupled with a relatively minimal work requirement, that's no longer the case.
And since the mortgage still needs to get paid that means it's time to suck it up and get back to work.
In the second part to this post I'll go into more detail about how I'm tackling this issue.