The worst week of sales I’ve ever had

This has literally been the worst sales week I’ve had since I launched Duet. I’ve only made 2 sales this week and they both occurred on Tuesday. This is especially frustrating because last week was spectacular and I was starting to believe that I had finally reached a sweet spot – consistent sales at a decent level.

What’s worse, I don’t have any idea what has caused this so I can’t think of any ways to ‘fix’ it. Traffic to the site is about the same as it’s been for a couple of weeks. The payment form broke once a couple of months ago, I thought it might be a similar problem this week, but nope. The payment form works. I’m still getting inquiries via the contact page. People are still using the demo. Nothing’s changed except no one is buying the product.

Objectively I know I probably shouldn’t read too much into this week’s performance. I know that it’s probably just an anomaly. I know that next week will probably be better. But I can’t stop thinking:

  • What if I was wrong about this market? What if everyone who is ever going to buy Duet has already purchased it?
  • What if everyone was right and I should have just a launched a SaaS app?
  • Did I jinx myself when I mentioned Duet’s ‘success’ on HN this week? Do I even believe in jinxes?
  • Am I being punished for spending the last two weeks finishing up my 2nd product.

Marketing is hard

Honestly, I really have no idea what I’m doing with regard to marketing. So many developers turned entrepreneurs talk about this; Focusing too much on building the product at the expense of marketing. I wish I paid more attention to their struggles so that I wouldn’t have repeated the same mistakes.

Actually, I did pay attention, but marketing is harder than I ever would have imagined. Writing code is what I’m good at; It’s familiar and most of the time I enjoy it, so it feels natural for me to spend most of my time coding. I’d like Duet to be successful though, so I’m going to have to put my personal comfort aside and spend more time learning how to do this marketing thing.

My first step will be learning how to blog. According to most entrepreneurs, if I’m serious about marketing I need to get serious about blogging. Like many other developers out there blogging is very contrary to my nature, but I’d like to be successful more than I dislike writing, so I’m going to have to suck it up and invest more time in this blog.

On the bright side

  • I’m probably just having a bad week. And an even worse day.
  • I’m not good at giving up, so even if this is the beginning of a new trend, I’m extremely confident I’ll find a way out.
  • The response to Duet (especially in the inquiries I receive) is still overwhelmingly positive.
  • My newest product will (hopefully) bring in some additional revenue that I can re-invest into Duet marketing.
  • I have a couple of marketing ideas in addition to blogging that I haven’t tried yet. I guess it’s time make all of them more of a priority.

If you have any ideas on how I can market Duet, please let me know in the comments or on my contact form. Thanks!

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  • Mike

    I have been looking at “top 10 lists” and “best of” lists for hours trying to find the best project software. I can say after demo-ing many, yours was like a breath of fresh air. It was so intuitive that I didn’t feel like I had to “learn ” it. Keep up the great work–and please build in a recurring paypal billing feature in your invoicing 🙂

    • 23andwalnut

      Thanks! Recurring billing is one of the more popular feature requests so I will likely add it in a future update.

  • Tim

    Hi there,

    Duet looks great. After countless hours looking through Project Management apps, I can truly say this is one of the best solutions available on the market for the price.

    I have a suggestion from looking at the demo, if possible, to put in a feedback and questions tab on the side. I had a question about whether or not Duet offered notifications for messages, tasks, etc. and/or to allow replies to them by email (does it?) but I could not find this anywhere on the site. If you allow questions to be submitted, you can compile them in an FAQ or add them to the feature list section, which might help people to make up their minds?

    • 23andwalnut

      That’s a great suggestion. I’ve been meaning to add a questions tab to the site, but I hadn’t thought of adding it to the demo as well. I’ll add it this week.

      • Tim

        I have a few more suggestions for marketing – I know how difficult it can be, so I can relate with this. Have you tried:

        – Asking for suggestions (on a blog post, say, or on a feedback tab, as mentioned)
        – Submitting to special bundle sites, like These are great for exposure.
        – Inviting reviewers in high-ranking (top google result) sites in exchange for a free license.
        – Having a public documentation/support area available (e.g.,, – preferably with a forum) – often, people look for answers (as I was, as above) and find confidence (that they’ll find help there, should they get stuck) in such places that confirm their purchase.

  • Alan T


    I must be one of the two that bought Duet last week :o).

    It’s quite a nice product and i’m going to use it for my freelance work.

    I’ve translated the whole product in french, and it’s working well, excepted for some javascript “hardcoded” terms.

    I’ve also encountered a bug :

    I didn’t want the “invoices” fonctionnality, i had to specify in the config.php file $CONFIG[‘modules_to_hide’] = ‘Invoices, Factures’ (factures is invoices in french), if not the invoice tab would keep on poping.

    Also i made some tweaks in order to create “ticketing projects” (see the attached file).

    This really is a nice product, you should probably add more “built-in” languages, in order to attract a wider audiance. I could give you the french translation i made if you’re interested.

    Many thanks for what you’ve accomplished. Don’t give up, i know that lots of small businesses would love this product.

  • Mikael Pettersson

    I just shared a link to your site with the swedish Joomla discussion group on Skype.

    I found your app via Codebase hero, while looking for info about HTML5 audio players.
    We have tried everything from modules for WHMCS, to Wunderkit/list, and billings pro (SaaS).

    Personally, I’m more for a product that I host on my own servers. The product should be intuitive, and there should be an API available for extending the features. This lets other developers create a secondary market around your application.

    I could be interested in a SaaS app as well, but then it needs to have a communication API for integration with other systems like CMS etc for client access (SSO etc).

  • 23andwalnut

    Hi. Shoot me an email via the contact page and I will help you take a look at the code to evaluate it’s quality.

  • James M

    Have you thought about offering some of the major influencers of freelance work free copies to try and promote? There are some prominent bloggers, podcasters, and so forth out there that may be worth contacting. Try a promotion through a site like AppSumo that gets a large volume of traffic. You’d likely have to offer some kind of discount, but you may make up for it in the volume of sales.

  • Jordan St Jacques

    December sales on anything B2B are always slow. This month is all about consumers…so don’t read too much into it. I’ll bet you come back stronger in January.

    Hit me up on Skype if you want to chat at “mydigitera”

  • Jo Bom

    I tried to use this duet product and customizing. It is amazing. I need to iphone app for this product. Do you have some api document for mobile application?

  • Graham (GainTap)

    Ironically as a marketer I find your “lack of blogging skills” to be refreshing. Your honest writing is what sold me on the product, no joke. I just spent this afternoon getting it set up and I’m pumped to test some penny invoices in the morning. Looking to reduce my current stack from about 4 softwares to 1. Keep up the great work.