How I made $18k on CodeCanyon



Who might not such as the suggestion of having some passive/semi-passive income?:-RRB- Very first time I consider it after reading a 4-hours a week back in 2008. And also think about that suggestion once again after reading Rework back in 2010.

In 2011 I have actually started dealing with WordPress, as well as released my first totally free plugins in summer 2012. Although that my plugins haven’t been excellently coded, individuals liked them and also I started to think concerning releasing some costs plugins. However I definitely had no idea how to sell them.

I invested a great deal of time on research, exploring existing plugins, distribution alternatives and more. I ended up with a decision to try to offer things via CodeCanyon (Envato Market). Their costs are rather high (they keep regarding 50% of your complete sales), nevertheless they have a huge customers base, so after research and taking a look at sales stats of various other plugins I determined to give it a shot..

Releasing very first plugins.

In march 2014 I started working on my initial costs plugin. The idea of the plugin was rather easy – it included an ability to add password-protected Customer Location to the WordPress website, where the user will have the ability to log-in and track the task condition, download and install the documents, and more.

It took me about 2 weeks to build the plugin from the ground up and another week to create the paperwork and also tape some introductory video. The plugin was accepted on CodeCanyon at the end of March 2014 and also had simply couple of sales. It had not been quit me, so I have actually established my next plugin within following couple of weeks, it was accepted at the beginning of April 2014. As well as I have actually made concerning $770 net earnings in very first month! Looter: This plugin was made regarding 80% of my sales whatsoever time.

Afterwards I’ve launched about 8 even more plugins, typically I’ve been able to develop 2 plugins per months from concept to production..

First fall short: trying to launch a WordPress style.

I saw all these top-selling WordPress styles earning concerning $20k+/ month and also began to thinking of releasing my very first premium style. I though it will be a simple task, but I did not also recognize exactly how wrong I went to that minute..

I spent next 6 months (Sep 2014 to Feb 2015) working on my style, I placed too much initiative into this item however haven’t been able to finish it as I intended to apply to much features – I’ve developed totally brand-new motif framework and developed regarding 10 personalized plugins to take care of custom-made taxanomies as well as motif choices. Although I was still far from the launch.

Looking back, it’s noticeable that I made a few essential errors: I took too lightly the complexity of creating a Premium WordPress style and overestimated my abilities to develop top-notch item in sensible time.

Second stop working: attempting to release extra complex plugins.

After a stop working with WordPress motif, I determined to go back to the plugin growth. I saw various other plugins on the marketplace – and also I was delighted. All my plugins in contrast to them where just also easy. So I tried to build and also release a few more complicated plugins for WordPress in 2015 under a various brand. Yet without success: I invested around 4 weeks on each plugin, nevertheless these plugins made me a couple of hundreds dollars within very first few months and than sales dropped almost entirely.

I’m not sure why it happened, I have not obtained any negative feedback from my consumers. I presume that WordPress niche on CodeCanyon became excessive crowded.

3rd stop working: not launching new attributes for existing plugins.

While working on WordPress style and brand-new plugins, I quit releasing new attributes for my existing plugins. As a result, my sales dramatically went down during 2015:

On the screenshot above you may see the sales trend. And yes, Envato fees took about $14,000  (54%) of my total earnings which is ABSOLUTELY SICK!

At the same time I felt that my skills as a web-developer started to be outdated due to WordPress eco-system. So I decided to remove all my plugins from CodeCanyon, switch to Laravel Framework and drop WordPress development entirely.

Was it worth it?

Definitely it worth it, although I haven’t earned a lot of money, I learned a lot about developing and launching side projects, about monetization, organizing technical support, writing documentation and so on.

Note: “Support Dropped” means that I’ve stopped developing new features for existing plugins.

Lessons learned

I want to share few lessons I’ve learned:

Lesson #1

Start with something and see how far you can go with this idea.

Lesson #2

Do not underestimate the complexity of the product, and do not overestimate your resources.

Lesson #3

Build a product you’ll be proud of. Otherwise it will not work in long term.

Lesson #4

Sometimes things aren’t worked as you expected. I’ll have to accept this.

Lesson #5

Do not give up if your first product failed. Try again with another idea.

Will I use CodeCanyon again?

The answer is no. And here is why:

As an author, I dislike the following:

  • High marketplace fees (they keep ~50% of all your sales);
  • High competition – there are a lot of WordPress plugins is published every day;
  • CodeCanyon does not provide any customer contact information;
  • Limited pricing options;

As a customer – I have bought more than 50 items from CodeCanyon, ThemeForest and GraphicRiver and I would say that 99% of all items are just waste of money, the code quality isn’t good, some products have security issues and so on. However, print templates from GraphicRiver were pretty good.

Still want to try?

Okay, so if you’d want to try to build your own WordPress plugin business these days, I’d recommend you to release a free “Lite” version of the plugin on WordPress official plugins directory.

Then, if you see that plugin has enough downloads, you may build a paid “Pro” version and sell it through your own website (you may use EasyDigitalDownloads or Gumroad/Fastsrping, etc.). And do not forget to add a link in “Lite” version to your “Pro” version.

You may also launch on CodeCanyon and then move to your own website, as guys from Epic Plugins did.


Launching a product isn’t too hard as it may seems at a first glance. Just start with something and keep going. If you stuck with something – I’d recommend to take a break and change your point of focus.

It is possible to make a living from a side-projects, but it will be easier if you’re living in a country with low cost of living (like India, Thailand, Russia, etc). And it will be harder if you’re living in a country with moderate/high cost of living, like the United States, Western Europe, Australia, etc.

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