478
12 min 14 sec

Gmail Tool Generates $1 Million a Year

After looking for a way to send mass emails by Gmail, this web developer stumbles on more than a million dollars a year in recurring revenue.
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What It's About

A web developer builds a Gmail extension to help businesses reach their audience.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Problem Solving & Marketing
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

Ajay was smart in the way that he set up his recurring revenue pricing. I’ve used another tool that I like, but it has a one-off license fee. Assuming that most people continue to use the tool, obviously, it’s better for them to continue paying for it—which is what happens the way he’s set it up.

And if you really want to up the ante, provide your customers or clients with options at differing rates!

Fun Fact

Last year, GMass became one of the first email marketing service providers, and one of the first SaaS companies in existence, to accept Bitcoin. When we asked Ajay about it, he said there are several factors that went into their decision:

First, they believe in the concept behind Bitcoin and want to support the Bitcoin movement. Secondly, users in certain countries have lamented that neither credit cards nor PayPal were available to them to pay for software services. And finally, the transaction fees for accepting Bitcoin are far less than the transaction fees for accepting credit cards and PayPal payments, allowing Ajay to keep a greater portion of the customer payment.

Notes from Chris

Episode 478
Web developer Ajay Goel was working a new business, but he hit a major roadblock. He was creating a service called Wordzen where people could get their emails proofread and edited, and Ajay wanted to build a team of editors. But he found keeping in touch with them and sending email “blasts” to people in his contacts was hard.

When he needed to create a new email chain in Gmail, he’d have to search through his database every time. Which, for someone who had spent the last fifteen years of his career building email marketing software, was quite tedious and frustrating.

Ajay felt there had to be a better way to do this. So, using his experience as a web developer, he decided he would create something to make life easier for himself and just maybe others as well.

Ajay admits the timing was fortuitous. As he became aware of this problem, Google had just released the API for Gmail, which is a fancy way of saying developers could now access the right code and build third-party apps to integrate with their email service. This made the job of creating the tool much, much easier.

While creating the tool, Ajay focused on keeping everything as simple as possible. He just wanted to be able to send mass email through Gmail, so he didn’t aim to add any extra features that would add time to the creation of the tool. He knew what his problem was, and he knew how to solve it. This clarity of vision allowed him to use his time wisely and efficiently.

When his tool was complete, Ajay called it GMass and sent it out to some of his friends. He didn’t think much about the commercial value of the tool a first. That is until everyone came back to him with really positive feedback. All of his friends loved the GMass tool and wanted to know if they could pass it on to their friends.

Some smart choices regarding price points and marketing tactics came together to help GMass generate extremely high levels of revenue. How high? As of 2018, GMass now makes over $1 million in annual revenue. This is all from a simple Google plugin that initially began with only one feature.

And he’s not the only one experiencing great results—a lot of his users have written in to tell Ajay how his extension has helped them succeed in their goals as well. One user credits it with helping him not only fully fund his Kickstarter campaign, but with getting him to almost 3x his initial goal amount. Another user used GMass to get more than 100 Amazon reviews as a first-time author!

Looking to the future, Ajay wants to keep creating more and developing the tool. Although he makes such great revenue from this, Ajay will continue to work on his main project, Wordzen and run GMass on the side. Of course, if he ever wants to do something different, he has the freedom and the opportunity to do so.


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • GMass: Check out Ajay's website if you're looking to soup up your email marketing strategy!

  • Wordzen: The service that Ajay created that helps people get their emails proofread and edited

  • Amazon Web Services: The platform that Ajay used to create his website for GMass

  • Gmail's API: The "available to the public" API that Gmail released prior to Ajay starting GMass

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"When in doubt, solve a problem that you're experiencing yourself."
—Ajay Goel #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau