Hard truths from my 2022 indie revenue

jasonleow  •  17 Apr 2023   •    

It’s tax season. Was doing up the sums and came to this figure for my indie * revenue in 2022:


* indie means revenue that’s everything outside of consulting

That’s total revenue for the entire year of 2022, at about $510 average monthly (non-recurring) revenue. I believe most of it came from sales of Carrd plugins, about $1.2k from Lifelog subscriptions, the rest of about $200 from Buy Me A Coffee donations.

I remember right around the same time last year I did the same calculations for indie revenue in 2021 and I actually did around $11k!:

  • Lifelog = $1200
  • Plugins For Carrd = $900
  • Sweet Jam Sites = $500
  • Keto List Singapore = $1100
  • Social impact patronage = $1300
  • Others (random freelancing) = $6000

Sweet Jam Sites and Keto List had stopped earning since, and donations in 2021 were high due to a viral project. I also still did occasional web design freelancing back then that contributed to the indie revenue, which I no longer do. All these were stopped in 2022. I’d trimmed my portfolio a lot. So that explains the dip from last year.

But if I compared just year-on-year growth of only Lifelog + Plugins, it’s $2.1k vs $6.2k. Not too shabby, almost tripled. Which checks out with what I knew about the 3x growth of Plugins while Lifelog was stagnant.

So it’s $6.2k spread across 2 projects, across 12 months, after 3 years of being indie.

Not a great report card, if you ask me…

Frankly, $6.2k feels pretty insignificant in the bigger scheme of things, especially for the things I need to pay for to feed the family. That’s like maybe enough for 1 month… 1 year’s revenue just enough for 1 month! 😅 It’s not a great look if I’m seeking ramen profitability.

And I won’t sugarcoat this or try to find a positive glass-is-half-full angle. It’s nice to get $6.2k extra cash, and I still have my consulting as the main income stream to feed the fam, but realistically, objectively, $6.2k isn’t not even close to what I aspire to be. And at this rate, I won’t ever hit the bare minimum of my aspiration—to be able to survive on indie revenue, at least $5k/m—in a decade maybe.

Even if I do want to keep consulting in my portfolio, am I really okay to wait a decade to grow to ramen profitability? Not really. I’m not even sure I want to nor have the energy to keep going at consulting for another decade, well into my 50s.

There’s only questions now, no answers.

But one thing I know for sure – whatever I’m doing now isn’t enough.

Something has to change.


I hear you, brother. Maybe the people out there raking in all the cash on their own are focused solely on that? How much of it is luck? The problem with having a main gig that brings in so much income is that, by comparison, it seems like it will take forever to get there with all the side projects.

therealbrandonwilson  •  18 Apr 2023, 2:06 am

Thanks for sharing in this, brother. Yeah when viewed on its own my indie revenue is growing. But compared to main gig it’s insignificant.

jasonleow  •  18 Apr 2023, 7:48 am

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