Another three months since my last report and ALOT has happened in the world and for me personally. We are in the middle of a Global Pandemic and the world is struggling from a health, financial and social perspective. The report will focus on what I have been up to over the past 90 days and not the wider issue facing us all.
I endeavour to get back to monthly reports as this is just a small part of what I have been up to but I have done my best to summarise for those interested. As always I thank you for reading!
It’s been 90 days since we sold our main asset and a lot has happened since. We’ve doubled down on our current offering and also focused on the three remaining assets from our larger purchase.
Coronavirus has seen a huge shift to online learning and particular homeschooling. The asset we sold as seen huge revenue increases (you just knew it right?) but I am still more than comfortable with the sale as it’s released my mind in so many ways. We also have the financial cushion to be able to carry on regardless of the uncertainty. I am confident this will help us in the long term.
I am also pleased for the new Owner (more on this later). Hopefully, they continue to make a success of it.
Cancellation of GCSE’s/A Level exams:
The UK government (and those international following the UK curriculum) announced the cancellation of both GCSE & A-Level examinations this summer. A couple of our websites have a student focus and thus this had a potential revenue impact for the foreseeable future.
As a result of the above, we decided to discount our student offering by 50%. I hate discounting I believe it’s a race to the bottom and becomes less about the quality of the product and more price-focused. This was a different situation, however.
Our concern was not just the revenue we were generating but more so the skills and knowledge gap of those studying GCSE & A Levels. Students studying GCSE and wanting to continue the subject into A-Level studies may have a knowledge gap. Furthermore, those in the first year of their A-Level studies will have less of an indication of the level they are at and will, therefore, have a defining year next year.
We have a stellar revision tool which has helped thousands of students achieve well in their exams so we thought our discount could encourage those students to keep on learning. So far it’s been well received and we are pleased to do our bit to help.
Keep on Investing
Our two main subscription websites are aimed predominantly at teachers and for these websites, we have resisted any type of discount. Our subscription is yearly and we have hundreds of members who have paid the yearly price. For that reason, I would be uneasy discounting.
Secondly, we have a number of freelancers who have worked with us for the past three years who rely on our financial support. If we were to discount we would need to cease all new material going live on the website as our profitability would be impacted. I am against this for so many reasons however the primary reason being that I want to continue to provide those wonderful people who have supported us over the years with their income.
We have decided to keep adding value and are actually putting hundreds of new resources live every single month throughout March, April, May & June. These are suitable for homeschooling use and will help teachers through this difficult period. Value for money in the membership is actually stronger than it’s ever been.
If you follow me on Twitter then you may have seen my tweet on this. Late January/early February we actually acquired a brand new website with our first investor. This sits within a new company and is completely separate from our current educational ventures.
This investor is the individual who bought our main asset!
We struck up quite a friendship throughout the sale process (although it did get spicy on occasions) and he was super impressed with how we streamlined the business. He’s an ideal investor too as he’s super chilled and not obsessed with bullshit vanity metrics.
Sorting the structure of the company was a breeze. Our Ltd company owns a majority of the shares and we will operate the day to day of the website. Both companies have invested the same capital however the equity is weighted in our favour.
Since we bought the website (which makes money via Adsense currently) we have begun the following:
- Migration of the website to WordPress (We hired a developer to help as it’s a tricky one)
- Recruited worksheet creators and began to produce material for when we launch the subscription model (September 2020).
- Got excited by the traffic it receives. It achieved approximately 1 million visits last month.
We are pumped by the potential of this one and we think it can go on to do quite well for us.
The three educational websites we bought as part of the 66 were Adsense revenue-generating however we have also introduced an affiliate marketing angle across all three with the introduction of product recommendations. We actually started this in November/December however things have started to pick up recently.
At the time of writing, we actually had a $1,000 revenue month which is pretty remarkable given we have just started to dip our toe in.
You can see the traffic growth nicely via SEMRush (filtered by a specific term related to the pages)
I still find the subscription model far more rewarding however it’s nice to have an alternative revenue stream.
At the time of writing family life has changed significantly and it’s hard to remember January/February when we are in the middle of a significant lockdown period. Although it’s been a transition for us having Matilda at home we have been lucky that our situation has always been relatively fluid.
Beth is currently a supply teacher as well as working on the business with myself, Ian and his wife Nicola (Beth’s a teacher so of course, she does). There’s no supply teacher work and her involvement with the business is not critical so she’s been able to take up the lion share of time Monday-Friday with Matilda. I’d be lying if I told you I was working at my maximum.
Transition to home life has been relatively smooth. Sure we’ve had days where it’s been more challenging than others but overall we are actually enjoying the time together. There’s less social pressure and we have been able to just focus on the moments we spend with one another.
We have a regular routine which always starts with breakfast and then PE With Joe by Joe Wicks (everyone should do this). Beth & Matilda then do a whole range of things while I get some work done. We then have a long lunch together, I go back to work and they continue to play/read/draw/. I typically finish about 4 and we will have our designated walk and then settle in for the evening. Apart from missing family and friends (and of course the virus), it’s actually a really nice period of time.
As a family, we have always been relatively frugal financially and we largely do everything together anyhow so we feel incredibly fortunate at this difficult time.
We have also had some wonderful family news within the past three months when we found out Beth was pregnant. It’s been a long road this time spanning a couple of years of which in the end we were guided down the IVF route. Fortunately, we have been successful and at the time of writing Beth, is 14 weeks pregnant. IVF is an emotional experience and I am incredibly proud of what my wife went through. If you know anyone who is going through the same then be supportive. We were fortunate that we were successful but even then it was a long road emotionally, financially and physically.
It feels difficult writing the above when the world is going through so much hardship at the moment but your own personal experiences can still be challenging.
If you are going through something similar and would like to chat about it then please feel free to contact me.
Matilda is very excited to be a big sister and we are looking forward to becoming a family of 4 (5 with Spud the Cat) in October.
Note: Can I just add how wonderful science and medical professionals are? The intelligence of others; particularly those within the medical field boggles my mind.
I will leave you with a bunch of pictures of how we have been spending time in isolation as a family. Thanks for reading and please stay safe and keep washing those hands.
How did you spend the last 90+ days? What are you doing to keep busy within the lockdown period?
Do you find these reports useful? I’d love to hear from you so tweet me with what you have been up to! Any further questions do let me know!