The $13,000 launch of my code review course

An image showing the Gumroad dashboard where I made $23,542.40 in revenue for my first info product.
Photo by Jon Robinson on Unsplash

July 2021 — The idea

I’ve always been inspired by the creative challenge of building a project that scales with my time. Info products are good candidates — build once, sell many.

An image of me showing a diff, a screenshot from my code review course.

September 2021 — Naming and structure

I’ve learned that the name of the product should directly communicate its value.

October 2021 — Announcement and email list

I had no idea if anybody wanted this. To gauge interest, I set up a simple website to collect emails.

A screenshot of my website when I announced my course.
A screenshot of my email list growth after the announcement.

November 2021 — Stagnation and impostor feelings

After the initial announcement, signups stagnated. Over the next 60 days, I gained about 50 signups — less than one a day.

December 2021 — Making adjustments

Rather than abandon the project, I decided to make some tweaks.

  • Show, don’t tell. — I included screenshots of the course content. Even if a single slide was out of context, it still showed a preview of the topics.
  • Sell the journey, not the product. — People want to evolve, and improve. I included some personal anecdotes about how code reviews helped me level up.
  • Establish credibility. — I already had a solid body of public writing, in the form of threads and articles. With permission, I embedded Quote Tweets of people who had freely chosen to share my content.
A screenshot of Gumroad’s Workflow feature that I used to send my lead magnet.

January 2022 — Creating momentum

I was about 90% done with filming, with only editing left. As I finished video lessons, I sent them out to email subscribers every few weeks.

Early February 2022 — Pre-order

I finally felt confident enough for a pre-order release.

Late February 2022 — LAUNCH 🚀

The successful pre-order gave me the motivational push to finish the course.

March and April 2022 — lessons learned

Some numbers, after the first 2 months:

  • ⭐️ 783 sales to individual students
  • ⭐️ 27 sales of the team license to organizations
  • ⭐️ 100% 5-star ratings (46 total)
  • ⭐️ Praise from CTOs, company founders, FAANG principal engineers, senior engineering managers across big tech
  • ⭐️ 1 company integrating it directly into their new hire training

Scope it small.

You’re going to want to add more details. Especially on a topic you know inside and out. Those details will accumulate.

Prune challenging details.

There are some details that require a massive effort to produce. For example: visuals, graphs and samples. Reflect realistically on how much value these would actually provide, and eliminate them accordingly.

Share the content as early as possible.

By writing tweets and posts, the internet (sometimes brutal) held me accountable for ambiguities and inaccuracies. This helped me refine my ideas.

Small encouragements go a long way.

Creating something from nothing is a daunting journey, and can get quite lonely. It’s difficult to see who’s resonating with your ideas.

Don’t be afraid to experiment.

I always thought LinkedIn was cringe. And I was initially worried about what my former co-workers would think about my posts.

Create for your younger self.

Think about a challenge you’ve overcome. Think about how you’ve helped others overcome similar challenges.

May 2022 — Was it worth it?

As with most info products, the launch saw a huge spike in sales, and leveled off over time.

A screenshot of my sales graph on Gumroad.

June 2022 — What’s next?

I’m not finished sharing what I know. I may go deeper into code reviews, or expand to other software engineering topics.

Like this article?

Check out the product which inspired it — Master the Code Review! License available for individuals and teams.

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Curtis Einsmann

Curtis Einsmann

Software engineer; solopreneur. Writing to help developers level up. All stories free. Follow me on Twitter for more: https://twitter.com/curtiseinsmann