|Let me first give an introduction. I'am a 30 year old dutch software developer working at one of the largest internet companies in The Netherlands. My wife is a Highschool teacher, teaching Dutch language to 13- 15 year olds.
Almost 3 years ago we build a website for here students to use. After a few months it took off and visitors are climbing. From our stats we see that a lot of schools are using it. We got good media coverage and top-5 rankings in google for important keywords. The succes came as a surprise to us and we decided to create a business out of it.|
We provide 250 free exercises and since a year we also provide subscriptions: personal subscription (5 euro / year) and classroom subscription (35 euro / year). With a subscription customers have access to their performance report and a few "member-only" exercises. With a classroom subscription a teacher can see the results of their students, look into the exercices they made and what mistakes they made. And some other extra functionality.
All this functionality is primarly used & tested by my wife and her class. For us it is a sideproject; it is generating revenue & profit, a couple of hundreds a month. Enough for me to cover my hosting expensives, and working less hours at my day job.
My wife is very clear: she is a teacher and wants to teach. She doesn't want to persue the business fulltime. Also she is pregnant with our first child. So technically: I'm the one running the business and my wife is my biggest (& most influentual) customer.
I'm not sure what to do next: we have a few hundreds a month and I would really want to grow. So I can work even less at my day job and more on our project.
But we have a hard time figuring out how to scale:
* Selling to schools is hard, even more without dedicated sales. With keeping the price low we think it's easier for schools to buy.
* The succes of the website started with the free exercises and quality content. We got a lot of free press with that. We don't want to risk our name with making it all premium content
* We don't want to run advertising as it would distract students, and make schools don't want to use it anymore.
* I work at the website besides my main job, doing all the coding and administration stuff
* My wife doesn't want to sell (the website is tied to her lastname)
* We are anxious to get outside funding, we want control over the project ourselves
* We are afraid to charge more (risk of losing customers)
* We only want to go into different subject when we can find good teachers who can create quality exercices.
Sofar the options are to creat more verticals (we need subject experts there) or create a better site.
So what to do? I would really like more time to develop more functionality. We get a lot of e-mails asking for different kind of exercises. Which I simply don't have the time for to develop. I feel we are an unique team: teacher and softwaredeveloper working together. I think we have a great oppertunity to create a big product. Good software is a huge gain for edecution.
But I don't know how to execute on this oppertunity, any tips?