To say that 2013 was anything less than astonishing would be an understatement. There are plenty of WordPress business that fared much better than we did, but if you had asked us at the beginning of the year if we would be where we are now… I would have said “absolutely,” because I like to present confidence. But I wouldn’t have believed it.
The back story
Kevin and I first released Ninja Forms at the tail end of 2011. While it doesn’t resemble the Ninja Forms of today in any way, shape, or form, it had some similar “pro” features that we now sell as extensions: Multi-Part Forms, Front-End Posting, File Uploads, and so on. We sold this “pro” version for $30.00 for unlimited sites and updates. Not long after, we released a “lite” version in the WordPress repo to help gain a little exposure. We were not a huge success.
In 2012, Ninja Forms “Lite” was downloaded about 20,000 times, and we sold 404 copies of Ninja Forms “Pro.” Some of the devs we asked for advice within the WordPress community discouraged us from continuing, stating that WordPress really didn’t need another form plugin. Based on the numbers, they were absolutely right. Of course, Kevin and I are way too stubborn to quit just because absolutely everything in the universe is telling us we’re fighting a losing battle. Besides, we’ve never made any money selling a WordPress product before so while it wasn’t great, 404 sales felt like we were on to something. We were so naive.
2013 (in concept)
I’m skipping a lot of details, twists, and turns, but during 2012 we decided to completely re-build the back-end of Ninja Forms into something that more resembles what it is today. The idea was to change our business model completely in 2013: we would ditch the “Lite” and “Pro” version. Instead, we would release a core form framework and sell the once “Pro” features as À la carte add-ons to the core plugin. The rest, as they say, is history.
2013 (in reality) or Ninja Forms 2013 Stats
- 189,000+ downloads from WordPress.org repository.
- $134,062 in Extension sales
- $4,147.66 has been paid out in extension sale commissions for other developers
- $600.10 is waiting to be paid out to other developers for December extension sales
- 23 extensions available ( We started with 5 )
- 11 developers contributing code to Ninja Forms core plugin
- 6 third-party extension developers with generated sales
Kevin and I are thrilled with our progress in such a short amount of time. When we first built Ninja Forms, we had no idea it would be anything more than a hobby that might generate a little residual income while we continued working with clients. As of today I have quite my job and Kevin and I both are focusing full-time on Ninja Forms and other WordPress plugin development projects.
As a bonus to these stats here is a video conversation between Kevin and myself as we look back at the past year. And in the words of a good friend of ours… the best is yet to come.