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Goodbye FAQ-Tastic Pro? «

Goodbye FAQ-Tastic Pro?

March 17th, 2010
{ 8 comments }

This post is taken from the email I sent out this morning to the FAQ-Tastic email list. It explains why I'm at closing the doors and will no longer be offering the Pro version of the plugin. It's the last chance to grab the Pro version while you can - with a 40% discount. No.. you don't get support (which is why I'm giving a huge discount!).

Is this the end of FAQ-Tastic Pro?

Only time will tell... who knows. If enough people actually take me up on the discount offer, maybe I'll be able to continue... That's really up to you guys.

Right now, I'm answering emails from eager FAQ-Tastic fans offering to buy it off me. There's gold in them thar plugins!

We'll see what happens.

I'll make sure it goes to someone who'll look after it and do right by it... Unless they make me an offer I can't refuse, in which case, I'll have the cash thanks! (I'm kidding! I have actually got a lot of integrity...).

Here's the original email that I sent out earlier today. It's really long. Enjoy.

*** UNSUBSCRIBE LINK AT THE BOTTOM ***

Hi,

It is with deep regret that I'm writing this email. I wish I didn't have to do this but, right now, it's the only option that I'm left with. If you're interested, in this email I'll be explaining my decision and the reasons why I've decided to stop offering FAQ-Tastic Pro.

Yes, this is your last chance to purchase FAQ-Tastic Pro. I hope you do take some time to read this email - there's useful information here. If you're in a rush (or don't really care what I have to say), and just want to get the 40% discount code - it's at the bottom. You'll miss out on some quality stuff though... I get silly towards the end.

Is It Worth Me Carrying On?
FAQ-Tastic has been an excellent plugin and, over the last few years, I've learned so much from the experience of creating a product, setting up a shopping cart and really creating benefit for thousands of people. I hope it's made working on your site easier and saved you time.

Over the years, I've really appreciated the warm and heartfelt thanks and gratitude that people have sent via email. "Thank You" to those kind people - you will always be in my heart and I appreciate your sincerity and the time to provide your kind words. They've helped to keep me strong and persist with this project.

However, the reality is that it takes a lot more to keep a site and project alive. I have monthly running costs to support like the shopping cart and the auto-responder list that you're reading this email on. There's also my Developer - John (absolutely brilliant WordPress plugin Developer) - who needs to be paid every time WordPress does an update. There's also time spent dealing with customer issues - it's actually a lot of work behind the scenes which no-one ever sees...

In terms of cost, it's essentially, my time that's the biggest factor. FAQ-Tastic Pro actually only makes enough to cover the cost of the cart and responders. After that, I'm lucky if I make $5 a month on the Pro product. To quote from one of my favourite movies, "Trading Places" (one of Eddie Murphy's finest moments):

Ezra: "Five dollars. Maybe I'll go to the movies... by myself!"

As a part-time freelancer and for 3 days a week, I'm a part-time single dad, I don't actually have much time left. There's cooking, cleaning, laundry to be done as well as my freelance work. It all adds up and the FAQ-Tastic site is additional time added to what I'm doing. Quite simply, I've spread myself too thin and not focused my efforts on any one thing in particular. I've had my fingers in too many pies and now I need to focus my efforts on one thing that will actually reap rewards.

So... is it really worth carrying on? In terms of my time... at the moment, unfortunately, "no". It's not. I'm worth more than that... It's a pity it's taken me so long to realise that and do something about it.

An Interesting Social Experiment In "Free"
As a social experiment, I'd like to pass on my knowledge to other would-be plugin Developers or Internet Marketers who are thinking of creating their own plugin. I hope my success (failure? You decide) may help others in the future. If you've ever gathered anything about me, it's that I do like to help people (if I have time!). So, here's a few quick tips:

  • Your Time Is Valuable.
    Firstly, make sure you *have* time to focus fully on your plugin project.
    Most WordPress plugin Developers do it in their spare time, but if you really want to do well, then it should be your one and only priority. For me, it hasn't been and that affects the overall quality - I don't like producing things that don't have quality and, quite simply, I'd need "a lot more time" if I were to do this properly maintain this plugin and support it.
  • Create Real Value And A Quality Product
    If you have the time, then do things properly. If you do things right, then it will reap rewards. It's hard for me to describe and maybe an example will help. I'd suggest you have a look at the WordPress WishList membership plugin.

    Now these guys do it exceptionally well... they have excellent tutorial videos, a proper support department and regular events set up. They do 1 thing very well. It's their full time job. Aside from having an excellent plugin (the one I use), Tracy Childers is a truly wonderful human being who's provided me a lot of advice (which I've not taken due to lack of time, sorry Tracy! If only I had, maybe things would be different!)

    Anyway, if you want to help me out, please consider using my affiliate link. Basically, if you buy their product, I'll get a commission and you'll be helping me out in a roundabout way:

    http://member.wishlistproducts.com/wlp.php?af=994488 (my affiliate link)

  • Internet Marketing & Moving The "Free Line"
    If you're thinking of building a plugin for Internet Marketing purposes, then consider very carefully what the plugin you're building is. If you're going to be using your plugin to collect names in an opt-in mailing list, then think about your end-user.

    As a niche, FAQ's are specific but here's the catch: "What is the one thing that binds your mailing list users together?" In terms of FAQ-Tastic: "nothing". They are varied in their interests, so it's impossible to market any one thing to such a list. Send out an email about any particular product and watch the unsubscribes on your list reach an all time high! Basically, if nothing ties your end-users together apart from your product, then email only about your product (and nothing else!). Don't think you can get away with marketing anything else to them as they'll just consider it spam, mark it as such and you'll get complaints.

  • "Free" Won't Make You Money
    ...but it sure as hell will suck up your time. If you're a Developer and you just build things because it pushes your limits, tests your skills and get emails from people who think it's cool - then great. Just remember that there will be a time when the interest in what you're doing will fade - especially if there's no incentive to carry on.

    You'll only ever receive a few "Thank you" emails - the rest will be "Oi mate, this doesn't f**kin' work - fix it, will ya?!?!". You will spend more time in "tech support" than actually building something new and cool (where you get the buzz from!).

    ...And when you get to that point, you'll have a whole heap of users that are dependent on your WordPress plugin and will be upset as you're no longer interested.

    Don't get me wrong - a lot of people love "free" and are more than willing to suck up your time, especially if they don't have to do anything in return. It's a dog-eat-dog world we live in, and, unfortunately, it's all driven by greed rather than mutual benefit. There *are* a few good people out there in the world - very few and I'm really grateful for them.

    Trust me - money is a good incentive. At least, if you know you're getting paid, then that will keep you on track as it's actually worth your time.To quote from Napoleon Hill's classic work "Think & Grow Rich":

    No one will work indefinitely without some form of compensation. No intelligent person will either request or expect another to work without adequate compensation, although this may not always be in the form of money." Napoleon Hill, Think & Grow Rich (1937, p. 100)

Now, Michel Fortin recently reminded me of a quote: "Free advice is worth what you pay for it." (It's also mentioned by the Sage in the Groo comics which I was reading recently). So, I leave it to you whether or not you want to heed my words of wisdom or not.  I hope it gives you something to think about and provides you with the wisdom of my experience. If you want to heed the advice and also require "value" to be attached, why not send me a donation? (Heh... nice reframe, huh? C'mon... that's got to be worth a donation!).

So Why Am I Doing This?
Well, quite frankly, aside from the time aspect, the last few months freelance-wise haven't been too good (Christmas, a new year, a new decade - who knows). Basically, I'm stuck. have bills to pay and 2 mouths to feed (3 if you include my cat - and she's huge, so let's call it 4 mouths!). The mortgage needs paying and the banks are sucking me dry (again) - funny that... they were the ones that helped me get into debt in the first place with their extortionate rates on a mortgage a few years ago when times were "good". Now, they like to bill me monthly and help me to go over my overdraft when there's not much work about. Hmm... well, looks like the banking system likes to suck people dry. Considering they were the ones that put us into a recession in the first place... What kind of a world do we live in, eh? I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

...sorry, I'm just venting now!

I've been spending quite a bit of time looking for other ways to bring in a bit of cash and keep going, which has also lead to me taking my eye off FAQ-Tastic. I'm sorry if it's caused anyone who's tried emailing me any inconvenience. I'm not in a good space at the moment and a bit messed up, looking for a new direction...

Yup... there we have it folks: honest to goodness "honesty". A bit like a recovering alcoholic - the first step is to admit to the problem. What better than to confess it to the group of over 3000? I might as well stand up on stage at a rock festival and drop my trousers. I hope you appreciate my candour... So, quite simply... yeah, I need the cash. Like, yesterday.

Why Else Am I Doing This?
Apart from the finances, well... my Developer's gone a bit AWOL recently. Not sure what he's up to and I don't have the time to chase him up right now.

It's also the Spring Equinox (No... I don't know what that means either), so apparently a good time to start clearing out the old to make way for the new. Time for me to close a chapter of this book and to start sowing new seeds... to mix metaphors. :)

What Does This Mean For The FAQ-Tastic & The Site?
Right. Just to clear things up. Here's what's going to happen:

  • The FAQ-Tastic site will remain up
    The free downloads will still be available... this is mainly as I still have plenty of time left on my hosting and domain. Just don't expect much from the site. Y'never did anyway... At the moment, the plugin works for 2.9.x (checked on a vanilla install).
  • Updates to FAQ-Tastic
    If I do manage to get myself out of this pit, then of course, I'd look at carrying on. At the moment, that's not looking likely. Don't get your hopes up.
  • FAQ-Tastic Pro will be discontinued.
    I simply don't have the time to be fixing issues with the payment gateways, site or dealing with questions.
  • Support For Existing Pro Users
    I will do my best to support existing Pro users. Who knows, if this closing down sale goes well, then I might be able to put something aside for a few more updates.
  • Extremely Limited Support For New FAQ-Tastic Pro Users
    Let's face it - I'm giving you the heads up on the situation right now, so you can take a well considered opinion of whether or not you want to buy the product! If you're also expecting support... Sheesh - Dude, what are you like?!?

    Not only that, but I'm giving you a major discount on the product... and you want support too? Double, sheesh! What can I say... do you want me to bring you the moon on a stick as well? Cause I'll just tell you what you can do with the mooning and the stick! And I'll give you the finger if you're expecting product support - that'll be my index finger and I'll be pointing at the door... :P

Hehe... sorry if I'm sounding rude right now - I'm just messing with you! I'm having too much fun writing this email and making myself laugh. What a way to say goodbye! I hope you're enjoying this as much as I am... Well, as much as you can enjoy a "goodbye".

What Does The Future Hold For FAQ-Tastic?
Right now, I'm not sure. Thing are up and down in my world. I have to focus on 1 thing at a time and make use of my time sensibly. It's taken me too long to realise that and I'm just grateful that I have.

Anyway... It's been fun. An amazing and at times, scary, journey with lots of ups and downs. A roller coaster ride with a lot of good experience points notched up. But "it's just a ride". Pity, I'm up against an end-of-level monster that's proving a bit tricky to defeat. I'm sure I will in time... just not sure when. Hopefully soon... and gain some extra experience points on the way.

I may be back in the future when things pick up - I don't know just yet. I still have a functional spec document for FAQ-Tastic Pro version 2 that has so many cool things in it. It's a pity that I was never able to raise enough funds to build it. I designed a cool new logo for it and everything... Oh well. It's a good job I never told you about it cause you'd really want it built...

Tis a pity more people aren't more forthcoming with donations - like I say, people like "free" when they can get all they want... but just taking without giving back will have an impact on your plugin Developer. If I were you, I'd recommend you send your favourite free plugin Developer an email right now, thanking them for their efforts (and sending emails regularly) just to make sure they continue their projects! There's very little thanks or generosity in this world - it's the least you can do (and if you can't do it with sincerity, then at least do it out of self-interest!). Trust me - most Developers create plugins because they like to feel appreciated about doing something cool... and it only takes a moment of your time to write an email!

So long, Farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Adieu,
I hate to go and leave this pretty [site]...

That's got you singing, hasn't it? Righty, folks. I'm off. "There is one more thing...it's been emotional". (10 points to anyone who can guess which excellent movie this quote is from...)

Here's the link to the page: http://faq-tastic.com/lite-member/upgrade-to-faq-tastic-pro/

Scroll down to the bottom and hit that big green button.

When you get to the PayPal screen, add this discount code if you want to get 40% off:

2010BYEBYEFAQTASTIC

Note: Offer Available For A Limited Time Only.
Valid Until The Weekend!!!

Obviously, right now, I'd prefer it if you didn't use the discount code. Just a hint if you're feeling particularly generous right now!!! I don't know what to say... *sniff* :~( ...so I'll end on this:

"Thank you so very much. God bless you all. Have a ball and goodnight"

Cheers, Zain

PS: "A few of these sentences have already begun to take root in your subconscious mind, haven't they? If you play the record a few more times, you'll be amazed how easily you have begun to understand.". 10 points if you can guess the track and an extra 10 points for anyone who can guess the artist...

PPS: Up to you if you'd like to unsubscribe. I may be back in the future - you never know. I hope I am... and if I do, then it will be with a proper focus and a better product!


Like I say. I may be down at the moment but not yet "out". There's still fight in the ole boy yet... You never know - if enough good people take me up on this offer - maybe as a way of saying "Zain, thanks for 3 years worth of exceptional service", then things could potentially turn round...

Leave a comment. I'd be interested in knowing what you think.

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Written by edith on March 17th, 2010
{ 8 comments }


“Goodbye FAQ-Tastic Pro?” on other sites

8 Comment on “Goodbye FAQ-Tastic Pro?”

  1. MB says:

    Hi Zain,

    We started using your excellent plugin only very recently in Feb this year and it is sad to see its development stop so soon. I just hope somebody out there will at least make it compatible with wordpress 3.

    Anyway, thanks for creating a good plugin and I wish you more serenity, peace and happiness in your life.

    Warmly,
    Manish

  2. Daniel says:

    Press the green button? Am I dumb or does it just take me back to this post?
    I want to buy this, could you please provide a working link so I could buy this great plugin - thanks.

  3. X-Bit says:

    Hm... I am new to this site, just looking for a FAQ-plugin for WP. I stumbled around a bit an found this article. Very touching, as I am a "free"-developer as well, serving the Joomla community... for free, most of the time.

    I do fully understand, how you felt, as you wrote those lines. With a laughing and a crying eye, as they say in German. I was so often at the same abyss, just throwing all away and still not able to do it.

    I wish you, as a single dad, all the luck and happiness of this world and let me say, how sad I am, that only one f***ing comment has been written for somebody who was willing to fry his time and knowledge for the sake of the community.

    You got my deepest respect and I really hope that you are happier today!

    Cheers!

  4. Aaron Dwyer says:

    Hi Zain

    Just upgraded from v1.07 (that I created a patch for to make it work in wordpress v2.7) and glad to see that FAQtastic v1.0.16 works in WordPress 3.0.x

    Aaron

  5. Zain says:

    Apologies. The Pro version was discontinued a while ago. The cost of producing, managing and maintaining the plugin simply didn't work out... I just about managed to cover my costs on the project. And the title of this post was actually to say "Goodbye" to the Pro version.

    The Lite version is still available and works with 3.x. (Well... It does on my demo site!)

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