An uplifting conversation with a founder helping businesses sell more online

I went on Twitter a few weeks ago and asked, “Who is doing well right now?” The response I got was surprising.

In today’s interview, I want to share one of the stories that I heard. Vishal Kothari is the founder of Tyche Softwares, which provides a variety of premium plugins for WooCommerce.

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Vishal Kothari

Vishal Kothari

Tyche

Vishal Kothari is the founder of Tyche Softwares, which provides a variety of premium plugins for WooCommerce.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew Warner 0:04
Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner, and I’m the founder of mixergy. And I was feeling really bummed out lately. And I realized what it is. It’s number one with the family a lot lately where we’re all stuck indoors together. And it’s fun, but it’s also, it’s wearing me out that I don’t have my own space. And number two, I just get sucked into negative news. My habit is to tell my smart speaker play the news, just as I walk around the house, because I like to have stuff going on. And it didn’t. It didn’t occur to me how much it was depressing to hear all that until, until I started realizing that the best days that I had were days when I was interviewing people who had figured out something to do or active and I was getting lost in their stories. And so I thought, I’m gonna go on Twitter, and I’m gonna ask, who’s doing well right now who’s doing in fact, if I could even say this better in March than they were in February of 2020, who’s seeing a little bit of an uptick? I want to see what’s working Start to highlight the little successes and learn from them. And one of the people who I connected with is an entrepreneur who I frankly didn’t know. And I started doing research on him in the couple of hours that I had since we’ve fully firmly locked this in. And here’s the here’s what he’s got.

Vishal Kotha I have I actually, Vishal Kothari actually called someone on your team to ask a few questions. And before I ended the conversation, I said, How do I pronounce a name? He told me and it looks like the iPad auto trans auto corrected my phonetic spelling. He is from Tyche Softwares. What they do is they help people who have WordPress websites that are designed to sell and most WordPress websites that sell use a plugin called WooCommerce to enable them to sell online and once they do that they have issues that are online stores have like abandoned carts, like how do you tell your customer when they’re going to get their order? Like how do you make an appointment and book it, what they’ve done what Vishal’s company Tyche softwares has done is, it created tools to enable online stores to sell more and take better care of their customers. So I invited me here to talk about how he’s doing, how he built it, why he thinks it’s doing better now and just to have a conversation that will be a little uplifting, a little educational, a little bit Corona related, but not Corona, Corona obsessed. And we can do things to two phenomenal sponsors. The first if you’re hearing what you like here, and you decide I want to build a website that sells you could do it on WordPress, and if you go to hostgator.com slash mixergy, they’ll set you up with those super low rate that will allow you to do that. And the second if you need to hire developers to create your own plugins for yourself for your clients. If you need anything developed, top towel is the place to go but I’ll tell you later why you should go to Toptal.com/mixergy first Vishal good to Hear.

Vishal Kothari 3:00
Hey, Andrew,

Andrew Warner 3:02
nice talking to you as well. Direct from what city you in Mumbai. Wow, thanks so much for being here. Revenue. Can you talk about what the actual numbers are for last year?

Vishal Kothari 3:15
Show? So for 2019 we have made close to $335,000. Wow.

Andrew Warner 3:23
That’s phenomenal.

Unknown Speaker 3:24
Yeah, bootstrap company. Absolutely, totally founded it when

Vishal Kothari 3:29
I founded it in 2012 or February 2012. So yeah, and I started selling my first plugin for $9. one time fee. Yeah, one time fee lifetime license. And now the same plugin we are selling for $99 for your Wi Fi and

Andrew Warner 3:53
so you like the 99 sorry, watch out as you’re moving the mic because it keeps brushing up against jacket. Why do you how much of an increase did you start to see in March?

Vishal Kothari 4:06
So in March as

Andrew Warner 4:09
the mic, I’m definitely hearing a lot more. Okay. Yeah, no problem. That’s a Thank you. I appreciate it.

Vishal Kothari 4:16
So I just was looking at the numbers, you know, as compared to the last quarter, January to March 2019 and January to March 2020. We’re seeing, you

Andrew Warner 4:31
know, 40% increase. That’s January, March, the world changed what happened in March.

Vishal Kothari 4:38
Right. So in March, I think, in this month, what has happened is due to this crisis that we are in, yes, you know, a couple of plugins, especially the plugins that help manage deliveries, people have started buying them a lot more, because you know, they have realized that they can only deliver a limited stock of whatever they are selling. So the sales of those plugins have increased, you know, they have doubled actually than what they were in February the order we talked about

Andrew Warner 5:13
the order delivery date, product and product delivery.

Vishal Kothari 5:19
Yes, that’s right. Order delivery day

Andrew Warner 5:22
is the big one. And then the product delivery date also slightly. But order delivery date is the maximum crossing product for us. Order delivery date plugin allows businesses to create complex delivery schedules and thereby optimize their local delivery store owners can deliver items at customer’s chosen date and time, and thereby improving customer service. So that’s where if I need to deliver something to my office on the date that I expect to be in the office instead of the first earliest date, I’d be I could do that if the store had your plug in.

Unknown Speaker 5:54
Exactly, absolutely.

Andrew Warner 5:56
I didn’t even realize that was a need.

Vishal Kothari 5:58
Yeah, you want it If not, that’s the plugin lifestyle, it’s selling for $9 that that’s one of our first plugins of the company, right in 2012. And now in this time, I realize how important it’s helping businesses. Because let’s say you know earlier you were able to handle unlimited number of deliveries, but now we realize that you have very limited stock of let’s say, bakeries, or you know, of food items. Then you need to make sure that you are not overloaded with the deliveries.

Andrew Warner 6:33
Got it? So it’s not just about the customers need for having things delivered when they when they’ll be there. It’s about the store owner saying I don’t have an infinite number of bagels I have now a big people who are buying bagels from us because they can’t go into stores. How do I not disappoint them and spread it spread out the delivery based on industry Exactly. Got it. That’s that makes total sense that people are using this.

Vishal Kothari 6:56
Yeah. So the store though can say that, you know, all you ever used to deliver $100 100 orders in a day, but now I can only deliver 20 orders. So once the 20 orders are placed for a day, then that date becomes unavailable for any other customers to choose.

Andrew Warner 7:14
fair to say also that what I’m seeing talking to people who responded to that tweet who I happened to have scheduled interviews with before all this, what I’m seeing is ecommerce as as a business model is growing, right. And so people who are in e commerce are growing along with it, and some have products that are much more directly related to what’s going on right now and are doing even better and others are just getting, you tell me?

Vishal Kothari 7:39
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It’s

happening. Yeah, that’s what is happening. So people certainly have a lot of time because they are, you know, mostly locked in their homes. Yeah. And they want to work on things. They want to be productive. So they want to make sure that they are utilizing this time, you know, in the right way like you You know, you said that let’s throw in some positivity, because there is all negative news. So you are utilizing your time interviewing people like me. So I think that two things, one, that people who have niche products who can help in these times of crisis, they are getting, you know, maximum exposure. And people are also having time on their hands to work on, you know, on their website, on their ecommerce store, you know, to make sure that whenever things go normal, then they can, you know, make up for the lost revenue.

Andrew Warner 8:37
You know what, so that’s, it’s part of my preparing for this interview, because I don’t know you. I don’t have friends in common with you. I don’t live in the same city. I told you I talked to at the founder of WooCommerce. He and I were I mess it we were, what’s happing each other and then we started talking about our families and where he’s doing and so it ended up being a nice conversation. The other thing that I did was, I saw you had a salesperson David Katzner I think Hold him out of the blue. And so I started talking to David. And and because we’re all in a crisis mode I asked him how he was dealing with it a little bit how I was dealing with it. We talked a little bit about what you must be going through in India. And he said, you know, Andrew, truthfully, I thought things would be quiet right now. A lot of my friends even asked me so how are you doing with that tech company that you’re working for? And he said, it actually ended up being the opposite of quiet it’s it’s actually growing right now. And I asked him which plugins specifically was going gangbusters and he said, if you’re looking for one that’s working and the others that aren’t it’s it’s all of them that are doing well. Right now. In this in this market. Is he a full time guy here in the US?

Vishal Kothari 9:45
So he he wears many hats. He is a TV producer, he he runs a company called the National parenting Center, which actually tests gadgets, you know, for parents and kids now He has been doing that since 1990. I think.

Andrew Warner 10:04
So working as your customer service or salesperson is part of Lisa’s pre sales guy, he

Vishal Kothari 10:11
Yep. And tonight, we thought a US presence was important because the maximum sales come in from the US so and because I know him since 2005. Now, so you know, one fine day we just said that, you know, why don’t you do this for us from a few thousand five. So I used to work in this in my previous company was a client, and we you know, I worked on his project. That’s how we came to know each other on the national parenting Center

Unknown Speaker 10:41
website that

Vishal Kothari 10:42
those were different projects. He is a big sports fan. So you know, we used to do fantasy sports, websites, NFL, NHL MLB you know, NBA all of them. And that’s how we came to know it. And then in 2009, I started doing both for him directly. That’s when I had left my company.

Andrew Warner 11:08
And we have claims since let’s let’s go over a little bit of your background. The reason that he came to mind was, he’s the guy who talks to potential customers. And he said the same thing you did. He said, I thought it’d be interesting to get some color from him. He said, people are stuck at home, there’s not much that they could do to help the International. He didn’t say exactly like this. But my understanding was, they can change the economics of the world, but they can improve their own business, their own website, and they’re there fiddling with it. They’re tweaking it, they’re improving it. And I thought that was helpful to come from him. I’m going to take a moment talk about my first sponsor, and then we’ll come back and ask you what you did just before this. My first sponsor is a company called hostgator. If you like what you’re hearing here, if you decided, you know what, I want to build an e commerce site, I have an idea for something to do. Let me tell you something. first idea, let it suck, let it be the thing that you end up closing down and then rebuilding and then starting Another one and just keep playing until you find the one that feels right. And playing doesn’t take a long time. Just like if you sit down and you want to write an article, the first one doesn’t have to be the gangbuster one that goes viral. It’s just one that is interesting. And then you write another and another until you find one that catches fire and a topic that gets you. Same thing with building your website. If you have an idea, go to hostgator.com slash mixer do you build it up, learn through the building experience, see how fast and easy it could be to create an e commerce site, a site that sells something by building it on WordPress and WooCommerce. If you decide, you know what I did that it’s easy, it’s great. But if it’s not, for me, totally fine to delete it and start another and another and another until you find the one that works. And with each iteration with each experiment, you learn a little bit more about this technology. This is the time to learn. And the best way to learn how to build this new business how to build a site is by actually doing it yourself. It’s not hard. You could do it on whatever device you have with you right now by going to hostgator.com slash mixergy. They’ll get you started. Make it easy and they’ll make it super easy. inexpensive hostgator.com slash mixergy. And I’m grateful to them for sponsoring. Yeah, when you throw that slash mixergy at the end, you get $100 ad credit yet this and that, but you also get a lowest price possible and you get to support me and I appreciate you for doing that. Thank you. And thank you hostgator. What are you doing just before were you a website builder?

Vishal Kothari 13:21
Yeah, so I started walking in 2004. I stuck as a programmer

Andrew Warner 13:25
for a website and Mike again, is I keep bringing it up. But we didn’t get a chance we could we can send mics to people in India, I could send mics to anyone in the US. Even to like Canada is a pain and then going to the UK is a nightmare. Going to India. We haven’t even figured out a way. I apologize. Sorry. You were saying 2004. I got started doing what?

Vishal Kothari 13:47
Yeah, I started doing programming and PHP, you know, was the language that I used to work on. And eventually, you know, everything that was technical started coming into my way because I was good. Direct. So, PHP, you know, command line tools c++, how did you land this? Yeah, it was on my own it was, you know, on the job. So, yeah, you know, it was all on the job. And I am, you know, grateful to the, to my previous company, you know where I used to because I got exposure to almost such a variety of technologies, right from c++ to mobile programming to PHP, you know, to visit technologies.

Andrew Warner 14:30
That’s what I mean, this is your job, but you were learning it on the job. You didn’t learn it at the University of Mumbai,

Vishal Kothari 14:36
where you No, no, no, I did not because the education where we used to, you know, when we used to learn when I passed out in 2004, the education was not that, you know, ahead of its time, it was like we were being taught, you know, see language that was the most advanced that we learned in the university. So, so yeah, the education system needs overhaul in India. That It’s a separate topic though. Like I it was all on the job. And yeah, it was almost doing the each and every single thing in the company, which, you know, which I get from doing without thinking like this My job of not buying again when I

Andrew Warner 15:17
yeah. Where’s the mic? Is it on the earphones? Oh, yeah. You just hold it up like that while we’re talking away from the

Vishal Kothari 15:24
show that’s out there that I have one mic. It’s in the office. Actually, you’re not under Hey, I haven’t been able to go to the office. I know.

Andrew Warner 15:32
I did a pop filter. It’s a whole thing. So you’re so you just kept saying whatever work I could do. I’m going to take it on and I’m going to do it. What’s a project that you were working on back when you were at magnet technologies that helped you learn a little bit?

Vishal Kothari 15:47
Oh, there were many actually I used to. I can’t, I can’t say one but I used to do account management for one client which was global. You know where I was. responsible for giving 24 seven support as well. Or that helped me a lot. I I brought in projects worth about $50,000 because the company needed to know some projects to come in. So I started bidding online. And that time it was Elance. What we have

Andrew Warner 16:19
clients from Elance

Unknown Speaker 16:21
Elance yada, yeah, yeah.

Andrew Warner 16:22
Which is now like you said, it’s up while you were doing all this. Where did you get the idea that eventually became tacky.

Vishal Kothari 16:31
So in 2009, I left this company I left this job to know to do something on my own. And that’s when I along with a friend who was also a partner, we decided to build a ESP solution for the diamond and jewelry market.

Andrew Warner 16:52
We’re talking about email. What CRP

Vishal Kothari 16:55
o p, er p it’s like an enterprise solution. Like sa p What is e?

So e RP essentially handles all aspects of the business, right from, you know, the, the core business to payroll processing, to, you know, anything you can

Andrew Warner 17:14
imagine as resource planning, integrated management of main business processes, often in real time and mediated by software and technology. Sadly, yeah, okay, got it. So that’s what we’re working on. Right. So

Vishal Kothari 17:28
we chose this, this field of diamond enjoys it because my family is into it. You know, the rest of my family, they are into this business of diamonds and jewelry. So that’s how the idea came. I cannot build a software for them. People advised us against that. And by doing that, no one will buy this thing in this market to do what to build an EMP solution for for these, you know, this market timing.

Andrew Warner 17:54
Why? Why did they say that? They wouldn’t want all this

Vishal Kothari 17:57
because that’s a very traditional industry they have Maya, you know, they have not that advanced or not that tech savvy.

Unknown Speaker 18:05
Yeah.

Vishal Kothari 18:06
So like we said that that’s a challenge. So why not do it? And maybe if we, you know, it might work. So I wanted to try it out. So we’d like to build that that LP solution, which I’d added for about two years. And eventually I said that this is not for me. So, you know, things are not working as well as I had anticipated.

Andrew Warner 18:31
Because why were they right? The people who told you look, this is not a market that’s ready for it.

Vishal Kothari 18:36
So the delivery cycle was very long, you know, a project would take about six months and the revenue what we would get for that was peanuts, you know, and if you are the client, you know, then the clients in this industry, they would want us to come to the office every time you know for the meeting. They would not do meetings on Skype now Assume you know. So that would mean we would spend a lot of time you know, and in Mumbai traveling is is very messy. It’s like LA, you know, so, so after the time for two, two years or so I said that, you know, this is this is not working out and I need I can do something better so it’s you know, it’s better if I switch. And funny thing was like when we were building the FFP solution. We were trying to make it like WordPress, you know, we were trying to make something like WordPress where we can put in a plugin, we can activate and deactivate that. So we knew WordPress at that time in 2009. But we we never thought that let’s build something for the WordPress we said that you know, let’s build a new solution like WordPress is working. So so we try to do that and it did not work and then in 2011 at the end of 2011 I started looking for work, because, you know, I did not want to pursue that project any longer. So I started giving him two views. I started looking for more clients on Elance. And the interviews I was rejected, like two three interviews, they did not call me back. And on Elance I got a client who wanted to hire me, like they wanted me to work during Christmas and during New York both and that too, you know, in New York time, so east coast. So I was like, that would be like night time for us in India your time zones. So I asked my wife, you know, what should I do? She was like, you know, why not go for it, we don’t have any work anyways, so, so, you know, you should go for it. And I went for that client. And that and that’s how it started. And the idea of building plugins then came in 2000 Well, early 2012 because I did not want to depend on a single source. Like I did got that one client, you know, who started giving me like a little book. But I did not want to solely depend on that.

Andrew Warner 21:14
Okay, I want to say, Oh, I need to work I need to figure something out for myself on the side that I can build. How did you come up with the idea for it was still a WooCommerce plugin. WooCommerce is a way of turning WordPress into an online store.

Unknown Speaker 21:29
Exactly.

Vishal Kothari 21:30
Yeah. It’s a way of turning WordPress into an online store and I actually started building plugins not for the WooCommerce there was another software another plugin called WP e commerce you know, which was a big one at that time in 2012. So if I build my first plugin for WP e commerce and only like three, four months into the ride, I realized that there is more demand for Hong Kong. Most plugins rather than for WP e commerce, this is what how did you know that this was going to be a type of plugin that you should create whether it’s for WooCommerce or WP e commerce? Where’d that come from? That’s a good question. I used to look at the support for them. So now of WooCommerce you can look at that and see what people are asking. And I wanted to build something which could be made quickly. Yeah, if I had to fail, you know, I could fail quickly. Yeah, sort of, you know, waiting for two years. So I wanted to build something which would make me money when I am sleeping. Okay. So that would never happen in a service business that could only happen in a product business. So so that’s how the idea of the delivery date you know, plugin first came because you saw people had this specific problem in the forum’s they didn’t have an answer. You said. I think I could create it. Yeah, absolutely. They Without saying that, you know, I want to have a delivery date field on the checkout page. I want my customers to choose a delivery date. Because there are many businesses like florists who do want to deliver on a on a date. Right. That’s how the first plugin you don’t work. But you

Andrew Warner 23:16
know what, it makes no sense to me. When I first saw that plugin. I thought maybe this was the first one you created. And then you learn that this doesn’t apply to a lot of people. But every time you give me a use case, I go right. Of course, it does make sense. Yeah, yeah. Okay, so you built it? How long did it take you to create it?

I don’t think it took me more than one week to create the first version of it. Okay. How did you get your first customers going back to the forum?

Ah,

Vishal Kothari 23:42
I actually asked one of her friends in Dubai to first do a test transaction, okay. Because, you know, we had to make sure that international clients can buy from our site. And I told him so that you know, that I then made sure that the site was working fine. The payments were working fine. And I think you’re the first customers that come to the voters.org, you know, for

Andrew Warner 24:07
their marketplace.

Vishal Kothari 24:08
Yeah, because we had a version and a paid version both. So it definitely came to that.

Andrew Warner 24:14
The free version, was it the same as the paid version, but a paid version came with customer service? No,

Vishal Kothari 24:21
no, the paid version always had more features. the paid version always add more features. And customer service will give for both for the free version also will give customer service and for the paid version also will give customer service. So then what was the difference between the free and the paid? Yeah, though, I don’t remember the exact difference right now. But I think in the paid version, we would allow two for the customers to disable certain weekdays. Let’s say if you don’t deliver on a Sunday, you could do that in the paid version, but you know, not in the free version, something like that, you know,

Andrew Warner 24:56
I saw that he then started adding other plugins. Like you had viral coupon lytx. This coupon, allows customers to like on Facebook and earn a discount. There’s the email domain checker to validate email addresses, people are typing into your site, it was you saying, You know what, I think I found my niche. I’m going to create these different products. I don’t know you well enough for this not to like to know whether you’re going to be insulted by this or not. But the language on the site, I feel like is, it’s not written grammatically correct.

Vishal Kothari 25:32
Yeah, I agree. You know, and that is not an insult. Because if you see, or if you would have seen the previous version of our website, I’m talking of way back in 2013. So believe me, I’m seeing you are?

No, look at my iPad, or apps. Okay,

so, so this side customers would tell us that, you know, we think this is a scam. You do Happy No,

Andrew Warner 26:01
I wouldn’t say that. But okay.

Vishal Kothari 26:03
But yeah, you know, I think that was important feedback. And we realize that we are not the best creative guys to, to, you know, handle our own website. And now’s the time to, you know, hire someone to, to make sure that we, you know, we have something more professional on that. Okay, so, so yeah, I am definitely not insulted, you know, by by the language I know, we need to, you know, improve on that. It did improve and improve the first versions of the site that I saw looked a lot like a WordPress site with like a blog post with on the right side links to your products. Okay. All right.

Andrew Warner 26:41
Let me take a moment. Talk about my second sponsor. If you’re out there and you’re hiring, you’ve got to understand that the best developers can outdo 10 mediocre What are you drinking, by the way?

Vishal Kothari 26:51
It’s horrible. Just plain

Andrew Warner 26:52
water. I more tea person.

Vishal Kothari 26:56
Yeah, I didn’t want to have tea this late. It’s actually 2am. And then there

Andrew Warner 26:59
are Oh no. And I thought I stood I so must have miscalculated. You know, I was taking okay. I’m screaming into the mic. Thank you so much for being up this late. I was looking at the time when you told me you are. I think it’s minus five or five. I’m wondering, that’s where I screwed it up. But I was I was taking care of my kids at the time doing the homeschooling. I’m teaching my kid math and reading and yeah, and at the same time, we were like chatting on Twitter direct messages. Yeah, that’s okay. Well, that’s so good. Thank you for telling me. Wow, we I should come back to the sponsor. Thanks. No, this is like really challenging. One of the things that I need to start doing with the kids is setting up a schedule. The first week was okay for me to wing it. After that. I need a clear schedule. What’s the agenda for the day for each kid who is going to participate in helping them so it can’t all be me sitting there and watching him as he goes through flashcards to learn how to read and the other one goes through. It needs to be who in fact, I actually I checked in with my family. I said to my dad, dad, you like math, can you do the math class for the kid? It’s super easy. He said, No, don’t ask me about that zoo is gonna be this and this. Okay? All right, that’s fine. I think I’m gonna go, I’m actually gonna go look for a friend’s kid who needs it needs a job. And I’m going to find someone who goes through the project, but there’ll be a sense of pride.

Vishal Kothari 28:19
Absolutely. How many kids do have

Andrew Warner 28:21
two kids five year old and a three year old? How about you?

Vishal Kothari 28:24
Yeah, to both daughters, six year old and two year old

Andrew Warner 28:28
to roughly the same as me. What are you doing with the kids during the day?

Vishal Kothari 28:33
I’m largely locked up in my own zone where I work from. And because it’s Mumbai, the real estate here is very expensive. So it’s the apartments are not as huge, you know, yeah. As you want them to be. So we can we can lock the rooms and there are set times when you know, I kind of come out from the office, take a break or fight in minutes and spend some time with them. during lunchtime and during the evening tea time, that’s when we you know, we spend like 1015 minutes together. And apart from that, we are actually in a joint family. So it’s my family. me my wife, my two kids, my brother, his wife, their two kids and my mom and dad. So because we are living together, all living together and that helps a lot.

Unknown Speaker 29:22
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Vishal Kothari 29:24
So so the because we have four kids so they play with each other, you know, they just regret that they are not able to go outside Yeah, but But yeah, you know, they can take care of themselves with you know, with all of them around and are you doing homeschooling? No, we are not we are the schools have now shut

Andrew Warner 29:45
up just letting it play. You’re not sweating the academic stuff right now?

Vishal Kothari 29:50
No, not like deal with actually the vacations where I do you know in April. So you know, at all time calm is almost over. Yeah, there Tom was almost getting old but we do try to squeeze in like one hour of study in a day, not more, and my wife takes care of that. So,

Andrew Warner 30:09
so it’s about to just either pass out or hit me with frickin flashcards to make things I signed, not sign them up. We were doing these mo Willems videos. He’s an author that kids like. So he’s teaching kids every day how to draw. And it’s kind of cool that he does it and he has his follow up process. But he said, as he was teaching them how to make a board game, he looked and said, Alright, the teachers are probably not going to like that. I’m saying this, but we’re gonna write the word fart into like one of the boxes. I thought all right, I’m gonna, you know, I’m gonna do that too. And so I added it to his flashcards to teach him how to read and then we take the flashcards and we combine them into sentences. And he loved and loved and loved it. So it’s a lot of creativity around this

Unknown Speaker 30:55
and a lot of ideals. Yeah,

Andrew Warner 31:00
But um, but I’m, I’m getting the hang of it, I’m getting the hang of it. What I need to do is find a good schedule because my wife works from home too. And she she works for a company that’s here in Silicon Valley very demanding. And they they’re now trying to figure out their schedule. I have a more flexible schedule. I’m the one who does the education. Plus, I’m the one who’s got who’s just very anal about wanting to make sure that the kids learn all the time. Yeah. So I leave that. All right, I should come back and say, listen, guys, if you’re out there listening to me, you’ve heard me talk about how amazing the developers are top towel, but you probably wrote it off because you know what I get paid to say that what you can’t write off is the fact that I bring on interviewees who said that not only do they think the top towel has great developers, but they have hired from top towels both. Both investors have said this and entrepreneurs and if you are out there looking to hire you owe it to yourself to say explore this thing. Maybe I can hire someone on a temporary basis even from top towel. Let’s see what they got. Bring your biggest thing boldest hiring challenges to top towel comm slash mixergy you’ll get 80 hours of developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours in addition to a no risk trial period of up to two weeks, that is top as in top of your head talents and talent to PTA l.com slash MIXE rG Why? Top towel calm slash mixergy and I’m appreciative that they’re still sponsoring. Thank you top towel. All right, you started to say that you’ve got customers from being in the WordPress directory, where else did you get customers as you were developing.

Unknown Speaker 32:34
But so

Vishal Kothari 32:36
few of our plugins have been found as having developed as projects for customers. So the booking plugin was actually a project for one of the customers who needed a booking solution with WooCommerce abandoned cart plugin was also developed as a project for one of the customers. So, you know, I used to keep on looking on Elance that you know, what is it that wasn’t asking. And I used to match that with the ideas forum on WooCommerce website, you know, where they have a, they have a section where people can ask, you know, the ideas for plugins and people can vote. And I was observing that the booking plugin is, you know, being asked by a lot of people and abandoned carts was also being asked by a lot of people. And so you saw that they

Andrew Warner 33:23
were asking, sorry, I’m interrupting, I should let you go. I’m getting excited about the process.

Vishal Kothari 33:27
Yeah, so yeah, so their customers were asking, you know, on WooCommerce website, they do need a plugin for this purpose. And they found two people, you know, who had posted as a budget on Elance. So I said that, you know, this will find my initial development for the plugin. And I told the customers that I’m going to release this as a plugin once I give it to you, you know, so if you’re not okay with that, you know, then we shouldn’t work together. But I will ship this as a plugin.

Andrew Warner 33:58
I’m sorry, I just lost your audio. I think you Might have covered the mic? Yes, there we go. So yeah, so they were okay with we know, but maybe it isn’t as a plugin. And that funded the initial, you know, 1.0 version of these plugins. So you you found a client to fund it did I thought you were finding a client also to learn what a specific customer needed that you couldn’t get from the forums? Is that right?

Vishal Kothari 34:22
Yeah, that’s,

that’s the other aspect of it. But this was this thing that I explained that was mainly about, let’s say, if customers are asking for the booking plugin in WooCommerce. Now there are two options either I spent buying two months by myself and I do it all. I have a customer who wants a booking plugin, and I do it for him. He pays me you know, and I am also releasing it as a plugin. So So I got on. Yeah, as soon as I got to customers who are looking for the booking plugin and the abandoned cart plugin, and that’s, you know, so you find it the initial development from those customers, they got what they wanted and I released them as plugins. So you’re basically paid to create the first version or the cost model you had your cost of your time. Got it? Yeah. And then were people as excited about it as you expected was the market

Andrew Warner 35:15
out there for it.

Unknown Speaker 35:17
Hey, David,

Andrew Warner 35:18
let’s knock this again I am going back to your earlier versions of your site and I see Jingo shop plugins. Do you go shop Yep. Do you go I don’t I never heard of it was this also created in the same model where you found a customer who would pay you to build it for them and then you put it up on your site as a plugin?

Unknown Speaker 35:35
So Google shop

Vishal Kothari 35:37
I’m not sure if you’re aware about the open source now also fee now. So I all our plugins WordPress is open source WooCommerce is open source. And in open source, you can take any software, any product, you can release it as your own, just that the requirement is that you have to give up credit, you know, to, to whenever you have, you know, taken the product from. Okay, so WooCommerce was actually as taken as a fork from Google shop. Okay, so the go shop had their own ecommerce plugin WooCommerce you know, took the Google shop plugin, they gave them the credit where it was required that you know, we are forking the juice shop plugin, and then they they created their own version of the e commerce plugin. Okay, so the initial idea for me was that if order delivery date is working for the WooCommerce do it for sugar shop I should do it for WP e commerce. Why not? We also did it for open cart open card is a completely different

ecommerce software altogether.

Andrew Warner 36:50
And did you end up getting customers before you moved it to them? Or did you say I think it’s gonna work because there’s a market here. Yeah,

Vishal Kothari 36:57
the biggest customers. We were getting commerce plugins because, you know, WooCommerce. So the plugin itself was created very nicely, you know, it had all the features that people wanted in the e commerce plugin. So so that’s how as WooCommerce grew, you know, even our plugins grew along with it.

Andrew Warner 37:18
All right, I’m following you. I think this makes sense. Charging 999 doesn’t make sense or whatever you’re charging at what point did you say we gotta go subscription?

Vishal Kothari 37:29
Oh, I think

it was when WooCommerce themselves decided that you know, lifetime licenses are not sustainable. So, you know, everyone in the market change their models and so did we. The only hesitancy was that will people don’t continue to pay again and again.

Like, yeah, you know, they do pay so

Andrew Warner 37:53
I couldn’t figure out what did you grandfather in the people who already paid for the software? You did? Right. And then Yeah, we did. Yeah. And then anyone else who want to buy from then on had to pay an annual license and what was the annual price.

Vishal Kothari 38:07
So different plugins have different prices. So if the plugin is sold for $49, initially, we had a 15%, you know, renewal discount. So you would pay $49 when you purchase and then it would be 24.5 every year. Okay. And then last year, we change that as well. So we removed the renewal discounts and now you have to pay the same fee every year. So if you buy something for $99, you continue to pay the $99 yearly. It is okay. If it don’t, within you, you will not receive the customer support and the plugin updates in future, which eventually means because things change so much on the platform, it eventually just stops working, which is the way it works. Stop walking, because yeah, it’s not like SAS, you know where Have the control of the code, you know, the code is already with the customer, the plugin is with the customer, right. But the underlying

Andrew Warner 39:09
platform changes so much and it stops working. I bought one of the early themes from WooCommerce before. Before that WooCommerce there were themes. I bought it for my wife site, it eventually even though we’re just talking about a theme design, it eventually stops working as changes are made to the underlying platform. Yeah, it’s fine. I actually think that it’s, it’s the model as it goes, how much would life improve once you shift it to annual pricing?

Vishal Kothari 39:39
did improve a lot? And you know, we,

we we have seen about 40% growth because of you know, their you know, because of that module any business? Yeah, more you know, much more we don’t have to worry now about you know, about how many new sales are we going to make you know,

Andrew Warner 40:00
It’s, it’s reassuring to kind of, you know, not worry about that. And you’re not seeing an increase in churn, you’re seeing a little bit of a growth consider Is it a little bit of a growth?

Vishal Kothari 40:15
No, we are seeing quite high some growth, I would say, Okay. Well, you know, although we know we kind of know we could have done much better, you know, and we, you know, we have been constantly working on that, but what would have made you do better as a business as a business. So, we know our plugins, you know, the products which we have, they lack let’s say some basic things in terms of you experience, okay. You know, let’s say you talked about Grandma, you know, so having the right messaging, on on the side on the products. And eventually Our goal is that whatever products we have, we want to make sure that we are among the top three we don’t want to wait 15 products you know, we are okay with having you know 12 1520 products not more than that. Okay because each of our products do so or real niche you know, we want to go really deep into that like bookings you know, is a huge domain abandon guards you know can can help or small business so much some of your plugins have add ons in addition to them like the the appointment plugin has a recurring bookings add on. Exactly 59 right. So I get I get when one of the things you’re saying is let’s we want to make sure that we have enough but not overwhelm ourselves. Yeah, because we Yeah, volume, you know, like number of logins does not excite me, as I said, You know, I just want to make sure that we are among the top, you know, three in whichever domain When we are solving, that’s the end goal.

Andrew Warner 42:02
Why did you never switch or add on Shopify as that platform was getting bigger?

Vishal Kothari 42:08
We did create one add on for Shopify last year. We have done that. And we have not been able to do work much time after we have created it, because of the limited team size that we have. But Shopify is definitely something that, you know, I want to do. And yeah, you know, possibly in this year, we might release one more

product add on for Shopify, but that is definitely a growing market. And

the main reason is that, you know, I want to build a plugin for Shopify is that Shopify is also equally serving small businesses in a huge way. Yeah. And, you know, that’s the mission of, of me walking into this, that we To help small businesses, it doesn’t matter what technology what platform, you know, do we use by helping small businesses like, is very empowering.

Andrew Warner 43:13
I’m excited to see that you’re doing better. I’m excited to see that you’re still standing frankly, I’ve been running down Valencia street here in San Francisco. And it’s been so disheartening to see how many restaurants how many stores are now boarded up. I’m taking pictures of it so that we remember, it’s interesting to see that the online world is in many ways growing, especially e commerce, it seems Yeah, is doing well. And now I’m seeing more businesses that support e commerce sites are doing well. The website is Tyche Softwares. I wish there wasn’t an S at the end of software’s. Can I say that Tyche softwares, software’s plural enough? What do you think? Yeah,

Vishal Kothari 43:51
yeah, we we have had long discussions on that.

And with many people because softwares  is not a word. You know, software itself is global, as you say. So rebranding actually is on the cards for us sometime this year.

By tapping on it software

Andrew Warner 44:12
in Turkey is the goddess of fortune, am I right?

Vishal Kothari 44:15
It’s the Greek goddess of fortune. That’s so it shows the name for it. That’s where that’s where it came from. The thing that I did see as I researched you is

Andrew Warner 44:24
the reviews are phenomenal. If I look at people who are using the product themselves, that to me says a lot more even than talking to the salesperson who talks to the people more than talking to a founder. I did look at reviews, I did see that people are actually very enthusiastic. And so I’m very happy to have you on here. And I’m proud to see that you’re doing well. And I hope this won’t be our last time together.

Vishal Kothari 44:48
Absolutely. Yeah. I think customer reviews, you know, are what keeps us motivated. They are like oxygen, you know?

Andrew Warner 44:55
Yeah, yeah. It’s so hard to explain to people how much it means For a founder to get for a company to get a positive message back, the only thing that I think about for that is the founder of freshbooks. About 10 years ago, when I interviewed him somewhere around there, I asked him, What can be done when this thing wasn’t working? He said, yeah, we weren’t profitable. But we were getting nice positive feedback. Mike McDermott said this. Absolutely. And since then, whenever I use software that I really like, I find the founders contact information, I send her a message, I say, Thank you, even if it’s just via direct message. Often it doesn’t do anything except making you make us both feel better. Make me take a moment the way that some people pray before they put some food in their mouths. It takes a moment to make me appreciate what I have. Sometimes it leads to a conversation that then does something productive. But I understand what you’re saying about that positively. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 45:45
absolutely.

Unknown Speaker 45:46
Yeah, that’s right.

Andrew Warner 45:48
All right. I want to thank you for being here. It’s taiki software’s will of course, link it up for anyone who wants to go over to take a look at the say, I’m gonna let you go to sleep, and I’m going to go head off.

Vishal Kothari 45:58
Thank you so much. Thank you so much and it’s been a pleasure talking to you. Same here.

Andrew Warner 46:03
Bye Bye everyone.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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