How I Started A $5K/Month Google Sheets Templates Business

I’m Andrew Kamphey. Yes, I’m the resident Google Sheets wizard behind Better Sheets. Better Sheets is a suite of tools, templates, and tutorials for Google Sheets users.

The company generated total revenue of $200,000 in its first three years. It is a very peaky month to month turnover but is usually around $5,000 and can peak around $10,000 during months like Black Friday and when I increase the LTD price.

I recently added a $9 per month membership after trying some other price points. And my LTD price is now over $200, so I wanted better access to the Better Sheets universe, in addition to the free videos on YouTube, Tiktok, and paid courses on Udemy.

What is your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

After five years of managing Google Sheets in a huge internal database and toolkit at a startup, I went out on my own. But what have I done? I started a newsletter about the Influencer Marketing industry. And then sold it. And then tried to build a SaaS. We were technically a co-founder, but we were never able to get it into a sustainable profitable position.

It’s not just about Google Spreadsheet, right? Not at all. I never thought I would become a Google Sheets guru. I still don’t think I am. But people kept saying my Google Sheets planners were totally unique. I could do things in Google Sheets that people could only dream of.

In April 2020, during the height of the Covid lockdown, I promised myself I would launch something, anything. And within 24 hours I gave myself a deadline. Launch something!

Better Sheets’ absolute first idea was a Dribbble for Google Sheets. I wanted to create a collection of awesome Google Sheets. But I couldn’t find one.

So then I thought, maybe I could show people how to make great Google Sheets, and eventually there would be plenty to show. I made 8 instructional videos in 1 day. Post 4 for free and 4 behind a paywall. That was the first version of BetterSheets.

Launched on a Saturday. Made the first sale on Monday. The 2nd sale took another 2 weeks.

At first I set it up as a side project. The launch itself was a success. I started it as a one-time payment and to this day there is still a lifetime payment option. The price is just a little higher now than when I only had 8 videos total.

Describe the process of starting and growing the business.

The launch in the first 24 hours is quite boring. I just made the videos. Set up a Gumroad sales page and a Carrd site. That’s about it. I look back and think, “Wow, did that really take me a whole day?”

I think because now I can create a new map site in about 10 minutes. Yeah, I think the writing, the hand-wringing, and the general uncertainty of never having to do this particular thing before can take up quite a few hours of the day.

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These days I open a Google Doc, start writing, and I even launched a Google Doc as a site this past week. SellingSpreadsheets.com was available and matches the name of the next course I’m creating. So I just forward the domain to the Google Doc that explains the course. The functional part of it lasted about 3-4 minutes. But yes, the writing took weeks and the experience I needed took years.

Over the past year I have made a huge change or adjustment. I started creating more tools for Google Sheets users.

I originally created Better Sheets as a library of tutorials, which just happen to have some structure. Structured around courses that require you to watch videos in a specific order, and topics that allow you to watch videos in any order.

I had created tools in spreadsheets that weren’t for Google Sheets users, but for users of other things. Like Better Letters is a series of worksheets that help you create a curated newsletter. 100 Twitter Templates is a sheet that allows you to tweet.

But starting in 2022, I’ve been building Google Spreadsheet add-ons and web-based tools. So far, I’ve published six Google Spreadsheet add-ons to the Google Workspace Marketplace. Ones like Sheet Styles and Tiny Sheets have done well with thousands of downloads. They are all free.

In mid-2022, I started creating web-based tools to do more things with Sheets, like creating a copy URL and a PDF export URL.

I have also created formula generators, you can just explain your problem and a formula will be created. Some are specific to REGEXMATCH or Conditional Formatting, but also a general Google Sheets formula generator that allows you to ask anything.

What has worked to attract new customers?

The main thing that attracts new customers is a listing on AppSumo Marketplace. Once I got listed there, I had a ton of clients. 80% of my customers come through AppSumo Marketplace. And I earn 85% of my revenue through AppSumo Marketplace.

They have been very good to me and to me. Helped me build quality links to my work and distribute my work. I listed a pack of 19 Google Sheets templates on AppSumo and it has been downloaded over 40,000 times. They have featured Better Sheets in blogs and videos.

In the market, they account for about 30% of sales, but they generate almost 100% of customers. Fair deal in my book.

Over the past year I have also been pushing my courses to course platforms like Udemy. It was really nice to get access to a marketplace of people who are actively looking to get better. Instead of spending money on PPC ads, or influencer marketing, or paid marketing, or earned marketing on podcasts and newsletters, I’m essentially getting free traffic.

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And sometimes you can argue that they pay me to find me new customers. Because anyone who takes one of my Google Sheets courses on Udemy has a high percentage chance of wanting to get a tool to do something better, or learn more to get better, or buy a template to save time to spare.

What are your plans for the future and what are you currently working on?

I’m currently building my Selling Spreadsheets course. I’m trying to distill my own experience selling spreadsheets over the past three years. While also integrating the perspectives of other sellers and figuring out what the most essential steps are for someone new to selling versus someone looking to sell more.

I want to cover both paths and they can both benefit from some fundamental things. But they can both benefit from thinking in an abundance mindset. There just aren’t enough “spreadsheet vendors” these days.

Everyone should be selling spreadsheets. You should be selling spreadsheets.

It’s so easy to do and it can help people in such a fun way.

For decades we had to share Excel files as if they were a physical product. And now Google Sheets is so collaborative and online in the cloud. For a $6 per month tool like Google Workspace, it’s a great value for everyone.

But the one thing that remains the same is that everyone wants to hoard their sheets.

Share your sheets more. Learn from each other. Let’s make spreadsheets great! Not boring.

And I’m building more and more tools around the advice I give. If I give a lot of advice and make a tutorial about it, I now think about how I can make the outcome possible with one click. I’ve created add-ons like Button Styles that let you create fun button-like cells in worksheets. And built a coupon code maker that generates 1,000 Gumroad coupons with 1 click. This is specifically for sellers to offer their products on more marketplaces.

Nowadays I’m looking for more and more opportunities to build tools

What tools do you use for your business?

Google Sheets – to do everything

Google Workspace – to organize internally

Gmail – for emailing

Loom – to record videos

Gumroad – to sell tools

AppSumo Marketplace – to sell LTD

Descriptive – to edit videos

Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs who are just starting out or want to start?

Find an accountability group. That could be a single person, or a rubber duck. It’s not about finding the people who will answer to you or hold you accountable, it’s about finding the right people you want to be accountable to. It could be a writing group, or a marketing group, or a hacking group.

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Meet with them at least once a week and make something. Tell each other what you are doing. Then go make it. Then show it to each other. That is it.

I have that group. A group called Hackagu and I think the format is infinitely useful. It’s useful when you’re launching. It is useful if you do marketing. It’s useful if you’re building features or new business models.

Just get together once a week and say what you’re going to do and do it. That is it.

If you can show someone else the work you do, you do two things. It makes you do the thing, but it also makes you very accustomed to public criticism. Showing something to someone can be a very difficult task for someone who is just starting out.

Getting into the habit of saying what you’re going to do and doing what you said you were going to do every week gets the pump of responsibility going.

You better understand what you can say and do. You will also be freer to show more of yourself to the world.

If it’s a tweet you want to do more of, organize a weekly tweeters group at a local coffee shop.

If it’s writing blog posts, organize a weekly bloggers group.

9.30 am Introduce yourself, what you are doing and what you are going to do today. It takes about 2 minutes per person.

Have lunch together and take a break.

4:00 PM Demos. Show what you have created/written/worked on. In any form.

By doing this every week, you get into the habit of figuring out what you need to do, what you can do. Focused on that thing. Doing it. And sharing it.

The whole process is important.

You can see that most of the tools I’ve built in the past year have been built this way. I had a question or a thought of “oh, I’d like to make that” and then shared it at 9:30am and had it done by 4pm that day. Showed it. It then launched for Better Sheets members.

If you can’t find even one other person, make it a weekly habit for yourself. If anyone feels alone and reads this. Do it one day and then email me what you made. I like to read all emails.

I think this can be done online and would like to see it done remotely, but there is definitely something magical about sitting and doing the work, with others, in the same room.

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