Why you mustn’t use a freemium model

Having a free tier is the first mistake I made with CopySkills™.

Why not? I thought.

SaaS companies do it all the time.

CopySkills™ business model – using the term loosely – is “SaaS without the software.”

And Justin Brooke’s doing it with AdSkills.

I’m copying everything Justin Brooke did because he builds in public.

So what could go wrong?

A freemium SaaS user upgrades at around 2-5%.

That’s decent.

And the lead gen is easy.

Everyone loves free.

But here’s what you don’t realize.

They only upgrade if the free tier exceeds their expectations.

AND if your upsell marketing is dialed in.

You need both.

It is possible to deliver that experience while serving your paid users well.

But it wasn’t the right move for me at the time.

CopySkills™ was my first attempt at creating a community.

And I was building it on the side.

My copywriting clients took most of my time.

I’m a practitioner.

Not some hack who couldn’t make it as a copywriter who then turned to coaching other copywriters to make money.

And on top of that like an idiot I’d launched a second side hustle – MuslimMan™.

We ended up getting to 270-ish CopySkills™ members.

220-ish were on the free tier.

Less than a handful upgraded.

I didn’t have the time to give the free members enough attention.

And I didn’t have the time to put proper upsell followup in place.

So a few months ago I deleted the free tier and all the free users.

They barely logged in anyway.

And some of them took liberties, pestering me with DMs expecting coaching.

I felt good about getting rid of these freeloaders.

It was a weight off my mind.

It allowed me to serve our paying members better.

And guess what.

New members keep joining at about the same rate or better.

We’ll hit 100 paying members by the end of the month inshallah.

Ain’t that something?

Mind you, I made other mistakes trying to grow CopySkills™.

This wasn’t the only one.

If you want launch a community and avoid my mistakes, read this.

– Nabeel

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Nabeel writes a daily email to an audience of business owners, marketers and copywriters. Subscription to this newsletter is by invitation only. The only way to get on the list is by becoming a client, joining his community or buying one of his products.

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