We’ve been working on HabitBull for 7 months now. As in any startup, the highs and lows are extreme. A few weeks ago we were demotivated because we weren’t getting enough active users a day. It’s one of the most important metrics of any consumer facing business and we were fucking it up. Not enough growth.

When you get demotivated, you start talking about solutions. Wasting time drinking coffees. But no real work gets done.

It’s scary to think about our beloved baby in terms of hard data and facts. We talk a lot with the people who are using our app, and I love seeing how HabitBull can actually change their lives. But sometimes it’s necessary to take a long hard look in the mirror.

We hadn’t been growing much for a few weeks in a row, and we couldn’t figure out why. Even worse, we couldn’t even imagine new features which would help us gain any significant amount of new users.

More coffees. More procrastination. More brainstorming.

Then we found an interesting correlation.

We started asking people for money a while back. It seemed to be a win-win situation: we got some money to pay the bills, there was no backlash and we kept growing.

Except that we didn’t. You see, there’s quite a bit of lag on the number of active users. It’s really hard to notice any patterns while they’re happening. Hindsight really is 20/20.

So 2 weeks ago we decided to make the app completely free. Before, there was always some kind of restriction. You either had to send us an email with feedback to unlock all features, or share the app with some friends, or pay. But now, for the first time you didn’t have to do anything.

A fairly average growth rate in weekly active users is 5%. When you get to 7% it’s pretty good, while 10% is killing it. Last week we got a whopping 37% without any marketing at all!

Now, one week doesn’t mean anything. That’s an event, not a trend.

But at least our motivation is back! 🙂