John Jago

Day 1: Cold emails to WooCommerce agencies

Welcome to my (freshly redesigned) work journal!

Starting today, I’m giving myself 90 days to make a living by creating a product of my own. To track my progress, I’ve created this new journal where I’ll write each day, describing what I did and how it’s going overall.

My hope is that this journal will help me think about what’s working and what’s not, and that it can serve as a reference for others on what it’s like to try to make a living building and marketing a software product.

A little backstory: last month I left a startup I founded after graduating from university. I’ll share more about that in a future post, but recently I’ve been working on and off on a couple projects and writing about my progress on another blog. However, despite my intention of daily posts, those didn’t happen on the other blog, and so, I’ve decided to start fresh! Soon I’ll move the posts from that other blog to my personal website, including a couple past work journal entries, as it’s much less to think about—I can just write without having to design a new place to write.

Up until today, I’ve started and stopped building one project, started another that has clearer demand, and started yet another over a weekend in between. Now, I’m focused only on that second one, a WordPress plugin called Dashify, which aims to make parts of an ecommerce plugin called WooCommerce more user-friendly. So, it’s a plugin for a plugin. Why? Because it’s something I’ve become quite familiar with over the past four years at my startup, and I’m leveraging that to get started.

After building Dashify and getting it published on, I posted about it to a few places online where people talk about WooCommerce. Reddit, some forums, and so on. People have checked it out here and there—a few have posted reviews on and sent in support queries, yet the “active install” count remains “fewer than 10”, which could even mean no one is actively using it. That’s where this journaling starts.

Today I spent time sending out cold emails to WooCommerce development agencies using a directory provided by WooCommerce called WooExperts. It’s like their official certification program, so those agencies are for sure building, or at least maintaining, WooCommerce stores.

This is coming a couple days after sending cold emails to local web development agencies who are likely to specialize in WooCommerce. Here I’m betting that being local in the city will help the response rate.

Why agencies, and not the store owners directly? In this ecosystem, clients often come to the agencies wanting an ecommerce store, but they don’t really know anything beyond that, and so the agencies choose the technology to use, which could be WooCommerce. So, these people at the agencies are likely to have heard the complaints from their clients about the user-friendliness of the order management that Dashify improves upon—at least that’s my bet based some asking around, preexisting online discussion, and intuition.

I’m targeting agencies who take on projects with lower budgets (lower risk for their clients if they wish to try out Dashify) and will do about 20 or so highly personalized cold emails before the end of today.

👋 This is my work journal, a series where I write daily about trying to make a living building a bootstrapped software product.