TIMEFLIP Update: How Referral And Organic Traffic Influenced Our Growth [$50K/Month]

Published: February 1st, 2023
Pavel Cheshev
from Poznań, Польша
started October 2016
Discover what tools Pavel recommends to grow your business!

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi! I am Pavel Cheshev, the CEO and co-founder of TimeFlip. We brainstormed the idea of a time-tracking gadget as early as late 2016. Back then it was a side project for me. In a way, I was looking to compensate for the lack of creativity and craziness at my daytime job.

By the way, you can read the original story here. This all changed at the end of 2019 when TimeFlip was admitted to the Huge Thing acceleration program in Poland and I quit my job to concentrate on the startup.

Our product - TIMEFLIP2 - is an app-powered dice that makes time tracking easy and accessible to anyone. This is a human-friendly tangible device that sits on your desk and logs time with a simple flip.

We believe that a “physical” UX makes a difference for our device to act as a perfect visual prompt, so you never forget to track time. Our goal has always been to make this tool as simple as possible to ensure ease of use and instant adoption by our customers.


Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

We are doing pretty well, considering the global turmoil of the last three years. We’ve sold over 20,000 devices to date and have around $50K in monthly revenue.

We are not an investment-pumped unicorn startup with triple-digit growth. But TimeFlip is a fully bootstrapped and resilient business, with steady growth in sales and a real customer base. The recent story of Mailchimp, which is the biggest bootstrap exit ever gives us a lot of inspiration.

The bulk of our sales come from organic or referral traffic and we care much about SEO. An idea that we actively explored last year was adding a blog section to our website about all things related to productivity.

That worked out just great! I think useful and relevant content is always appreciated by your audience and helps increase traffic and sales. We didn’t write most of the blogs ourselves but invited professional writers voluntarily, who were happy to contribute.

The more buzz the better, reach out to journalists and influencers - everything to make your website and product visible.

I think that also adds credibility to your project and brings a more targeted audience. At least we have seen the increase in conversion rates from under 3% at the beginning of the year to more than 5% now, which has been growing together with the blog. We naturally have some of the blog articles among the most popular pages for our website.


Dealspotr remains a great tool for our referral traffic as in previous years. Fantastic platform for anyone selling goods online which I recommend.

This autumn we started cooperation with a professional and renowned UX/UI designer to help us bring the product to the next level. We made a deep research project together starting from the state-of-the-art science available on human behavior and the impact of our work patterns on productivity, which culminated in the redesigned story mapping for our app.

We are currently working together on a full redesign of our app for a much better user experience and smooth switching of the gadget between the smartphone/tablet and a PC. The launch is planned for Q1 2023

We are very happy about our collaboration with Robotshop - the marketplace for all robotics - they are fantastic! Good economics and great customer support, I wish we discovered them earlier. We see constantly growing sales on their platform, obviously because they keep improving their SEO and site traffic.


We have been included in the list of Top Poland Consumer Electronics Startups in 2022, which we are proud of.

What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

As a small team, we were always forced to outsource almost all software development from the very beginning. Instead, we focused on designing the hardware part which is our key IP. Outsourced development is very often an issue, either in terms of quality or cost. In the past, we would go to the most economic solutions because our resources were scarce.

That always impacted the quality of the app, so after two teams that we were not happy with, we changed to a much more professional, award-winning team at the end of 2021 and were looking forward to building completely new software from scratch.

However, the company happened to have part of its development team in Russia, which they were not able to do, and eventually were forced to close the business because of the war. That was a huge setback for us, as we already invested significant time and resources in this work. Now we had to find yet another contract developer, which is always a tricky process. Currently, we are in discussions with one team that seems like a good fit for us, and will most likely start working with them in January 2023.

When comes to the sales channels, in 2022 we practically suspended working with distributors of any kind, as their sales volumes could not compensate for the size of the sales margin they asked. I believe this value chain will be disrupted further, with more sustainable and vendor-friendly options like drop shipping. We opted to focus on direct website sales plus eCommerce and dropshipping platforms.

My personal biggest challenge was dealing with burnout from being the jack of all trades in a startup and a father of two. Especially since my youngest son was born in early 2021. Those of us that have babies know what the “terrible twos” mean. And all this mixed with my predominant work-from-home routine, what a cocktail! On the other hand, I know that I am replicating a work environment for a large part of our customers.


What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

2022 has been a very, very dark year for Europe. Whatever your business problems are, it is impossible not to empathize with people suffering in Ukraine, especially when you are a father yourself. That’s why we decided to send a part of our revenue to the Ukrainian Red Cross. Any help counts and I hope that many businesses around the world can do similar things regardless of their size.

Earlier in my startup life, I learned to be tough and resilient when facing all kinds of troubles, from hopeless cash gaps to customer complaints and key people leaving. In 2022 I learned about burnout and my limits. It may sound banal but cherish your family and closest friends, they are your support and your ultimate source of energy. Don’t drain energy on negative people or social media battles. Generally, think of your creative energy as an asset that can be easily wasted on meaningless things.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

Our plans for the next year are to focus on the big software update, as mentioned above, to make our app more engaging and graphic and ensure seamless work with different devices. In terms of infrastructure, we are migrating our website to Shopify in 2023, as a platform that allows us to better integrate various services such as order processing and shipping.

What comes to a more distant future, our vision is to make TimeFlip an educational tool for balanced and productive work, rather than just a time-tracking gadget. Our productivity is not a direct function of time invested. It’s about managing attention and structuring our work properly.

We are going to combine time data analytics with the latest scientific research in the domain to help optimize personal work patterns to reduce stress and improve work-life balance. We aim at helping people work smarter, not harder, and have more time left for themselves. We believe this to be a cornerstone of the Future of Work concept, conquering the post-Covid world.


What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

I mostly read nonfiction. Recently, I love to read, listen to podcasts or watch videos about brain science and human behavior. What influences our decisions to do or not to do something? Brain science and behavioral engineering are inevitably becoming key elements in any current and future product design. Robert Sapolsky lectures and books are always on my list. Another fantastic book I read in 2022 is Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

I also try to update myself with scientific research accounts that help me understand current trends and where to move with our product. For example, the works of Dr. Christina Maslach, whose mismatch theory outlines six work-related factors for burnout and loss of productivity.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

Promote your website as much as possible, this is your major asset, not less than your product. I was surprised to find out how many fellow entrepreneurs have very low-ranked websites, while they keep hunting after distributors they believe will bring all the sales. It works vice versa, distributors will knock on your door when thly discover you're online. The more buzz the better, reach out to journalists and influencers - everything to make your website and product visible. There are many tools to help with this, e.g. HARO.

Facebook is a great tool to assess your target audience and make sure you have it, without spending any serious budgets on ads. Focus is everything, try to check different targets on Facebook and assess the potential audience, there are plenty of tutorials on Youtube.

Focus on the positive, not the negative. You are always going to have problems, but don’t let yourself be stuck there. Always have a “dream picture” in your head about where you want to be. Remember all the problems you have solved and how knowledgeable and skilled you became just over the last year. Be proud of yourself to have the guts for risks and deal with problems daily that would make most people feel lost.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Not right now, because we do outsource most of the work. But my dream is to have a complete in-house software development team somewhere in 2024 if things go as we plan.

Where can we go to learn more?