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Why I switched from Gumroad to Lemon Squeezy
I switched over from Gumroad to Lemon Squeezy as the payment processor for the Calmer Notes course as of January 1, 2023. I’d been considering switching away from Gumroad for some time, as Gumroad’s sales tax support for Canadian entrepreneurs is non-existent, leaving a highly manual, cumbersome process at the end of the year. (I’m reassured to know I’m not alone— this tweet (from 2017!) about Canadian sales tax support for online entrepreneurs from Justin Jackson is all too true.)
When Gumroad released news about its controversial price increase at the end of 2022— without adding any features to make Canadian sales tax easier to manage– it made up my mind. I was motivated to seek out a Gumroad alternative. I felt in good company, as plenty of other solopreneurs and small business owners were doing the same thing after Gumroad’s pricing increase.
Other Gumroad alternatives I considered
I looked at a range of other Gumroad alternatives before settling on Lemon Squeezy, including:
- ConvertKit Commerce
- Flodesk Checkout
- Sensei LMS
At the end of the day, Lemon Squeezy had the best support for Canadian sales tax, in combination with an excellent set of baseline features, which tipped the balance for me personally.
The advantages: what I enjoy about Lemon Squeezy
Seamless Zapier integration
I was able to keep other automations with my newsletter software (Flodesk) and course platform (MemberVault) in place with Zapier— basically, I just replaced the Gumroad portion with Lemon Squeezy, and it was all quite seamless.
High-quality sales tax support as a Merchant of Record (MoR)
I really appreciate that Lemon Squeezy does the heavy lifting on tax compliance as a Merchant of Record— I’m happy to pay a bit extra in fees to have this taken care of.
Lemon Squeezy currently charges 5% + 50 cents on each sale, in contrast to Gumroad’s 10% + credit card processing/PayPay fees on each sale. It’s a substantial difference.
I appreciate that the Lemon Squeezy team is actively working on developing new features and improving existing ones. Watching them power through their roadmap is inspiring!
The disadvantages: the downsides of Lemon Squeezy
The Lemon Squeezy interface isn’t quite as intuitive as Gumroad– I often find myself clicking around to try to find the right setting tucked away somewhere I don’t expect it to be. That being said, Lemon Squeezy’s documentation site is excellent and easy to search, so I’m always eventually able to find the setting I need.
Lack of customer self-serve portal
I do miss the Gumroad customer library feature, but was excited to see that Lemon Squeezy is working on improving their customer portal as an active development on their roadmap.
Losing the Gumroad community and branding
Gumroad had created an established name in the startup/creator community, and I do miss the ease of pointing people to my Gumroad site with its familiar interface. Logistically, I’m also updating all the links I can find pointing to my old Gumroad link, but I’m always stumbling across the odd one (such as in my newsletter welcome email). This issue would happen with a switch to any new provider, so this isn’t a drawback of Lemon Squeezy in particular.
Current and upcoming Lemon Squeezy features and integrations I’m excited about
I set up a Parity Deals account in Q1 of 2023, and have been very happy with it. Parity Deals integrates with Lemon Squeezy to allow for automated purchasing power parity (PPP). PPP makes access to online education more internationally equitable. Online creators I admire, like Arvid Kahl of The Bootstrapped Founder and Marie Poulin of Notion Mastery, have parity pricing available for their courses, and I’m delighted to be able to offer it as well.
Lemon Squeezy Affiliates Program
I’m so happy that the Lemon Squeezy affiliates program launched at the end of March 2023! I’ve been excitedly awaiting this, so I could migrate my lovely Calmer Notes affiliates and continue growing the course affiliate network. The only difference between the Gumroad and Lemon Squeezy affiliates program I’ve been able to spot so far is that Lemon Squeezy has to approve affiliates first, before I can approve them. I imagine this is a quality-control issue since their affiliate program is new— hopefully all will roll out smoothly.
Lemon Squeezy course builder
It’s further down on their roadmap, but I’m super excited to know that a course builder is on the horizon. When considering the Gumroad alternatives listed above, I was tempted by options like PayHip and ThriveCart (as well as more classic options like Teachery, Teachable, and Thinkific) because they had their own embedded course builders. If Lemon Squeezy adds one, that would be amazing.
Would I recommend Lemon Squeezy to fellow entrepreneurs?
Yes: I’m happy enough with it. Admittedly, it still feels a bit new and slightly rough around the edges, but the development team is working furiously and I’m really impressed with all the changes they’ve rolled out in Q1 2023 alone.
If you’re not a Canadian entrepreneur, the sales tax situation might not be as much of a factor for you, as many of the above options I considered have quite good VAT and US tax support. I might have even been tempted to just stay with Gumroad to minimize the time costs of switching platforms, though the increase in fees without any clear improvement in features would have rankled. If I were based in the US or Europe, and wanted a Gumroad alternative, SendOwl, ThriveCart, or Payhip also looked like promising options.