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Marie Martens

Bootstrapping a SaaS in a competitive market

1. Talk to us about you and what you have accomplished so far

I'm Marie, co-founder of Tally (the simplest way to create forms, for free). I have a background in Marketing and launched Tally together with my co-founder Filip in the summer of 2020. We currently have 22.500 users and $12.000 MRR.

2. How did you get the idea for your business & product-market fit?

As makers and frequent form users, we were unsatisfied with the existing form building tools out there. They either force you in a specific format, bombard you with countless paywalls. We wanted a simple, yet powerful form builder that allows you to create any type of form without breaking the bank.

3. Did you raise any money? If yes, how much? What was the process? What was your pitch?

Tally is proudly independent, bootstrapped and self-funded. Instead of raising money, we run a profitable business supported by the subscription fees that our users pay us. Being independent allows us to grow at our own pace, and make choices independently in the best interest of our users.

4. What strategy did you use to grow your business or personal brand?

- Tally is free: We entered a very competitive market, without the budgets and resources of the big boys. So in order to steal users from incumbents like Google and Typeform, we needed to position ourselves differently.We decided to offer unlimited forms and responses for free, as well as 99% of our form building features. Because Tally is free, our product has become our biggest marketing channel.

- We build in public: we've been sharing our journey since we launched on Twitter, Indie Hackers and Reddit. Building in public on these channels have been an incredible source of feedback, support and growth, and will continue to be our main marketing channels for Tally.

- We're always talking to users, and providing personal support to users is a crucial part of our growth

5. What was the hardest part of this journey?

- Learning how to say no (as a bootstrapped team of 2 we have to be very strict with our time) and we can only focus on the things that will help us grow.
- The insecurity of not having an income for a longer period of time, and your family depending on the success of Tally

6. How did you find Product-Market Fit?

This checklist contains every step that helped us get our first users and how we prepped for our public launch. ->
After that we also measured our PMF, you can read more about that in this post. ->

7. If you had to give advice on how to avoid failure, what would it be?

Believe in yourself and persist. Keep on doing the small things that work for you, repeat them day after day, but also don't be afraid to pivot when things are not working out.

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