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How a NoCode form builder reached $8500 MRR in a crowded market📃 | Tally

How a NoCode form builder reached $8500 MRR in a crowded market📃 | Tally

“Be patient, don’t be afraid of doing the drudge work, and be ready to pivot when you need to.”

👆 That’s Marie Martens’ advice to aspiring Indie Hackers.

Marie is the co-founder of Tally.so.

Tally is a No-Code tool to build simple online forms to collect feedback, information and even payments.

It’s a Belgium based startup founded by Marie and her partner Filip.

Tally closed the year 2021 at $8.5K MRR.

With more than 1 million submissions captured by forms built on Tally in 2021, their growth has been enviable -

2021-graph.001_Tally.jpeg

There’s a lot to learn from Tally’s story👇


Hotspot: A COVID Fatality🙄

Marie and her partner Filip loved traveling and wanted to build a startup in the travel industry. And they were fascinated by the idea of living the life of a digital nomad.

Influencer marketing was taking over the travel industry with many hotels and tourist destinations offering free perks to influencers to get marketing for their business.

That’s where the idea for Hotspot was born-  A platform for influencers to find hotels where they can trade perks for marketing.

This was in a pre-pandemic world.

The idea excited them so much that when Filip got an exit from his previous crypto startup Delta, Marie quit her job in marketing and both of them booked a flight to Bali, with a stopover at Bangkok.

But when they arrived in Bangkok, the pandemic hit and they couldn’t travel further.

They had to return back to Belgium and continue working on Hotspot from home.

By this time hotels had started to pause their subscriptions, flights were getting canceled, travel was halting across the world.

6 months into the pandemic, building features and creating content, Marie and Filip realized that the end to COVID was nowhere near. And it wouldn’t make sense for them to keep working on Hotspot.

They didn’t have full-time jobs, and they had already gone 6 months without any revenue. They had to pivot to something else.

Scratching their own Itch🥲

During their work at Hotspot,  Marie and Filip had used Google forms multiple times to collect information from their users.

They weren’t impressed by the Google forms experience.

During COVID, they had organized a fundraiser for healthcare workers in Belgium. For the event, they had to extensively use Google forms again.

And again, they were not satisfied with the form-building experience.

The alternatives like Typeform and Jotform were not feasible for indie makers like them because they quickly hit paywalls on those tools.

That’s where the idea for Tally was born - An easy to use form builder that’s affordable to small businesses and indie hackers.


Tally: The Product📃

Marie and Filip are big fans of Notion, and love it’s simple yet functional UX.

So they wanted to build the Notion of form builders.

Tally’s value prop -

  • Fast, simple, easy to use.
  • Quickly integrate with other sites and tools. (Without code)
  • No limits on the number of forms or the number of responses collected.

Tally’s ideal customer -

  • Indie Hackers.
  • NoCode makers.
  • Startup founders.
  • Every business needs forms!

Tally’s business model -

  • All basic features are free.
  • Collect 5% commission on free forms that collect payments. (only 1% of their revenue is through this channel, and it doesn’t count towards their MRR)
  • Charge $29/month for premium features like collaboration, custom domains, partial submissions, inject scripts.

Initial Users and Validation✅

Tally got its initial users mostly through cold outreach.

Marie and Filip reached out to their friends and family members, co-workers at their former jobs, and got some validation.

They sent cold DMs and emails to reach out to people, requesting them to use their product and give feedback.

Most people ignored them, but some did try out Tally.

And they gave positive feedback about the user experience. This gave Marie and Filip confidence in the product.

Marie has a background in marketing, so she was able to focus on the idea validation and growth side of the business, Filip is a developer and focused on building the right product.

They could divide their work 50:50 between Product and Marketing.


Community Led Growth👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

Very early on the founders of Tally created a private slack group with their early users. This move helped them in getting quick user feedback and focusing on the right features to build.

Their users literally helped them build the product, here’s how Marie describes it -

“From design improvements to helping us out with integrations or referring us to the right person, our users have a bigger network and a lot more knowledge than a small team of 2”

Apart from this, they found users from No Code communities. They got good traction from the NoCode France community.

They are a small team, building in public and sharing their journey openly on Twitter. This helps them gather support and help from a wide range of users.

This especially helped when they launched on Product Hunt in March 2021. They followed a strategic approach with the PH  launch and managed to be #5 Product of the day.

The successful launch brought in more eyeballs on the product, more supporters, more users, and even a few potential investors!

Typeform’s Loss

Tally’s satisfied users are their biggest advocates.

Back in June 2021, when Typeform raised its prices, it went out of reach of most people in the indie maker community.

By this time Tally had a thriving userbase that was openly advocating for it on Twitter -

Jim Raptis' Tweet

Product Led Growth⚒️

Tally benefits from the Hallmark card effect that many SaaS products are able to leverage for their growth.

This means that the very act of using the product leads to the growth of the product, much like a greeting card from Hallmark.

99% of Tally’s users are on the free plan.

And when they create a form, a badge at the bottom says - “Powered by Tally”

10% of new users come in by clicking on that badge.


Advice for other founders🤗

Marie and Filip’s journey has been full of ups, downs, and pivots. But the fact that they are able to make a dent in a crowded market should inspire us all with our own bootstrapped projects.

Marie’s advice to founders -

“Have patience, lot of the days, when you’re not growing, can get demotivated very fast. Be at it over and over again every day. Life as a founder is a lot less sexy than people think it is. At one point we were sending 100-200 DMs a day to people, results started showing late.
“Be patient, don’t be afraid of doing the drudge work, and be ready to pivot when you need to.”

Key Lessons from Tally’s journey🧑‍🏫

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