FormCraft

Nishant Agrawal talks about building a web app to pay his rent (and then some) while studying and working full-time.

What are you working on?

I'm building FormCraft. Our core technology is a form builder, which we've made available on two platforms: a WordPress plugin and a cloud-based SaaS version.

How'd you get started with FormCraft?

In 2013 I was studying accounting and looking for a way to pay my rent. I discovered the world of CSS and JavaScript, and I fell in love.

My first project as a developer was a tax-filing website. I spent 6 months working on it, staying up late at night to code after coming home from work and also coding on weekends. That project ultimately didn't work out in the end, but it got me interested in forms.

One day I stumbled upon CodeCanyon.net and looked at the form builders on their marketplace. I was surprised to see a form builder plugin with an outdated interface selling rather well. I thought I could do better.

Building and launching the first version of FormCraft took another 6 months. It wasn't high on functionality. I mostly wanted to test how people would react to a form builder with a more modern UI. Modern back then meant using Bootstrap!

What have you done for marketing?

I launched my plugin on the CodeCanyon marketplace, and that was it. Since then, I haven't spent any time on marketing. That's not something I'm proud of, by the way. All of our growth has been from people discovering the plugin on the marketplace or through word-of-mouth.

How does FormCraft make money?

The WordPress plugin requires an upfront payment for usage on each website. The SaaS version works on a freemium model. When I first launched FormCraft on the marketplace, all I wanted was $100 a month to pay my rent. I ended up making over $1500 the first month itself. Our revenue for the last year was over $160,000.

How have you handled your legal documents?

I happened to be studying law and accounting when I dropped out, so I can do lots of it myself. It also helps that my father runs an accounting firm.

What have been some of the biggest hurdles on your journey?

The hardest part has been trying to build a successful business as a solo founder at age 20. I have no experience and no mentors. The biggest mistake I've made is that I haven't spent enough time networking.

What have you done that's worked to your advantage?

My focus on UI paid off. I taught myself Angular.js and CSS3. That gave my app a much smoother interface and contributed to its success. Most of the competitors in my space were running on legacy software that looked like it was last updated in 2000.

What's your advice for aspiring indie hackers?

You want something most people don't have, so you'll have to do things most people won't do. Having no time is no excuse. When I founded my company I had a full-time internship, a 1 hour and 30 minute commute, and I was studying.

What's your tech stack?

I'm using HTML, JavaScript, CSS3, PHP, and Node.js.

Where can readers learn more about you?

They can follow me on Twitter: @nish_crafts or leave a comment below.

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