An honest account of getting my membership platform to $150MRR. Why I repositioned and rebuilt my product twice to get out of zero club.

Hey guys, Joel here I’m the founder of recently launched membership platform - Paytable.io. I’ve been meaning to do an honest write-up of what it really took to get my product from idea to actually turning over some money, but you know how it is as a bootstrapped founder!

Last October (2020) I had an idea to make a Saas product that enabled people to sell access to curated Airtable content & gate access to Airtable resources, directories & databases, I didn't know it at the time but ultimately what I was to build would become a full full blown membership platform with Payments, user logins & the ability to gate access to all your favourite no code tools documents (not just Airtable).

By around January this year (2021) I had the first version of the product which at the time looked a little like this:

alt text

The name was initially Curateable - my thinking being that I was creating a product that enabled people to curate content. It was totally wrong and didn't say what the product really did, meaning when I started DM’ing potential users, most people didn’t really know what it was, how it worked or how to set it up with questions like how can I use it on my site and how can I white label it?

I had made a vital mistake - I had positioned my product at the every day maker and creator and hadn’t really thought how users could fully white label their products, or even better; add it to their own domains and websites so it made more sense to their customers, the real end user.

So after some mixed feedback I went back to the drawing board, with a focus on a new name that made sense straight away and a clearer positioning to hopefully avoid the lack of clarity my ideal users were expressing.

By April here is where I was at:

alt text

When I launched version two as Paytable I still didn't even have any onboarding stuff finished or any pro / paid tiers planned out yet. I just wanted to get a product out that made sense to people, and that people would at least start using, hassle-free to help them begin selling gated access to their content, and then I decided I would focus on the paid tier after.

The queries and confusion started decreasing and I began receiving some very positive comments about my product. By around Mid May, I knew things were getting clearer and the sign-up rate of free users was increasing, I launched our pro tier end of May, sent a newsletter out to 300+ people who had given (both version 1 and version 2 of the product a go) and waited.

After around 11 days of introducing the paid tier, at a friends house one eve enjoying a BBQ I got my first paid customer who went for the annual tier of $144.

Now 6 weeks since that first paid customer signed up, I’ve had 9 more paid subscribers and my MRR is at $150 MRR.

It’s not been an easy journey and I honestly felt like giving up after I launched version 1 and wasn't getting the response I wanted. I had this constant feeling that ‘if only these potential customers could see and experience what I had envisioned in my head'. I realised I needed to make things way clearer for people and without that name change and full repositioning I would probably still be in zero club today!

  • Keep going!

Any questions? Feel free to reach out and I'll be happy to share any knowledge or lessons learnt!

  1. 2

    Thanks for sharing Joel! Inspiring!

    Would love to know more about how you found your first users?

    1. 1

      Thanks Lee! It's been pretty much Twitter the whole way - a few SEO related articles, and post in reddit / the Airtable community.

      1. 1

        Very cool! Thanks again for sharing. Clear and to the point! Learned a lot!
        Especially like how you said you worked hard to make sure Paytable made sense to people!

  2. 2

    I've been using Paytable and it's amazing! One of the most underrated products for the indie hacker community! Airtable + Paytable = 🔥💸🚀

    1. 1

      Love what your doing with Paytable Kushank! Thanks for being a supporter since the start :)

  3. 2

    This is the most needed product of this year and coming years too, please don't quit. I am sure it will be a big hit on ProductHunt

    1. 1

      Wow, thank you man. I hope so! :)

  4. 2

    Love what you're doing Joel!

    1. 1

      Thanks Jay! Congrats on your No1 Product of The Day using Paytable to help!

  5. 2

    Tha ja for sharing this Joel. Inspiring

    1. 1

      Thanks! Its been a crazy journey :)

  6. 1

    Have you contemplated adding percent fee for free users? or copying gumroad's decrease of percent fee if a user pays a monthly fee.

    1. 1

      Hey Andrew, I've explored both options. Going to stick with subscription only and 0% transactions for now. With Paytable memberships you can use Gumroad or Stripe for checkout which means many of my users already have a percentage taken from them when using Gumroad.

      Also as we have free tier with 0% transactions too, it means users can try us out before having to pay a penny. All of my users who have started earning by having a good info-product and strong marketing strategy have gone on to upgrade :)

      Thanks for your input and suggestions!

  7. 1

    This was a really great read, thanks for writing it up. Best of luck!

    1. 1

      Thank you so much Will! Appreciate your support.

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