Got my first 22 paying customers in three hours 😭

I started https://collectednotes.com to solve my own itch (a native mobile note taking app that can publish posts online) about a three weeks ago. Today I decided to ship subscriptions to my BETA users, and within three hours more than 20 people became paying customers!

It's very clear to me now that there's a real need for a note taking/publishing platform that focuses on giving a great user experience that removes the friction to publishing, instead of trying to milk users with weird business models and non-focused experiences.

Let's see how it evolves as the BETA is open to the rest of the world.

  1. 5

    How many user or downloads you already had before launching subscription service?

    1. 4

      I started the whole thing about three weeks ago, and I enabled the subscription option today. There's about ~600 signed up users. Today I got my first 30 paid subscriptions.
      It's still in private BETA so all of the invites came from people requesting access to it.
      I sent people a limited time coupon, so people had an incentive to subscribe.

      1. 1

        Thanks for brief info. That's a great achievement in just 3 weeks. What technique you used to get users to your website?

        1. 2

          I just tweeted about the process

  2. 4

    Everytime I see someone succeed in such saturated market, my mind just explodes, how can that happen with 9999999999 apps like this? Congratulation!

    1. 1

      There’s enough for everyone

    2. 1

      We'll see if it succeeds, I think there's a lot of differentiations on what I'm trying to do. Specially the part of caring more about the user experience than all the other things.

  3. 2

    How did you make the video that's on your homepage?

  4. 2

    I'm inspired. Laser focus is good! (I am drawn in wherever I see elegance, in simplicity and if done right in complexity, but your site makes the strongest argument for simplicity I've seen in a long time). I will have to chew on the idea that "every app out there tries to do more than they should". It's on my radar now. Thanks.

    1. 4

      “A thousand no's for every yes” :)

  5. 2

    Congratulations! I'm also working on a simple/clean project. From your front-page, I really like what you did mentioning the no-nonsense section. Going to do something similar!

    1. 1

      It’s the way to go!, too much noise out there

  6. 2

    Sounds like product market fit :) Congrats! Looks great

    1. 1

      We’ll see when the BETA open :)

  7. 2

    Thought you were doing something with Notion first because the design of your website looks so similar (same font, illustration style is nearly identical).
    Good luck with the product!

  8. 2

    Beautiful idea, great execution, well deserved!

  9. 2

    Thank you for sharing this. Nice inspiration for me.

    I am a solo founder but I have been part of many teams and some of the videos about product development (like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzVvjKLdAbk) discuss the process in early stage startups including brainstorming as a team.

    Brainstorming is an important topic for me and although I am not using this technique right now (solo founder), I am working on a simple product for this for teams. I hope I can get the early adopters that you have.


  10. 1

    If I was to have your same idea, I would've tossed it away because "Notion already does that for free".
    It's amazing to see new products in saturated markets take their bite out of the cake, and it's inspiring in some ways.

    Congratulations Alejandro, keep it up!

  11. 1

    Your app is mainly an iOS experience, right? Are you concerned at all that Apple might reject your app since you don’t sell premium subscriptions in-app?

  12. 1

    Hi there Alejandro, I just checked your website, and i really loved the idea (It just doesn't come to the mind that people can face this kind of problem), that's the first impression I had while discovering your app.
    If you could explain to us what was your marketing plan? and what were the steps you followed to get your first 22 paying customers?
    Wish you all the best :)

    1. 2

      Hello! I built this for myself, there was no marketing strategy. Just tweeted about what problem is solving and worked hard to convey the solution as something simple. Right now there’s 50 paid customers in 4 days since launch.
      Next I’ll experiment with promotions since those helped a lot in the first day.

      1. 1

        I see now, well thank you for replying !

  13. 1

    This is really cool Alejandro,
    I've been working on https://joedocs.com which has a similar goal of being publishing-focused. Would be keen to chat about that world, I think there's a lot to be done on this with community journalism (e.g. https://coronavirustechhandbook.com)

  14. 1

    Great work Alejandro.

    I see the need.

    I have been using Typora and a single commit to publish a blog. If someone is interested I can share my setup.

  15. 1

    Loved how simple it is, reminds me so much to Notion, but the fact that you can connect custom domains and access to the API makes it really attractive.

  16. 1

    Are you using SwiftUI or UIkit?

    1. 1

      Good question. I tried to do it on Swift UI but it’s just not ready. We’ll see soon on this WWDC. UIKit was so much faster and I have way more experience.

      1. 1

        The struggle is real to code your next app using insert shiny new object here but you spend a lot of time learning/slogging in the mud when you should be pushing your code live to customer SO I love posts like this as it re-enforces the idea that SPEED is everything when you have 0 users ... code with the tools that get your product out to customers fast.

  17. 1

    Just joined the BETA, it was GREAT! And I'm not exaggerating here. This product is exactly what I'd have built for the same itch I have.

    Man, you've done it well.

  18. 1

    Congrats! Love the minimalist design, straight to the point

  19. 1


    I don't know if you are aware of this issue, but I checked your website and the CSS doesn't seem to load, so the site is unusable.

    1. 1

      Yeah taking A look, no deploy at night anymore :)

  20. 1

    Ulysses, the note-taking app i use also has publishing options for wordpress, ghost and medium. Worth checking out. https://ulysses.app/features/

    Good luck !!

    1. 1

      Looks really nice too!

  21. 1

    Very cool! What's your tech stack? How are you handling custom domains?

    1. 1

      I wrote a note on my website (powered by Collected Notes) https://alejandrocrosa.com/collected-notes-tech-stack

  22. 1

    When I first read this i was like "OMG not ANOTHER note taking app" but it actually looks very useful 👍

  23. 1

    Congratulations Alejandro!
    I would love to see an article from you to describe how you managed to found ~600 Beta users!


    1. 3

      I have about 10k twitter followers and they are mostly developers too so they saw the value immediately

      1. 1

        How can you get 10k followers?

        1. 1

          Tweet often 🙊

          One indication is that he has tweeted over 50k tweets.

          1. 1

            OMG, really?! How can the OP tweet so many tweets?

  24. 1

    Congrats! Great Job.

  25. 1

    Congratulations! Now keep them very happy!

  26. 1

    Hey Alejandro, congrats on your feat! I am trying to gain my first customers for BuildFaster. Do you have tips on how too?

    1. 4

      I don't know, trying to figure it out myself, after my previous two startups, my intuition is telling me that it really depends on how to get the right audience.

      1. 1

        Agreed need the right audience and a way to market to them.

      2. 1

        Very true. Will keep this in mind 👍

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