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I co-founded Tally — a new type of form builder 1 year ago and bootstrapped it to $30k ARR with a team of 2. AMA!

Hi everyone,

I’m Marie, co-founder of Tally - the simplest way to create forms for free: tally.so.

💰 Current status
Filip Minev and I launched our free MVP one year ago and our Tally Pro offering 4 months later. Since then we have bootstrapped it to 7.500 users and $30k ARR.

🙋🏻‍♀️ Why Tally?
As makers and frequent form users, we were unsatisfied with the existing tools out there. They either force you in a specific format or bombard you with countless limits and paywalls. We wanted a simple, yet powerful form builder that allows you to create any type of form without breaking the bank. We set off building Tally—a new type of form builder for makers and no-coders.

  1. Works like a doc: Just start typing, Tally is a form builder that you will enjoy using. It makes form building easy and accessible to everyone.

  2. 99% FREE: We built Tally with a different business model in mind. Unlike other form builders, most advanced features are free and without limits.

  3. Tally Pro: Simple pricing. Tally Pro offers empowering features tailored to the needs of teams and creators, at $29/month or $290/year.

💜 AMA
We've learned a lot in the past year, and are happy to share our experiences with you. Ask us anything!

PS: We wrote a bit more about how we ended up building a no-code tool here.

  1. 4

    Glad to hear of Tally, I'll have to check it out!

    I never liked Typeform's limitations on the free plan, and everyone uses Google forms but it seems sort of unprofessional.

    I just read your other IH story and loved hearing how you pivoted so quickly and how Tally was actually built to solve your own problem.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot Margaret, your support means a lot!

  2. 4

    I can't believe there's still space in the Form-builder space, I'm extremely impressed - HUGE congrats on your success!

  3. 3
    1. How did you grow your user base? How did you find your first users?
    2. How did you come up with the problem? How the solution appeared?
    1. 18

      Hi Sergiy, thanks a lot for asking!

      How did we come up with the problem and solution?

      We used form-building tools in our previous jobs and startups and never found the solution we were looking for. Existing form builders either force you in a specific format or bombard you with countless limits and paywalls. We wanted a simple, yet powerful form builder that allows you to create any type of form without breaking the bank. We shared the longer version of our story here

      How did you grow your user base? How did you find your first users?

      The first things we did were:

      • Looked for similar products on PH and reach out to the people who upvoted or commented
      • Joined relevant slack groups or communities and contribute
      • Used Tweetdeck to scan conversations on Twitter about similar products
      • Replied to relevant questions on forums (Reddit, Quora, Indie Hackers...)
      • Shared our MVP or product with established makers
        I made a checklist with everything we did to go from MVP to our Product Hunt launch. You can find it here
      1. 1

        such a helpful message! Thank you Marie!

      2. 1

        Thanks for the reply, Marie. Congrats on the milestone!

  4. 2

    Amazing, I have some questions regarding growth. How did you find your first 20 customers?

    Best, Charlene from bannernote.com

    1. 3

      Hi Charlene, thanks for asking!

      The first things we did were:

      • Looked for similar products on PH and reach out to the people who upvoted or commented
      • Joined relevant slack groups or communities and contribute
      • Used Tweetdeck to scan conversations on Twitter about similar products
      • Replied to relevant questions on forums (Reddit, Quora, Indie Hackers...)
      • Shared our MVP or product with established makers
        I made a checklist with everything we did to go from MVP to our Product Hunt launch. You can find it here
      1. 1

        @mariemartens wow this is super insightful, thanks for the list!

  5. 2

    Just want to congratulate you as well on the progress! As a happy pro customer, you guys nailed all the features I was missing from Typeform :)

    Love the concept of templates too, I even shared this Myers Briggs test I did for our team https://tally.so/templates/myersbriggs-type-test/rm6DYw

    1. 1

      Thank you for your support and sharing your work with the community , Victoriano, means a lot to Marie and I. 🙇‍♂️

  6. 1

    How did you get funding?

    1. 1

      Hi Raheem, we didn't, we're building Tally with our own savings :-)

  7. 1

    Late to this AMA and just wanted to say:

    • Amazing product in a crowded market. I think it is a lesson for a lot of us makers to unbundling existing products, finding a niche and then making an excellent beautiful product to create its own space
    • AMA responses are very useful too, I have taken few notes 😊

    thanks and all the best for future.

    1. 2

      Hi Ali! Glad you found it valuable and thanks a lot for the support! I also love the AMA's on Indie Hackers 😄

  8. 1

    I am someone who is an expert on all the form systems out there (thanks to a project at my job) and I am really impressed with Tally so far and excited to see where it goes!

    I am also very impressed with your marketing website. As a team of two, how much time do you balance between building and marketing?

    1. 1

      Hi Edmundo! So happy to hear you like what we're building!
      Filip builds and designs the product and I focus on marketing. So 50/50 at the moment. We would like to spend more time on marketing & content actually but we don't have the time and resources to do so yet

      1. 1

        Thanks! The 50/50 dev/marketing time is something I’ve read repeatedly in other success stories on IH.

  9. 1

    Hi,

    That's a great product built. Gonna recommend it to my peers.
    Few things that I'm curious to know:

    1. The Tech Stack
    2. How effectively you managed to gather engineers to build the product, what was the process like? Or, did you coded the application yourself?
    3. How long it took for you guys to build the MVP? How you were motivating your team and yourself?
    4. What's the type of investment that was done to build the MVP? Approx figures?
    1. 3

      Hi!

      Our tech stack is:

      Backend
      Node.js + TypeScript, Express, Sequelize, MySQL

      Frontend
      TypeScript, React, Next.js, Styled Components

      Hosting
      Cloud Run on GCP

      @filipminev has built the product by himself and it took around 3-4 months to have an MVP. The investment would be the same amount of our time as we did everything ourselves.

  10. 1

    Simply need to compliment you too on the advancement! As a cheerful ace client, you all nailed every one of the highlights I was absent from Typeform :)

    Love the idea of layouts as well, I even shared this Myers Briggs test I accomplished for our group. Visit: https://techeish.com

    1. 1

      Thanks so much for using Tally and sharing the template Jason, we're always really excited to see what Tally users have made!

  11. 1

    Good stuff, @MarieMartens!

    Super excited to see where Tally goes, I think you guys are headed for big things 💪

    I remember the short back and forth conversation we had via email. I thought you were very courteous and approachable.

    I have to admit, I badly wanted you guys to do some sort of deal with us! 😅

    Hey, why don't you join my group (4.8k+ SaaS deal buyers) anyway and I'll make a post about Tally's free tier? - https://www.facebook.com/groups/SaaSWiz/

    I'm sure you'll get sign ups because of your generous free plan and also since Tally resembles a bit Paperform (extremely popular previous lifetime deal and I know few people paying the subscription for it too).

    Keep working hard!

    1. 1

      Hi Greg! I remember as well, thanks a lot for introducing us to the world of LTD's!
      It would be very generous of you to share our free plan in the FB group, I'll definitely join!

  12. 1

    Looks like a great tool. I really like the design inspiration from Notion, and looks like the roadMap is straight from Notion too. Great work!

    1. 1

      Hi James, thanks a lot! Our Roadmap is a public Notion page indeed, with a custom domain by Super.

  13. 1

    Great work on Tally! Really loved the first time I came across it on Twitter!

    Reading your post for me hooked on "We built Tally with a different business model in mind" - Would love to know about the plan on this.

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot! The main reason is that from our own experience we didn't like the paywalls on the number of responses or forms you create with the bigger players and we're entering a very competitive market so felt like we needed to do something different to be able to find our spot between other form builders.

  14. 1

    Great looking app! Who did your artwork on the website?

    1. 2

      Thanks! The illustrations are made by Carlos Peixoto

  15. 1

    I just love tally, especially UX/UI as a notion user everything feels so friendly, It's like Notion and Typeform made a baby.

    Thank you for building this :)

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot for the support, really appreciate it!

  16. 1

    Congratulations!
    On a side note it has to be the best looking site I have seen on IH, really good design

  17. 1

    What’s your tech stack from the beginning and now? Thank u for sharing this great news!❤️

    1. 2

      Hi @russ_indie_hacker, the tech stack hasn't changed so far and is the following:

      Backend
      Node.js + TypeScript, Express, Sequelize, MySQL

      Frontend
      TypeScript, React, Next.js, Styled Components

      Hosting
      Cloud Run on GCP

      Happy to answer any other questions that you might have. 😊

  18. 1

    Hi Marie congrats to you both on your success so far, you've done great!

    You've entered a fairly competitive area, can i ask what considerations/decisions you made early on that shaped your journey and your decision to go ahead with Tally?

    Look forward to watching your progress!

    1. 1

      Hi Chris, thanks a lot!

      We entered a very competitive market indeed, but the problem we experienced is that because of the business model of most existing form builders (limited numbers of forms & responses for free), we couldn't find a good solution for makers like ourselves. That's why we decided to go for a different business model with unlimited forms & responses for free and an extra set of paid features for advanced users or teams. We also decided to keep it bootstrapped so we can keep costs low, can grow at our own pace, and don't have to change our free tier.

      Hope that makes sense!

  19. 1

    Hi Marie, Congrats on the success. My only question is how long it took you to reach your first 10 users?

    1. 1

      That would have been around 1 week!

      1. 1

        Wow, that is amazingly fast.

        1. 1

          The first users were free (we didn't have a paid plan yet), so that made it easier :-)

  20. 1

    I introduced it to my sister for her twitter store. Not a paying customer yet. Thanks for the very generous free tier account.

    1. 1

      That's awesome, thanks a lot for sharing Tally!

  21. 1

    Congrats on the progress and success so far! Seems like a great tool and love how you have found ways to monetize the free version. No question, just congrats!

    1. 1

      Thank you so much for the support @justinem!

  22. 1

    Hey Marie, thank you for this AMA. It’s really cool to ask you;)

    1. What is your main growth channel?
    2. What is your growth-strategy?
    3. How is your growth speed?
    4. What is your primary metric?
    5. Are you going to turn it into venture-backed startup?
    1. 4

      Hi Alexey, thanks for joining, and congrats again on FromNotion!

      1.What is your main growth channel?
      I would say a combination of different channels:

      • Our first Product Hunt launch in March
      • Powered by badge on our free forms
      • Twitter
      • Reddit
      • Indie Hackers
      • A lot of smaller no-code communities, newsletter features and WOM by our users
      1. What is your growth-strategy?
        We strongly believe that talking to our users and investing in communities is something we want and need to keep doing. Besides this, our user base keeps growing and we're getting more referrals by the powered-by-badge on our forms. We also want to start focussing on user-generated content and SEO.

      2. How is your growth-rate per week and month?
        7% weekly and 15% monthly (MRR). User growth is around 4,5% per week.

      3. What is your primary metric?
        Our primary metric at the moment is MRR (we're at $2.4K MRR at the moment)

      4. Are you going to turn it into venture-backed startup?
        Our dream is to keep it bootstrapped, become profitable, and see how far we can get 😄

      1. 1

        Hi Marie, I'm a customer and big fan of Tally :)

        Curious, how are you calculating your growth-rate? Are you doing that manually or is there a service/software you use that gives you those numbers?

        1. 1

          Hi Kyleigh! I think this is you based on the username 😄

          We use the Stripe dashboard to check our revenue growth and we use Mixpanel as well to track our user growth.

      2. 1

        Hi,

        When you say IH and Reddit are your main channels, how does it work?

        How do you create constant traffic from these channels?

        1. 1

          Hi! We always share our milestones and new features on Reddit and IH, try to answer relevant questions whenever we can, and have a couple of comparison posts that lead traffic to us. This one or this one for example.

      3. 1

        Wow, that’s incredible! You’re doing really well! Thank you for sharing it, Marie. 🙏🙂

      4. 1

        Hey ! Just curious on your point 5, I see you mention "become profitable", are you guys cash flow negative?

        1. 2

          Hey Hamish, we're cash flow positive, but we don't pay ourselves yet. Our operating costs are about 15-20% of our MRR at the moment.

  23. 1

    checked out this post you wrote earlier on your journey and thought it was awesome.

    Whats it like founding a company with your partner? does it make the biz easier/harder in your eyes?

    1. 1

      Hi Seth! It might seem like a challenge indeed 😄

      We're lucky to have very complementary skills. I have a background in Marketing and Filip is the technical brain behind the product. I feel like it's important to have your own responsibilities when working together as a couple and respecting each other's decisions. It also makes things easier as we're both on the same journey and we don't mind Tally being such a big part of our lives.

      But it's definitely important to give each other space when you're working together 24/7, and make time to do things with friends and family.

  24. 1

    Looking at the website and the number of users you have, at first glance the free plan appears way too generous. Is that part of a broader plan? Acquire users, then at a later date tighten up the free plan and hope they become paid?

    1. 1

      Hi Thomas, thanks for your question!

      Our free plan is very generous indeed, but this is by design. We needed to do something different to introduce a new player in this very competitive market, not only product-wise but also business model-wise. We wanted Tally to be empowering instead of limiting and that's why we don't opt for the usual volume-based pricing with limits on the number of forms or responses.

      We consider this one of our USPs, and that's why we're not planning to change the free tier. Of course, this means that we need a lot more users to grow. We have about 3% conversion from free to paid users right now, and we're happy with that number having in mind that we're a bootstrapped team of 2.

      Hope this makes sense!

      1. 1

        I switched to Tally because of the free tier (and it's reliable and I like the design better than alternatives).

        I switch to paid if a project gets enough traction to justify removing the branding (basically the first few customers).

        I love the product - keep it up!

        1. 1

          That's so great to hear, thanks a lot for using Tally, really happy you enjoy using our product!

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    1. 1

      yep thats an RCE :'D

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