$3.5M ARR - simple form builder

How Paperform reached $3.5M ARR

$3.5M ARR - simple form builder
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Paperform is a simple form builder doing $3.5M ARR
  • Bootstrapped
  • Started as a side hustle
  • Husband and Wife founding team
This is how their revenue has grown over the years -
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How it started

Dean and his wife Diony started working on Paperform in May 2016.
Building it as a side hustle along side his full time job.
The MVP was ready by August 2016, and he listed it on BetaList. That’s where they got 300 testers signing up and got a great response + feedback.

Initial Growth

After BetaList Paperform got the opportunity to get listed on the AppSumo marketplace.
That’s where they got their first 3000 paying customers from.
For the AppSumo deal, they had to offer their Pro subscription for a lifetime price of $39.
And the platform took 70% of commission for the sales.
Still, offering the deal made sense just because of the sheer reach of the platform.
Within a few weeks of launch, Paperform sold -
  • 2740 deals
  • $106,860 total sales
  • $32,058 revenue
The launch gave them initial momentum - sort of upfront capital to bootstrap the business.
Plus it also lead to word of mouth growth anh help spread awareness - which eventually led to a successful Product Hunt launch.
Dean and his wife Diony tried many more growth experiments including PR, partnerhsips, referrals and more.
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No Freemium

Paperform has 2 core values that lead to improved retention and growth -
  1. High Quality Product
  1. Excellent Customer Support
Not having a free plan meant that they only got paid customers, and serving those custombers never felt like a chore.
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When you launch with a free plan, you invite a lot of noise - many freelaoders who are just there to try out the product.
In the initial days - free users don’t give you valuable feedback, they don’t refer new customers, and most even don’t give testimonials - its best to avoid a freemium model when starting out.
Have only paid plans from the beginning - that’s when you’ll know you have a valuable product.
The real test of a product is a buy button.
As you grow and achieve PMF, you can add a free tier to cpature more top of the funnel traffic, as Paperform did.

SEO Growth

Gradually, Paperform started investing in SEO and has seen some great results with it.
Right now it gets around 100K organic visits every day from Google.
notion image
SEO is a great marketing channel once you have product market fit.
  • It scales powerfully
  • Is long term sustainable
  • Not very expensive
But it won’t work starting out, because early on you don’t have enough information about your ideal customer profile, your market and your product’s positioning in the market.

Top Lessons -

  • Start on the side - working nights and weekends
  • Launch on marketplaces/platforms to get early users
  • Marketplaces are great because you don’t have to do marketing
  • Don’t hesitate from offering LTDs initially
  • Don’t offer Freemium early on
  • Great product + Excellent customer services is a deadly combo
  • Once you have PMF - double down on SEO

Further Reading

From the vault -

3 random post from the Superframeworks archives -

Useful links you don’t want to miss -

🤗 How can I help?

Whenever you’re ready, here’s how I can help you -
  • Join the tiny community of for yoru big dreams -
    • Feedback sessions/Demo Days to get personalized feedback 📝
    • Co-working sessions and a peer accountability group with weekly checkins 💪
    • Courses, Tutorials, Workshops on topics like SEO, Copywriting, Landing Pages, and more so that you keep growing 🚀
    • And lots more!
  • We support, inform, educate and inspire each other every day. We are a tight knit group of indie hackers and solopreneurs working on our projects. We would love to have you. Entrepreneurship is hard, don’t do it alone. Come join us!
Ayush 🙏

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Eternally Curious. Writing, Learning, Building in Public. Writing about Ideas + Inspiration + Insights for creators, solopreneurs and indie hackers | Simple tips and frameworks to help you build a sustainable solo business

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