Allison Bootstrapped PageFactory to $500+MRR in Just 1.5 Months
Table of Contents
- How long did it take you to acquire your first 50 customers, and what was your growth strategy?
- Which technology stack are you using and what challenges and limitations does it pose?
- What are some of the most essential tools that you use for your business?
- What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?
- Your recommended books/podcasts/newsletters etc.:
- What other products are you working on? Anything else you want to mention about other products that we can cover?
Tell us about your product and what inspired you to start it?
PageFactory is a no-code tool to help non-technical folks implement a marketing strategy called "programmatic SEO". This strategy allows you to automate creating content using data and templates (not AI). Writing content is arguably the hardest part of SEO, and automating it makes getting traffic from search engines much easier.
Before PageFactory, I dabbled with using programmatic SEO for my first indie project, Fantasy Congress. After learning so much about it, I wanted to explore its potential further with a new project. This led me to write a blog post about experimenting with programmatic SEO in the fall of 2021, which gained a lot of traction.
People began reaching out to me with questions about programmatic SEO. So I started consulting on the topic. Some even hired me to implement programmatic SEO for them.
Consulting made me realize there was a real need for help in this space. Many non-technical founders wanted to use programmatic SEO to promote their products, but there wasn't an easy way to do it without hiring a developer.
In the spring, I put a content generation tool that I built for personal use online for people to try. This really resonated with my audience, and eventually morphed into what is now PageFactory.
PageFactory launched in mid July (only a month and a half ago). I ended last month (August) with 22 paying subscribers and a little over $500 MRR. If you include free trials and users that unsubscribed, I've probably had over 50 customers since the launch. But right now reducing churn is my biggest battle.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results so far. I know that SaaS is a marathon, not a sprint. Getting paying customers has validated that this idea is worth pursuing, but now I have to find product-market fit.
I launched PageFactory to a waitlist of 273 subscribers. Many of these came from twitter and my personal blog. I use both my blog and twitter to "build in public." As I've learned more about programmatic SEO and experimented with it, I shared my experiences and learnings publicly.
When I announced that I was working on PageFactory, I had a lot of people following me who were already interested in programmatic SEO. I think building in public also made me an authority in this space, so people were more inclined to trust me and try out my tool.
I've continued building in public as I build PageFactory, and it's generating a lot of interest in the product.
PageFactory is built in python. I used Cory Zue's Django SaaS boilerplate called SaaS Pegasus to speed up development, which helped a ton. I had never used this tool before, so there was a bit of a learning curve there.
I use AWS services for storing data and Heroku for hosting. AWS is really tough to learn. I've been using it for years and it still confuses me at times. It's limiting because sometimes you want to quickly knock out a task, but with AWS, you end up spending a whole day learning their version of how to implement that task before you can even start on it. So frustrating!
I love using Evernote for note taking. I know everyone is obsessed with Notion these days, but I find the editor in Evernote just so easy and simple to use. I also use Sketch a ton for editing and creating images. It's sort of like a combination between Figma and Illustrator. I feel like I can do pretty much anything in Sketch: make custom images, edit images, create mockups. If I was a designer, I might want something more robust. But as a developer, Sketch serves all my image editing needs.
What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?
The biggest insight has been how much putting yourself "out there" matters.
I'm an introvert, like most techies. I naively thought when I started my journey that technical skill was all I needed to succeed. Very much a "build it and they will come" mindset. Boy was I wrong!
People won't magically come to you. Somehow, you have to get in front of them.
Also, networking and getting to know other people in your space is a big part of the game as well. Again, as a typical introvert, I sort of thought I could just hide behind my computer and pump out code. Only after I started making real connections with potential customers and others in my industry did I start to see success. Building in public has helped a lot with getting over my shyness!
Three entrepreneurial podcasts I love are Indie Hackers, Indie Bites, and How I Built This from NPR. I've learned a ton just by listening to the interviews on these podcasts. They also helped keep me motivated when results were less than desirable. Two books I wish I had read sooner on my journey are The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris and The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber.
These books might not seem relevant to today's entrepreneur since they are kind of old, but trust me, their teachings are very relevant even today.
What other products are you working on? Anything else you want to mention about other products that we can cover?
I've been running my first indie project, Fantasy Congress (https://fantasycongress.com), since 2018 and it has $800 MRR. I also started a gardening blog with programmatic SEO called Garden Auntie (https://gardenauntie.com). This was the website I wrote my initial blog post about that got me into consulting on programmatic SEO. I just put ads on it at the beginning of August and it made $75 in it's first month. Feel free to refer to my personal blog where I build in public by writing monthly retrospectives on my progress: https://allisonseboldt.com