Why nobody paid for my freemium SaaS app

  1. the steady growth of users, all through organic search and word of mouth, and
  2. great feedback from existing users. A few users even said that they wanted to pay for it, because they love it!

What I did wrong

  • I looked for the existence of the problem I’m trying to solve.
  • I created a landing page for people to signup.
  • I was building it for myself.
  • I shipped an “embarrassing” MVP which was good enough to use.
  • I iterated.

Unclear customer — problem fit

I ignored my best user — me

Free too early

What’s next?

  1. Ensure I have all the basic assumptions written down so I can systematically validate them. I did have a Lean Canvas created for this, but it got neglected. It’s been updated now with new learnings. One pleasant surprise: the assumption that my early adopters are writers and academics were validated!
  2. Identify a specific niche to serve. Obviously, I’ll be going with the validated early adopters. But I’m going even more niche — newsletter authors. I think there are interesting problems to solve for this group that Markfolder can pivot to.
  3. Keep the product scope narrow for now, but for a large enough market. Twitter bookmarking is fine for now, but for the niche I’m thinking of serving, it will need to expand past Twitter ASAP.
  4. Systematically test those assumptions before building. For everything. And I need to stop building before validating (unless validation requires building).
  5. The most important one: talk to my users. Every week. This is the only way to discover real pains to solve and if my solution to them are acceptable.

What I’ll do differently next time



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