The goal of Hardly Hustle is to provide inspiration, drive and motivation in a 10 minute read or less. What you see is what you get. This is hot off the press without an editing team. Marie Martens is up.
Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Marie Martens, co-founder of Tally. I have a background in B2B Marketing and founded Tally (the simplest way to create forms) in 2020 together with my partner and technical co-founder Filip.
What did it take to get your first handful of customers?
We shared our MVP for the first time with friends and family in August 2020. Our MVP was a very basic version of the form builder, you could insert questions and that was it, you couldn't even publish a form. We didn't have a large network of our own, so we started sharing our first version of our form builder with the people closest to us. After processing their feedback we started with cold outreach to creators, Indie Hackers, and startup founders, who might be interested in our product. We scanned Product Hunt and Twitter and made lists of hundreds of prospects and started doing cold outreach, asking for their feedback. Often without success, but those who did take the time to reply became part of our community of early users and ambassadors.
Have you had to pivot the business to get to where you are today?
We launched our first startup in a completely different industry: Hotspot, a platform that connects hotels and travel influencers. Our plan for 2020 was to work remotely on it while traveling in Asia, but COVID-19 decided differently on that. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit the travel industry (and Hotspot). We lost half of our (small) customer base and had to pivot. That's how Tally was born.
What drives/motivates you on a daily basis?
Our community members who cheer for us on social media are an incredible support to us. Seeing our product grow and making users happy is what keeps us going.
When will you know that you've "made" it as an Entrepreneur?
I don't call myself "an Entrepreneur". We started our startup adventure with the dream of building a sustainable lifestyle business for our family. Now, that we reached this goal our dreams are only getting bigger.
What has been the hardest part of your business journey?
Pivoting after our first startup failed was definitely a painful decision to make. I found the financial insecurity of not having a salary for multiple years also very stressful.
Who or what has helped you the most in your journey so far?
Definitely Filip, my partner and co-founder, has been an invaluable resource in my journey so far. Without him Tally would not exist. His vast experience in the startup world and his work ethic are truly remarkable. He has been a huge source of motivation and support throughout my journey, allowing me to reach new heights and achieve my goals.
What are a few resources that you'd recommend?
I learn the most by following other founders on Twitter. I love the Indie Hackers community and recently joined Saas Friends (a community of SaaS founders by Davis Baer).
List the founders
Marie Martens & Filip Minev
How many hours a week do you work on this hustle?
Full-time (not sure how many hours)
# of Employees?
When did you start?
How much did it cost to launch?
Just our time :-)
What were your funding methods and ballpark amount raised?
Hard to say, in the range of €700K ARR by the end of 2023
Any call to action?
Feel free to try out Tally if you're looking for a simple way to create forms, for free. https://tally.so