Hello ! Who are you and what are you working on?
Hey! I'm Ramy and I'm working on a few products , but the most successful so far is Page Flows .
Page Flows is library of user flow videos that helps designers research how popular products design key user flows, such as user onboarding, upgrading, downgrading, etc.
What motivated you to get started with? How did you come up with the idea?
I was keen to start a side project and the best idea I could come up with was a newsletter for sharing UI design animations. As a developer who is interested in UI interactions, but not necessarily other areas of design (logos, typography etc) I wanted to create a resource specifically for UI design interactions.
That newsletter (now at screenlane.com ) had a successful launch on Product Hunt and quickly grew to 10,000+ subscribers. After running it for a while without making any revenue, I reached out to some subscribers to try learn if there was any features or content that I could add to the site that would be worth paying for.
One theme that came up over and over again was that most design inspiration resources featured unrealistic prototypes and that an alternative that featured real designs from real, live products would be valuable. That's where the idea for Page Flows came from.
Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?
After speaking to the newsletter subscribers and deciding to work on Page Flows, I quickly built the site, added a whole bunch of user flow videos, and launched on Product Hunt. The launch went well, but after a few weeks only one person upgraded to the paid tier.
I ended up making all the content on the site free to access and moved on. A year or so later I checked Google Analytics and noticed the user flow videos were getting a decent amount of traffic. I put the paywall back up except this time, instead of a subscription, there was a small one-off price for unlocking the content. As soon as the pay wall went up, a couple of people upgraded.
Since then, I've spent a lot of time improving Page Flows and adding content. I've also experimented with pricing settled on quarterly and yearly subscriptions.
Page Flows now has over 650 paying customers and continues to grow very slowly and steadily.
What has been your biggest failure or struggle?
Giving up on Page Flows after the initial lack of traction has been my biggest failure so far. If I had persisted, I would be further along now.
Self doubt is a constant issue. I'm always questioning whether I'm working on the right thing or not.
How many hours a day do you work on average & can you describe/outline your typical day?
I generally spend a day or two a week adding and updating the videos on Page Flows. Sometimes I spend more time improving the site or adding features (like bookmarking).
During the rest of the week, I work on other products in the hope of replicating the small success I've seen so far with Page Flows.
And what has been your biggest achievement or success?
My main aim with Page Flows was to get it to the point where it could cover my living expenses and so far that has been my biggest achievement.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Initially, the audience from my design newsletter was key to growing Page Flows.
The Product Hunt launch also had a big impact, especially as it led to a bunch of design-focussed sites and blogs sharing Page Flows with their audiences.
Other than word of mouth, long-tail SEO is now how most customers discover Page Flows. When people search for things like "Spotify onboarding" or "Dropbox user flows," they will likely come across Page Flows. Not many people search for those terms specifically, but across all of the long-tail search terms that Page Flows ranks for, it adds up.
The main thing that has impacted growth and retention so far is continuously adding and updating user flow videos to the site.
Describe the process of launching the business.
There wasn't much of a process here to be honest. I built the MVP with Django (because that's the language I learned during the day job), spent many hours recording user flow videos, then launched on Product Hunt.
Did you use Betalist or PH or other Startup Launching Platform for Launching ? How was that experience ?
Product Hunt was key to launching Page Flows. The main benefit to launching on Product Hunt was that it put Page Flows in front of people who run design focused sites & blogs.
Articles on design blogs and listings on design tool directories still drive a meaningful amount of traffic.
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
People pay either a quarterly or yearly subscription to access the user flow videos on Page Flows.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome? What are your goals for the future?
Increasing the growth rate has been a challenge. Growth is super slow and steady and nothing I've tried so far has changed that.
There are many more experiments to try, but I haven't found a good solution yet.
In terms of my goals for the future, my main aim is to replicate the small Page Flows success with another product, which is why I spend most of my time experimenting with new opportunities.
Let’s talk about your marketing strategy -- how do you market Page Flows and grow the service?
I've tried various things, but the biggest impact activity so far is continuously adding user flow videos to the site. Each new video is a chance for people to find Page Flows via search.
I will be experimenting with an affiliate and referral program soon.
Do you have a model to get product feedback? What’s your favorite way to get product feedback? Did product feedback help you get the results you hoped for ?
I should probably do better in this department. All I currently do is make it easy for customers to get in touch.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Before starting Page Flows, I wouldn't have guessed that long-tail SEO would have such an impact.
I've also learned the lesson over and over again that working on something for too long before showing it to potential customers is dangerous. It's tough to predict what will resonate with people.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Built with Django
Hosted on Digital Ocean
Newsletters sent with EmailOctopus
Transactional emails with Postmark
Automated screenshots (for an email feature on Page Flows) with urlbox.io
Social media scheduling with Buffer
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Podcasts: Indie Hackers, Startups for the rest of us
Books: The Mom Test
Other resources: indiehackers.com
What’s your advice for fellow aspiring entrepreneur who are just starting out?
Start small. Don't spend too long working on something before getting it in front of potential customers.
Also, filter advice based on your goals. If someone is giving advice about building a billion dollar startup and you're aiming to build a small, sustainable business (or vice versa), that advice is likely not helpful for you.