How we got our first paying user within a week of adding payments

Benjamin Lin
4 min readJul 25, 2021

I’ve been bootstrapping RecordJoy( with my cousin for the past few months and we recently just got our first paying user. To add some context, RecordJoy is an online tool that allows you to record your screen and then generate a share link. It works completely in your browser and you don’t need to install any Chrome extensions or download anything. It has around 100 daily active users and has been primarily used by teachers and designers to share presentations and UI designs.

Setting a goal to get a paying user in 30 days

RecordJoy had initially been a free tool and while we knew we were providing value to users, we wanted to know if RecordJoy was solving a big enough problem that people would actually pay for it. Therefore, we set a goal of getting our first paying user within 30 days.

Setting up billing

To accomplish this, I tried to find the quickest way possible to set up some way for users to pay. I ended using a Stripe payment link, which took about 30 minutes to set up and added a “Upgrade to Premium” link in our navigation bar. The stripe payment link was a separate page where users could enter their credit card details, but it was much easier to set up then integrating the Stripe API into our own UI. I originally set my the fees to be $29 for a lifetime payment. My plan was to lower this amount until somebody eventually paid.

After that, my next goal was to begin disabling a few features(such as uploads, max views, webcam option, password protected videos, etc.) unless someone had paid for a premium account. I would test out a bunch of different features until I could find out what people actually were willing to pay for.

Getting our first paying user

However, before I was able to implement any of the feature disabling, someone had already purchased one of our lifetime subscriptions! I was actually shocked because all of the features had still been free. It was possible that our first paying user saw the lifetime subscription limited time deal and thought it was an opportunity to get a lifetime subscription of RecordJoy for a cheap price.

Next Steps

Now that we validated that at least one person is willing to pay for our product, we are optimizing our payment funnel and are trying to convert guest users into users into accounts and the finally into paying users. We are doing this through a combination of email campaigns and pop ups that offer subscription discounts.

Lessons Learned

If I had realized how easy it was to add billing with Stripe, I would have integrated payments into all of my earlier side projects, instead of just abandoning them.

Here are a few lessons learned that I want to share:

  • Set a goal to get a paying customer in 30 days. This will keep you focused on revenue and not on things that may distract you.
  • Start with a low effort billing mechanism, like Stripe payment links. Just add a link to a Premium plan in your header. You can manually track premium status using the email they enter in the Stripe payment link.
  • Start with a lifetime subscription. Keep lowering it until someone pays.

P.S. For any medium users who want a discount for using RecordJoy, for a limited time you can get get a lifetime subscription for $29 using the discount code JOY29.