Why I went Pro


This is a guest post by Steve Stroh. If you’d like to contribute a guest blog post, just email your idea to blog@workflowy.com

As I explained in a previous post, WorkFlowy resonated with me immediately. I started using it so intensively and productively that at points it seemed scary. Scary because here was this fantastic app, that I found SO useful, that I was pouring SO many of my ideas into… that was free. Many great, free web-based apps have gone out of business, usually with just a few week’s notice. So I was relieved when WorkFlowy quietly, subtly offered the Pro version and a way to pay them. I’ve chided Jesse and Mike a bit that they made the Pro option a bit too subtle, in my opinion. I just scrolled through the blog, and nope – no mention there. It’s only if you have the free version that you see the video in Help and a “Learn more” link which mentions these features:

  • Unlimited Lists – Pro users can make as many lists and items as they want. Non-pro users are limited to 500 per month.
  • Backup to Dropbox – Never worry about losing your WorkFlowy data. Have full backups automatically uploaded to your Dropbox account every day.
  • Password Protected Collaboration – Pro users can share parts of their WorkFlowy account with specific people, verified by email address and password.
  • Offline Editing (Coming soon) – Want to use WorkFlowy when you’re not online? Go Pro! 
  • Theme and Fonts – Pro users get to change the look and feel of WorkFlowy with a library of themes and fonts. Make your WorkFlowy more personal.
  • Premium Support – We answer emails from Pro members first.

While I jumped on Pro because I WANTED WorkFlowy to start making money, and thus not close or sell out, the main selling points of WorkFlowy Pro, for me, were the Unlimited Lists and Backup to Dropbox. The more I used WorkFlowy, the more I wanted to use WorkFlowy, and after the transition between free and paid (I had a free account for my day job) I quickly bumped up against the monthly limits of the free version. Believe me, if you’re not bumping into this limit, you’re not using WorkFlowy to its real potential. When you can open up a new WorkFlowy list and just let the record your ideas as fast as they’re coming to you, simultaneously keeping ALL your various lists in WorkFlowy… that’s WorkFlowy really amplifying your creativity and productivity.

Backup to Dropbox eased my mind a lot, that there was going to be a complete copy of my entire WorkFlowy in my Dropbox account, updated daily. I’ve also enjoyed changing my WorkFlowy Theme (current favorite: Hacker and Font (current favorite: Light).

Unfortunately, I don’t currently collaborate with any other WorkFlowy users, so I haven’t been able to see WorkFlowy Collaboration in action for myself, but I’m sure glad that’s an option that’s open to me.

Offline Editing (Coming Soon), well, WorkFlowy has offline for iOS and there’s a Chrome App for Windows that works offline. They’re working on a generally available desktop app with offline. In my particular way of writing, Internet access is as essential to me as electric power, so I’m nearly always connected and so don’t miss Offline Editing all that much. 

I think of WorkFlowy as a professional power tool for the mind, and the annual fee is quite reasonable for how much more productive WorkFlowy enables me to be.

Disclaimer – The above is solely my personal opinion. I am a paying WorkFlowy Pro customer and have not been offered any incentives to write nice things about WorkFlowy. I’m just a fan of a great product and volunteered to write about it for publication in the WorkFlowy Blog.

Steve Stroh
WorkFlowy Semi Official Blogger
Seattle, Washington, USA


Workflowy replaces your notebooks, stickies and bloated apps with a simple, smooth digital notebook that makes it easy to get organized and be productive.

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29 Responses

  1. You convinced me. I just went pro. I’ve been using this app for all of one day and it’s already proven so incredibly useful in organizing my work! I love that I can have all of my projects and meeting notes and todo’s in one place. Cannot emphasize how happy I am with it. Really did feel like theft not to pay for it. Love you guys.

    1. Hi Tillman. Lots of people seem happy to pay the current price. However, we are considering testing out a lower price and seeing if it improves the conversion rate enough to make a difference.

      1. I too loved the app and was using it like a pro within 2 hours.
        Being in a startup myself, i understand the need to charge and want to pay for it, but $5 a month is quite much if you convert into my country’s currency.
        i’d say $12 a year is a deal-maker. i just need >250 (earlier it was 500?) monthly items.
        i don’t know how you can make region-specific pricing (if you want to) – one idea is paying through android / iPhone app, which is region aware.

  2. The price is a little high for me as well. I have switched from other popular organizational software and now work solely with WorkFlowy. I simply love it. I have tried many versions like it with the “bells and whistles” and they still do not come close to matching the power of WorkFlowy. I love the fact that WorkFlowy uses RackSpace as their primary server, However, I would like to no a little more about this.

    From searching around I have found that WorkFlowy uses RackSpace as their main server and perhaps amazon s3 as a backup – does this mean that our WorkFlowy data is saved on both servers (because I think that would be absolutely amazing). My greatest concern is “loss of data”. My work around is exporting and saving, but even if I were to lose all of my information, I would have to renter the data from a previous export I create.


    1. Can you explain to me more about how you utilize Rackspace and Amazon S3?

    2. Is the dropbox feature in the Pro version different than exporting? ie is there a import option?

    As you can see my biggest concern with WorkFlowy is data loss. The $5/month price would be perfect if I knew I could rely on never losing data without manually reentering data. Please help ease my mind.

    Thanks for a great piece of engineering magic!

  3. Hey! I became a pro user because I really love what you guys are doing! All that pro-features are only a nice addition to the great app you’ve made. Don’t worry about the price and beware of complicating things down. Its the simplicity that makes you awesome!
    Thanks Workflowy team!

  4. I’m trying to get into Workflowy, and hope to get things clicking soon. That said, I too hesitate at the cost. I’m not arguing it is too expensive, so much as it is too expensive for me. It seems there are so many ~$5/month apps and services out there, and they add up fast. For productivity alone I have Dropbox, Copy, Evernote Premium account (which I believe costs less than Workflowy at the time of this writing) and others. Again, I want to stress that this is just my situation and very rarely should someone make changes based on what’s going on with me! I do see that there is at least $49/year of value there for many people. I’m just saying that if it were $24/year, I would buy it without even thinking. I’ll keep my eyes on it! Thanks.

  5. I’m a little late to the party (i.e. this blog post) but for me the decision to “go pro” was completely natural.

    Like Steve it almost scared me how, after a matter of days, I had started to feel about Workflowy like I feel about water in a tap: you absolutely rely on it, and need it to be there when you turn it on. I tried so many other list apps over the years and Workflowy was the first one to come along and fit my personal workflow.

    I guess it comes down to how much you want it. For me Workflowy is an absolute godsend and I think 5 dollars a month is a small price to pay.

    If you compare it to Notepad on your Windows computer, then sure it’s expensive. If you compare it to buying Moleskines every week then it’s cheap as chips.

    I’m not an app developer myself, but I do know how much work goes on behind the scenes to provide users with reliability, scalability, not to mention resilience against misuse.

    1. I bought it 15 minutes in. Not because I ran into 250 limit, just because I liked it and wanted to support such a great work.
      Although I agree with fellows up top, that it’s quite expensive, but I’m willing to pay for good quality, stability and most importantly reliability, which I haven’t had problems with so far.

  6. Guys,

    This is. Good product. However $60 per year is very high. $24 seems to be the sweet spot. Don’t waste time and start the offer!!

  7. I too am one of those who think that the price is steep but would like to contribute. If there was a “donate” button with a PayPal link option I would probably offer 12 – 18 dollars. I’ve looked several times for a donate button and have never been able to find any.

    I use the program every day for my basic household lists and have more than enough items to handle my needs. Once you spend several months adding items, then they somewhat stabilize. For instance, my grocery list usually has roughly the same amount of items on it so once the initial list is done it doesn’t generate additional items.

    If WF decided to charge 5.00 a month in general, I’d just substitute the online excel offered with Hotmail. It’s not exactly the same but the above poster is right, all those tiny charges add up. I compare that 5.00 to my 7.99 NF or Amazon Prime, etc and think to myself, if I had to limit my online charges each month to less than a certain amount, what would have to go?

    Frankly, Pro has little to nothing to offer to me. Theoretically we could use it to share the “chores” list between roommates but that would be pretty minimal usage for the price, particularly considering that each person would have to purchase Pro (to my knowledge).

    A good compromise might be a NON-refundable 24.00 dollars annually (instead of monthly to cut down on processing fees). I’d upgrade to Pro at that price in order to be paying into the system.

    It’s a fun product and one I find really useful! Good job guys,


  8. Hi follks,

    Thanks guys for this amazing product. Resonates with no non-sense zen style approach for capturing thoughts and planning.

    As mentioned above, appreciate if we can have pro-lite version (12 USD per year). No glitches even after long usage, appreciate your commitment in quality. Splendid!


  9. Hi.
    I just wanted to tell you guys that I really like the app and I have been using it a lot… Right now I’m doing a PhD in biology at Andes University in Colombia, the app has been very useful but as of right now my flowy is almost full. The problem is that I really can’t pay the monthly or year plan, When I do the conversion from USD to COP it’s just WAAAY to much… hope you guys give Students abroad some love and make it WAAAY more affordable… 😉
    Cheers and keep up the great work.

  10. I use Workflowy EVERYDAY for work and personal life, I think the $5 is perfectly fine, that equates to about 0.17 a day! What else can you get for this value? For me I think the price is right.

    Keep up the good work!

  11. Have you guys considered offering one-time charge for an offline-only version? I would gladly buy something like that from you guys. I have to say, I was kind of disappointed how quickly I used up my 250 items this month.

    I feel like some people don’t need the storage feature. With things like Google Drive (and other similar services), some people are paying for something they simply do not need.

    It isn’t hard to imagine me using this for years to come. But, it is hard to imagine paying $200.00 for a four-year pass for something that I could backup myself.

    Despite everything I’ve said, I’ll be going Pro soon. It’s just that good.

  12. Ive been using it for a few days, and I used up my 250 so fast. As a college student, the price is rather steep for me. There are some recommendations
    1) a pro-lite version, with just unlimited bullets, for ~15 per year?
    2) special price for students (with school email)

    Anyway, keep up the good work. I absolutely love the app. I’ve been using Sublime Text to organise my brain, but it can’t collaborate 🙁

      1. Thanks. How is this student package ranked in your business development plan now? Honestly I would say not many college students are into productivity yet (since when we enter workforce there’s more need to be productive), but the package will be a good motivation boost for them.

        @Morgne: yeah i have been referring because i ran out of bullet too fast.. the cool thing is that i keep sharing the list to my friends for collaboration so i can get referral too.

    1. Keep in mind that it’s 250 PER month. So if you use up 1 – 250, actually USE them, then the next month you can add ANOTHER 250, numbers 251 – 500. Then the same the third month. Another option is to recommend it to a few people. That adds to your NEW per point monthly number. I have 1500 new points available each month but once the initial set up phase has passed you need very few “new” points… as you delete the old ones they count in your tally. If you have 10 points, use 10 more but delete 5, you’ll only have used 5 of your new point per month total.

  13. I almost never pay for software, but would consider this one. If you have outlined on paper, or used another outlining program, there is virtually no learning curve. I like the Idea of a one payment, offline only version ($15-20?). I have no need for the collaboration features; and would prefer to keep the files and backups on my own equipment.

  14. I think the $50 per year is a bit high but it *is* the best, so…

    I think an offline only one-time purchase would have to be at least the cost of one year’s worth, so $50 if not $100. And few would buy at that price, so that’s one reason why that option isn’t there.

    My #1 wish though is in fact for a native Windows desktop version (not chrome), mostly offline with occasionally syncing through the service of my choice (workflowy’s server, Dropbox, Google, OneDrive, my own server, …).

  15. I like the option of an offline version. When the power goes out or the computer is in the shop getting repaired, I still have access with that type of version. Not to mention when the site potentially gets hacked and becomes inaccessible for several hours or days, I’ll be blissfully unaware as I’m busy working in my Workflowy offline software.

    I’m not a fan of software as a service (SaaS) on so many levels. I would be very happy to pay for a download of a standalone version of Workflowy. In fact, I’d buy a CD of it as well (if it were offered) so that I’d have a convenient backup of the program at home. Those that could afford it or desire it could buy the upgrade(s) as it/them became available as you do with software now.

  16. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, Howecer I am having issues with your RSS.
    I don’t know the reason why I can’t subscribe to it.
    Is there anyboy getting similar RSS problems? Anyboidy who knows the answer can you kindly respond?

  17. I found in astonishment that some lists were missing in my workflowy
    I feel dissappointed and helpless
    Can I retrive them from some history version?

  18. At present the prices are little on higher side. Hope they will do something very low to accommodate when volume swells.

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