Dmytro Serhiiev is the co-founder and CEO of PDFLiner, the most easy-to-use document management tool to fill out, sign, and share documents online. Under his leadership, PDFLiner facilitated over $500K ARR in transactions to date and empowered over 100K customers, taxpayers, real estate agents, and sole individuals across the US, Canada, and United Kingdom. Dmytro earned communication networks and information security engineering degree from the Telecommunications Academy. Dmytro also worked as a SaaS marketing consultant (setting goals and creating project marketing teams). During that period, he has also been teaching Marketing and SEO in IT schools. In addition to that, Dmytro created an affiliate site network for Amazon and was an Amazon seller before launching PDFLiner.
Yet, PDFLiner is trusted by over 100,000 users, and it also earned a 5/5 rating on G2Crowd, which puts PDFLiner in the top-5 highest-rated PDF software according to reviews on g2.com
Where did the idea for PDFLiner come from?
While working with contractors, partners, and other departments, my colleagues from Tonti Laguna Group and I looked at the world of document management services and found a problem – an existing PDF ‘bloatware’ was far from user-friendly. Almost every industry technology solution was outdated and overpriced software (some didn’t even have free plans or trials). And I got hooked on creating an online platform to work and manage PDF documents, providing accessible, online editing ability to customers (no software, no installation, no downloads needed). PDFLiner’s goal is to provide customers with electronic document management (creating and editing files, adding electronic signatures, filling out forms, PDF conversions) and a security-sharing documents system (document sharing, locking and unlocking PDFs, cloud storage).
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Every day is different from others. Basically, I start my work day at 9 AM by reading the news to be updated with what’s going on in the market. Also, I regularly catch up on emails, calls, and meetings. I like to pop into meetings happening around to get a sense of what’s being worked on and connect with the PDFLiner employees.
For a lunch break at 2 PM, I’m often out meeting with different CEOs and founders of other SaaS solutions to discuss business strategies or just share the pros and cons that happened lately. After lunch, I’ll meet with various members of my executive team to discuss new horizons.
I try to head home around 6 PM at the latest to spend time with my family and spend time on hobbies, after which time I’ll log back on to finish up my work from the day.
This schedule gives me time to enjoy some of my hobbies and just relax after a long day. I have found that I am more productive and creative when I structure my time and tasks.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Collaboration and cooperation. When I have an idea, I pitch it to my team to brainstorm and discuss the opportunity. We grow quickly at PDFLiner – if someone has a good idea, I give the green light to that idea to start testing the hypothesis for successful results and see how we can make it into action quickly. I’m passionate about creating an environment where the best idea always wins. Healthy debate is welcome, but once we make a decision, we are committed to a common goal.
What’s one trend that excites you?
It’s exciting to watch industries revolutionize with new technology. Especially how people are going from the “Age of Digital Transformation” to the “Age of AI”. It’s really great how companies understand true AI and start using it to improve the performance and processes within SMEs and large global corporates. We in PDFLiner are using AI technology as well!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Self-education is the one habit you need to cultivate because it drives productivity, pushes you to new heights, and lights a fire underneath your feet as you carve your own path. That commitment to continuous learning leads you to everything else. Here are five why this habit leads to success as an entrepreneur:
1) It saves time and money
2) It gives confidence
3) It opens opportunities
4) It brings joy
5) It level-ups your gray matter to be better at business
What advice would you give your younger self?
Relationships are everything. People you talk to and engage with matter a lot. Surrounding yourself with good people is one of the main factors to your success in life. Connect with those who share your values, have similar mindsets, and want to succeed. You can learn something new from everyone, and you should treat everyone with the utmost respect.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I’m going to be the most successful man in the World, all other achievements would pale before mine. Someone disagrees with me, but it’s true.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Start sharing your journey with the public. It might seem strange, but it will lead you up and open new doors for your business, from finding clients to getting new partnerships or investors. I spend my days making new connections to learn from conversations with unique points of view.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Testing hypotheses and scaling up those ideas that showed success during testing. We always do a lot of research and tests to find new ways of growth or recruit new customers and raise awareness. And we spend a ton of time trying different marketing tactics until we figure out what works best, and then we run with it. Once we drive customers to our site, we focus on it. And this happens to all ideas. We test and drop away if the results are bad, and we try and implement if it shows promising results.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Hiring the wrong people. The people who lack experience in the hope that I can grow them, or people who don’t meet the PDFLiner’s culture. Today, I spend more time interviewing and drilling down into the qualities and knowledge we’re looking for with anyone new we hire. I want to make sure people believe in our product and want to grow with PDFLiner and are in it for the long term. Employees are everything.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Bookkeeping service is a direction that is always in demand and is now gaining momentum. If you are an accountant or bookkeeper (or know how to hire them) who wants the freedom and autonomy of running your own business, take advantage of modern technology to start your own online bookkeeping service. And PDFLiner can help with going paperless by keeping your invoices, contracts, tax forms in one place.
This also extends to online legal services – a great niche to start a business.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
As you know, Ukraine is struggling with rashists (russian troops) for its freedom and democracy, so since the war began, I have donated to Ukraine’s defenders regularly. And the best $100 I recently spent also was to support Ukraine.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Google Search Console and Google Analytics are always open on my laptop. I like them. They show the actual state of affairs with site traffic and transactions, which allows you to gain valuable insights, and find growth points, or vice versa – fix something if there was a drawdown.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
In my top books, I put ‘The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement‘ by Eliyahu Goldratt and ‘Who: Solve Your #1 Problem’ by Geoff Smart and Randy Street. These two books are the perfect match, as you’ll figure out what to do and hire someone to do the job right.
What is your favorite quote?
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. – Nelson Mandela
- Ideas, both good and bad, are the basis for Growth. Test all hypotheses over and over again, and implement everything that works best.
- Surround yourself with good people that share your values. The relationship is the key.
- Success is a goal, and the process of getting there is a learning experience. Never stop self-educating.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.