Until recently, starting up and building real revenue making products was impossible if you didn’t have a developer as a co-founder.

But now, there is a noticeable rise in solo founders and makers who are changing the startup landscape. And they are doing it fast.

The difference? The No Code movement.

More and more tools are adding layers and interfaces that let you make apps, websites, integrated experiences by dragging and dropping features on an online canvas.

No code leaders and community builders are saying that 2020 & beyond will belong to those who can build real products and audiences rapidly. No Code lets you do that and more.

One such leading No Code maker, Michael Novotny, was live with HelloMeets on 9th October 2020. And gave us the much needed hope and guidance on starting up using No Code.

Michael has built products using 100% no code tools. And in his meetup he shared creative ways in which makers have built online products and revenue-generating startups.

If you have an idea, you can make it into a real, fully-functioning product using no code tools, here’s how…


What is No Code anyway?

From websites, to complex apps, you can create products online using No-code tools. And these tools are made out of layers of complex code, with the drag-and-drop functionality built on top of those layers of code.

Functions like storing visiting information on your website, collecting payments and user log-ins, and much deeper experiences are now possible to create without having to write code.

No-code is not replacing coding. It is built on top of it. No-code is allowing non-techies to build products, and democratised software creation. [While coders will be in demand for making such interfaces to help no-code makers]

“No-Code is like the Gutenberg Press" - Kavir Kaycee and Webflow

Approaches to starting up using No-Code, with real evidences

If you're entering the no-code practice and building, it is likely that you might fall under these categories of builders, according to Michael:

  1. The startup builder
  2. The contrarian builder
  3. The niche expert builder

There's tons more, which Michael is covering in his book. (launching soon)


1. The Startup Builder

People who want are trying to build a startup, have an idea, and are ready to build, often find themselves stuck in this loop:

Michael's slides | "What Ben faced 10 years ago while raising investment for his startup idea"

And now, no-code can let you hack the system.

Example:

Cuppa - A 1-on-1 virtual coffee meeting platform, that lets you fix virtual meetings with founders, makers and others in the startup space.

https://www.getcuppa.io/


KP & Michael Gill made Cuppa, a web application, using the no-code approach. And it got funding offers within 20 days of launching!!

KP launched a webpage for getcupp.io on March 13 2020. He crossed 500 sign-ups right after that. Michael joined him and made a fully automated version of Cuppa. And by April 3, they were invited to pitch at a VC funding event.

They had a running app, with active users, and tested data for Cuppa, which is usually what VCs expect from new ideas and startups looking for funding.

What tools were used?

  • Bubble for setting up the whole user experience
  • Twitter API to let users sign in
  • Zoom API to send the meeting's link through Calendly when the match happens
  • Integromat API sends the data to people's Google Calendar when they match with a founder for a virtual hangout

What led to its headline-creating success?

KP didn't just create a prototype of Cuppa. He built the actual working version, the real thing. It saved him time, and allowed him to get data. Michael then automated it.

KP spent a lot of time marketing Cuppa on Twitter, while building his product. When you save time while building, you get that saved time to build your audience.

Tool brief - Integromat was used to link all the tools and data movement across Bubble, Zoom, Google Calendar and Calendly.


The Contrarian Builder

These are builders of ideas which VCs might consider to be too high risk and too unconventional.

Just as Snapchat was before becoming a huge hit. There was no working app, nothing much to convince investors to fund them. The risk in the idea was too high even to test it.

No code solves such cycles today. As it allows you to test your real product without much investment or resources. No matter how risky your idea may be, you can use no code tools to test it out. You'll probably lose $40 or something. (You read that right, no fancy millions and billions accompanying that number).

So there is very little risk in trying out new ideas.

Example:

RandomPizza - 2 Pizzas delivered to your home or work, or mom or friend randomly.  

https://randompizza.io/


RandomPizza has probably already crossed 1000 users.

This side project became a product that is giving real revenue to Whit, the founder of RandomPizza.

What tools were used?

  • Webflow for frontend experience of the website
  • Typeform for the embedding forms where users can feed in their data on the website. You can customize your forms with business logics and conditions.
  • Gumroad to collect payments
  • Google Sheets for storing all the information that typeform collects from the users
  • Zapier API for connecting all the tools and moving data from typeform to google sheets

Airtable can also be used in place of Zapier too.

What led to its revenue generating status?

RandomPizza created his idea over the weekend. Without any investment. Just get noticed by creating a product that is off-mainstream, so that you get traction. Build the audience for your products first.

Also look out for ideas on Twitter, where people often post their issues and you can probably try to build something using No Code, your traction problem might get solved on its own that way.

Takeaway: Use no code to make a side project which is relevant to your main product — Just something that helps you further your core project's goal. That way you save your core development resources. - Michael


PMs, Marketers and Devs can leverage this approach of making side projects that are kind of related to their current field of work in whichever company they're working in. If it fails, there is no catastrophic loss of any kind.


Niche Expert builder

This is the group which had been suffering till now. These are doctors, photographers, gym trainers, community builders, and any expert in their field who has wanted to build products. The folks who are good at what they do, but not at tech or managing a product lifecycle.

Michael's slides | "How experts in their fields struggle to build products that can really help people"

No code is a hack for the above problem cycle.

Example:

  1. Codereturn

Andrew Vernon is building SaaS called codereturn.me - which is catering to his niche expertise and people in his field. He knows the problem that photographers are facing.

https://codereturn.me/


His startup is helping photographers share their gallery of photos with their clients.

What tools were used?

  • Bubble for making the web app
  • EasyCV for onboarding photographers on the platform.

You can use no code to solve your own problems in idea execution. And create a startup that is helping people like you.

2. Measuredwork

House surveying app, made using No code.

https://measuredwork.com/


What tools were used?

  • Glide - Allows you to make apps, give you mobile-first focus on the interface
  • Adolo - helps you launch to the app stores of ios and android at the same time

Some more No code tools you can try for your startup idea

  • Glide
  • Thunkable - for making complex and elaborate apps and flows
  • Typeform - for highly customized data collection forms that you can embed in the UX of your website
  • Sharetribe - a marketplace tool. You can make Airbnb or Ebay like products. Michael used Sharetribe to launch his product when he had just started out as a No Code maker.
  • Carrd - For building webpages

API layer tools you should master, for moving data throughout your tech stack:

  • Zapier
  • Integromat


To find more resources on No Code, where to start and how to go about planning your no code exploration and creating your idea into a working app, head over to Michael's websites -  

1. https://sideprojectstack.com/

2. https://theleansideproject.com/

You can also connect with him on twitter, he's at https://twitter.com/MichaelJNovotny


We at HelloMeets are actively building the No Code community, and bringing more and more such talented makers as Michael Novotny for sharing knowledge and inspiring us over live meetups!

If you want to learn more on our upcoming meetups on No Code, check out www.hellomeets.com & subscribe to get meetup updates.