Hey! What are you working on and what led you to building with no code? Have you got any previous experience of building sites/apps?
My name is Michelle and I've been working at various startups in Silicon Valley for the past 8 years. I love coming up with different startup concepts and ideas but always felt like it was a huge commitment to start something. I was employee number 3 at a well-funded startup and we spent a ton of money developing the product and testing the market. I wasn't sure if it was possible to start something on my own without a ton of funding. I then stumbled across no-code which lowered the barrier for getting started and was able to tinker around with a few concepts with a low startup cost. Right now, my main no-code project is BridgeNotes, a service that automatically mails a photo and note to loved ones to help people stay connected.
What platforms and tools have you used to build BridgeNotes? How long did it take to build?
For the initial validation, I used launchaco to create a landing page and then set everything up with Typeform and Twilio Studio. Users would fill out the Typeform with their contact details and recipient address and it would kick off a text automation asking for a photo and a message. I wanted to just see if anyone would want this service. This took a couple hours to spin up so it was pretty low risk, and I only had to pay a few dollars for Twilio credits, the rest were on free trials.
I got really positive feedback so then I decided to move things to Bubble to have a more robust user platform and system. I got help from AirDev to get the base product built and then added on myself to create an internal management system to manage all the cards and photos. I worked periodically on this over a few months and continue to iterate on it.
How have you gone about growing your user base? What has been most effective?
To start off, I emailed friends and family, posted on beta testing sites like Betabound, Betapage, 10words.io, and posted on Reddit in r/sideproject, r/IndieBiz, and r/startup. I offered mailing a card for free with no need for a credit card. It was really helpful to get feedback at this stage and to hear about people's experience. Letting people mail a card for free also helped them really understand the value proposition, as most people end up getting calls or texts from the person they sent their card to. I then have email automations set up to encourage people to send another card and purchase credits, which has been working reasonably well. Offering the first card for free has definitely been the best acquisition strategy so far.
Have you monetised it yet and if so, what is your revenue model?
Users can buy credits to mail cards. I have a few different package options where users can buy in bulk to bring the price of cards down. The prices leave a reasonable margin for the cost of materials for the photos, notes, and stamps, and right now the volume is manageable where I can handle writing the notes myself. If the volume gets too high I may have to add in labor and re-assess costs but I think the margins should be able to handle it.
What has been the hardest part of building, growing or monetising BridgeNotes?
Marketing is tricky as I haven't figured out a specific audience to tap into yet, and I want to make sure I can control the scale as it is just me right now. I think finding creative ways to get the word out in inexpensive ways has been the most challenging, but also has been fun. Tinkering on Bubble has been frustrating at times as I am no expert, but there has been a ton of help online and learning by building has helped the process.
Do you have any tips on building, growing or monetising a no code product/business?
My main advice is to start with something basic and get feedback. There are so many ways to get a test version out there. It may not totally work behind the scenes, but to a user, it achieves the purpose and validates your idea. A lot of my early work was spent doing manual work that I tried to make look automatic. This experience also helped inform what I should automate and how I should do so, and I think I would have made poorer choices without having to do the manual work first. So if you have an idea, think of the simplest way to test it and just do it!
Where can we find out more about BridgeNotes and connect with you?
Check out bridgenotes.co or follow us on social:
As always, you'll get your first note mailed for free so check it out! :)
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