At some point, Tara Reed (@TaraReed_) decided that she didn't want to build a funded, scale-at-all-costs, move-fast-and-break-things type of business. The trouble was, by the time she realized this, she was already headed down that path with investors, employees, and high expectations. In this episode, I talk to Tara about quitting one business to pursue a new idea, bootstrapping her way to $5M in annual revenue, and what she's learned about the future of no-code from teaching others to build no-code businesses.
What's up everybody? This is Courtland from IndieHackers.com and you're listening to the Indie Hackers Podcast. There's been an explosion in the number of people who are using the internet to build cool stuff and making a lot of money in the process.
And on this show, I talk to the founders of these businesses and learn about the latest ideas, trends, and opportunities they're using to get ahead so the rest of us can do the same.
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Today, I'm talking to Tara Reed, the founder of Apps Without Code. Tara is, in many ways, supporting the burgeoning no-code movement from behind the scenes.
She's teaching thousands of students every single year how to build their own apps, websites, and profitable internet businesses without learning how to become software engineers and write code themselves.
And, by the way, she's making millions of dollars a year while she does it. Tara Reed, welcome to the Indie Hackers Podcast.
Hey, thanks for having me.
Thanks for coming on. You've got a ton of interesting tweets that I've been reading through. And in one of them you said that you were struggling with the question: How big do I want my company to be? So first of all, what is your company and how big is it already? And second, you know, you just tweeted this a few days ago, how are you working through this?
Yeah, okay. So, I run a company called Apps Without Code. We've been around for four years now. We're a $5 million a year company.
What our company does is we teach people how to build their own apps. So, we're an online school. You should go out and build their own apps, but not just the app, but the business around it too. And I was tweeting this because I was feeling like I needed to reset.
I feel like every level you get to you sort of have to like reset the conversation about like: Where are we going? What's the goal? What does success look like? So, I was revisiting that question, I think, like over the weekend.
And I was just curious about how other people are thinking about this. It almost felt like in my own style, I was the only one, although I'm sure that's not the case, right? Wondering like how big do I want this to be?
Because everyone's advice is like, just make it as big as possible. Just like, go as hard as you can and then you'll figure it out how big you want it to be. But I just don't feel like that's very intentional.
No, I saw that reply to your tweet. Someone was just like, as big as possible. Why would you choose any other answer? And it's like, that's not a well considered answer at all.
So, the replies were! And I was just like, "Oh, I don't know that I accept that answer."
What does that say about your followers?
It probably means that I'm way too immersed in the VC track world, I guess. You know, it's funny cause I don't view myself as being in that space, actually had to intentionally said, this is my second company.
My first company, we went through 500 startups accelerator and sort of went down that path of raising capital. And I decided that that was not the kind of company that I wanted to run. I wanted to at least start with bootstrapping my company so that I had optionality right now. Apps Without Code is fully bootstrapped.
I wanted to run a different kind of company so I had to physically remove myself from as many of the social circles I was in of that narrative, which is there's only one way to build a good company, you've got to build it as big as possible and get VC funding.
Yeah, your followers didn't abandon you. They stuck with you and they're still pushing that narrative. It's worth considering though, because obviously there's some benefits to building a bigger company. I mean, your sort of two factors that you considered in your tweet were; number one, how big of a nest egg do you want to leave for your kids?
And then number two, what level of peace versus challenge do you want to have in your life? And it's obviously way more challenging to build a huge company, just the expectations that are put onto you, the amount of work you have to do, it's harder to walk away from. So there's a balance there.
And exponentially more stressful. And I think like if I look at, okay, if I look at the different milestones we've hit, I can map what my lifestyle is like to those milestones. So, if I back up, the most recent sort of milestone we were at that I remember having a different lifestyle was maybe at like a 100K, 150K a month, like going backwards.
And at that milestone, I was working three days a week, and I was traveling. I was taking like four months a year doing a month long trip, four months a year to a different city and country and just working from there. And it was wonderful. And then we had this transition from the 150K to like the 400K that we're in now and that happened pretty fast. And I'm definitely not working three days a week anymore.
I'm definitely working full time. I'm still really enjoying my job. I still get to craft what being CEO means instead of like take it out of a book. I still get to craft what my role looks like. And I'm still able to like, have fun and dabble in new innovative projects.
But I think that there will be a point where, like a lot of the things that I like about my lifestyle and the lifestyle that comes with the company that I've built will change. And so, I'm wondering, and this is what I'm thinking about, right? Like what point does that come at?
I don't know. I don't have the answers to this, Tara. I've never grown a company to a $400,000 a month in revenue like you have. But I do remember hitting some of the earlier milestones with Indie Hackers; getting to profitability, getting acquired by Stripe, and realizing that pretty much all the stuff that I can do to make myself like enjoy life, I could have done before any of those milestones it's completely, at least for me, it was like completely disconnected.
And so I tried some stuff. I've tried keeping a gratitude journal, which in theory, I understand why that's like helpful. And I think it made me a better person while I was doing that, but I don't think it made me a happier person. Like I was never really looking forward to writing down like three things I was grateful for every day. I've tried other things too. Like recently, I went on a road trip, and haven't decided yet if I'm still in the middle of the road trip or if it's over.
But I remember just being excited every time I went to a new place just to eat the best meal I possibly could in that place. And I would figure out what I was going to be and what I was going to get. And I would just look forward to it all day long. And now I kind of do the same thing with work, like I figured out, okay, what am I really looking forward to every single day to working on? Let me put that at the end.
Like, I'm going to talk to Tara today. It's going to be fun. We're going to discuss like all these tweets that she's made and the whole day, I'm just looking forward to like this good thing, rather than some bad thing. And so I think that's kind of what my ideal is in terms of like work-life balance and being happy is always having stuff to look forward to, and then really having fun doing that thing once I get to it.
Well, that's also very much a characteristic of an entrepreneur to be like living in the future and excited about what's coming for you in the future, the good thing to have though, cause that's how you move forward.
So for me, like, I feel like I'm starting to enter this gray zone where there are not as many examples of people talking about their, like at a revenue level, where I don't hear as many people talking about their lifestyle as CEO.
I think there are some great examples. The Buffer team is really good at talking about this. Laura from Edgar, Edgar is really good at talking about this. There are a handful of companies that, where the CEO shares about how they want to keep balance and think about all those things, but they're not a ton of examples.
And so, the things that I'm thinking about as you mentioned in the tweet, right? Like, I want to be able to have some assets that I leave to my kids makes for me, particularly, it's like a woman as a person of color that lets them have some sort of sizable socio-economic shift.
And to me, that's like a driving factor. So, I actually had a conversation about this with someone who was on my team, but it was sort of just like, what do I need to get to, what do we need to get there? And then, to me keep pushing and like just build even more past that doesn't feel all that exciting.
I've passed that point I want to chill on the beach. So, where that line is, is what I'm looking for. And I don't know what size company that is, but that is the marker of where that is.
Yeah. There's probably not that many people talking about this, but he's number one. It's just not something people want to broadcast publicly. Like, here's how I'm spending my millions of dollars. Even if it was there just aren't that many people running a profitable SaaS business to the level that you've grown yours too. So, it sounds like you just need some rich friends to talk about this in private.
It's definitely a private conversation, but I think that you hear about it from folks who are on the VC track. But at that point, you've got, you set yourself up such that you've raised money and you've got the pressure from an investor to get it to an exit so that they can have the money out. So what does that look like?
Particularly, like, I think it's an interesting conversation for the Indie Hackers community of what that looks like when you bootstrapped cause it's actually a totally different game.
This idea of living on a beach though, I've tried this. I mean, I've actually gone to a beach and tried just living there. And I just get super antsy. It's too fun for me to have something to work on, some sort of long-term project.
And there's this idea of the deferred life plan, where you work really hard for five or six years, and then you take a break for five or six years or something, or the rest of your life.
And that's just too much time on and then too much time off for me. I'm more of a natural cadence, like work really hard for a few weeks and then give myself a break. And I'm trying to get to the point where I can just work really hard for a few hours and then break the rest of the day. I think that's the Holy Grail for my sort of natural on-off cadence.
For me, it's more like seasons of times. So it's like, that's why the going away for a month thing works well because I'm still working, but I'm usually doing a different kind of work. I'm doing more introspective thinking, planning next steps, and then when I come back home, I'm usually in like go-mode.
And I actually like, I am very conscious of how I trend back and forth between those two different modes. And I try really hard actually to be in flow with that so that I'm not trying to like, crank out a project when I'm not supposed to be in that mode, I'm supposed to be like, I call it like incubation mode. But usually what it looks like is like me almost like being, I go more introspective.
I like want to spend less time with people. I am less motivated to just like, be doing a bunch of projects. And I always hate when that transition comes, cause I'm like, "Oh, I was just working on a project. I want to finish that." And I'm learning to lean into those trends and the codes.
Let's talk about how you got here, how you got to this point where you've been so successful and you're running this $5 million a year business. What's the story behind Apps?
Yeah. Okay. So, Apps Without Code really got created somewhat on accident. So, I was running another startup before this, it was called Kollecto. I was working at Microsoft at the time. So, my background is working in tech or at Google then Foursquare and then Microsoft. And while I was at Microsoft, I had this idea.
So, I wanted to help people find affordable artwork for their homes. And we ended up building this algorithm that matches people to artwork based on their tastes. The very first version of that though, I've cobbled together with some no-code tools, actually, it was always a no-code product. And so I had started blogging about my experience building apps without code, how I had built Kollecto without code, and I ended up doing a test and stuff.
When was this? Was this like before no-code took off?
This is 2014.
This was well before no-code was a thing.
Yeah. So no-code was not a thing. People were like, huh? You're doing what? In fact, I think Bubble was around, but it certainly was not as popular. I'll kind of come back and tell you about what tools I was using. But long story short, I had done a TEDx Talk on building apps without code.
And I just got a huge influx from my blog on the TEDx Talk of people emailing me saying, "Hey, I really love what you're doing. Can you teach me how to build my own app too?" And, I was kind of frustrated at first because I was like, I'm trying to run my own company and I don't have time for this. And, I decided though, cause I kept getting the email to just help five people.
So, I helped five people launch their app. They got it out into the world, got their first customers, and then I opened it up again and there were 70 people who had signed up. I think the first time I did it, I like randomly made up a price of $900. The second time I like doubled it with 70 people. And I was like, "Oh wait, I think this is a whole business."
And at the time, I was feeling kind of icky about where I was with my first company. So we were doing, we have like a 360K run rates. We were making some money and we'd raised some capital, but I realized that I had chosen the wrong kind of business model and the wrong kind of business path or what I wanted my life as a CEO would be like.
And so, there was this other opportunity for almost a chance for me to like, redo with everything that I've learned of the first company. And so after, maybe a few, maybe six months, I ended up working full time on Apps Without Code and fast forward here, that's where that company came from.
So you make it sound like it was easy. But I'm pretty sure if you've got a company and you've got momentum and you've been working on it for years and you've got revenue, and in your case, even had investors that just saying, "Hey, I'm going to stop this and work on a brand new idea I have," it doesn't sound like an easy decision to make.
Yes, yes. So, I definitely dragged it on longer than I needed to. Mainly it was about me just saying, declaring, this is what I'm going to do, I'm going to do this other thing. I needed some time, muster up the courage to just be confident in that. The investors that I had were super, super nice and were super entrepreneur-friendly.
I actually was really intentional about not raising a bunch of capital from a bunch of investors that I didn't know or didn't feel like we're going to be entrepreneurial friendly, which I think helped a lot.
It was a good decision in this scenario. So, ultimately I was able to send them an email, let them know what was happening, and then I gave them an opportunity to invest in this new business, which they were not interested in. No, that's not our business model, not our thing. And so,
Is that a good thing for you or a bad thing for you that they didn't invest?
Like you can invest, but like, I really hope you don't.
I think at the time, I wasn't quite in a place of like, I really hope you don't. It was like, "Oh, this is generating some of its own money." I don't think it was maybe to like a year later when I really was able to look back on how I felt when I was at the Accelerator, when I was at 500 Startups, like how I felt about that experience, which I felt like I went into the Accelerator knowing that I didn't want to build the kind of business, which is like scale at all cost, build it all cost.
I didn't want to build that kind of business. However, everything around me felt like it was moving in that direction, like the momentum was moving there, and I kind of just sort of got drifted away in that to be completely frank.
I don't think I saw that until like a year later I could look back and be like, "Oh, that's what happened." And so I kind of was just like moving with the momentum as opposed to actually being intentional about what I actually wanted.
The other thing you said was that you had five or ten people who basically got in contact and were like, "Hey, Tara. Can you teach us how to build, you know, the way that you're building companies, we want to build this too."
And you charge them $900 a piece. So, you're constantly just making thousands of dollars just teaching people and you didn't sign up to be a teacher. It just sort of just happened to you. What was that process like? Do you remember what you were teaching them? Do you have like a lesson plan? Did it work?
Okay. The first time I really didn't have a full-out syllabus or lesson plan that I was talking to people about. I built it as I went. So, what happened was I went on, I had a few blog subscribers, maybe like a 100 - 150 people who are subscribed to my blog at that time. So, I sent them an email and said, "Hey, I'm doing this. I'm going to help five people." And I offered people a phone call to talk about it.
So I talked on the phone with maybe 20, 15 people and talked about what they needed and what they're working on. And then if it was a good fit, we signed up or they signed up on the phone or they said, "Okay, great. I'm going to sign up tomorrow," kind of thing.
So, that's how that first round went. The second time I opened it up, I was more intentional about studying the process of how people get customers for online training programs. So, we did a webinar instead of me getting on the phone with everyone, which is good because there are way more people the second time, I wouldn't have been able to do phone calls with everyone.
But the first time it was like, then the email out offered phone calls to talk to people and then people were on board signed up.
I think the internet is giving people the opportunity to do a lot more like one-to-one coaching. But last year, for example, I just randomly decided I wanted to get into chess. Cause my buddy Vincent, like we played a match and I won and then we played nine more matches and he beat me every single one.
And I'm like, this is bullshit. I'm going to, I'm going to get a coach and I'm going to start winning. And it was like a magical experience to have, looks like actual coach who would sit down with me one-on-one and like teach me based on exactly what I needed to learn. But also, I think in general, like people underrate education.
Even taking a class where like what you're doing, what pretty much every other school in existence does for it's like this one to many, whether it's a webinar, whether it's an ebook or something, and just like talking to people and telling them what you know is super valuable.
And when it comes to like what you're doing in particular, you're helping people like make money. You're not saying like, "Oh, I'm going to teach you some like arcane knowledge. Like I'm going to give you like an art history degree and then like good luck and the economy with that." You're like, "Hey, if you want to learn how to make an app, not just any app, but an app that's gonna help you start like a real business, here's what you need to know."
And it makes sense to me that people will like pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to do that. Even if it's a webinar setting, even if it's not one-on-one, even if it's not even in person, but it's online. So, I think the business model and the whole problem that we're solving behind it is super smart.
Yeah, I think that's what I'm like. For me, there are a handful of things that I figured out work and don't work about this process. And I think that those are the things that 'aha's that people have that really help them.
For example, like one of them are around the ways that you can charge people to use your app. So, I think most people come to Apps Without Code thinking about just the typical way, which is like there's an app in the app store that you download and maybe make somewhere between 99 cents and $5 per download. And yes, you can do that. But if you are bootstrapping, you need a lot of 99 cents or $5 to pay your bills.
It's super hard.
It's super hard. Like, unless you are an expert marketer getting that many people as quickly as you need them, because you have to pay your bills. So, getting that many people as quickly as you need them is really difficult. And so, one of the other ways that a lot of the folks in Apps Without Code bootcamp charge for their apps is they find ways to white label them, meaning that they find a company or an organization who wants to have their own version of an app.
Like an example of this might be, let's say that you have an app that's going to help people with like mindfulness and it's going to help them, like stay mentally clear and organized. You could go and give it to individuals, but it's going to be hard to get individuals to give you more than like somewhere between 99 cents and $5 for that app.
However, you can find a company, an organization who would want their own version like therapists, right, who have a whole career around helping people with this process. And if you take that app and you take your logo off and put their logo on, make a copy of it, take your logo on it, then you can license it to them and white label it to them and charge them a much higher fee that they can use for all of their clients.
So that's an example of one of the like shifts, which is like, I found that these things were working for me and when I share them with students, there are programs, there are coaching, there are curriculum, like it's really helpful for them to get from A to Z way faster than if they were just figuring out on their own.
That's what people need, because I say this ad nauseum on the podcast, I'm like, yeah, charge more, you know, sell to businesses that have money. And then I talked to people, like pre pandemic times I would go to lots of meetups and people be like, "Oh,I love the podcast. It's so cool. I listened to a hundred episodes."
I'm like, "What are you building? What are you charging?" And like, "I've got like a 99 cent app." And I'm going to sound like, "No, did you really listen to the podcasts? It's just not going to work."
But maybe what people need is a hands-on method. If you actually like working with them and like listening to their ideas. Do people come to you with ideas? Are you giving your students ideas once they join?
They enter the bootcamp with ideas. So we have a free training program that we do. And for the free training program, a lot of people don't have ideas yet. But we talk about the formula to come up with an idea that you already know something about so you're not starting from scratch.
So, usually we'll stem ideas for people from what they do for work and like a problem around what they do for work or something that they do for a hobby and a problem around that, that way they already have, they're already subject matter experts in the topic. We're not learning about a whole new thing all over again.
And to me, the coolest app ideas are the ones that are around a job that you've had before that's not sexy, where there's a problem or there's something that's not efficient happening at work that you can make a lot smoother. Right?
Like we have folks who are in education and healthcare and manufacturing, and they see all these really clear gaps that like Silicon Valley is just not rushing to fill cause it's not sexy. But they're able to go and get these large contracts to license their apps and it makes a big difference in getting their business growing, like closing a 10K deal feels really different than getting your first 99 cent download.
So, these aren't, these are like non-tech people, which makes sense cause they're joining a school for learning to build an app without coding. And if they were tech people, presumably they would fill the apps with code.
Yeah. I don't always love the word like non-tech people, because I do think that in its current state, no-code requires you to have a little bit of tech savvy.
Meaning like if you, if opening up zoom is really hard, then no-code app building will also be, so there are some tech savviness elements that are required or they're helpful. However, like, no, these are not people who are software developers who've ever built an app before exactly. They often have some sort of business sense from a role that they've had in the past, but that's it.
So, how much are you charging today? You started off charging like that initial batch, like 900 bucks. What does it cost if I wanted to go through your program today?
Yeah, so the program is 1,900 right now.
Wow. And so, a couple of thousand bucks, you're doing $5 million in revenue and people just taking this like once, right?
Yeah, so you get lifetime access so people will take it once and then they'll like have a first company going and maybe want to come back again and work on another project, so people continue to circle back through.
And you're getting multiple thousands of students at this rate. That's amazing.
Let's talk about how you've grown this thing because a lot of people want to sell online courses and webinars and books and all sorts of stuff, but not very many people are good at getting thousands of people to pay a couple thousand dollars. That's insane. What are the stages of growth for you? Like how did this work?
Yeah, so the first stage of growth for me was, well, the first stage of growth you heard me talk about was like I was on the phone talking to people. So that was the very first for the first round. But after that it was partnerships. So I would reach out to other people who had audiences, who I thought would be interested in this.
When I first started, I think I did a partnership with a friend of mine who runs an organization called I'm Black In Tech, a friend of mine also, Danielle Leslie, who had her own audience of people who were like learning and then building things online. So like, things that were like tangentially connected, right?
There was an Instagram account that we went on that's called Black Girl Nerds that we posted on. So, it was just like friends, people that I had that were in my network that had audiences of people who I thought would be interested. And we would do a social media takeover on their site and tell people that, like, if you're interested in this, we're doing a free workshop coming up, you should come.
Or we would do an affiliate partnership with the people who had email lists and say, "Hey, we'll give you like a referral fee for the people that you refer us, ten people to our webinar and then for people who sign up at the end of the webinar; we'll give you a referral a piece of that. So that's how that started.
Then maybe years later, a year or so later, maybe two years later actually, we started running a lot more advertising, paid social advertising, and that made a really big difference in growth. So we still do both. We do affiliates and paid advertising. Those are the two biggest ways that we're growing.
I love this approach because it's kind of, it's like the perfect sort of start off by doing things that don't scale. And then increasingly scale more and more and more and more. And a lot of people have trouble finding their first customers, but those are usually the easiest customers we'll ever find because it's just like one or two people and you can brute force it. Like you can do what you did talk to people on the phone.
People love talking on the phone. Like they love telling you problems. It's so easy to do. I have a buddy who's been thinking about starting a company and he's been building the site on Webflow and just like, sort of wringing his hands for months. And I'm like, "Hey, just get on the phone and talk to some customers."
And he told me last weekend, like he's selling to some of these like outdoors sort of exploration, like kinda the companies that take you like on a guided tour up a mountain type company. And he's like, yeah, I called this guy and honestly he felt bad cause he was talking so much and he was like, well, do you have anything to say?
And the guy just wanted to talk his head off. And it's like so easy to talk to people, but I love that you started that way. You learn a ton when you're talking to people and then you just progressively, but like slowly scaled up. So instead of like talking to customers one at a time, you're like, well, why don't I talk to somebody who can talk to their audience for me, then I can return to it.
So you started talking to people like influencers with Twitter accounts and IG followings and email lists. And then you're like the highest level of scales, like you're just paying for ads. You're doing affiliate stuff. And so it's like you follow the perfect playbook really for how to grow and increase your growth over time, but start off super personal, one-on-one.
Yeah, it's funny because there's two things interesting here. One, I just reached out actually yesterday because we have our students in bootcamp. They'll share their wins throughout the week. So I reached out to a handful of students who recently closed their first sales and I asked them, "Hey, just curious about how the sale went.
Did you build the product first and then close the sale? Or did you close the sale first and then build the product? I'm just curious how, like, what the order of events were for you." And in this last outreach batch that I did, almost everyone closed the sale first and then they had started working on that, but it wasn't finished and then finished afterwards.
And I feel like it's so important because I thought of this when you were mentioning your friend who was talking to people, like what they did that worked for them is they got customers on board and then they allowed the customers to almost like be part of the process of finishing it. So the customer has got to get their input included into the finished version and all they had to say was, "Hey, I'd like to get you signed up so that you can be part of this first launch.
And we can make sure that the thing that you want to have in the app are included in the app." Right? And people were like, "Oh yeah, sure. That sounds fine."
Super smart. Way better way of doing like product research and feature design than just guessing on your own what people are going to want.
And it's way more exciting and motivating I think too when you actually have people who are like potentially excited customers on the other line, like you're not just in a room by yourself coding or tons of no-coding. You're actually like building something in collaboration with people who are going to pay you money.
And like, if that doesn't feel exciting for a founder, I don't know what else does.
That's right. And all of them were like, yeah, once they were on board, it was super easy to finish the app just cause like you really have that momentum behind you, then just finish it up. But this is the thing that's easier that way but it is harder that it is scarier that way.
And the reason it's scarier is because you have to put yourself out there. It's like here's my idea and you have to put yourself out there for rejection before you feel like you're ready. And that is, to me, like the thing of early stage entrepreneurship, that is the thing that stops most people, is that they're waiting to feel like it's ready.
And, I've been an entrepreneur for six years now. Like it never, that time doesn't ever come where you feel like it really is fully, fully, everything's perfect and wonderful, and there's nothing left to improve. Like it just doesn't come.
So that's the thing that I think stops most people. And it goes back to what you were saying about, you know, people who are like, "I listened to the podcast all the time," but it's not done certain critical things or missed certain critical things because there's scary stuff that's part of this journey. And most of entrepreneurship is fear management and getting out of your own way.
So I was looking at your syllabus for your bootcamp, really. It's like eight weeks long, even the way that you've structured your syllabus is directly in line with this. The latter half is when you finally get to stuff like prototyping and app building and all that other stuff.
And the very beginning of it, it's like, no, you need to think about pricing, you think about your business model, email marketing, sales tactic; it's all like super sales heavy upfront.
First, yeah. Which always feels reversed for most people until they get through it and they're like, "Oh, I see why we did that now. That makes sense."
And that's how you kind of did it yourself. You started with sales, started with talking to people. You started with moving to influencers, and it's almost like you followed your own playbook, basically where you're doing all this stuff.
How did you get these influencers on your side? When you go to somebody and you say like, you know, we want to take over your Instagram account, or we want you to tweet this out or send us any mailing list. Were just paying them or are they doing you a favor?
I paid them. So, either we had an affiliate agreement. For most of the influencers it wasn't like a referral affiliate agreement, it was like, we'll just pay you. When I first did this, I'm trying to think of how much I paid. It ranged depending on how big their accounts for, but it ranged from like $150 for like a takeover for the day. It was like, we'll just post a bunch of stuff, of content and I would go live and show me building a piece of app so people can see what it meant to build an app without code.
That was like the low end and on the high end, I think the first time maybe we did like a 2000 or $3,000 takeover from like one that had a lot, large audience. So that was like the range of pricing they were paying. But most of it was closer to that lower end, like $150, $300, something like that.
And that wasn't that expensive for you because you were charging your own customers like a thousand dollars to $2,000 a head. So, if you're bringing in like a thousand dollars, every time you get a customer paying 150 bucks to take over somebody's Instagram account for a day it's peanuts, it's like absolutely nothing.
You can easily justify that expense. Cause you're going to make so much more back. I saw this when I was selling ads for Indie Hackers, and all of my best customers were the ones who were charging their customers a ton of money. So they do an ad in our newsletter or our podcast, and I'd be like, "Oh, I'm sorry, like, you know, your ad only got like 35 clicks.
I thought that I was going to get like a hundred and they'd be like, "No, we made thousands of dollars actually, so like, we're going to do another ad." And all the people who were charging very little, they were the worst advertisers. Like they would, you know, sweating every single click.
They needed more all the time. It was very hard for them to find profits. So it's just one more reason to charge a lot more money per customer for what you're doing.
Yeah. And I, by the way, I wasn't spending that $150, $300 for the influencers. I wasn't doing that until I had already done the first round of five people at $900.
So it made, you know, about 5k to already start with, and then I started paying for some marketing after that. But to your point, maybe being able to make 5k from just a handful of customers is what makes it easier. And I think sometimes you have to do, this is something that we talk about in the bootcamp program too, is sometimes you have to, most people can't see how someone would ever want to pay more money for what they're building.
Like they're like, I don't see how I could charge more than 99 cents. I'm building a dating app and people think dating apps equal 99 cents, so I can't charge anything else, for example. And one of the things that I often talk with folks about is this concept of, well, the wrapping paper method.
So, sometimes you have to find something that your customers value and like, it's not going to be an app. Because unfortunately, we think that apps are free or 99 cents, like when people think about apps that's what they think about. So you might have to find something else and position it differently to be able to charge more.
An example of this, someone who does this really well, like Stitch Fix and those sorts of sites that will like send you a package of clothes and businesses, right? Like if you look at their websites, their websites usually say something like, get your own personal stylist.
It's more of that and less around having an algorithm choose the outfit that you're going to wear and send it to you. Cause one sounds expensive and the other one sounds really cheap.
So like, some of the marketing positioning that if you could find, ask yourself what is the thing that people think, but the alternative to my software and my idea that costs money and position is that you instantly get it to be in a different price range and people's minds. So like an example of that, if I use the example I had before on a dating app, right?
Like people think that dating apps are cheap, but they think that having a, like a dating coach or they think that having a matchmaker is not, right? And so you might decide that you want to position it as that. And also another way to be able to charge more is to add some more human interaction into your product experience, because just where we are, that people are craving that.
So instead of just having an app where people can log in and see a bunch of matches and just like swipe or see a bunch of people and choose who they want to say, date, you maybe have events where there is like every Wednesday you can click and put everybody in zoom and you do the like break rooms feature and do speed dating.
Right? Because it feels like a more rich experience. You'd pay way more to go to a speed dating events, like a ticket to a speed dating event than you would for a 99 cent app. And so, sometimes you just have to like wrap what you're doing and something that your customers see as more valuable in order to charge more because positioning it as just an app, it's hard to charge more.
We're not an inexpensive dating app, we're an affordable matchmaking service or Peloton. We're not a rip off piece of exercise equipment. We are your own affordable personal trainer and luxury gym, you know. And then suddenly, when people think of it like that, they are willing to spend much more.
I think that's brilliant. And it ties directly into like, again, your curriculum where you start off like chapter one, week number one, business model planning. What are you, what is your business model? How are you going to make money? How much are you going to try large?
And that comes before everything else, because the way that you talk about your company and you do your marketing, and even the way you build your product should flow from what your business model is going to be and how you can actually charge, you know, enough to sustain what you're doing.
Yep. That's exactly right. Because what you build might be totally different.
Very cool. I think it's funny too, because your own advice to students is basically like you should sell to other businesses, right? Do this white label thing so you can sell your app to like an entire college or an entire company rather than to like the individual teachers or employees.
But your business itself is very B to C. Your customers are individual consumers and they're paying out of pocket, but the way you positioned yourself, it's not like they're paying for yet another webinar or just a course or an ebook. It's like, you are a business school. And they are, basically, entrepreneurs or businesses themselves who are paying for this training to make more money themselves.
And so then you can charge prices that are commensurate with that value that you're delivering.
And I think that the advice is not just to sell to businesses. It's more so to sell to people who have a willingness to pay. It is like a no broke customers are willing to pay.
No broke customers.
Yeah. Like so many people are struggling with their business because they're trying to market their product to broke customers. And even if, and that's fine, it just doesn't make for a very good business, is the reality.
And even if you want to do good with your business, like you want to build something that helps homeless folks, right? It might be easier for you then to go and find a nonprofit that has a whole huge budget for helping homeless populations, but they can't figure out how to do some sort of digital accessibility and white label what you're doing to them, right? So that they can give to their whole community and audience.
It's not always businesses though. Businesses are easy because businesses already know they have to have expenses.
And spending things on something. So, it's easier to do that with businesses, but not all the folks that I work with go after businesses. You can go after consumers too, but the consumers have to be niche and have a willingness to pay. Like if we use the dating app example that we were talking about before you can build the dating app, but if you build it for everyone and it's like the dating app for everyone, it's really hard to charge premium prices.
If you go really niche and you go for like high, I'm making this up, like, high earning professionals, people who are like lawyers, doctors, et cetera. And you narrow down who it's for and you're going after people who do have a willingness to pay, then you can go after consumers because you can just charge more to that consumer base.
So, either you have to go niche and after an audience who's willing to pay and who's already paying for something related or go after businesses. But not the, like all customers, even though they might not have any willingness to pay. That's the part that doesn't work.
And in your case, you went after these customers who had a proven interest in what you're doing, because they were following these Instagram accounts. What did you say to your potential customers once you got in front of them?
Yeah. Okay. So, most of, the messaging hasn't really changed. It's actually mainly showing people something they just don't know is possible. And this is not something that I uniquely can do. Right? Like all of us have something that we know something about and it is a useful way to market either a course or a product, like any kind of thing is by doing some teaching.
So, I really liked the main way that I was talking to people and getting them sort of into the Apps Without Code world, was teaching them stuff for free. Right? Like sharing things that I've learned. And I would go live, of the beginning days, I would go live on Instagram a lot and just like share, "Here's what I'm working on today.
I was doing all of the building at the times. I've been doing a lot of building of my own software. So, here's what I'm working on. Let me just stop for five minutes and show you what I did the last hour. And I'll come back, you know, in a couple more hours and show you more of what I did. Here's how it works."
So, I was just doing that right? I was just sharing that and sharing how the process works, and I think that was really helpful for people because I was so willing to share stuff openly that they were like, "I'd like to do more of this in your more formal program."
It's a common theme when I talk to people who have education businesses is sort of, the two mantras are like, you want to build an audience and you want to build trust. And trust makes a lot of sense because people like, they're going to shell out a lot of money for you to teach them something.
Like they want some proof that you know what you're talking about and this is going to be valuable and no one is paying two grand to like learn and sit at the feet of someone who has no idea what's going on. And so it makes a lot of sense that you're actually putting out these videos and you're like demonstrating what can be built.
But then, I think the audience side of things is probably repeated more often than the trust side of things, but it doesn't seem like that was a huge part of your story. Like, it doesn't sound like what you were doing was cultivating your own email list and like having a bunch of fans of Tara who like followed you over the ages.
Where are you doing that? Or do you think that's overrated in just by building trust, even in the short term, you get the same effects as building a huge audience?
No, I think building an audience and email list is important. I think like, regardless of what you're selling, having an email list and an audience is really critical. I think that there is a lot that the software world can even learn about, from like the online education world about how to do that. So, yeah, so I was list-building. I really wasn't doing a lot of like, "Hey, join my newsletter!" kind of stuff. But I was doing, I was sort of directing everybody to this free workshop and webinars doing, and I would do it every week.
So, at the time I was doing it every Wednesday, I would go live and like do a whole hour and a half class of sharing stuff that I learned. And at the end of it, I would explain how the bootcamp program works in folks who were interested were able to sign up. So, that was a way of list-building because it was around my webinar, but I was because people were signing up with like name and email for the webinar.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So you were building an email list, but you're also doing this thing where you're putting yourself front and center and I think it's, what's cool about that is just like looking at people who have built these massive audiences on YouTube, who built audiences on Twitter, who put podcast followings.
What I've seen is people who put like their face and like their voice, like video and audio, just like people have a deeper affinity for you if they actually hear you talk, especially if you can respond, like a live rep webinar. It's like, "Oh, I know Tara", after like an hour of just like talking to you, whereas it might take me six months of tweeting before someone feels like they're actually comfortable with me.
So I love the fact that you paired the list-building with an extra webinar, even though that's more effort. And like you're doing these things that don't scale, like it's way more effective and way faster, I think.
Yeah. Like I think one of the things that was actually unintentionally really helpful in our business is that people got to see an example of someone who looked like them, right?
There were a lot of women and a lot of people of color in our community, particularly early on. And that was something that like, they hadn't seen an example of, like, "Oh, there's someone who looks like me building apps." That was really exciting for a lot of our early customers. And that kind of came down to like three different areas.
It was like someone who is not a software developer. They had been seeing, watching videos of people who were software developers trying to explain it to them, and they were like, I didn't get it. And so, the way that I explained it as someone who's not a developer, was really helpful. So that was one, that seeing a woman explain it, or seeing a person of color, it was like one of those three that really resonated with them.
And so, it was really just like me being myself, but it really took putting myself out there a lot for that to work. I still don't think that people love following logos.
So, I'm gonna read through some of your tweets because you've tweeted about a bunch of interesting stuff. You're very transparent. Like for example, let's talk about like some of these..
My mom hates it.
I love your tweets. I wish more people were this transparent. You've got like a whole class of tweets that I think are like normalizing, taken it easy as a founder. So one of them literally just says, "I did nothing today." The other one, another one says, "I took the week off. Can't wait to get back to it on Monday. I think that's a good sign."
You got like, probably like once a month, once every few weeks, you've got a tweet that's just like, "I'm chilling." You know, you've got one that says,"Today, it was so fun. I love my job. I've traded it." What do you got going on it allows you to take so many breaks and enjoy your job as much as you do as a founder?
Yeah. Oh, that's a good question. Okay. So I will preface this by saying it took me a while to get here. Like year one did not look like that at all. It looked like me glued to my computer working all the time. And it was a lot of stress. Like, I particularly remember when we first started running paid ads, that that was just like the worst experience for me, because it was like, feeling like I was gambling in a way, and like, have we lost the money? Is the money still there? Are we going to make it back? Like that felt so scary.
And it was giving me so much anxiety that I had to get really intentional about lifestyle design. I remember I took a trip with my family. We went to like on a, my mom loves to go on cruises. I went on a cruise with my mom and I, the reason that I agreed to go on these cruise trips is because there's no wifi. There's no good wifi.
And if you want good wifi, it's like outrageously expensive and like, doesn't really work. So it like forced me to turn off. So, I remember I was on a trip like that with my mom and it was like the first vacation I've taken in like, oh, I couldn't even remember. It was probably like two years in drowning Apps Without Code.
And I had, I was rereading 4-Hour Workweek and it was a re-reminder that like, you can set this up the way you want to. And I came back to work and I took, started taking, I was already taking Fridays off, I think. I'd try to challenge myself to take Fridays off, like one day a week. And when I got back from that trip, I decided to add another day.
So to take Mondays off too, and to intentionally use Monday to go be a tourist in my own city. And I just wanted to see if like the whole company would fall apart. So like going away for the week and it didn't, going away for the week was really helpful because like, whenever you back up way as a founder, even, I think at the time I had maybe like four other people who are working with me, so we weren't a big team.
Well, going away for the weekend, seeing that nothing burned down was like, all right, okay without me. And then that gave me the courage to like it, but it was a challenge for myself, like add another day of the week. And everything was fine. In fact, I was actually better at my job.
Like the more rest I took, the more, I used to really have a lot of problems seeing like vision setting. Like, I'm really good at the like eight-month out, six-month out view, but like the long-term vision setting was hard for me and I got better and better at it the more time I took away from like, I'm in the computer doing and building and doing all the things and just away.
Now that being said, I think about the company all the time; all the time, I'm thinking about it. So even if I'm not like actively working or I take the week off, like, I'm still thinking about it. However, it's so useful for me now to like move away. And that was the progression of how that happened.
There's this term in psychology called the Zeigarnik effect. I had to get on my brother's case cause he wouldn't stop shutting. He wouldn't shut up about it. He told me about it every single day, but basically it's this effect that occurs when there's some activity working on that has been interrupted, and the result of the effect is that your brain just like more readily remembers it.
So, any sort of thing that you're working on that gets interrupted, that you don't finish, any unfinished task, it's always going to be front and center in your brain. And if you're running a company, you probably have a thousand unfinished tasks, plans, grand plans, people you want to hire, like things you want to build, it's just always going to be front and center. And there's just no way around that really, cause like that's what your brain does.
That's right. So, just to close that out, like it has been work to be in a place where I'm okay, not working on the company actively every single second. That has been a thing I've had to work out and exercise and get strong at it. It didn't just come easily. It's been like several years of work.
And even now, like literally the other week I had to remind myself, cause I was feeling really stressed, and I had to remind myself like this is supposed to be fun. Like literally you are creating this thing. You're creating the thing you asked for. You're getting everything you asked for in terms of the intellectual challenge, like all those things you got, it's supposed to be fun.
And literally, I just got to choose to feel that it was fun as opposed to feel it with stress. And that was a good reminder. So I still have to work at it in order to be able to be like, all right, I'm going to go take a nap now or whatever I tweeted.
It's so nuts! Like as a founder, you have the freedom to choose what you're going to do, but even then you can still get into the same mindset where, like, it's not fun.
I'm a big like journey over the destination guy. And it's a huge cliche, right? Everyone's heard this a million times, but like the way I see it, a cliche is usually something on the border between like something that's really good advice, but also advice that like no one ever follows, and so it needs to be repeated ad nauseum.
And like, that's why it's a cliche. Like I've heard this journey over the destination thing a million times, but I still have to check in with myself regularly and be like, am I enjoying the journey? Like what can I do to make myself enjoy it? So it's cool to hear that you are in the same boat. It's not just me.
Let's talk about like the later stages of your growth with Apps Without Code, because, you know, you talked about how you, you went through these different stages of talking to people then influencers and then advertising. Did you see the numbers of students that were coming into your program start to blow up at some point?
Yeah. There've been blow up moments or what felt that way, like pivotal moments. There've been like two recent, big pivotal moments in the last, like two years. So in January 2019, that was a big pivotal moment. And the pivot was, I'll tell you what the pivot was and how it came about. But the pivot was, us getting to a 100K a month that previously felt like, "Oh my gosh, that's going to be so much."
I can't even imagine hitting that revenue number consistently. But that happened in January of 2019. And the way that it happened was I noticed I was being like, it could sound like personal work a lot of the times, like I'm in the way. And I really just needed to like move out of the way to let the company grow.
So, I noticed that I was doing that, that in the, this is true in the course business, and because I come from tech, sometimes I'm like, there are things that I'm just like, I don't necessarily know to do them or know this whole industry. So for example, in the course business and online education business, it is very common for people to get coaches as a CEO to sort of help you and share what they've learned and what they're doing, right?
Instead of you taking a course, once you're at a certain level, it's like you do a lot of coaching. And I had a lot of friends around me who were paying lots of money to work with coaches to help them grow their business.
And then I thought it was so crazy that they were spending this much money to hire a coach, to help them as a CEO, but then their business would skyrocket. But I still was being really resistant to doing that. And I was like, "No, I'm just like, I'm not doing it." And so there were like business groups, like masterminds that folks are joining and also coaches, people are getting it.
I was super resistant to it. And then after a while, like late 2018, I pushed myself to be like, just try it. Stop it, just try it. So I did, and I got lots of little small insights of like, "Oh, if you show the testimonial example here, instead of here, it's going to make a big difference." Or like, oh, somebody gave me really good feedback on my webinar and it was like, you're kind of being too smart. Like you're kind of assuming that people know more than they know.
If you back up a little bit, and at the beginning of the webinar, give people a quick lesson on how to come up with an idea. They're not even sure that their idea's good enough, help them understand that their idea is good enough and then teach them these little, tiny, micro tweaks of things that made really big differences.
And that showed up in January of 2019 in a huge way and that was like a big skyrocket and it was a good lesson for me to get the heck out of the way of my own stuff. And then more recently, similar where it's always related, I can always look back at it and find the correlation to me being in the way of the growth of the company.
And I'm willing as a founder to be open-minded to the possibility that it is me in the way. But more recently, this year we had a huge growth spurt. A lot of that was COVID and people being home and people being like, wait a minute, I probably need to be thinking about other sources of income and income streams, but we actually missed the first round of that happening and that sort of happening in the economy and in the world, because I was set on like, okay, we've got to be thrifty and I'm going to take over running ads for a while.
And I'm definitely not as good as our ads manager now and the agency that we work with now. But I would say, okay, we're going to do this. And actually, it's funny because most of my getting in the way, as I'm saying this out loud, are like unwillingness to pay money to grow like in the company, so that was happening.
And once I let go of that, it was just like a huge skyrocket. That was a combination of timing and me getting out of the way, but like still the same story.
I was listening to a podcast with Austen Allred recently, he's the founder of Lambda School, teaching people to code. And, he was on Indie Hackers actually way back when two or three years ago when Lambd School was super small, he was just getting started. Since then he's raised like $120 million or something crazy.
And he said he was getting like 300 or 400 new students enrolled every month, which is a crazy amount. But looking at your story, you're doing at least half of that and your bootstrap, so kudos to you. But he's under an insane amount of pressure. I mean, the host asked him what are the chances that you look up to the hype that achieves this grand vision that you've set out for?
And I think he said it was like 50%. And then he said he's optimistic and most people would probably give it a lower chance. And that's just a ton of pressure, but here you are. And all of your pressure's kind of in your hands. If you want to invest more into your business and grow faster, you can. And if you want to just chill out for a bit, that's totally in your power too, nobody's going to push you.
So some of it, it's like a mix of, I think, to be a good bootstrapper you have to have a pace and a balance of like putting your foot on the gas and like letting go. And the reason you have to do that is because when you have a big growth spurt, you can then go and hire more people.
But as a bootstrapper you can only hire for what you have the revenue to hire for. Right? And so, you can follow that trend, but you also need to like, not be, if you have a little bit of a growth spurt, you got your first customer, you got something going, you can't just keep hiring or keep spending. Because, it's not likely that your growth trajectory will keep doing that.
Most people's growth trajectory is have, like, some, a lot of wiggliness in them. And so, you have to move with that. So, I do think that I've gotten really good at that, though like back and forth. And I've now gotten good at communicating it to my team. Like we're in a growth season right now. It is why you're seeing us talking about hiring.
It's probably why in our one-on-one’s we'll talk about what do you need on your team? I anticipate that like in a few months, we will no longer be in that phase. So if we're not talking about hiring a bunch of people, don't be shocked. It doesn't mean that something's wrong.
It just means that we're like ebbing and flowing with the growth and the students, our next wave of growth, will I'll come back and we'll say, have that conversation and get like communicating that to my team has been helpful, but that's the ebb and flow that I have to manage.
Super smart visual, growth season versus sort of sustaining season. And if you're like a funded company, you're always in growth season, you're always like trying to grow, raising more money, pushing on the gas. And then if you stopped growing like your dad, screwed.
Whereas if you're a bootstrapper you stopped growing, you just stop hiring and you stop spending more money and you catch up less revenue catch up and then fund the next growth season, if you even want there to be a next growth season.
Yeah. Yeah, I think about it, it's like expansion mode and incubation mode. For me, at least, it's hard to get to the next expansion mode unless I've like allowed, it could be myself, the company, the team, to like rest. Like for us, it might be like, oh, we just had like a whole new growth level of numbers students were taking on.
Let's take some time to really get it right at that size and at that stage, because there's new stuff that comes up and then like, it's time, then we're well rested to do the next growth stage.
So, there's this thing you've been kind of talking about on Twitter, that I've also experienced myself, which is branding versus building, right? How much should you be spending thinking about building like the foundations of your company and making it a good business and how much should you be like tweeting and talking about what you're doing and you're getting people excited about what you're doing?
And I think you've fallen much more on the building side of things. Like, keep your head down, build your company. I didn't even know what Apps Without Code was until pretty recently. I just didn't see you on Twitter. I didn't see you like you, you weren't like around, but like you're crushing it.
And then there are people like, I know who are like sharing every dollar they make on Twitter and the like they're everywhere, but like their businesses, like a 10th as successful as yours is.
Yeah. When I started, I was doing lots of like, be public, be out there, is getting invited to lots of conferences, doing lots of podcasts.
That was like my first two years of Apps Without Code and definitely first four years of entrepreneurship. But then I started feeling icky about it because it was like I'm doing all these podcasts and like, all these magazines are writing things about me, but like my numbers are just okay. And certainly the profit margin is not wonderful.
And I had read Mike Metallo, it's Profit First at the time and I said, okay we're going to get focused on this. If you haven't read that, it's really good if you're bootstrapping, which is a really around like, it's a specific formula for prioritizing profit. And what that meant at the time, we were probably like a four person team, and so what that meant was we didn't have the resources to say yes to every speaking engagement, to do a bunch of social media posting.
Instead, we were going to focus on conversions and revenue and profit margins. And of course, like serving the customers that come in through those things. And that was going to take up, I decided about two years ago, that was going to take up all of our time. We were going to turn away from some of that stuff. That was a strategic decision. There were pros and cons. The pro is like, now we have the resources to hire brand folks and do way more, which is why you're hearing more from us now.
And we have like a sturdy, stable business with really great profit margins and all of those things that work really well. The downside is that like, there were a good two years where we were just quiet and a lot of the like no-code movement happened and the last year of those two years.
And I think that we could have done maybe a better job being vocal about it, but I still wouldn't change the way that we did, because I do think you kind of have to like pick one to prioritize. And I like how we prioritize and select it.
I mean, yeah, there's some companies that have taken advantage of this sort of no-code wave. Webflow was like branded itself as the no-code company and they have the no-code conference in San Francisco, and then Makerpad and all these other big players.
And like, I imagine some part is you have to feel a little bit like we were there first. We were thinking about this first.
Yeah, it's a great example. I do sometimes feel that way. For example, I think in 2016, we did Apps Without Code live conference. It was super exciting, and we had a bunch of folks, on there.
I don't know, Webflow team was there, but like Wade Foster from Zapier and like the founder of Craigslist, Craig Newmark was there and we have a really cool conference and he was talking about how he built Craigslist with just like no technical skills. And I think that there are, of course, like there, if we had that continued pressing on that, even though it didn't feel as big as it was, is now that we would have had more loudness in the space, but definitely not necessarily more stable of a business in this space.
So I still, to my point earlier, like I think I'm glad that we did it in that order. It reflected my values, but I did have to check in and be like, okay, we need to switch gears here.
Yeah. I mean, it almost always makes sense to do the profit first thing, unless you have very specific reasons why like, branding is crucial to your strategy, which if you have those reasons, you will know. But if you don't and you're trying to choose, it seems like profit first is the way to go.
Another thing that I'm very curious about is just the health of the no-code movement, because there's a lot being said about it. It's a lot of marketing dollars being poured into it from companies of like a vested interest.
But you're actually on the ground, like helping people build no code businesses and charging them money to help accelerate their ideas into real companies. Is it working? Are people building successful no-code businesses? And if so, like what could listeners take away from what you've learned works for your students?
So, yes, it's working. And I also have critiques of the no-code movement. My biggest critique lives with the software platforms. I think that one of the trends that you'll see is that the software platforms launch with the intention of being for everyone and then, not for everyone, but for the average user, for the average person who wants to build an app.
But because of like business pressure or for a lot of reasons, we'll gravitate towards a more and more technical customer. And I do think that there's a fine line between no-code and really just like a whole another coding language you have to learn.
It's a new coding language. And so what I see is a lot of the tools shifting in that direction, the primary pull, I think, is that because enterprises will pay a lot or the platform or businesses will pay a lot and they've got more technical capability and so they'll slowly move in that direction.
I'd love to see more focus on how to help someone in a product who doesn't know how to think like an engineer already. And I do think that that's a gap that we have to do lots of teaching over to fill that I think that if we want to see lots of movement in the no-code movement, we're going to have to collectively fill that gap of how to think like an engineer, and I think designing products that make you not have to already know that as a prerequisite.
And I would love if folks want to reach out to me about this. I'd love to talk to folks about this in more detail, but it is specifically around, I think that the gap to fill is almost like a question and answer based interface.
So right now, the types of products, no-code products that are out there are like, here's a scribbling screen, drag what you want on there. But like, what if you don't know what a great profile even looks like? You're a great login screen even look like? What are you supposed to do? And so really like, if you look at what my team does, it's actually like a series of questions, like, okay, well, which of these multiple toys is the main thing that you want your app to do with the closest to it?
Okay. Now, based on that question, What do you need? Do you need this or do you not need this? Okay, great. Let me explain what this is like, that kind of question-based interface to build, as opposed to just free form drag and drop. I would love to see that.
And so folks are working on that or want to work on that, like, I love to send people your way and help you with that cause I would love to see more.
I love that idea particularly because people often think that, oh, there are already tools and apps that do a particular thing therefore there's no room for me. But there are a lot of industries where actually there could be lots of competitors and companies that have different approaches to things and different user interfaces and different beliefs and like website builders or no-code tools are a perfect example where like, we have not heard the last word on no-code tools.
And there are lots of people's strong opinions like you who have lots of students are customers who will want a particular interface, et cetera. So, I hope someone actually goes and builds this.
All right, Tara. Well, it's been amazing having you on. I always ask sort of a traditional question at the end of the show.
Based on the entirety of your journey, you're talking to someone who's thinking about becoming an Indie Hacker, what do you think they can take away from your story?
The thing that comes to mind is this conversation you and I are having around like selling before you build or launching before everything's done. That I think is the biggest thing that's been helpful for me. And it allows me to do stuff that feels scary, that feels like you're not quite ready to do that yet.
I'm working on a project now around like acquiring some small, fast businesses. I've never done it before. It's totally new, but like, I'm going to start doing it before I'm ready. And I'm publicly talking about it before I'm ready. Like that, I think as a principle is a great takeaway from my story, what we talked about today.
So, before you build, don't be afraid to talk in public. Tara, thanks so much for coming on the show.
Can you let listeners know where they can go to learn more about Apps Without Code and everything else you're working on?
Yeah. So, appswithoutcode.com or on social media, @appswithoutcode. And then I am on social media, @tarareed_.
All right. Thanks again.
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Thank you so much for listening and as always, I will see you next time.
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