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Noah Brinker

Maker

Maker
Starter Stack
2
hours to build

How to build and validate your idea with Google Sheets

What is it:

Service to help you find the best job board to post your job positions.

What did I learn:

1. Product Strategy - Start with minimal learning curve tools. Starting small, validating a need > than overbuilding a solution without an audience is a trap many Makers fall into. This is the strategy that is essential to increasing your odds of success.

The reason why this is so important is because in my experience and when I talked to other Makers, a vast majority of every Maker stated that the building part of the project took longer than when they first estimated.

Making a no-code side project is a lot like a house project. It always take atleast 2x as long as sometimes 2x as expensive.

Unless you have a vast knowledge and proficiency of no-code tools and previous experience then that experience is your advantage. However, when first starting out there are many no-code tools that will take time to be proficient at.

Remember your goals of what you're doing. It's going to take time to get there. In My experience I've burned out or seen other Makers burn out because it was taking so long to make the product. The antidote to overbuilding is starting small, and feeling the sweet tailwind of momentum carry you to a complete product by building iteratively. As you get validation and revenue, you'll have the motivation to push your project through the finish line and increase the odds of success. You'll have the energy to build it into its full potential and something you are proud of.

2. No-code tool feature: Using google sheets as an embed is a great way to quickly put something into the MVP version of your product. This product is a great example of starting small and looking for validation. By building it in an MVP format like this you can see if your product really has some value offered in it without spending the time in design.

One could argue that this design might be a turn off for potential customers. As a solo Maker I'd recommend that this approach is for helping you build a product that is successful and that you're starting point has to be different. You are not a startup. One day you could be, but how will you as a side project build something that is fully polished? You could but it will take much more time, and there is risk in building it without getting validation along the way.

The hard part that everyone underestimates is getting quality feedback from your actual target customer. By starting small, and ugly you will identify users who actually have this problem. If it is a real problem for them that they would pay money for, they will have no problem getting past the ugliness of your first iteration. Because you've already prefaced it as beta or the product is pre-order.

As a solo Maker you must learn to leverage this or you will run the risk of burning out and building something that someone doesn't need.

3. Product Strategy: Validation > building. The trap of no-code tools. Building something without proper validation is an illusion that you are making progress when you could be going the wrong direction.

No-code is a double edge sword. Because it is now so easy to build something, whenever I have an idea, what's the first thing that you want to do? Go build it. And because it is now so accessible to build it's easy to skip over essential steps prior to building that are a lot less fun than creating something.

The hard thing that I had to learn was that, it's not about building its about validating. And once I learned this after launching products that either weren't something people needed or I launched without an audience, did I truly feel the pain of what this means. It's a hard thing to share with people who are first time builders and have not experienced it.

But the most important principle you can gain from this is to start small and have the mindset of experimenting. Because no matter what your idea, it will always be better received if you take the approach of creating a beta version that is not complete and iterate from there. If you're upfront with your users about it, then they will forgive and look past the unfinished version. This will give you a better chance at receving a positive signal that your product has value.

For example when Max Haining first launched #100daysofnocode, his landing page was a puke green with white type that was difficult to read. I'm not saying ship it ugly on purpose, but just ship something plainly as possible, because that will take the least time. Your goal is to first understand and validate is the core value of your product worth anything to anyone?

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