These “find me an expert” projects require you to invest a lot of effort in SEO. You need to be top (we’re #2) when searching on Google.
I spent 1,000+ hours talking with 150+ No-code Founders, who have generated millions of dollars with their businesses without actually writing code.
How are they doing it?
I spent years researching and building on what they do. I wrote The Lean Side Project so you can build and launch your product.
We help people find an expert in their city that can help them navigate the admin and legal nightmare that registering self employed can be.
"These “find me an expert” projects require you to invest a lot of effort in SEO. You need to be top (we’re #2) when searching on Google."
1. Out of all the tools submitted to no-code side projects Landen is quickly becoming a popular used tool. The feedback I have gotten from Makers is that Landen makes it easy to create a website based on your usecase. I've heard this as a main benefit from a couple different Makers. The reason why this matters is it helps you make something faster. Especially from a design perspective. Instead of thinking about what typography to use, site layout or frames their site editor can get you started quickly. Think templates but based on use case. This is especially valuable if you are starting out making side projects and you don't have design chops to get started. I highly recommend this tool to use as a way to "skip the line" of learning design and use their suggestions as a starting point.
2. Provide value to earn trust - Getting someone's email sign up or sale is not easy. What I really like that Andrew does is build trust by providing the exact steps to do to obtain what the user wants. His service is value added because he simplifies that process saving time. Great strategy to help people first then, let them decide that they need your help to get a solution faster. Once some level of trust has been earned, Andrew makes it easy and seamless by embeding an Airtable form within the Landen web page. I was impressed how native the Airtable form looks within the website. Airtable lacks in aesthetics compared to Typeform.
Andrew is using an Airtable base as his CRM. Using Airtable forms has a benefit of automatically connecting to the CRM. If you aren't satisfied with using the Airtable form because of the lack of good UX. you can use a Typeform. However, it is more pricey than the free Airtable form. But it will present better and you can connect via zapier your Typeform to Airtable base.
3. Great example when launching something new it doesn't need to be automated from end to end. Here in version 1 of his product his tools are automated. However, connecting to an expert is not yet.
In the beginning he may not have overflowing demand yet. Better to ensure quality interactions at the beginning of a new service and once sufficient demand occurs, it is a fantastic problem to have to begin to automate other parts of your entire service offering. For example I could envision having experts listed on the site and allow connection for messaging and payment to be automated within the site to reduce the friction of the entire end to end service.
But a mistake I've made it trying to do too much automation before I validate my product or service. If you do this before validation, it's almost as sure gurantee that you will be wasting your time. automating something that might not matter or prove to be a time saver yet. The opportunity cost is high as well because you could be spending that time on validating and getting your first customers.
It's ironic because we preach no-code automation, but you're wasting your time until you've validated your product. Only then should you spend the time to fine tune what takes the most time and automate it. Further, Andrew proves it here that it may take time before his service sees significant traffic because of the heavy use of SEO as a distribution strategy.
Always better to ship that thing you are making, start the Google SEO clock and then work on automation later when you really start to understand your product.
Check out more insights from my interview with Andrew Davison:
Maker: Andrew Best Place to Find Him: Twitter or at his expert automation agency Luhhu.
How can you show someone the benefit of no-code as quickly as possible?
Using tools like Zapier, Integromat and Parabola to connect apps and handle complex business logic with a simple visual builders is nothing short of magic.
I am really thankful to have Andrew break down for us in detail the best automation tools to use when. He shares a great deal of knowledge with us.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your story?
AD: It’s quite the winding road to be honest. Way back when I started but dropped out of a computer science degree. I was always fascinated with the conceptual aspect of building and designing systems, but didn’t have any love at all for learning programming languages.
From there I ended up in London doing business development jobs for various tech and media companies and discovered I also enjoyed selling and making money. I had a few small businesses along the way and a stint travelling in SE Asia, but it wasn’t until I moved to Hungary as an expat and discovered Zapier that things got really exciting.
What do you help make and do with Luhhu? Also can you tell us what the name means? Can you also tell us primary what type of clients you work with and where you can help add value?
We’re a business automation agency. Small businesses tend to be hampered by lots of time consuming manual processes. As they grow, these tend to be a drag on profitability. We use tools like Zapier to help automate these.
That’s obviously a broad spectrum, but typically we find ourselves working with lots of e-commerce companies that want order data synced to CRMs and delivery management apps, professional services businesses that want to onboard new client data to multiple apps simultaneously, and elearning companies that want to manage their student’s enrolment and learning journeys.
3. What types of projects do you help make? Or how do you use Zapier and Integromat to create value?
As I said, most of our projects boil down to moving customer data seamlessly between apps – whatever those apps happen to be for a specific business. The value add here is that businesses save money and staff time when they no longer need to input stuff manually – and they also guarantee accuracy between systems, something that’s really important for professional services companies in particular.
4. Can you break down for us the differences between Zapier and Integromat? Listing a handful of advantages and disadvantages per platform?
At their core, both are great process automation tools. Each process has a trigger and some action steps. They run sequentially.
Zapier’s advantage is simplicity. Their editor is click, click click and you’ve got an automation. There are lots of prompts making it good for casual users. They also connect to 2,000+ apps making their breadth of coverage unbeatable. Their customer support runs 24/7 and is awesome.
On the downside, they are pricey these days and there are some power features like copying and re-ordering steps that are still missing after years of people asking.
Integromat has a nice visual UI. You can drag and drop steps, re-arrange them and easily string together quite complex workflows with multiple logic paths. They also have a lot of configuration options which make them great for the more advanced user.
They are cheap – which is great – but not so hot on customer support.
5. Is there a clear way to determine which automation tool to use?
Follow the broad comparison strokes I laid out above. If cost is a consideration and your automations will have lots of steps or run regularly, then use Integromat.
If you want a quick and easy setup, then use Zapier.
When we’re working with a client, we tend to follow their preference, unless there is a very clear technical reason to pick one over the other. We don’t have a favourite, we just look for the best solution to a specific problem – sometimes using both together.
6. Where do you see Makers/Startups/Businesses missing opportunity? Where they might not know how you can help tune Zapier to save them time and money?
Mostly it’s a case that businesses just haven’t sat down and actually taken note of all the different processes they are doing manually. Probably because they all don’t take that long in isolation, but when added up, they steal hours of someone’s day.
Past that, it’s just knowing whether Zapier or Integromat can actually do what someone wants it too. They are complex tools, it takes years to learn them inside out. You can’t blame a business for not investing hours trying something without knowing if it will work. That’s why many turn to experts like us.
6. Are there any automation tools like Parabola that you have dabbled with. Can you give your opinion on this tool?
I’ve never used Parabola, but it’s right at the top of my learning todo list. I’m certain there are some tasks that it would best Zapier and Integromat on.
7. When building anything there is always something unexpected that occured. Can you tell us a story about getting stuck using Zapier and how you got unstuck?
Specific circumstances come up quite regularly, it’s often when data doesn’t come through in quite the format you want or need from a trigger app, and you then need to get creative on how to make it the way you want. Luckily I’ve got pretty good using Zapier code and formatting steps to solve these problems!
8. What do you see in the Maker no-code community that Makers could do to take advantage of automation? Could they be using it in a way to automate a web application in a better way?
While we don’t actually have many clients that hail from the nocode community – they are the ultimate DIYers after all! – I think it’s the same as it is for small businesses. When you’re starting something you want to be wasting as little time as possible on the boring repetitive stuff, especially if it’s just you working on a project. Never before has it been easier to eradicate all that with simple automation and tools like Zapier and Integromat.
9. What is the most impressive automation you have seen with Zapier or Integromat?
I’m pretty proud of one we built for a client recently. They are a will writing company, they get a lot of referrals from a legal services guild. The problem is, those leads come in via PDF attached to an email. We built zaps that parsed the PDF using DocParser, extracted key customer details, created CapsuleCRM records and invoices in Xero.
Not the most technical solution at all, but what I like about this case study is how it took an old fashioned process and completely modernised it. The customer was spending upwards of 15 mins per PDF keying in the data before – now it’s all instant. They’ve been able to redeploy an entire staff member because of it.
Please provide what links to your project website, your twitter, where can people return the love?
And if you want to chat to me about anything automation related, I’m at @AndrewJDavison
Is there anything else you would like to share or some feedback/request/action that you’d like to ask the Side Project Stack Audience to do for you?
Come talk to me if you have any collaboration ideas – I love to get involved!
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