One Year Into a No-Code Startup: 7 Critical Lessons I Learned the Hard Way
No-code can take you pretty far, but getting to revenue is still on you
Exactly one year ago, I set out to build a new startup from scratch using only no-code and low-code tools. I did this for all the reasons any entrepreneur founds a new company, but I added one extra goal:
Show how anyone can create a working, profitable business using only no-code.
Over the last 20+ years, I’ve been hands-on at the “from scratch” stage of 14 startups, and every single one of them generated a ton of lessons that I took with me to the next.
These are the most important learnings I can share after 12 months spent wrestling a real business into profitable reality without writing a single line of code.
Lesson 1: No-code isn’t for everything
Even with all the advancements in no-code and low-code technology over the last few years, experience tells me that these tools and platforms shouldn’t be the engine or the unique differentiator that your product is built on.
Instead, no-code and low-code tools are more appropriate for core-adjacent tasks — functions like user management, billing, and the delivery of static information.
For example, a no-code platform is great for taking input and delivering output. But whatever work you’re doing to generate the results of that output, that should happen off of the no-code platform. That work might be a manual service, a physical product, or even a technical solution developed with real code.
That’s not to say these no-code and low-code tools aren’t powerful. In fact, you can indeed build a Twitter clone on the Bubble no-code platform.
The problem is, so can everyone else. Your unique competitive advantage needs to originate somewhere else.
Lesson 2: Learn coding concepts
You don’t have to be a coder to build incredible things with no-code. You don’t have to know the first thing about syntax or specific commands. But having a handle on what makes good code good helps significantly.