TL;DR Interview with Quentin
How to make your no-code side project for less than $10 and generate $2500 in revenue.
Learn pricing strategies and insights when using tools like Gumroad. Learn the good things and lessons learned from Quentin to help with you project.
Find free awesome design tools to help make your project look professional on a budget.
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your story?
QV: My name is Quentin, I’m 32 and I’m from Paris. I am working as the Head of Growth in a French startup by day, and I am a nocode maker by night.
Before that, I started my professional career working as a project manager in the music industry for about 4 years as this was my passion at that time. I then got interested in the tech startup world. For the past 5 years, I’ve been working for different early-stage French tech startups, mainly as a business developer and growth marketer.
That led me to discover the nocode world as it is know today, and I got passionate about it. Since the beginning of 2020 I started to build and launch my first projects. Up to date, I launched 3 projects about nocode. Nocode Essentials which is a directory of nocode resources and a newsletter, Nocode Mentors which allows anyone to book a 1-on-1 call with nocode experts, and TIMS which is a database of more than 200 free tools and resources for Indie Makers.
Can you tell us about the story behind Tims and why did you choose no-code?
Was there an itch to scratch or problem you recognized. How did you spot the problem and then decide to make something to help solve it.
QV: For the past few years, I’ve been curating all the best tools and resources that I found and used as a maker and early stage startup employee. At some point I realized that I had sourced many powerful tools and useful assets that were free to use or offered valuable free plans. That allowed me to easily find the right tools to test, build, and grow my online projects ideas without having to know how to code nor invest big budgets.
Nowadays, there is a tremendous amount of free tools and resources that anyone can use to build, design, promote and monetize their online businesses.
Having a well organized and easily searchable database of all those tools and resources has been extremely helpful for me. I then realized that if it was helping me to save a lot of time and money while launching online projects, it had to be valuable to other aspiring makers and entrepreneurs.
This is why I decided to make it a full digital product and create Tims, The Indie Maker Stack.
The funny thing about this project is that I used the database to build it. That allowed me to launch this project with less than $5, only paying for the gettims.co domain name. And I got validation for it as it already generated more that $2.5K in revenue.
3. What is your stack to create Tims?
- For the website, I used brizy.cloud
- For the design/illustrations on the website, I used:
* blush.design for the main illustrations
* scribbbles.design for more visual assets
* Figma to mix it all, adapt sizes and colors + create small additional designs.
- For the database/director, I used Airtable
- For selling the database, I used Gumroad
- For emails to customers and subscribers, I used MailerLite
- I also used Zapier to connect Gumroad customers with MailterLite
4. Did you start off with this stack or did it change while making it. If yes, please give insights into what you discovered.
I knew from the beginning which stack I wanted to use for this projects. All the tools had to be simple and free to use. I basically used my own product to build it. I selected free tools and resources from my own database to build the project and brand it as a digital product.
5. Can you share your thoughts on pricing. How did you arrive on $29 pre-order and general strategy?
Pricing is always a tough question when it comes to digital products. As this is my first paid digital product, I had to do some research to understand the good practice and how other makers were pricing their products too.
One interesting way to have a first idea of what the product’s worth is to know how many hours the maker worked to create it. Then count $1 for each hour spent on building the product.
It took me about 50 hours to build Tims, including organizing the database, building the website, setting up a Gumroad account and creating emails automations. That is why I decided to price it $49 as the original price. But as it is a good marketing strategy and as I wanted to test a lower price first, I set up an early bird plan at $29.
I quickly got some pre-order customers and that was a first validation of the pricing.
But for digital product makers, my overall advice would be to test a pricing that seems fair to them, listen to peers and potential customers’ opinions before launching, measure conversion metrics, and iterate if needed.
- Can you give 2-3 details using each tool in your stack. If a friend asked you about each tool, what important insights would you share about each tool to help them save time or would benefit from knowing?
- example: any insights, advantages and disadvantages, things that surprised you, disappointed you for each tool:
Regarding the website, I decided to use Brizy because of one key feature it offers: free custom domains. That is a real game-changer in the website builder market. That means anyone can have a website that looks professional (with its own custom domain) up and running for free. That’s incredibly empowering when willing to test ideas with a professional-looking website URL.
The free plan also includes a lot of features like forms and many design options. if you don’t know it, you should give it a try (you don’t even have to sign up to get started).
About Gumroad, it is the must-go-to tool for selling digital products. Not only it is super intuitive and free to use (it takes commissions), but it also has powerful extra features like analytics, custom audiences, and email workflows. Moreover, Gumroad covers pretty much every usecases for selling digital products offering the ability to set up pre-orders, discount codes, and affiliate programs.
One tip though, when using Gumroad’s pre-order feature, don’t wait more than 1 month to actually release your product. You will end up with failed credit cards when Gumroad is actually charging them on launch time.
Regarding the database, Airtable is a no-brainer. It is so powerful and user friendly at the same time. In addition to the well-known features that are the ability to create different views of the database and use their powerful filtering options, it offers easy to set up sharing options.
It even offers the possibility to create password-protected bases which can be very useful for digital products.
One tip for Figma, there is a plugin that lets you use blush.design directly within Figma. That makes it even easier to create and customize all the awesome illustrations you can find on blush.design.
Finally, MailerLite is extremely easy to use with a clean and simple interface. Its workflow feature is super powerful. And the ability to create forms inside emails is a key feature of its own.
7. Where do you see Makers/Startups/Businesses missing opportunity? This could be a high level thought/philosophy on opportunity with no-code.
Many makers and aspiring entrepreneurs still don’t know that they can now build online projects and test their ideas without the need of a tech team nor big investments. There are so many powerful tools and resources that they can use for free to build, design, illustrate, promote, and monetize their projects. All makers that are not aware of that are actually missing a lot of opportunities and maybe missing their chance to enter their niche market at the right time.
At a higher level, I think there is a huge opportunity for companies to use nocode tools for many purposes to improve their productivity and performance. A few of these opportunities are:
- Free up the tech team’s time and let it focus on complex tech things. Stop using their precious time to build a website, a blog, a landing page, a newsletter template or any simple automated workflow. Learn to use nocode tools like Webflow, Zapier, and MailterLite to do that.
- Building better internal tools to improve operations and processes. There are many nocode tools made for that like Internal, Retool, or Stacker. But sometimes simply implementing a good use of Notion and Airtable is a first good step toward that objective.
- Use nocode for growth purposes. Scraping and sorting data, automating growth tactics to fill up the sales pipeline with hot leads, building side products for some side product marketing.
I believe that nocode will lead to the creation of multiple new jobs and positions such as consultants, nocode devs, and even internal nocode experts. This is already happening and will expand very quickly in the following months.
8. What is missing while making and launching that if you had more of would help save time, money, boost success?
Having a complete set of tools and knowing which one to use to get started quickly with a low budget is one thing that I missed a few years ago. This is actually why I created Tims, because I needed it and I think it can benefit a lot of other makers too.
Being able to find and choose powerful free tools that allow building, marketing, and launching a complete product is the key to saving time and money. It makes it so much easier to quickly put an MVP on the market, see how people react and iterate.
As money and time are saved, the decision to pivot or to stop the project is also easier to make.
But even before starting to build something, joining communities of makers is also something I missed before I got into the nocode world. Talking to other makers and entrepreneurs is a very good way to find the right direction and save time.
9. When building anything there is always something unexpected that occured. What parts did you get stuck and learn most from?
One unexpected thing that happened to me while building Tims is that I waited a bit too long between the pre-order launch and the actual release date. Right after the pre-order announcement, I got a lot more pre-orders than I expected and I decided to take extra time to make the final product as good and valuable as possible. I finally released it 1 month and 2 days after I got the first pre-orders, and the unexpected thing happened. I realized that for all the pre-orders I got in the first 2 days, payments were rejected by the customers’ banks.
This is how Gumroad works. When using the pre-order feature, it blocks the amount on the customer’s account for 30 days and then charges it on the release date.
The key learning here is that if you release your product more than 30 days after the first pre-orders, you might end up with failed transactions. Something to keep in mind.
10. Please provide what links to your project website, your twitter, where can people return the love?
Tims’ Website: https://www.gettims.co/
Other projects I launched:
Nocode Mentors: https://www.nocodementors.com/
Nocode Essentials: https://www.nocodeessentials.com/
11. 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?
About gettims.co, I would really appreciate it if anyone could spread the word to all aspiring makers that are willing to launch their online projects but are struggling to find the right tools that will allow them to get going with virtually no money.
I haven’t set it up yet but it could be an interesting idea to launch an affiliate program for Tims, anyone interested in this can reach out on Twitter.
Other than that, I would be very interested if anyone had any feedback about the value proposition, the pricing or anything else.
Twitter is the best place to reach out to me.
Hi👋🏼, I'm Michael.
The maker of this site