Why you’re stuck at step 1 in your No-Code journey

When you're at the beginning of your No-Code journey, there are many pitfalls that can make you lose steam and motivation before even build anything. In this article, we'll discuss these common mistakes, and share with you useful tips on how to get back on track to bring your ideas to life with No-Code.

 min read
March 23, 2022
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Note: If you’re an early-stage founder anywhere from pre-idea through pre-seed, consider applying to On Deck Founders

Note: This article is adapted from a live discussion for the On Deck community featuring On Deck alums Ming Lu and Vik Duggal. If you’re an early-stage founder, angel investor, or exec interested in joining our community, consider applying to one of our programs - you’ll be in great company.

Note: If you’re an early-stage founder anywhere from pre-idea through pre-seed, consider applying to On Deck Founders.

Note: This article is adapted from a live discussion for the On Deck community featuring Josefin Graebe. If you’re an early-stage founder, scaling founder, or senior exec interested in joining our community, consider applying to one of our programs.

This article is the first in our annual series Year in Preview.  In the 4 years since we launched the On Deck Founders program, we’ve seen +1000 companies get started and raise over $2B in funding.

In recent years, No-Code has been establishing itself as a new means for anyone (especially those without a coding background) to bring their ideas to life. Up until only five years ago, you needed a developer to build a website or mobile app, or expensive software to manage your customer relationships and deal records. Today, you can set that up in minutes with Notion, Bubble, Zapier or another handful of No-Code apps, and most of the time for free.

This flexibility opens a new realm of possibilities for anyone who has the grit to build on their own app ideas, make them a reality, and even make a living out of them. It’s definitely easier and cheaper than the traditional development route, but it comes with its learning curve too. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what are the main mistakes people make when going through this learning curve, and how you can overcome them and fast-track your path to build impactful No-Code applications, whatever your mission or purpose is.

Let’s get going!

Common pitfalls of No-Code noobs

1. The tool trap

The No-Code interest has literally exploded in recent years, with over 160 core players worldwide, many of which with valuations in the billions at the time of writing.

In such a crowded space, it’s easy for fresh No-Coders to keep trying new tools each and every day, just because they’ve seen something on Twitter or read a new announcement on TechCrunch.  This is because — despite knowing what you want to build — you don’t necessarily have a solid idea of which tools you need to execute it. This can lead you to go back and forth between a handful of No-Code tools, and try to master them all at once. 

When you’re at the beginning of your No-Code journey, trying new and different tools is understandable. However, if you switch between them too much, or just follow the next shiny one without making clear progress in learning how to use one, you can lose steam and motivation very quickly, potentially hindering your development as a No-Coder altogether.

2. The tutorial trap

When the right tool is finally identified, No-Coders often rely on Youtube tutorials to understand how to use it correctly for a specific use case, whether that’s building a mobile app, managing your customer data, or automating your day-to-day routine work. In the same way, many buy a Udemy course in the hope of fast-tracking their learning curve with that specific tool.

And even if these tutorials are great, mostly free, and a testament to the vibrant and helpful No-Code community out there, they sometimes can be quite alienating. Spending countless hours to speed up — or slow down — video tutorials can be frustrating when you have questions about your project that are very specific, and you know you could be done in two minutes — not 20 — if you could just have an expert No-Coder to ask a few questions to. 

Again, these challenges can get you stuck at the very beginning of your No-Code journey, making you lose momentum all even before you start building anything!

And if you’ve bought a Udemy course and never finished it, it’s probably not only because it can be alienating to learn things on your own, but also because you’re falling into the accountability trap.

If that’s the case, just keep reading.

3. Accountability trap

The last pitfall of new No-Coders is the accountability trap. When you’re overwhelmed by countless tools and immense libraries of tutorials, building on your idea could feel really out of reach. 

Or, the opposite — you’ve skipped this part of the process altogether and you’ve been trying to build projects right away. And without solid foundations, you might have built stuff that didn’t necessarily bring you closer to your main vision but just seemed cool.

If you’ve felt this way, chances are you’ve been comparing yourself to too many influencers in the space with great portfolios and large audiences. And you might have felt disappointed because they’ve already got the recognition and the capstone projects you’d like, but you don’t.

When you’re just starting out, It’s hard to keep focused on the things that really matter, and to be accountable to ship projects frequently. Ultimately, it’s best to build together with an accountability partner or a peer group in order to keep your focus sharp and momentum high.

How to unblock yourself and get back on track

If you’ve ever fallen into any of these traps, it’s ok. As with everything new, the quality of your learning is as good as the quality of your mistakes. However, I believe there’s also a way for you to learn from the mistakes of others, so you can fast track your learning curve and get to build faster.

So here are some tips to get you unblocked on your No-Code journey:

  • Before even exploring the No-Code tools out there, clarify what’s the job-to-be-done instead of building for abstract purposes. This will focus you on the things that matter, and save you countless hours of browsing Youtube and Udemy tutorials without purpose. 
  • Based on your job-to-be-done, identify and learn how to use 1-2 No-Code tools you need — not following the next shiny thing on Twitter. If you can, try to stick with one tool until you ship your first job in order to build momentum towards your goals without losing steam.
  • Learn by building things yourself, not by just blinding watching Youtube/Udemy tutorials. Use those to identify which tools you need for what, and then get straight into building. Learning by doing is what’ll get you there in No-Code.
  • Learn to share things in public. Even if you don’t have a social following, follow and tag expert No-Coders for advice to make yourself known. Be consistent, and you’ll get the feedback you need, and even make some friends during the process.
  • Ship consistently, every time a little more. By focusing on small progress, you’ll layer on your existing knowledge of your tools brick by brick, building true confidence and skills that you’re doing the right things, learning the right tools, and getting closer to your vision. Remember, view your No-Code journey as a series of iterations and not as just one big launch.

If you’ve read all the way here, you might want to consider starting your No-Code journey together with a community of selected beginners as well as seasoned No-Coders.

At On Deck, we pride ourselves on building communities that bring together professionals with the passion for building, learning and making things happen, while making long-lasting friendships along the way. We’d love to foster conversation around learning the ropes of No-Code and we believe anyone can build their apps with No-Code.

We’ve just launched our first program for beginners — No-Code Foundations — and we’d love for you to join us to overcome all the pitfalls of No-Code beginners, and get you closer to bring your ideas to life.

If that sounds like you, apply today.

Note: If you’re an experienced professional looking to gain clarity on your next move, check out Execs On Deck

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