How to build a profitable business having a full-time job

Not everyone can afford a side project. And even if they do — not every project takes off. This is one of the rare success stories.

Ana Bibikova
6 min readMar 3, 2022

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Neil Pierce has been passionate about everything no-code for years. Being a CIO for a big HoReCa company he’s seen the magic of no-code first-hand: ineffective workflows can be automated in weeks, not in years; valuable data can be tracked, actionable business insights can be gained — all for the cost of 1/10 of traditional development. Bubble.io became Neil’s platform of choice: flexible, scalable and a perfect tool for building a powerful backend. The only problem — Bubble’s design capabilities suck. However, Neil always managed to build great UI experience even on the Bubble’s old responsive engine.

In 2021 he decided to build something for himself, as a side project. What do founders usually do? They try to serve the community they have an affinity for. Neil started building a community for no-code developers — a go-to resource where they could get the news, sign up to newsletters, ask for advice and find freelance gigs. Unfortunately, it didn’t take off as well as Neil expected.

Why do communities fail

Communities are very hard to build and scale. Why? Because almost every founder who starts building a community makes two mistakes interpreting the founder’s job around this product.

Mistake 1: Founder’s job is to inform users about new amazing communities — and because a community is better than no community, everyone would love to join it.

Even if users tend to agree that having a community is better it doesn’t guarantee that they will change their behavioral patterns and join it. Like every software product, an online community should have a well-structured onboarding process that would allow users to experience its value first-hand within 48 hours after they join. Otherwise they won’t get activated and would probably churn. Have you heard that Facebook has a special milestone for this? They calculated that if a user followed 5 other users and got followed…

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Ana Bibikova

Marketing strategist, startups mentor, co-founder in www.wizenguides.com

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