Have you ever thought of a brilliant app or product idea, only to realize you wouldn’t know the first thing about creating it? WeAreNoCode’s learning community helps you turn those impossibilities into realities.
In our tech-forward world, most startups are creating tech-forward solutions which tend to be heavy in code. (Note: Coding is not easy to learn). WeAreNoCode founder Christian Peverelli found an opportunity to help founders create viable, technical solutions without having to write a single line of code.
An enthusiastic startup builder in his own right, Christian founded WeAreNoCode to give budding founders the resources and insights he’s learned over the last 15 years. Just over two years since its inception, WeAreNoCode has been successful in that venture. So successful, in fact, that over 450 founders in 26 countries worldwide have leveraged WeAreNoCode’s programs to launch their new businesses.
Finding technical coders or spending the time and money to teach yourself, as an entrepreneur, can cost you more than just dollars and hours. The goal of WeAreNoCode is to teach founders proven methodologies, practices, and actionable hard skills they can use to create a strong product, find their ideal customers, and to grow a community of their own. No coding required.
In building the premier no-code learning community for founders, Christian has learned a lot of lessons on the way and, lucky for us, we got a taste of that brilliant insight.
“We put together a program that, essentially, embodied the best of entrepreneurial practices and proven methodologies while teaching a handful of these no-code tools to be able to actually build and teach people hard skills instead of just theory, because I would say that overthinking analysis paralysis is a huge problem in this industry.”
What emerging virtual bootcamp, academy, and micro-school founders and operators can learn from WeAreNoCode's Keys to Success
Teach how to take action over theory
In a philosophy very similar to that of Seth Godin and the successful team at Akimbo, a huge part of WeAreNoCode’s approach to learning experience design is built around learning action rather than theory. When learning is optimized to learn by action, by doing, and by experience rather than by reading text or listening to a lecture, it can become a habit. It becomes second nature. That’s when learning becomes active rather than passive.
Get learners stared for free first
It may sound counterintuitive, but creating high-quality content and putting it out into the world for free brings people in to your learning community. It gives them an idea of who you are, what your goals are, and what learners can expect from your live learning opportunities. WeAreNoCode uses this approach to help identify what their learners are really looking for.
“Create valuable free stuff to get people into your world. We have a free course which essentially outlines all the steps that we teach in depth so that people can get an understanding of what they're getting into when it comes to the process of launching stuff.”
Curate a larger community (and smaller ones within it)
There’s nothing more powerful than a learning community that’s gaining valuable insight alongside one another. When you’ve created a wonderful product, the community curates itself.
Within that larger community, there are folks that naturally gravitate towards one another:
“I want to just stay excited about the endless potential to grow this community… but I do think it starts with smaller groups. Then you allow those smaller groups to participate in a larger community, as a whole so they can feel heard, but then they can also go out there and venture. And some people in our community are looking for co-founders, they're looking for study buddies, they're looking for friends. They want to exchange skills sometimes,” says Christian.
Giving those communities both the platform and the resources to foster deeper relationships makes the learning experience all that more transformative in the long run.
Suzanne Howard at IDEO shares this sentiment:
“Enable learning and resource-sharing within your team. Implement documentation processes and create a resource library to capture everything that is happening behind the scenes in your learning organization. From training and onboarding, to tactics, rubrics, and best practices, aggregate learning across your team in order to design better learning experiences and scale your learning empire."
Price your learning experiences by determining their true value within the market
While we noted that WeAreNoCode offers a free course for its potential learners, they didn’t start there.Instead, Christian and his team built a core product they had confidence in and waited for the learners to flock.
And flock they did; WeAreNoCode created a pricing model that is fair to their learners but also is high enough to match the actionable value the courses provide.
Christian’s advice? Don’t be afraid to charge. Too many founders of live learning communities cheapen their experiences by not charging enough. Striking the right balance between value and cost can put you in the unique position to find only the most dedicated learners.
You can determine this by finding competitors — be they direct or fringe — and weighing your unique value proposition and price options against theirs. Buffer has a great guide to performing competitive analysis.
Beyond looking at market dynamics and your space within it, consider the alternatives you’re replacing. Is your curriculum able to replace, replicate, or trump that of a college education? Trade schools? Other bootcamps? Self-teaching? Christian notes to determine the value of your learning experience in terms of money, time, or effort spent. If you can teach the same skills in a shorter amount of time, for cheaper, or in a simpler way than the alternatives, that’s worth considering when determining the price of your being a member within your live learning community.
The unassuming power of not creating a referral program
We’ve seen time and time again with learning communities how valuable a referral program is, particularly within the alumni community. It makes sense, right? If your past learners had a wonderful experience, they’re going to help spread WOM to create future generations of learners. That’s still the case for WeAreNocode but, unlike other live learning courses, they haven’t created a dedicated program to foster that referral system — and they won’t, at least for now. Why?
“We don't even allow students to market it, but we allow them to do referrals. The reason for that is because we want to keep control about the way that we present ourselves. A lot of people who work with affiliate programs, they'll say anything. So if someone signs up so that they can make a commission, there's some danger in terms of your brand equity. You don't want to water down your brand,” Christian says.
Your value and the way your brand portrays that value is everything, especially to new audiences. Keeping those cards close to your chest and maintaining the power to create your own narrative can ensure prospective learners are getting only the highest quality messaging.Now, this may look different from course to course. In cases like Dribbble, referrals have been immensely impactful in building up additional cohorts of learners. Determine what works best for your learning community — and don’t be afraid to test different options.
“That's really, the end goal for me: to empower people. And I think there's also a massive rise in solopreneurship. We see a lot of founders in our community who are successful alone at first, and then they're able to build their team around themselves.”
The logistics of building a live learning community and helping it thrive look different to everyone. What works for some — like offering free courses, building a referral program, or owning your whole narrative — may not work for others.
What does work, though, are the experiences every entrepreneur shares on their path to invigorating their community and the people within it. Here are a few Christian has marked on his career in entrepreneurship over a decade and a half:
Entrepreneurship requires empathy
“I think there's also a huge part of this which is the empathy and the human side of it too. Our biggest limitations in our businesses reflect our own limitations,” says Christian.
It’s that understanding that creates a transformative experience for those in your learning community — and for you as the curator of said learning community. Understanding the needs of your learners and encouraging your learners to understand the needs of their eventual clients, students, or peers doesn’t just help everyone create solutions, it creates a cycle of empathy and human understanding.
Quit striving for perfection
So often, founders are focused on creating the perfect launch. They’re concerned about buttoning up the product and creating built-out, ready-to-go experiences before they have a single customer in the door.
“There's this really over-glorification of launch,” says Christian. “I'm of the complete opposite mindset. Find strategies to be able to deliver the value without having to build out complex products and things like that. When it came to the [WeAreNoCode] core curriculum itself, we only recorded the first two out of eight modules to launch and we could go out there and start selling. We went to a conference where we just started doing both customer discovery, which kind of turned into direct sales. And we left that first conference with our first paying customer.”
If you’ve created a stellar product — even just the bones of a stellar product — and you know where to find people who will be interested, a blow-out, over-the-top launch won’t be necessary. Learners will already know where to look for you.
Why no-code solutions are particularly great for startup founders and entrepreneurs
A cold, hard truth: Most startups won’t make it to the stage where they have to worry about scaling their business to thousands or, even better, millions. Those that do have a wonderful problem to solve.
When Christian founded WeAreNoCode in 2020, he had been at the helm of dozens of startups; some were successful, others never made it far beyond inception, but the reality is that spending time, money, and resources on building out complex coded infrastructures on a startup that may or may not succeed wastes said precious time, money, and resources. While the no code community is still growing and remains unknown to many, it’s an untapped treasure trove for entrepreneurs, particularly those building tech products. “Every single one of these big tech companies has had to completely rebuild their entire product to be able to scale it to the place it is,” Christian notes.
The benefits of no code are just that — they require no code. “These are some of the things that we start educating people about because they come in and just want to build and launch this startup idea that they have, or they're stuck at the MVP stage where they've been overthinking a long time and they're talking to developers and it costs $20 to 30 grand to build the first MVP.”
One of the most valuable lessons founders learn at WeAreNoCode is not only how to scale a code-less tech product, but how to use that money you would have paid a developer to otherwise build that product. Do you hire a team? Do you hire a marketing agency? Do you increase acquisition channels to find new customers?
What has made WeAreNocode so successful thus far – and what other entrepreneurs can take away from their experience — is curating a community of people looking at their ultimate end goal and helping them find new ways to get there.
“That's the way that we've positioned ourselves, instead of trying to be super nerdy and all that. It's about giving access to a community of people who have really no experience with no code. They're just interested in their end goals. And I think that we've not been marketing ourselves as “no code”, we've more been talking about ‘Hey, here's an end goal. Here's how you can reach it.’ No code just happens to be a smart way to go about it. And so that's the way that we think about it. It's more about focusing on people's end goals.”