This week we’ve got our first guest post from the always trusty Stephen O'Grady. Stephen runs Podcast Delivery on the WAMP stack. I “met” Stephen when he reached out after implementing the referral program I streamed. The funny part is that I never implemented that referral program so he’s the first to ever put it in production!
Here’s his story of going from no no-code to no-code freelancer
It took some time for me to take the plunge into the world of freelancing. I knew I wanted to leverage a niche I had a firm understanding of but I never saw the opportunity to enjoy myself with the skills and background I tapped into with my day job.
Early in my career, I worked as a fraud analyst at one of Canada’s big banks and that ended up being my springboard into an 8-year stint at a social media startup. Here, I navigated several roles as an individual contributor and Product Manager; overseeing the development of our monetization platform.
At a certain point, I realized that one constant held true throughout my career – details often mattered but many people were actually are allergic to them.
What got in the way before making the jump to no-code freelancing
As I navigated new problem spaces and complex conversations, I usually leaned on one solid analogy to convey how I’d fit into things. I’d act as the Rosetta Stone, translating technical nuance into business cases or strategic guidance into technical requirements. This wasn’t always easy but over time it became close to being second nature.
Developing that skill—translating pseudo technical requirements into business speak—grew my confidence and I started to delve into some of the core programming concepts. The easiest way to think of that: I’d regularly gather new information, new insights, and new ideas that would come to create a new mental model for me to subscribe to. I’d think, “huh we’re using a spreadsheet here but what we need is a database” or “we could connect these two tools via API”
That new way of thinking was one of the best slippery slopes I could find and from here, it didn’t take long for me to get my feet wet with no-code. (Personally, I’m a fan of using “visual development” to describe what’s happening in this space since “no-code” bakes in some misplaced antitheticals, but we can save why that is to a future post 😏).
Validation and finding that common ground
At this point, I had some side projects of my own to work on and used that as a breeding ground for new ideas and different ways of getting the job done, whatever that job might have been.
Looking to validate your idea and build a list of early-access users?
Carrd + Airtable Forms is your ticket.
Looking to sell digital goods but don’t know where to start?
Stripe + Webflow will do the trick.
Thanks to Twitter, I caught onto what Aron was doing and I would watch and rewatch this video
and adapt what I needed to build out a referral program for Podcast Delivery
The big projects weren’t so big anymore
Getting the Podcast Delivery Referral Program
out the door was the starting point for my freelance journey. I suddenly had the know-how AND the means to understand a problem, abstract away from contexts, and prototype a solution, usually in a matter of hours.
Ask your average developer what they actually do, and they’ll answer you they google and borrow solutions that others created. No-coders do this too and with the community growing there are clear and reliable resources in Airtable, Webflow, and Zapier’s forums.
Finally! I found a tribe of like-minded people who love to get their hands dirty and move quickly from idea to prototype and sometimes on to a full-fledged business.
Something interesting started to happen too. I noticed aspects of my own day-to-day that I could streamline and automate.
Instead of spending time plugging data into spreadsheets, I’d find ways to automatically pull data in and add it to that spreadsheet in the right formats.
Gone were the days where I log into Mailchimp to create my newsletter campaigns – everything is managed out of Airtable now.
It was sort of a no-code Baader–Meinhof phenomenon
and sometimes I needed to check myself so I wasn’t building for the sake of building.
Toward the end of last year, I got the final nudge from friends like Aron to make that jump into no-code freelancing and have since worked with super cool clients through independent referrals and no-code agencies like 8020.inc
If you’ve got an idea in mind and want to take it for a spin, let me know
. And if you don’t think there’s a world out there that will pay you for your expertise, know that you’re very wrong!