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No-Code Startup Ideas 🔮 Issue #5 - Members Only - Remote Operations

Christian⚡️
Christian⚡️
Welcome to issue #5 of No-Code Startup Ideas. This week’s idea: A Remote Operations Platform. 
Hey everybody! Had a bit of a hiatus from writing because a new project got unexpected traction. TLDR, I started a cryptocurrency and it got pretty big, then crashed. It was a wild experience. Turns out you can launch a new crypto token with pretty much no coding! I may write a future issue on it. Stay tuned.
Now I’m back to sending out this newsletter every week. I am starting to build a team around it and I’m committed for the long term. Buckle up!
Members, don’t worry: I have paused your subscriptions for the next month so you won’t pay for the month you didn’t receive this newsletter.
Start by reading this week’s issue, then join our Discord channel where we’ll do weekly updates, share even more great startup ideas, and much more 🍻
Read on to find out why this is such a massive opportunity, how to build it with zero code, and how to get your first 10 customers.
And remember, building is better with friends – so share this email!
What is this newsletter about?
After bootstrapping my first company (a software recruitment platform) to $20K+ per month using no-code tools, I started having way too many no-code startup ideas to ever pursue myself.
So each week, I send out a deeply researched business plan for a validated, profitable startup that you can start with no coding and very little money.
My goal: To help you start a bootstrapped business that pays $10K+ per month and lets you live the life you want. 

The methodology
For each idea, we go through:
  • The opportunity
  • JTBD (Jobs to be done)
  • Why now
  • Companies that have proven the market
  • The niche
  • Pricing and revenue projections
  • How to build the no-code MVP step-by-step
  • Startup costs and time to profitability
  • Tactics to get the first 10 customers
Let’s go!
The Opportunity: Remote Team Operations 🏝🧑‍💻
If 2020 was the year of remote work, 2021 is the year we collectively refuse to ever, ever, ever go back to the office.
Chris Herd
Number of full-time remote workers in the US

2000: 1.6 million
2003: 1.8 million
2006: 2.3 million
2009: 3.0 million
2012: 3.4 million
2015: 4.0 million
2018: 5.2 million
2021: 39.0 million
The numbers are in: Only 2% of people actually want to go back to the office post-pandemic.
What this means is that every. single. company is grappling with how to turn their “it’s a pandemic let’s work from home” mayhem into a sustainable remote work strategy. And yeah, it’s hard.
Bigger companies struggle more. When you have 30 new employees starting every month all over the globe, how do you ensure they have all the equipment they need? How do you make sure it’s set up correctly, and that it’s secure? How do you make sure you’re not spending shitloads of money buying and shipping stuff around?
Those are the problems a Remote Team Operations platform can solve. Take Firstbase, founded by Twitter celeb Chris Herd, which just raised $15m+ for their remote team provisioning-as-a-service platform.
With the right niche, some solid no-code tools, a lot of sales hustle, and some elbow grease, you can start a similar company to help companies smoothly transition their teams to being fully remote.
Let’s get into it!
JTBD (Jobs To Be Done)
There are many, but here are a few of the jobs that companies need to do when it comes to remote work operations:
  • Deliver job-critical items to employees, including laptops, keyboards, computer mice, office chairs, desk lamps, headphones, microphones, webcams, the list goes on.
  • Make sure those laptops are secure, with the right software downloaded onto them so the employees can use them
  • If a laptop has an issue, figure out how to get IT support to fix it. Ideally they can fix it remotely, but they might need to lay hands on the computer in person in order to fix it.
  • Ensure laptops, etc. are being shipped in a cost effective way
  • Ensure employees are working in a safe, healthy environment
And probably more. But even these are some hairy problems to solve, and right now they’re being handled by internal operations, IT, and HR folks who would 100% rather get back to their normal jobs.
Why now
Many companies are cutting their office space by 50-70%. That’s a huge chunk of budget that has been freed up, a healthy portion of which will go to remote operations if needed.
Of course, companies don’t want it to go to operations. They want to parlay it into competitive advantage – and spend as little on operations as possible.
That’s where a remote operations platform comes in: to streamline operations, reduce costs by increasing efficiencies, and take the complexity of all these items off the company’s balance sheet.
Companies that have proven the market
Firstbase can say this because the alternatives are... not great
Firstbase can say this because the alternatives are... not great
Firstbase is the newest player, having raised $15m this year, but they’re certainly not the only one. We can assume from this funding that they have some serious revenue at least on the horizon.
Deel is a newer one in global operations – it just raised $156m for its global employment, legal, and payroll ops platform. It is trying to disrupt the old player ShieldGEO which has commanded the space for years (with pretty bad customer ratings).
There’s also Remote.com, which raised $30m for its Employer-of-Record service. Essentially, they let you hire people full-time in different countries.
Deel’s valuation ($1.25 billion) shows investors believe not only that is this a massive market, but that it’s growing very fast. Every company will have to have a remote policy if they don’t want top talent to quit.
Daniel C. Liem
Just heard of a co that was *for sure* going back to the office… only to do a 180 and become remote-first.

Why? Some employees were going to quit if they had to go back https://t.co/pWQTl98v6o
The niche
ShieldGEO, looking like they did their website in 5 min on WordPress
ShieldGEO, looking like they did their website in 5 min on WordPress
You’re not going to be the Employer of Record for your clients, yet. Let’s focus just on providing the physical goods employees need: Desks, chairs, computers, etc.
This is a rare opportunity where I will encourage you to focus on somewhat larger companies. Why? The simple answer is that they are the ones with the problem. There’s just more to manage. There’s more budget. And there’s more appetite to find a simplifying solution.
So who do you target? You’ll focus on people with these general job titles:
  • CEO / COO
  • HR Operations
  • IT Operations
  • Finance
Each one will have their own focus for why this stuff should be automated through a third party (you).
  • C-suite cares about operational efficiencies and saving money.
  • HR cares about giving employees a safe, healthy work environment.
  • IT cares that their equipment makes it there OK, and that repairs and fixes can be made quickly.
  • Finance cares about simplifying the balance sheet by consolidating all these operational costs into one monthly subscription (paid to you).
What kind of company should you target? They must have the following characteristics:
  • Employees are knowledge workers, i.e. they work at a desk, behind a computer. From customer support to engineering.
  • They have 30+ employees.
  • You know someone there and could get an intro.
Pricing and revenue
Remote.com's pricing page... notice the fine print
Remote.com's pricing page... notice the fine print
When there’s no pricing on the pricing page, you know what that means…
It means the price is high. How high?
Remote.com charges $599 per month per employee on their annual plan, and $699 if you pay month-to-month. That’s for Employer-of-Record services, including full payroll, admin, HR operations, the works.
You will be providing just a subset of these services, so I suspect you can charge somewhere between $99 - $299 per month. Let’s split the difference and say $199/mo. Here’s what your revenue looks like:
  • 10 customers = $1,990/mo and $23,880/year
  • 50 customers = $9,950/mo and $119,400/year
  • 200 customers = $38,900/mo and $477,600/year
  • 1,000 customers = $199,900/mo and $2,388,000/year
As a no-code bootstrapper with some serious hustle, it is possible to hit $1m ARR within the first 2 years.
Building the no-code MVP: Overview
Unlike many other opportunities, much of your no-code work will be on the backend – to manage operations for this sprawling service.
Then you will want to display the status of different elements in close to real-time for your clients on a dashboard.
So here’s the general overview of what you’ll build:
  • Website + billing
  • Dashboard for clients
  • System to provision employees & manage operations
  • Logic connecting the operations system to update the client dashboard
For the website and billing, go with a tried-and-true combo: Webflow($12/mo) for the website and Outseta ($29/mo) for billing and customer relationships.
For the dashboard you can use Bubble ($29/mo), and for the logic you can use Zapier (free, then $29.99/mo) or Integromat (free, then $9/mo) combined with something like Airtable ($20/mo). We’ll dig into the details of how this should work below.
Startup costs and time to profitability
Your initial stack will cost you $90/mo at first, plus a domain name at let’s say $12 for the year. So if you’re charging $199/mo, you only need one customer to break even.
It may not be easy to land that first customer. You’ll want your website and service to be on point, and then you’ll have to go through a full sales process – which can be daunting if it’s your first time selling.
However, let’s say it takes you 1 month to build the website and initial service architecture, and 1 month after that to land your first paying customer, who pays you in month 3.
With this plan, your time to profitability is 4 months.
Building the no-code MVP: In detail
Website + billing
We’ve talked about the Webflow/Outseta combo in previous issues, so I won’t spend too much time on it here. Suffice to say, you can build a website, make pricing plans, take payment, run email marketing, and much more with just these two tools. Here’s the full demo of how it works.
Dashboard for clients
You honestly may not even need this at first. You can probably sell your first client just by telling them “look, I’ll take care of all your remote IT operations” and provide weekly email updates or something. But you’ll want it eventually, so let’s dive in.
Use Bubble to set up a dashboard (using this template) then get ready to add API connections later to update the data in the dashboard.
Later on, you can add features that allow clients to interact with your operations system through buttons and other inputs. But let’s leave that for post-MVP.
System to manage operations
This is where the meat of your service is, and the value. Let’s start with a simple example: desk chairs. We’ll generalize this to other items like computers, lamps, keyboards, etc. later on. You want your clients to be able to do the following:
  • Send desk chairs to specific employees
  • Check the status of that desk chair (is it delivered yet? Is the employee satisfied with it?)
  • Make sure you get your desk chair back when the employee leaves
  • Let the employee request a new one if it breaks
  • See all the desk chairs you have in stock and order more if needed
Fortunately, Airtable was built to solve exactly this kind of problem. Put together a remote asset tracker with some other features of a lightweight CRM, and you have your solution.
Don’t forget, you will have to operate the Airtable manually in some ways. Someone has to get that desk chair delivered! This is where you’ll need to establish partnerships with providers of all kinds of office equipment and technology.
At the start you will have to build up these partnerships based on where your client’s employees are. Over time, you’ll have a big book of partnerships you can draw on all over the world! But at the beginning, you have to start where you are.
This is what I mean when I say hustle.
Logic to connect the backend to the client dashboard
You want your Airtable to send updates to the correct client’s dashboard. For this, you’ll need to use Zapier or Integromat.
In Integromat, you can connect to Airtable on the one hand and to your Bubble app on the other using native integrations or API connections that take into account the user’s profile information.
You may want to create a table, for instance, that shows which employees have what equipment. To do that, you’ll find the right cells in Airtable, pipe them through Integromat, and put them in the correct place in your Bubble database.
It sounds simple, and it is if you start with just one piece of data at a time!
Tactics to get the first 10 customers
Now that you’ve got your website up and running, you’ll need to go out and get customers. To get your first 10 customers, you will be running a more B2B-focused sales process.
As always, start with your existing network. Do you know any companies that meet the criteria we set up above? Can you get an intro?
Even if they say no, use each meeting as an opportunity to learn more about who is (and isn’t) your target customer. Use that information to improve your targeting over time.
Get a free trial of Linkedin Sales Navigator and use a tool like Dux-Soup ($11.25/mo) to automatically reach out to hundreds of leads per week within your target audience. Keep on top of the replies, and keep going until you start to schedule meetings.
If you reach out to 500 people on Linkedin, you will get a minimum of 50 responses. Of those, if you can get on a call with 10 of them, you can close 1 as a customer with a bit of hustle. Now do that 10 times!
Now go get building! 🚀
That about does it, thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your reactions and ideas.
Please come say hello on Twitter or Discord. I’d love to hear from you! 
Looking for a cofounder to build with? @ me and we’ll find someone for you 🤝
Bonus: 3 more no-code startup ideas
And because I came across a ton of great ideas in my research, here are a few more ideas to stimulate your creativity:
  • A cryptocurrency that donates money to your favorite cause automatically
  • An SMS-based accountability service
  • A virtual assistant service
Might pick one of these for the next issue. Hmu if you have a preference!
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Christian⚡️
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Christian⚡️
Christian⚡️ @christpetron

*So long, and thanks for all the fish!*
After a great run, No-Code Startup Ideas has retired. Feel free to look through the archive here on Revue while I migrate it over to WordPress.

Each issue is a deeply researched business plan for a profitable startup you can start with no coding and very little money. Scroll down to see past issues.

I bootstrapped my last company to $20K+ per month using no-code tools, and I want to help you do the same.

Each email includes:
- Pitch and value proposition
- Target audience and their problem
- How to create version 1 step-by-step
- Specific tactics on how to get your first 10 customers
- Pricing, startup costs, revenue projections, and payback period
- 3 bonus ideas

Avoid analysis paralysis. Find your idea and build your profitable business faster!

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