Sharing The Wins, Losses, and "Secrets" of Running a No-Code Studio
About a sharing-driven culture
The rise of the no-code revolution transformed the software development industry as we knew it. And although its popularity has grown faster than a wildfire, it was not long ago when no-code was completely unknown to most organizations and industries. As a fellow no-coder, you might recall that there was little to no information you could find about it online — no resources, no big agencies to get inspiration from, no playbook, no-nothing! That meant that if you wanted to join the no-code world as a freelancer or start a new service business around it, you had to play it by ear, follow your instincts, and pray for a win.
As an emerging no-code agency, we are no strangers to these struggles. We've read through every Twitter post from our fellow no-code collaborators, distilled all the YT videos, and tried to build useful processes to make our day-to-day easier. And it was only after realizing that most of what we've learned has come from the community we are a part of (and love) that we decided that it was our turn to give back and share what we've built along the way. And hey, by no means do we think we have it all figured out - on the contrary! We make mistakes every single day. But just as in the Web Development process, we keep iterating - until we get to something useful to our team.
In this first (guinea pig) episode of Insider, Sebastián, Matt, and Natalia share 6 reasons why 8020 decided to launch this project and start sharing with the community now.
1. Fast-track your experiences by learning from others
No-code is a new area in the tech space. Hence, operating an agency or any business around it usually requires a different model. Thankfully, over the past 2 years, we have encountered other industries, collaborators, and friends who helped us build what 8020 is today.
- We are constantly looking to grow and learn from others. One of the main practices we follow as part of the Tiny family is that CEOs hold meetings regularly to share industry insights. Over time, this has proven so valuable that it has extended to other agencies and no-code experts — including our competitors. You heard right! We often talk to our biggest competitors about our internal operations. But more on this later on.
- At 8020, we have found (and stole) great tools from other industries, which is a prime driver of progress within our company. Some examples include HAWRAF, AAD Algorithms-Aided Design, and It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work.
- Our goal with Insider is for freelancers, agency owners, and no-code enthusiasts like yourself to feel like they have an ally in the community and enough resources to face the peaks and valleys of agency life.
2. On top of being fun, sharing is a business strategy
We have a big disclaimer to make: we think about 8020 as a service business, not a development shop. Our main goal is not only to make and develop beautiful websites but to always bring the best customer experience to our clients and collaborators along the way. Putting our faces and ideas out there is a great way to show others exactly who we are and how we work.
- It's a win/win game. More like a win/win/win game. (1) The community gets a real glimpse inside a No-code studio, and ideally learns a thing or two from our mistakes, (2) our team gets empowered to push their creative boundaries, and (3) we as 8020 get to connect with other awesome no-coders out there.
- No-code moves fast, and we strive to as well. Sharing and documenting what we know reduces the chances of our know-how getting lost or falling through the cracks.
- The community has given us some of our best hits, and our hypothesis is that, by sharing both our successes and struggles, we'll come to help more than one peep along the way while also getting great ideas from other no-coders.
3. Insider might help find others like us!
Recruiting the right people to be part of a company is one of the most (if not the most) important components of growing a business.
Knowing this, we think that the best way to find the right people among a vast community of no-coders is having them find us. And we are happy to disclose that, up until this point, it has worked! Because of our constant sharing practices on Twitter and social media, we have hired some of the most amazing people we know to be part of 8020.
- Allowing people to know more about your working culture helps attract talent and quickly filter the candidates that may not share the same values as you do.
- Incentivizing our collaborators to share their wins and losses at work helps them grow on their professional paths - both present (at 8020) and future (hopefully not, but elsewhere if they decide to go on and rock at some other venture.)
4. We want to attract like-minded clients and collaborators
8020 has a core company value that you might have heard before: we don't collaborate with assholes. And the reason we stand by this is that we know the importance of a healthy environment to work and grow. Our sharing knowledge principle is a potential tool to help us connect with others who are not only looking to build kickass digital products - but also want to have a fun, memorable, and collaborative experience along the way.
- Actions speak louder than words. Showing our core values transparently can help us position ourselves as good players in the no-code community.
- The only way to attract great clients and collaborators is if they know about us first! Exposure is key for any business, but we believe it's even more so for an agency or studio.
- We have been extremely fortunate to have worked with amazing clients and are determined to keep the good strike coming.
5. Broadcasting our thoughts to the world is a low-risk/high-reward scenario
You might think we are crazy for having an open book on our day-to-day operations. Actually, some of our team members thought so too. After all, are we not scared of anyone copying us?
Well, the short answer is no. But the longer answer is that running a service business is simple but not easy. There is much more nuance to a good customer experience than just following a series of steps or hacks.
Think of it this way: if you want to be a good communicator, there are plenty of books, articles, and online resources that can show you how to do so. But does knowing every step needed for assertive communication make you a good communicator? Not really — actually, not at all! Along with the theory, we've found that both practice and iteration are required to genuinely get better outcomes.
- We argue that the risk of being copied does not outweigh the opportunity to (1) contribute to the community and (2) position your business.
- In the end, we strongly believe that a rising tide lifts all boats. The free exchange of knowledge has the potential to help others in the no-code community to learn from us, improve, and elevate no-code for all.
6. Documentation is only powerful and valuable when (re)used and shared
Short story time: the idea for Insider started almost a year ago when one of our teammates (shout out to Max Joles) sparked the idea to start documenting via videos our newest challenges, learnings, and insights to share with the team — and maybe even the community.
See Slack proof here:
We knew Max hit the jackpot when we read this message because this had several win angles from an operations point of view: better documentation, increased exposure, and the perfect motivation to push our limits.
- Sharing our wins and losses with others helps us get a tighter documentation process. It forces us to understand what we are doing to the point where we can explain every concept in an appealing, engaging, and accessible way to viewers. After this loop, our know-how becomes optimized too for all our collaborators.
- We think that knowledge work could potentially be shared with others and might increase innovation among the team. Helping 8020 is cool and all, but helping the No-code community... that's something else!
- Sharing mistakes publically normalizes them. Consequently, it empowers the team to explore and be creative when finding solutions — without fear!
So, what is Insider?
Insider is the elevated version of the knowledge-sharing culture that 8020 has practiced since the beginning. We want to engage with the no-code community and candidly show you how we build and grow a no-code / Webflow studio.
- Insider is not a playbook to follow — it's a journey in which you can tag along and learn with us!
- Find out if you love or hate us by getting a peek at the day-to-day life of 8020.
- We will share video and written content twice a month so that you can join us on our quest through the unpredictable life of our no-code studio — without filters!
Stand by! The next episode comes out in two weeks. In the meantime, if you have any ideas (no, really, ANY ideas) of what you'd like to hear us talking about, we'd love to hear them out and integrate them into the streams.
Hasta la próxima, no-coder!