Can a Non-Coder Learn Coding and Build a Million Dollar SaaS Startup?
Last week, I decided to learn and code my own B2B SaaS product from scratch. The problem was I have no experience in coding.
It all started with a question.
I recently got promoted as a Senior Product Marketer in a SaaS company that is valued at a few billion dollars and making a few hundred million in revenue.
I was thrilled. But, I was not excited.
Because I knew what kind of work I’ll be doing for the next couple of years. I’ll be figuring out the messaging and positioning of upcoming product features, devise a strategy to take them to the market and run a bunch of in-app campaigns to drive feature adoption. I’ve done it several times and I’ll be doing them for the next few quarters without much change.
This made me realize that I should find something that excites me. Something like a side project.
Something that pushes me out of bed, something that motivates me to spend a couple of hours on a weekend and something to work on whenever I am bored or feel that I need a change of atmosphere (you need that a lot during these COVID times).
After thinking about it long and hard, I decided to learn coding.
Let me be clear. I don’t want to learn something for the sake of it just so I can add a certificate on my LinkedIn profile.
I wanted to learn coding so that I can build something. A B2B SaaS application.
Because, I knew that if I learn without a purpose, I will get bored, lose motivation and stop doing whatever I’ve decided to do.
So, I set a really high bar. A goal that is impossible.
I want to learn coding and build a B2B SaaS application that will generate a million dollars in revenue within 3 years.
As I read what I wrote, I felt silly and crazy at the same time. But, I know for a fact that only if I aspire to achieve a million dollars, I’ll do something.
Finalizing the Idea
Before becoming a Product Marketer, I spent the early years of my career doing Customer Support and Technical Writing. I know the pain involved in both these domains, so I came up with a couple of ideas that would make good products in the SaaS space. (at least I think so!)
But, I don’t want to build another customer support software. It is a crowded space and breaking into the crowd with whatever I am going to build would be a bad idea.
But, the UX writing and knowledge management space is fresh, less crowded and had a lot of problems that needs to be solved.
And, with over 5 years of experience as a Technical and UX writer working with multiple SaaS apps (finance, expense management, and customer support space), I know the most common problems in the UX writing and knowledge management space. They are:
- Writing good product copies
- Maintaining screenshots and solution articles as and when a new feature or UI change is pushed out in a product.
So, I decided to build two products — a Chrome extension that suggests better product copy and a smart knowledge base software that helps technical writers update their knowledge base within a very short span of time (70% less time). The Chrome extension will later become a feature of the knowledge base software.
But, the problem is I have no knowledge in coding. But, I have other skills.
I’m good at the following:
- Product Design
- UX writing
When it comes to coding, I know the basics of HTML, CSS and how to work on GitHub. But, anything other than that is Greek and Latin to me. So, I’ve come up with a not-so-great, but workable plan.
Parallelly, I’ll also be working on the following:
- Finalize the product idea
- Create a design system
- Product Roadmap for the next three quarters (what features are going to come and when)
- Deciding on what would make a good MVP
- Designing the MVP
- Finalizing the tech stack for the product.
Naming the App
I’ve named the app Basetime.
According to Merriam-Webster,
Base time is the time calculated as the normal time required by a qualified individual working at normal pace for completion of a given work cycle with no allowance for delay or fatigue and personal needs.
The goal of my product is to keep the base time of technical and UX writers in check, preventing them from fatigue and making them more productive. As a by-product they also get help in writing amazing product copy.
What I’ve done so far
- Created the logo and a landing page for Basetime
- A medium account to document my journey as a maker
- A Twitter account to talk about my journey and share whatever I’m writing here.
Coming up next…
In my next post, I’ll be talking about my logo design process and the stack I’ve used to create my email, landing page and newsletter service.