Kieran Bell is a founder specializing in teaching people how to use the no-code software Bubble. In this interview Kieran shares why he is so passionate about founders using Bubble to make SaaS apps and his tips for making a successful course.
So why is it worth learning Bubble?
I spent a decade of my life immersed in startup and indiehacking content - books, podcasts, YouTube, Indiehackers - you name it, I was consuming it. Obviously I desperately wanted to be able to code and tried learning numerous times but could never make it stick.
When I discovered Bubble in late 2019 it instantly clicked. I was able to build a pretty complete SaaS product within my first couple of months using it, which is insane when you think about it!
To go from not being able to build anything beyond a simple HTML landing page to building a fully functional software product was huge.
Since then I’ve been obsessed with building SaaS products with Bubble. Partly because I enjoy it, partly because I’m a slave to that sweet MRR, but also because I want to show others what’s possible.
Although building with no-code comes with platform risk, I believe the benefits in terms of shipping fast outweigh it, at least in the early stages. And if I ever get to a point where my SaaS is successful enough that the risk becomes too great, at least I’ll have a crystal clear scope to give to a dev agency!
What’s your tips and tricks for Bubble?
Find an app idea you’re passionate about, or offer to make one for someone you don’t want to let down, and then learn as you build. Use the Bubble forum and Bubble manual. Google is your friend.
What makes a good course? What advice can you give to course makers?
- ALWAYS do a pre-sale. Making a course is a lot of work and it’s easy to quit. Pre-selling gives you that added motivation and confidence you need to push you to the finish line. It’s scary to ask for money for something that doesn’t exist but it’s so worth it. Customers are forgiving - if you miss your deadline they won’t mind, and if they do you can always refund them. It also gives you the opportunity to launch twice, which means two bumps in sales.
- Get a good microphone. I bought a Shure MV7 for these two courses and it makes a massive difference in audio quality. Don’t buy a Blue Yeti. The higher the production value of your course, the more perceived value it will have, which means the more you can charge.
- Teach how you like to be taught. Don’t make a boring text-based slideshow. Use visuals, analogies, examples, live demos and every other trick to keep your topic interesting and engaging.
- Use quizzes or assignments to keep your students motivated. Course completion rate is generally low for online courses, but the more completing your course, the more word-of-mouth referrals you’ll get. Having interactive challenges throughout your course, even if they’re just small quizzes, will improve your completion rates.
- Do marketing.
Has Twitter been your main marketing channel for your course sales?
Yes, Twitter has been great. But then again I’ve invested many hundreds of hours into Twitter over the past few years. LinkedIn has also netted me a couple of sales. I only started my account within the past couple of months and barely post there, but it was definitely worth it.
How do you attract people to your course?
I start by planning out the contents of my upcoming course and writing the copy for the presale page, and perhaps adding some nice visuals. I always do pre-sales, otherwise you risk putting in all the hard work only to find no-one wants your course or you have no idea how to find your target customers.
I sell my courses on Gumroad or Lemon Squeezy because they both act as merchant of record. Because I’m UK-based, this saves me a tax accounting headache, but may be less relevant for US folks.
I always launch my presale as soon as possible and offer a significant discount off the final price in return for the buyer putting their trust in me. I try to give a definitive date of when the course will launch. This gives me a deadline to work to and gives the buyer more confidence.
I use testimonials and comments from previous courses and my YouTube videos to provide social proof on the landing page. If you don’t have any then just reach out to some friends who you’ve helped in the past and ask if they’ll write something about your ability to explain clearly, for example.
If you don’t have anyone who can give you a testimonial, consider doing some free online workshops on your topic. This will give you confidence, insights into what parts resonate with your audience, and a bunch of happy people who will probably give you a testimonial and likely pre-order your course.
Make a big buzz about your pre-sale. Then continue sharing as you go through the process of recording your course. Then a few days before launch keep reminding everyone that the pre-sale prices will be going away soon. This will create some urgency.
And of course make a big deal about the launch. After the launch, continue adding small pieces of content to the course to give you an excuse to mention it. Every time you receive good feedback, screenshot it and share it, and add it to the landing page. Make sure you offer PPP pricing. It opens you up to a much larger market of buyers. I just calculate it manually when people send me a DM.
Can you tell us about your Become A No-Code SaaS Founder course?
It’s a 12-hour video course featuring a step-by-step walkthrough of me building a complete SaaS product from start to finish using Bubble, a no-code tool. My hope is that by the end of the course the learners have either built the exact same SaaS product, or built their own version using the techniques I teach in the course.
I launched my course pre-sale on 5th January, and launched the full course on 25th January. So far I’ve had 67 sales totalling $7,044 in revenue. I also launched a smaller course on database design at the start of January which has made $2,047.
So overall just over $9k in about 6 weeks. Obviously sales have slowed down now but they keep trickling in. In terms of work put in, the SaaS Founder course took about 20 full working days in total. The database course took about 6 working days.
Why did you create your course for building a SaaS without code?
I’d just left my day job and needed to earn some cash, fast! I’m switching over to being a freelance Bubble dev but it takes time, so I had a couple of months of downtime where I needed to be productive.
I chose this course idea because interest in no-code SaaS is growing fast, and while there is a lot of content out there teaching Bubble, a SaaS product has some intricacies that make it feel a bit out of reach for many learners. I wanted to make a course to demystify the process, and share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past few years.
The thing that excites me most about no-code SaaS is the possibilities it opens up to technically-minded people in industries that regular SaaS hasn’t disrupted yet. Outside the tech bubble there are still plenty of companies reliant on paper, email, and giant Excel sheets.
For example, Andrew Vernon’s family runs a business taking student photographs for schools and colleges. There was no software which addressed the particular challenges of that industry. So he built a CRM specifically to suit his needs, and then spun it out as a SaaS.
Another example is Kate. After she was let go from her job as a lawyer, she was able to use her specialist knowledge to build a SaaS helping UK companies to sell internationally in a post-Brexit world. Coders aren’t solving these problems because they’ve never had these careers.
I think it’s inevitable that no-code SaaS products will be everywhere in a few years. There are plenty of problems to be solved, plenty of people with technical brains who can’t code but will be able to use no-code, and low job security is increasingly making side hustles seem like a sensible career move. Hopefully my course (and any future ones) will help to fuel this movement.