Before we get into the meat of the Makerpad review, let’s get real for a moment.
Building a new technology business or product is hard.
But what if I told you that I found something to give you a kind of superpower, making this challenge exponentially easier?
I’m going to tell you about something that enables thirsty entrepreneurs to build things they could never have dreamed of.
My Entrepreneurial Ladder of Failure
Even though I can code, I still recognize a personal pattern of entrepreneurial failure. This pattern is likely not so unusual for others like myself.
What often happens after I get an exciting new idea is what I call the Ladder of Failure.
- You conjure up the business idea.
- You research the idea for validation.
- If step #2 passes, you come up with a name for the service and register a domain. [Note: admittedly this step is not necessary and probably should be ignored at first. It is a roadblock, but being obsessed with branding I cannot help myself.]
- You build a landing page to validate interest and start building an audience. You create a Twitter account for the product.
- You create a simple minimal version of the product. This is where I run into trouble! I rarely get far on this step unless I hire a developer. But hiring someone takes time and money to find a good fit — and at this point I am rarely completely convinced of the worthiness of the idea.
So often these new projects just kind of fizzle out, going nowhere. Thus, the Ladder of Failure.
So if I can code and still get nowhere much of the time — what chance do non-coders have?
At least I know how to interview and filter out bad developers, speak their language, and manage the software project. I have a network to call upon and should be able to avoid overspending. But it is still hard to get things built (unless you already have a business in place with developers on staff).
Non-coders will usually struggle even if they have deep pockets of cash.
The challenge of building the initial version of the product is a very serious one. Without successfully performing this step you cannot move toward your first paid customers, validate the idea, achieve a strong product market fit, and receive feedback from customers to improve the business.
Until you have a minimum viable product you just have an idea — and ideas are mostly worthless.
A most important trait to building success is perseverance. I know for me, earning some revenue keeps me motivated to push forward.
With an understanding of the problem at hand, let me share with you my Makerpad review.
What is Makerpad?
Makerpad is a subscription service founded by Ben Tossell that provides in-depth tutorials of how to build new technology businesses or projects with No Code tools. Or as stated on the Makerpad Twitter profile:
“Build anything, without code.”
What is No Code?
“No Code” tools are products that allow you to build out applications without doing any actual programming. They use visual building environments often within a web browser to construct software. We are blessed with many amazing tools that enable non-coders to build professional and sustainable applications.
We have seen this promise before, but in the past the promises turned out to be untrue. The code created was sloppy, slow, and impossible to maintain.
This is no longer the case.
There are several world class No Code tools today that on the low-end can build out a minimum viable product and on the high-end can be the foundation of an Enterprise level software business (I have heard the founder of Webflow state that Webflow is built with Webflow).
While Makerpad offers free content, there is a fee to access much of the content. Here are the current pricing plan choices:
As you can see, these choices are straightforward. For example:
- If you are just a team of one starting on a new business idea, the Basic or Standard plans should do you well.
- If you are mostly interested in learning No Code solutions to help others as a consultant, the Standard plan is the one for you.
- If you already have a team of people ready to build something, the Teams plan would be a great choice.
Why No Code if I Can Already Code?
While I brought up the obvious struggles of founders who cannot code, I can code and still view Makerpad as a vital resource.
It may seem weird that someone who can code would still be interested in No Code tools.
The problem is that building out something on the side, unless you have no life or family responsibilities, can be difficult. Coding, at least for me, requires chunks of quiet time alone to make progress.
From a functional standpoint, the art of product conception and design is so different from programming that it requires a mindset reboot.
I never achieved much success in startups that I coded myself. My output was just too slow because I also was busy with sales, marketing, customer service, etc. I achieved much greater success with startups when I hired developers.
I am excited to tackle new ideas using No Code tools with guidance from Makerpad.
In fact, I’ve launched one already (technically a relaunch). It’s too early to foresee what my profit margin will be, but I can assure you that my total investment (other than time) is roughly $0.
Being able to launch a new business within days (or even hours) is powerful and will boost the entrepreneurial scene.
Makerpad is an Evolving and Growing Platform
A risk of any subscription service is a potential failure to keep refining the product or add needed features. This is not an issue with Makerpad. In fact, writing this Makerpad review has been a challenge as Ben keeps adding new elements to the service.
Makerpad is a very active platform as of late and has seen many new enhancements. Possibly by the time you read this, there will already be other elements of the service not disclosed in this Makerpad review.
All Makerpad subscription levels have access to all of the Makerpad tutorials. The tutorials detail a specific type of application being built with No Code tools and walk you through step-by-step.
What kind of tutorials could you expect?
Some of the cooler tutorial examples are:
- Subscription powered community like Patreon
- Airbnb clone
- How to create a membership site using Weebly & MemberSpace
- Uber clone
- Creating a marketplace app
Here is a quick screenshot:
There are many tutorials available with over 100 in total. Most are related to building out new startups, projects, side hustles, or added systems you can use within your organization.
Let’s dig into a random example of a Makerpad tutorial:
The above tutorial details launching a physical product subscription business using Gumroad and Carrd. It includes four videos along with explainer text for added context.
The videos for the physical subscription business cover:
- Overview of physical product subscriptions.
- Creating a landing page in Carrd.
- Setting up a product with Gumroad.
- Linking the Gumroad product within your Carrd site.
While this example sounds fairly basic, the final step is something I would have spent a good deal of time to figure out on my own. These separate No Code tools don’t always have obvious connections or built in methods to work together. Step 4 displayed a creative trick to enable a connection that was not obvious to me.
This is where Makerpad shines — you can see a specific type of digital product being built in detail. This prevents time wasted trying to understand how different elements work together. This enables more time and energy for product design versus the backend technology.
Another benefit with Makerpad is exposing you to new No Code tools. Imagine you had you never heard of Carrd before. Carrd is one of the main software tools in my arsenal now. Nothing is better for hacking out a quick website or a landing page to test an idea.
At the bottom of Makerpad’s tutorial page are related tutorials enabling you to learn more during your session:
While the tutorials are all fairly uniform with how-to videos detailing each step of the process, Ben is also allowing for people outside of Makerpad to share their stories of No Code success.
This is a nice touch and gives the site variety and helpful inspiration (Hey I am as smart as that guy…I can do this!).
These stories are well formatted with a clear indication of how long the project will take, what No Code software tools are required, and how much money you will need to spend. See this example below from Dom Marrone:
While this is a fairly new section of Makerpad, there are already over 40 stories posted. Many of the Makerpad stories are excellent.
Makerpad Expert Network
Even though no code is required, maybe you still feel uneasy or just don’t have the time. No sweat…Makerpad has you covered. You can find an array of expert freelancers or digital agencies to help you:
Honestly, we could stop here and Makerpad is already well worth the cost. But there is more still to uncover.
Need some guidance or just want to brag about your progress? Makerpad now has a forums area for members:
Wait…there is even more
Makerpad is clearly trying to be a vital hub of the No Code community and I would say they are doing a great job.
No Code Events
They offer a list of upcoming related events:
This section contains special offers for Makerpad members for the various No Code tools often mentioned within tutorials. You are given access to special deals Makerpad has brokered with some of the best No Code tools out there such as Bubble, Airtable, Typeform, and others. The Makerpad Carrd discount personally saved me 40% off of my Carrd subscription. Thanks Makerpad!
No Code Job Board
And lastly, if you are considering a job at one of the growing No Code software companies you can view current openings on Makerpad.
Makerpad Review: Final Thoughts
I have a friend who has been working on his startup for years now and is already on his third or fourth developer.
After spending over $30K of savings, he still does not have a fully working product (and last I checked does not have any paying customers yet.)
He was new to tech and not knowing how to code, outsourced the development to others.
Like many before him, he has had to suffer through developers quitting mid-project and one who submitted shoddy code cobbled together with duct tape.
If my friend were starting over again today, I would encourage him to start with a Makerpad subscription.
With the use of Makerpad he could have saved loads of frustration, time, and cash. He could have built a simple version of his idea on his own, released it to the public, and tested for product market fit while pivoting as necessary. It is so much simpler to begin the pivot when you are in control of application development vs. a remote team halfway across the world.
The Makerpad Advantage
I think about the fact that small businesses create most of the new jobs in our economy. When I think about topics like this, it is clear how impactful Makerpad will be.
So would it be hyperbole to suggest that a subscription to Makerpad could change your life? Not in my opinion.
Makerpad is a vital resource for anyone building a new online tool or business. It is also great for people like me who have entrepreneurial A.D.D. and are constantly playing around with new ideas and concepts.
The platform is inexpensive, has great content, is constantly expanding and improving, and clearly is a service stemming from true passion.
I am guessing when Ben Tossel started this, he was not thinking of changing the world, but when put to good use Makerpad will certainly change the world for many.
You can sign up for Makerpad using this link.