Written by Shanice Stewart-Jones
I made a bold claim recently, when chatting to my (non-technical) better half about the power of no-code. “You can literally build any kind of online-based business without code!” I told him.
He looked at me a little blankly because, quite frankly, this meant nothing to him. He’s a clinical psychologist helping people find their way out of substance addiction — he spends his days studying Gabor Maté, brain plasticity, and the efficacy of 12 steps. Tech is not really top of his mind.
But, despite his (understandable) reticence, my wild exaggeration did get me thinking.
How many types of online business can you build and run without code? 5? 10? 100?
One thing that is abundantly clear when exploring the answer to this question is that no-code does have its limits. While no-code is empowering and allows you to do a hell of a lot (as you’ll see from the list below), if you want to, say, build a super-complex SaaS or mobile app, you’re probably going to need custom code to help you get there.
But that shouldn’t stop you from running with your business idea, particularly if it falls into one of the categories below, and you're happy with the fact you may need to hire developers one day (but not necessarily!).
We’ve listed 30 businesses you could launch within one month (taking into account research, building, and marketing — some can be done in a week or even a day) using only no-code tools.
Let’s take a look!
Audio is all the rage right now, and the humble podcast is a content marketer’s dream. It may not be the biggest money-spinner — at least not until you’re well established — but there’s certainly a business model in podcasting if you’re willing to commit the time and energy.
You can record, edit, and transcribe your podcast using a tool like Descript, then host it on Captivate, Transistor or Buzzsprout.
Another one for content marketers (though more of a nightmare than a dream!) — blogging. Expect to make your money through affiliate links, ads, and even donations.
There’s an abundance of blogging tools on the market, but a few we recommend are WordPress, Webflow, Squarespace, Ghost, and Medium.
3. Ecommerce store selling physical goods
If you have goods to sell and you’re new to ecommerce, Shopify is your safest (though not necessarily your cheapest) option for setting up shop quickly and easily. Shopify has a robust back-end too, meaning your inventory and sales data is taken care of.
You could use Wix if you’re looking for a more economical option, Squarespace if a very user-friendly interface is what you need, or Webflow if you’re up for something a little more advanced.
Here’s a tutorial on building a simple ecommerce mobile app with Glide and Stripe.
4. Ecommerce store selling digital products
Tools like Gumroad and Patreon make selling digital products online super easy. Think virtual courses, e-books, digital art, templates, media, articles, software… The list actually is endless. Here’s a tutorial on selling digital goods with Carrd + Gumroad.
It’s worth noting that you can sell physical goods with Gumroad too.
5. Create and sell no-code based templates
This one is a little different to the rest in the list, but if you’ve made templates using no-code tools that you think other people would benefit from, you can sell them. Your options are numerous here, but a few ideas are:
This is something that @heyeaslo does really well.
6. Micro SaaS
As I said above, building a complex SaaS using only no-code tools might cause you more headache than progress, but there are a wealth of tools out there that will allow you to build what is typically called a ‘micro SaaS’.
Why? Because if you’re supplying a software-service to a small user base, you likely won’t need the scale and customization that code gives you.
Makerpad veteran and creator-in-residence Tessa Thomas launched a great example of a micro SaaS after learning about no-code. Her business, Pipeline Solutions, provides analytics, customer dashboards and automations for gym studios.
Here's a cool tweet thread about building a successful micro SaaS with no-code tools:
Whether you want to make an off-shoot of your favorite Facebook group, a local meet-up for like minded people, or you want to forge the next GitHub, launching an online community space couldn’t be simpler (though running one may be a little more tricky). Using no-code tools, you will actually own your community (unlike a Facebook group, for example) and you will be able to integrate it with the rest of your tech stack, if you have one.
We use Circle here at Makerpad, but you could also use Discourse or Tribe.
8. Self-paced course
Got a load of expert knowledge locked up in your brain that you need to share with the world? Want to monetize it passively? A self-paced course could be your ideal business venture.
I’d recommend Gumroad if this is your first foray into self-paced courses. You can upload all of your course material behind a paywall, and even set up memberships to charge different prices depending on the lessons your customers want to purchase.
Other tools available include Zippy Courses, Podia, and of course, the godfather of online courses, Udemy.
9. Cohort-based course
If your course success depends on your students all being together (virtually) and learning in a group environment, a cohort-based course is the way to go. They’re far more complex than their self-paced counterparts though, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Despite their complexity, there are some great no-code tools that will help keep the tech side of running your course all in one place. You’ll still need to put in all the work on the live, cohort-based aspect of your course, but the tools will reduce the amount of heavy lifting in managing course materials, signups, communication, lessons, recordings, and more.
We’re currently using Disco to run our No-Code Fundamentals course. Other tools you could use include Teachable, Luma, and Virtually.
10. Job board
This one’s pretty self explanatory: you build a board, employers pay you to list their open roles, and potential employees use your site to find employment.
Here’s an article on how to build and automate a job board so it brings you in a passive income stream.
And here are some tutorials showing you how to build your own custom job board using Webflow, and another using Pory.
11. Local directory
I’m always impressed by the power of no-code in creating aggregator type sites. I’m not sure why exactly, but I think it’s because it feels like I shouldn’t be able to pull so much information from the web so easily and speedily without code. But I can. And so can you.
Local directories could include, say, a collection of rescue dogs available for adoption, as taught in this series of tutorials by Tessa Thomas. Or a directory of local bakeries, or events, or really anything you want to list that is specific to a local area.
Tools like Parsehub, Simplescraper, or Airtable’s Data Fetcher integration can help you here.
What do we mean by ‘marketplace’? Essentially it’s any site that has both buyers and sellers as users. Think Upwork, Etsy, Fiverr, AirBnB.
Now, building your own AirBnB might sound like one hell of a feat, but you really can do it using only no-code tools and a few days (or weeks) of graft.
Which tools you’ll need depends on what type of marketplace you want to create, but Bubble, Adalo and Webflow are three good places to start if you want to build from scratch. If you’re happy using a platform, you could use Vendify or Sharetribe.
Here’s a Makerpad tutorial on building an AirBnB clone using Webflow, Airtable, Stripe and Zapier.
13. Productized service
As the name suggests, you can take pretty much any service that can be delivered virtually — copywriting, graphic design, tech support, virtual assistance, coaching, social media management — and turn it into a product that you sell.
Here’s an article on building a productized service using no-code.
14. Swag store
If you have an established brand that would be complemented well with a swag offering, you can set this up in a matter of hours using Shopify and the Printful integration.
Shopify acts as the ‘store’ your customers will visit and from where they make purchases. Printful is a service that lets you choose what items you want to sell from their large inventory, design your swag, then list the items in your store. When your customers buy something, Printful will fulfill the entire order, leaving you to sit back and watch the $ roll in.
See how it’s done in this tutorial.
15. Social app
Before I discovered no-code, if you’d have told me you could build a social platform without developers and code, I’d have thought you were having me on! But with Bubble, pretty much anything is possible.
If you’re up for the challenge, here’s an in-depth tutorial on building an Instagram clone with Bubble.
If those ideas above haven’t got your entrepreneurial juices flowing enough, here are 15 more businesses you could build with no-code tools.
17. Dating app
18. News aggregator site
19. YouTube channel
20. Information catalog
21. Directory/listing site
22. Journaling app
23. Tracker app
24. Knowledge base
25. Game app (Stencyl)
26. Voice based app (Voiceflow)
27. Chatbot (Flowxo)
28. On demand site (like Uber or Deliveroo)
29. Crowdfunding site
30. Automation business (MainStreet)
Have ideas for others you would you add to the list? Let us know on Twitter!