Hi, I’m Ch Daniel! I’ve been an entrepreneur for quite some time now. I started working and earning when I was 12, and began running my first online business at 15. In fact, I never even thought of getting a job to make money until I was 18 or 19. It was at that point that I realized you could get a salary to cover your living costs, all while running your business, which blew my mind!
I got into the world of business with my then 15-year old brother a few years ago. He’s super impressive and I really respect and admire him. He's my business partner, but before that, he's my brother. We make a great team, and have a couple of businesses now: LegitCheck.app and Simple.ink. And we recently acquired a company called Emojics.com.
LegitCheck was built with no-code tools, and eventually we kept adding site products so that it’s more low-code than no-code now. We got to a point where we had 5 million all-time users. The backend ran entirely on Webflow and Udesly, which helps connect your Webflow theme to a WordPress theme. In our first year, we did $200,000 USD revenue — all using just regular no-code tools.
It started from a blog where I curated information on how to spot fake items. I was a sneakerhead and I sold sneakers too, so initially the website was just for sneakers. It began when someone asked me about the authenticity of sneakers, and I told them that I do my due diligence and research because my reputation is on the line. But the question got me thinking — was there some kind of online index or place where you could check the legitimacy of items like these?
I didn’t find one online, not all in one place at least. So I put these things in a collection of blog posts, and since I was just learning how to code at the time, I made an app as well. But I soon figured that I really hated coding. Nowadays it would be possible to build an app like that in Bubble, Glide, or Adalo!
So I had blog posts on a website regularly being published, and an app, and I was slowly acquiring users. I then wanted a theme for the website so that’s how I got into Webflow and Udesly. Then we began adding small plugins like Stripe for payments, WooCommerce too. At this point it turned into a legit business for us.
All of this was on the backbone of no-code, simply because we were able to style the experience and offer a unique digital service.
Creating Simple.ink to build Notion-based websites
Building it wasn’t an easy journey though. The story begins a bit negatively because I made a bad hire and the launch took us a lot longer than I expected. Nearly two years, in fact.
During this time, I previewed the product and we did some pre-sales. There were about 20-25 pre-orders and I managed to build an email list of about 5,000 people. When we did launch at the end of January 2022, we hit #1 product of the day on ProductHunt! It was super exciting.
Not accounting for churn, we're only 3 months into 2022 and already on track to hit about $250,000 ARR with our current 1300 users. We have a pretty generous freemium plan, and I think we're playing the long game with this.
Our marketing website and our business dashboard are both made using Webflow. The front-end of all our work is completely no-code, and it's miles and miles ahead in terms of speed of iteration compared to the usual way of doing things.
Our philosophy behind Simple.ink
I love answering this question because it really addresses the philosophy behind what we’ve built.
Someone on a podcast asked me a very blunt question the other day, which I appreciate. He asked me, “Do we really need another website builder?” My answer to that was simply the gap I saw in the market.
Many no-code tools are pretty complex in their offering. They’re aiming to pretty much do everything that a programmer can do — which is great. But there’s a gap when it comes to simple, easy, and quick options.
The fact that you can create something without any headache or learning curve is quite valuable. That’s essentially our philosophy — not complex at all. I think it's beautiful to have both options; two different playbooks. We don’t want to recreate Squarespace or Webflow. We’re using a no-code tool to make website building possible in under a minute!
Not all websites need to be complex. Think of a podcast landing page site, for example. Our angle with Simple.ink is really simplicity, speed, and what we call ‘optimizing for zero headache.’
How we got our users for Simple.ink
In terms of acquisition, our biggest success has got to be Twitter. I didn’t have a huge following; it must’ve been between 1,000 to 3,000 at the time. Now, I’m at about 11,000.
But follower numbers aren't everything. You could have 100,000 followers, but your focus should always be hand-to-hand combat — which gets harder when you have a large number of followers to engage with. Join communities that are relevant, engage with people, get involved in conversations.
We have a real luxury these days, being able to have one-to-one conversations with potential users. Aside from this, we’ve had massive success with our SEO efforts thanks to our YouTube channel. We’ve been regularly putting out content (I have my talented brother to thank for that, he’s a content machine!). These are like seeds that we’ve planted that are far from maturity yet, but they’re definitely going to age well.
My advice for budding entrepreneurs
I believe that everybody who gives advice is basically giving their younger self advice, and here’s what I think helped me. The way I see it when it comes to building a product, there’s virtual stuff and then there’s the real stuff.
The virtual stuff is the stuff you could put on the shelf, and things wouldn’t change drastically. Worrying what people will think about your product, what exact stack you’re going to use, what color a button is going to be...
Then there’s the real stuff, the actual things you’re shipping, the value you’re creating, and the problem you’re solving. It’s easy sometimes to spend two hours wondering which font you should use — but remember, that’s not really the stuff that matters. Think about what will actually move the needle for you. And keep doing that.
That’s what worked for me.
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Ch Daniel! You can follow his journey on Twitter here.