We are fortunate to have a vibrant community of hundreds of members from all different places across the globe. We come together to talk about tools, tech, no-code and new ways to make creating & building even more productive than before.
At Makerpad we love sharing our member’s journey through learning no-code, using new skills in their workplaces, building projects and even launching businesses.
Each week we’ll be highlighting a member from our community and sharing their story, background and current projects through our Member Spotlight blog post series.
This week we are chatting to Inga Schulte-Bahrenberg from Essen, Germany.
Inga is building Orgfinder.com a directory for non-profits.
Hey Inga, great to have you be part of the Member's Spotlight. Can you give us some details of your background. How did you get into no-code and what was it that first got you interested in it?
My background is in Hotel Administration, I spent 3 years at Cornell. Then about a year after graduating with my degree I went from working on a cruise ship to living in Nicaragua. Working to grow the impact of the NGO I worked for, in Nicaragua and beyond. Being a non-profit allowed us to build powerful programs for people who would not have been able to afford them, had our work not been subsidized by the wonderful donors we could count on for support. I left Nicaragua to grow my skill-set and to go back to school. Over the last seven years, I studied business and computer science, worked in academics, at an Internet startup and for bigger corporate companies. When I started feeling like I was treading water at my last job, which I had joined in hopes of sharpening my skills, I decided it was time to quit.
Since then I have had an idea for a product that has lived in my head for a while now, and I want to start bringing it to life. An idea that would help non-profits. I decided I wanted to build a minimalist business designed for maximum impact.
So far I have only been using no-code tools this year. Just for a small number of weeks so I am new to the world of no-code.
To be honest, I had a bit of an aversion towards the idea of trying out no-code at first. I learned some programming (mostly Java) in college and had a little bit of experience using other languages at work. So I had this vision that being a self-taught web developer was the way to go.
None of my coding experience was related to web development, but still, when it came to building my own product I really liked the idea of building it myself, from scratch. Or at least I wanted to see how far I could get with learning & building on my own, and eventually work with freelance developers to fill in any of the skills gaps. At the same time, I knew that my somewhat idealistic vision of becoming a self-taught web developer was not particularly well aligned with wanting to quickly bring a product into the world and finding paying customers. I knew I needed to find a way to be able to build it and iterate at speed, if I wanted to start talking to people about it and validate my idea. So eventually I decided to give no-code a try and I'm glad that I did.
It’s interesting to see that you recognised that getting your idea and an early product out there was more important than writing the code yourself. It’s very easy to get tied to a vision that isn’t always the shortest route to your destination. The self-taught development route is certainly possible but it has a much steeper learning curve than no-code. So tell us more about your idea, what are you currently working on and what stage is it at?
I am working on a directory site for non-profit organizations to increase their visibility towards potential beneficiaries, as well as other relevant groups such as donors or volunteers. The idea is to basically leverage the platform to provide non-profits a way of being seen by their audiences, without having to conduct their own marketing campaigns. I hope to address a common barrier for growth in the non-profit sector, where marketing and advertising can be particularly costly and challenging. Once the platform reaches a certain scale, I also hope to be able to use aggregated data about search patterns to provide important insights for the sector and the international development space.
So far I have only just started building the product using bubble and it’s really early days. The app itself is not live to use just yet. Currently I have built a landing page and am collecting details of those who are interested to hear more about the journey. You can sign up to hear more about it at orgfinder.com
A few days ago I wrote a short personal piece on my journey this far to provide a bit of context as to why I am doing this, and how I got here. It's available here if anyone is curious: Building a minimalist business for maximum impact.
I also plan to build in public as much as I can. Building in public doesn't come naturally to me, so bear with me. I'll be sharing updates on my Twitter too - @IngaSB.
It’s great to see that you have both short term and long term goals for your project. Taking the early steps needed to get it off the ground but also thinking about how the platform will function as it scales, to offer more value to non-profits. Thinking more of the future, what are you looking forward to seeing happen in the no-code space in the years to come?
As someone new to the world of no-code, this is a challenging one to answer. I feel like I haven't looked around in the space enough yet to identify important tools or knowledge that might be missing. These observations develop over time as you encounter problems in building your own apps. I will say though that I have joined the Makerpad "Build Club", a weekly online co-working meet-up and I am pretty convinced that these types of communities will be super relevant to the future of the no-code space.
For me, going from the mind-set of ‘I need to build my idea all from scratch’ and moving more towards ‘ok maybe I'll try this no-code thing’ has been a super significant move in propelling my project forward. I can see how I already have the skills to build what I want to exist.
So on their own, no-code tools can be a game changer for those of us sitting at home trying to bring side projects to life. However as with most things in life, a tool itself is rarely the answer, which is why the communities and support networks that grow around these tools are an aspect of the space that I am particularly excited about.
The no-code community offers a huge amount of support, feedback and knowledge! Do you have a favourite no-code tool? And what's the next no-code tool you're thinking of trying out?
So far, bubble is the main no-code tool I've actually started fully working with, and I really like it so far. That makes bubble my favorite. As it is quite a complex tool and I want to build my idea using it I am trying to focus on this one for a little while now before setting my sights on the next one, but there are definitely so many tempting options. I've also recently used Carrd. It was recommended to me that I use it to get a quick landing page up while I continue building the actual app in bubble.
My next aim in the no-code space is to be a part of the community more. It would be great to connect with those in the no-code community who are experienced in building apps using bubble, creating directories and anyone with a passion for helping non-profits.
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Inga. We look forward to hearing more about your journey soon!
Keep an eye open for our next Member Spotlight blog post coming soon!