How I make over $10K a month as a developer without knowing how to write a single line of code.

I’m 24 years old, I’ve never been to college- not because I’m not ambitious- but because I fancy myself too ambitious for college, wanting my big break now instead of 4+ years from now. Like most of my generation, I’m technical but not techy, a bit of a gamer, and computer savvy enough to figure that my path was in the tech world, but I had no clue where to start.

When a buddy from high school told me he charges over $1000 for a website he spends less than 40 hours building, I was very intrigued. At $25 an hour, this sounded pretty good, and the ability to work on my own time without a boss helicoptering over me sounded even better.

So I spent a few hours on YouTube trying to learn HTML, CSS and Javascript, but it just wasn’t sinking in. After 3 Americanos and a massive headache, I finally gave up and accepted the reality that being a developer is just not for me. A few days later, I randomly accompanied my brother to the local flooring store to help him load tiles onto his pickup truck for his bathroom remodel. The owner of the flooring store is a friend, and he began chatting with us, mentioning how business was doing well but he felt like he could never keep up because it was too difficult to keep track of all his jobs, customer information, installers, vendors, etc. He said he was considering hiring a developer to build an app to manage all his information and was quoted upwards of $15,000 for a custom app. Knowing how I’m always looking to make some money but not knowing the extent of my developer inabilities, my well-meaning brother patted me on the back and said, “Well this guy could do it for you for half the price!” There I was, standing there like a moron, quickly calculating whether I should accept a job I already knew I wasn’t qualified to do or turn the job down. Big win-win scenario for me, right? Before my voice of reason kicked in, the arrogant, “I can do anything” voice in my head got there first and somehow I ended that trip shaking the owner’s hand, promising to have an app up and running within 3 months. Crap, what did I just get myself into?

I spent the next 48 hours cursing myself out and desperately scouring the internet for more information on hacking custom apps. The thing is, I knew exactly what needed to be done for this guy. I had a crystal clear vision of what a custom app would consist of to best manage this guy’s business- a visual dashboard, full automation of workflow and repetitive tasks, and connecting records of all data- but I was just lacking the developer skills to actually create the code. Minor detail- not.

Just when I had about given up and was playing out in my head all different ways I would break it to the flooring guy that I was in fact not able to build his app (My dog died? I’m moving to Yemen?), I came across a website called Tadabase, which is a Database Web App Builder, that allows you to build database applications, but here’s the kicker… no code required! I figured this was too good to be true and that I would see soon enough that “no code” was actually code for “Oh, you know, just a little CSS and HTML,” but the site said it was in beta and free so I signed up for an account anyway. Two hours later and I still had yet to insert a single line of code, yet there I was building away and creating my very first database app. I was completely blown away. With pre-built templates, a drag and drop interface, and an overall encouraging DIY type vibe, I was mind blown by what I was capable of creating with this no-code platform. To add to my amazement, the features page claimed that all their apps were designed with full white-labeling, meaning that my app would have my name on it, my logo, and only my branding embedded throughout the entire app.

This was huge.

I was obviously now waaay more confident that I would in fact be able to go ahead and build this flooring app, but I was still concerned about how exactly I would go about it. So I reached out to the Tadabase founder and a guy named Mo was quick to respond, welcoming me to the world of no-code and offering to schedule a demo meeting with me so we can iron out all the details that would comprise the app. During our hour long phone call, I described to Mo the entire process of the flooring company, going over every detail of what their daily operations looks like and every task involved from a customer’s first interaction to a successfully completed job. Mo then helped me create a mind map of what exactly the data structure would look like, which I later transcribed into PowerPoint as soon as we finished our call:

Now that I had my data structure, it was time to start building. Another phone call with Mo who explained that the first thing I had to do was define the data and understand which data needs to be collected and stored. For instance, I knew I needed to manage all the customers’ information so I added a customers table and began adding customer-related fields as necessary.

I then repeated this process for all other data I needed to manage, including jobs, measurements, materials, installer information, shipping dates, etc.

My next step (yes, after another phone call with Mo who held my hand through the entire process until my app was complete!) was to take all the data I just entered and lay it all out onto pages with different viewpoints, such as tables, forms, charts, calendars, etc.

Once I finished designing how the data would be viewed on the app, I spent 3–4 more hours tweaking it all, customizing the design, colors, fonts, and overall tone to my liking. Just to clarify, my beautiful, data-loaded app was just about complete and I had still never been asked to insert a single line of code to accomplish all that I had built.

I then customized many more settings, including setting up a custom domain with SSL certificate and choosing to use the platform’s Gmail account for outgoing email.

All said and done, it took me about 40 hours to build my first fully-functional app from start to finish. But this was my first, and my second app was actually substantially faster by about 10 times.

I had originally told the flooring store owner that I would have an app for him within 3 months, but now I had an app that was even better than I had imagined within a week! It was crazy!

Needless to say, the flooring guy was overjoyed with the app and with how quickly I was able to deliver it. He now runs his business completely on my app, operating more seamlessly than ever with a fully automated workflow and streamline of all repetitive tasks. He used to spend so much of his day busy just being busy- spending hours on manual, repetitive tasks that could have easily been automated, running around like a chicken without a head just trying to locate information that was disorganized and spread across a dozen spreadsheets, manually contacting customers, installers, and vendors as a constant go between to coordinate jobs from start to finish, and fixing errors that could have easily been avoided with streamlined workflow. All this changed with my app that provided automation and predictability to every aspect of his business. Now when I chat my client, he’s relaxed, working less than he ever did while making more money than ever.

And I’m making more money than ever too, and man does it feel good. With an immediate glowing referral from the flooring guy, I found my next client right away and had his plumbing business thriving on a custom app that I built on Tadabase in about a week.

The short end to my long story is that using a no code online database platform like Tadabase may feel a little bit like you’re hacking the system while still making thousands of dollars a month like a traditional developer. But if you can build the client what they want, creating powerful, fully customized apps that come out even better than traditional, coded from scratch apps that clients are overjoyed with, and while you’re making a lot of money doing something you love to do, I’d say that’s a win-win. I’ve done some more research into no-code platforms and found that there are actually several companies out there that offer no-code database web apps. While I like and use Tadabase (they’re currently free in beta and the founder, Mo, has been incredible with customer support), I found that there are other great options, like Quickbase and Zoho, to name a few. So if you’re like me- technical but not techy and looking to make money in the tech world without an ounce of actual developer skills- check out no-code database web app platforms and happy building!