Today we are joined by Jordan Richardson, a seven figure startup founder who developed his entire business using no code technology. Jordan went through Angelpad and helps drop some tips on how to get noticed in such a competitive marketplace.
His journey included several ups and downs he'll be discussing and when it's all over, you'll be amazed at what's next.
Grab your drink and get ready. This is the caffeinated hustle, the best place to learn about entrepreneurs and FTS and life expert advice and guest interviews to launch your business and NFT journey further than you ever imagined. Now, here's your host, entrepreneur, coffee fanatic, and founder of the NFT project, caffeinated creatures, Ben Carson. Welcome back the caffeinated hustle. I'm your host, Ben Carson. today, I've got a very exciting guest really excited for this podcast, we're going to teach you guys some things that I don't think you've ever been here before, learn before and it's just gonna be unique. And I'm really excited to add that value to your day. So today, I've got with me, Jordan Richardson, and he is somebody I've known for a little while. And his story is just, it's just very, very impressive. You'll be blown away with this guy. Basically, he was someone that didn't know how to code just didn't like where he was at in life. And he just went after he just got that hustle on. And he taught himself how to code through something unique that we'll talk about today. And from there, he was able to build a software business that got accepted into ANGEL pad and is valued over seven figures. And this is from a guy that never knew how to code before he took this journey. So I'm just really excited to have him on and Jordan, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me excited to be here. Absolutely. So we don't wanna waste somebody's time. We're just gonna jump right into it. I just want to hear about your background for basically everyone listening before you went to coding. Did you learn about coding in college at all? Did you dabble on the side? Or did you just go after it when you got started? Yeah, good question. And slight correction. I actually still don't know how to code. I'll explain that in a minute. But my career path was pretty insane. I joke around that I majored in football. Although it's a joke, it's kind of true. I unfortunately, didn't focus on academics as much as I would have liked. Now, you know, I played college football, I had NFL dreams and aspirations. And that was, after six or seven surgeries and lots of injuries that just didn't happen. So yeah, I ended up getting recruited by Teach for America, which is like a program where they recruit people who aren't necessarily teaching majors that might be interested in doing their part to help out you know, and so they put them in in underperforming communities, and give them the fast track to the teacher licensure, etc. And so I was a sixth grade math teacher right out of college. And it was a lot of fun. And I actually really loved it loved the kids. It was a great experience. But my particular school district had this scripted curriculum that I couldn't deviate from. And in some ways, I almost felt like man, I feel like a trained monkey could do what I'm doing. So I wanted to try something else. I've always kind of had aspirations of being an entrepreneur, having my own business, commanding my own destiny, doing my own lifestyle. And so I decided to make the jump and got into sales to kind of, I guess, sales is a good segue into entrepreneurship. Because if you can't sell, you know, it's hard to be an entrepreneur. So got into that I did some door to door stuff in Texas and did some long story short, became a solar salesman, and then stumbled upon no code, which I don't know if your audience is familiar with it. But it's a new technology that allows you to program visually without actually having to know the the actual coding language itself. So when you say I'm a coder, or when I taught myself to code, I guess I did teach myself programming, visual programming, but I still don't know how to code. And I'm super excited about this new technology that I used. And anyways, my solar boss had this business idea, and we ran with it, and it worked well. And, and I built it and yeah, hopefully that answers your question. But no, absolutely. That is. That is an amazing undertaking. That's why I just love entrepreneurship so much, because there's just there are no restrictions. You want to go for something, you gotta go for it. I gotta ask you, did you find some YouTube videos? How do you teach yourself something you've never done before? That's a really good question. A lot of trial and error, a lot of 4am nights with a Dr. Pepper in my hand banging my head against the wall. A lot of a lot of asking questions. The no code community is awesome. Particularly the tool that I leverage the most was called Bable bable.io. And it's an awesome tool that allows you to program visually, they have a forum, I asked a lot of questions. I got a lot of help. And I just, I just figured it out. I don't know, I just it's fairly intuitive. There is a learning curve, obviously. But I just really, really wanted to make that business work. And I was motivated. And I think, you know, if there's a will there's a way and figured it out. Absolutely. So I'd like to talk about coding and a little bit but I think for the most part of our listeners right now, I think the business accelerator, the fact you've built a business that you didn't actually know how to code and you still built it. And it was so impressive. They got noticed by Angel pad and I want to talk about that a little bit. So what's the business that you built? Revit ties.com REV, etc. ZTE, we kind of made up the name, we, originally our solar company, you know, it was kind of born out of a need that we had. In fact, I personally had a deal a solar deal I was super excited about it was gonna be a nice little commission for me. And the client was super excited. We were about to sign the deal. And then they last minute decided to choose a competitor of ours. And I was like, why, you know? And they said, well, we just, we just figured that you only had four or five reviews on Google and this competitor had 172 or something. And so it's killing us. So that's kind of the idea originally, is we wanted to really help local businesses get reviews and up their review game. And that was kind of the original idea. And then we decided, You know what, this no code with no code, you can build a lot faster than you can with code. And so we thought, why don't we add referrals to that? And why don't we add loyalty, we started getting a little feature happy, you know, and now we've since kind of really honed in on referrals. And that's been our real moneymaker. And we've really, I guess, marked ourself as the best tool for referrals. But originally, we started with reviews. So I don't even know if that answered your question. Sorry. But no, it's 100%. I liked seeing the progression of a business, you know, you start out with your MVP, or minimum viable product, it works enough, and then you just start changing and then you go overboard, you have to correct a little bit. And so you crush this thing. It's getting noticed, when do you decide you know what, it'd be really nice if we had some more funding and you go after this business accelerator. Tell me about that path? Yeah. So I built the software, just a pretty crappy version of the software and like two months, and within two months, we decided, Hey, we got to start selling this. So we call their accountant and said, Hey, we have this software that'll help you with reviews and referrals. He said, Okay, I mean, he didn't even see the software, he just knew he needed the problem to be solved. So he's awesome. He paid us $1,000 For a year contract. And he's still a client to this day, he still loves it. So and that was, I think, yeah, five years ago or so. Anyway, so we just kept selling and kept like, like we just discussed, we kept iterating, we didn't fall in love with our original idea. We just kept changing and modifying and taking feedback and iterating more and more and more. And by the time we were a year into it, we had 25,000 of recurring revenue monthly, and we had a real business and we said, Man, we kind of take this thing to the next level. And so we had heard, you know, we were pitching some investors, and one of the investors said, Hey, have you Are you familiar with Y Combinator? And, and we had heard about it, but we didn't really know much about it. And we thought, Well, why don't we Why don't we give that a shot. So we looked into Y Combinator, they're probably the most prestigious famous startup accelerator. But then we started looking at others. And we were really attracted to Angel pad. They call themselves the anti Y Combinator. And a great sales pitch right there. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. For your listeners who aren't familiar with Y Combinator Angel pad. Basically, it's a startup accelerator, or an incubator that they pay you some money, they take a little slice of your company. So for example, Angel pad paid us 120,000, in exchange for 5% of our company. And then they for us, we flew out to New York, we lived in New York for a few months, and they just really groom every aspect of your business. They help you think through your assumptions, they help you consider you know, what audience is best to target. They help you nail down your product market fit, they help you prepare your pitch for you for investors, they intro you to investors. It's a really cool experience. We loved it. Wow, we were with I think there were 19 startups or 18 startups in our cohort. And we were all there together. It was pre COVID. So we're all there together. I think their most recent cohort was virtual, which I'm glad that we didn't have to do it that way. Because we we met some amazing, brilliant people. And it was great for the networking aspect of things as well. And yeah, absolutely loved it. That's awesome. So So you said you were there for a couple months? Is it required to be there that long or as long as you're getting value decide to stay longer? Good question. For Angel pad. It was just just a two month two and a half month thing. And then the lat the tail end of the third month was just pitching investors. We would fly from New York to San Francisco quite often. And we would meet with investors meet with, you know, startup gurus, we'd have sessions with people who are smart about you know, doing intellectual property and all that type of stuff. We met with all sorts of different people and it was just we pitched Sequoia which is probably the most prestigious VC firm out there. And that was nerve wracking and fun all the same time, but Yeah, it was it was a great experience and learned a ton. And it was just jam packed all into. Yeah, a few months we lived. We wanted to save some money. So we got a little Airbnb in Jersey City, just just across the river from from Manhattan. And then we take the take the subway over to Manhattan every day for our angel concessions. But yeah, it was a good good time. So now when you did this, were you were you married? Did you have kids at that time? I did. Yes. And that was a tough sacrifice. It was. In some ways, I was almost like, you know, I'm kind of a, I guess I'm a sucker for just I just love my my kids so much. And my wife, and I just didn't want to leave them that for that long. It was it was a hard decision to make. But, you know, we thought about it, we prayed about it. And we felt good about it. And it paid off. So yeah. I appreciate you saying that, though. Because I think you know, if you want to take your business to a certain point, and you decide to go down this path, like there's a sacrifice there, if you have family, friends, whatever, you have to give up for a while. That's that's what you got to do. So did that accelerator program lead to more investments from other companies? Did you feel like you'd gotten enough out of them? You didn't have to keep going? Yeah, that's a good question. So we pitched lots of investors, we got a lot of nose, honestly, because I think our business model was pretty saturated. Frankly, we were in a pretty saturated market, which is a good thing. In many ways. It's validation of the pain. And we've been able to sell it well, we got a lot of knows that from investors that had tried it, or that had tried investing in this space before. And it just didn't work for various reasons. But we did get some yeses. And we were it's funny, we were kind of headed down that path of really raising a lot of money and going after the rocket ship growth model. You know, it's if you raise from VCs, the good news is, you have a very good chance of being becoming a multi million dollar, even potentially billion dollar company. The bad news is, if it doesn't work, it's gonna fail hard and fast. It's like, boom, or bust type model. And we kind of stepped before we signed the paperwork. I mean, we did raise a few 100,000 from angels, as well as Angel pad, etc. But before signing the.on, the dotted line from a big VC firm, we kind of take a step back and decide what do we want out of life? You know, who are we what do we care about? And we ended up just deciding we liked the lifestyle. I mean, we were already profitable. And it was like, why do we need, it's not like we're desperate for funds, we have a business that's churning, you know, pumping out revenue every single month, why not just grow it sustainably and profitably and have our own lifestyle business and be our own bosses, and not have to answer to VCs. And so that was kind of our switch, our decision that we made, and I'm grateful we made it, who knows, maybe, maybe in the next six months or so we'll decide to raise money. But but for now, that's, that's kind of the path we took. So I love that answer. I mean, I think that's, that's kind of how I would have gone to but I mean, everyone's different, you don't know until the money's there. And you have to make that call. But the fact that, you know, happiness can't be described by how much percentage ownership you've given out, or how many zeroes you have on the business balance sheet. I mean, it's, it's what makes you comfortable with getting up and grinding every day. So that's cool. You're able to walk away from that knowing you didn't walk away, because you failed, you walked away, because it was your choice. That's a good feeling. Yeah, it was, it was a good feeling. And we feel like we made the right decision. So that's phenomenal. So I think we're gonna move past this, but I want to close it out on this section with if someone's going to go down this path of trying to get into an accelerator program and incubator program. What's one piece of advice? You know, now you wish you would have known at the start? It's a great question, I would say the early traction we had didn't hurt for sure. So if you can have traction going into an application for an accelerator, that just helps your chances a lot. I mean, we went in with 25,000 a month of recurring monthly revenue, it was a very proven business even before we applied, so I can't, I mean, I can't pretend that didn't really help. And if possible to have traction and traction doesn't have to be revenue. I mean, if you have X number of signups or X number of free users, or free trials, or whatever it might be, or if it's not an app or software, if you have some sort of indicator or piece of data that you can show, hey, there's there's a need for this, there's an interest out there, traction can be that too. It doesn't have to be revenue, per se. But if you have traction, that's great. If you don't have traction, it's a little bit more of an uphill battle to get accepted into something like Y Combinator or angel pad or there's a million other startup accelerators out there. But if you don't, I would say just have a compelling idea, a compelling vision, or a compelling as well as a compelling team. I think one of the things they look for is if You're just a solo founder, that's fine. But if you have a co founder, they want to see synergy between the two of you. Because unfortunately, one of the biggest causes of startup failure isn't necessarily it's a bad idea. It's not even necessarily that it's poorly executed. It's just found a breakup happens more often than you might think. And so they look for synergy between the founders, which I'm grateful to have had with Richard, my co founder. And I think also, they just want to see why you have an unfair advantage in the industry. So this is kind of a funny example. But for us, we are from Utah. And we're members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And they knew that we there's this I don't know this, there's this weird like, stereotype of, you know, the Utah quote unquote, Mormons, we're trying to get away from that nickname. But there's that stereotype of, hey, if you can sell religion, door to door, you can sell a business, you can be a good, you can build a good sales team. And it's funny, because when we were in San Francisco talking to Sequoia, they said the same thing. They said, Oh, Utah, it's a great place to build a sales team. That is great. All right. So that was funny enough, that was one of the reasons Angel pad accepted us. Just because we were able to show, hey, we have this unfair advantage in the industry, all the other companies, they may not have this amazing honeypot of sales reps that they can pull out of BYU, or that they can pull it. And so it sounds silly, but it's if you can find some sort of an angle or some sort of a unique value prop that you uniquely add to the industry versus all the other companies out there. Why does my company have an unfair advantage? That's huge as well. So all right, you heard it here first have an advantage or moved to Utah. There you go. That was awesome. Man. I love your story, too. Because like not only did you kill this, like we could just stop there for most guests, but like you've got a whole act two coming on here that they don't even know about yet. Like this. Like you are just a beast. I mean, I'm so impressed. So revenue wise takes off. It's it's killing it, it gets funded, you decide you don't need the funding, you come back, we're just going to ride off into the sunset building out rabbit ties, and then something happens that kind of changes everything for you. So what causes you to shift? Yeah, good question. So we're really hitting our product market fit. We're really growing fast. And I'm still the only developer we I guess, this is probably a mistake we made and unfortunately, is we were very heavy in hiring salespeople, which is good, but I was kind of taken on a lot of work and it was just getting more and more stressful. And then suddenly, I you know, one day I have this intense chest pain pain down the left arm like I call the ambulance. My dad died of a heart attack at 42. So I have these, you know, flashbacks and, and it just freaking me out. And so I go into the ER and they say no, you're totally fine. And anyways, several er trips later, I keep having these weird chest pains, shortness of breath, all this, I won't bore you with all the medical stuff. But I kept having this stuff. And I thought maybe it's just the stress or something I don't know. It's just, and I wasn't sure. Long story short. Now I know that it was it's actually the post effects. the after effects of COVID Apparently affects certain people. I don't know what it is with my body. But COVID effects me, I still have symptoms to this day, even a year and a half, almost two years later, I still have really weird symptoms going on. So Anyways, long story short, that whole ordeal for six months, I had no clue what was wrong with me. I thought I was dying. I kind of had some, some soul searching moments, you know, sitting in the hospital, like what is going on with me and the doctor, I saw dozens of specialists and nobody knew what was up. And so I really started to think, Okay, what do I value personally, what is what matters, you know? And so I decided, You know what, my partner Richard is on the rocket ship trajectory without funding. He's, he's on the he's really growing fast. I kind of want more of a lifestyle. And so I kind of decided to pull back a little bit and I stepped away from Revit ties. I'm still a technically an advisor for them. And I work a few hours a week just helping out the new hire we hired for for the development work. And we actually are hiring another developer as well. And but but yeah, I kind of stepped away and I kind of went back to my roots, my original roots of teaching. I was a sixth grade math teacher, like I mentioned originally, and I kind of missed that. And I thought, you know, the perfect business model for Jordan Richardson is teaching and entrepreneurship mixed. And so anyways, I kind of pivoted a little bit and although I'm still very involved with Revit ties and wish their success obviously I'm starting a new business where I teach this no code technology and teach kind of everything I learned through The business side of things and how to start a startup and how to how to pitch investors and how to convince them that no code is just as good as code and how to actually build your dream software and all that stuff. So now I've started no code advantage.com. And that's kind of the trajectory I'm on now. So that is awesome. And I mean, clearly you are an entrepreneur to the core. I mean, entrepreneurs can just get punched in the face and say, Thank you, can I have another? And it's just it's a lifestyle man. It's something that if you're not one, you're just a Why are you doing this, just go get a job and be normal. Just, you just can't you just, even if you're never paid again, you're like, I still have to do this, I'll find another way to make money. But I have to be an entrepreneur, like you were, you were just in it. And I totally respect that. I think the the listeners here will totally understand that as well. It's just, it's to your core to your identity. It's what you're gonna do. That is awesome. So what I love, so have you launched no code advantage is officially live? Is it coming up soon? What's going on with it, as of now, it is almost launched, I'm so close. And between a million other things going on in life, you know, it's just funny how things are drawn out. But I'm going to launch either this week or next week, I've given out a free beta version of my course to a few friends, you know, and they the feedback I've gotten is really huge. They really like it a lot. They see a vision of how they can build their own tech business. And that's what I hope I honestly, I feel like I just stumbled upon this gift. And I want to share it, I want to I want to help other people have the same gift I received. So So let's put this in perspective. If you weren't using us bubble.io. If you weren't using bubble, how long would have taken you to code rabbit ties. As a non coder? I can't say for sure. But having I have a cousin who's a coder, he's like a brother to me. But yeah, I would say I would say it probably cuts the time down by 1010 times. So I'd say maybe, yeah, maybe what what I could do in a day, it might take 10 days. And that might even be conservative, honestly, it's pretty amazing what you can accomplish with no code. It's like, it's game changing, in my opinion. And in my opinion, it's the future. It's where we're headed. I mean, it's the the obvious next shift for development. I mean, every single coding language is trying to make it simpler and easier and have just another layer of abstraction to make it simpler for a human to actually program and, and then this technology, in my opinion, is where we're headed for the future. So that's amazing. That's amazing. I remember when I was a teenager, I used to actually build websites with Microsoft front page, and then sell them on eBay. And I literally didn't have a job from 16 datings, I was just flipping websites. And then Shopify comes along, and you can build a website where for 30 bucks in a matter of an hour. So it totally makes sense that that bubble and platforms like they're just gonna do the same thing where the software developers serve. That's crazy. So if you are trying to learn something new, and you learn this, what type of you know, because not everyone wants to leave their nine to five, some people just enjoy learning new skills, maybe doing little side hustle, making a little extra income, but not trying to just uproot everything? Is there a marketplace for those type of people that just want to make a little side income doing coding? Absolutely, absolutely. In fact, bubble developers, I mean, I'm pretty sold on bubble, but no code developers in general, but bubble developers specifically are in high demand right now. And if you don't care about starting your own tech company, still learn bubble because you can make a great living, just freelancing, your skills, in fact, I do it a little bit on the side. And I just, you know, I just got a deal that, you know, might take me a week or two to build, and I'm getting, you know, roughly 10k for the project. So you can really make some good money as a freelancer. And I would say, I would say if you focus on being great with one no code tool, I chose bubble just because I think it's by far the most versatile. But if you choose something, I guess my advice would be, Don't dabble in a ton of no code tools. There are a lot of tools to choose from, I would say become great with one or two, maybe three and and sell your services pitch your services is as you know, I'm the best at this. That's that's what I my advice I would give that's very cool. Is there a marketplace where developers can go pitch themselves? Like is there like Do you have something with no Code Academy or no advantage? What's the website say one more time so we can all know code advantage.com I have a certification, I'm going to be pretty stingy with giving it out because I want it to be a highly valued certification, not just anybody can get but if they want, if you're interested, come take my course learn the skills and apply to be certified. And I'll give you a no code advantage certification which will give you some street cred. The no code community or there's code map.io which is a good place to tout your skills and get hired, you know, there's places like Upwork and Fiverr, etc. But there's yeah, there's a lot of places where you can, you can post your profile, post your portfolio, what you've worked on and get hired. I get emails all the time of people saying, hey, who would you recommend? You know? And if you're good, I'll recommend you. So that's awesome. I don't know, it'd be kind of cool to go through your course. And then when you get that certification, you're based on a shortlist for people because it's that hard to get. That's, that's awesome. Oh, man, I love it. You're taking your skills, you've taken your losses, you've taken your wins. And now it's you've put them all together, just keep building, I think you're the definition of an entrepreneur. I mean, like, we're having you on the podcast, man, because you're just exactly the type that we want. For our listeners. It's just a phenomenal journey you've had so far, I appreciate it. Well, yeah, I mean, I'm obviously touting my, my successes right now. But the reality of entrepreneurship is it's there's a lot of peaks and a lot of valleys. And it's, it's it's a hard path, but it's it's a fun path. And it's, it's just so cool to know that you can command your own destiny and you can you can make of life that what you want out of it, you know, you're not tethered down to a nine to five, and I love it. So yeah, I mean, without question, we can definitely talk about failures all day long. Because we've, we've probably got 20, we could really list out if we wanted to. The moral of story is you just have to keep going. I mean, had you stopped when you you felt you were just too sick to keep going, you've never been here and, and the amount of people you're gonna able to help now with this course that want to get into coding, because there's got to be a better way than YouTube. YouTube is never, you can learn just enough and then you have to go do something else. But I love what you're doing. So that's awesome. Thank you. Appreciate it. I want to ask you one final question for entrepreneurship. If you could do it all over. And one piece of advice for yourself, what's one thing you wish you had known when you started? Great question. This sounds crazy. But I am a firm believer that everyone is faking it till they make it and the American dream. Yeah. Do not undersell yourself. If you think you can do it. If you believe you can. You're right. If you believe you can't, you're right. Yeah. And if you're just unafraid to plow through obstacles and figure crap out and just just become who you want to be you can I just really believe that it sounds cliche, it sounds, you know, like, I'm just, you know, preaching some I don't know, nonsense, but I really believe it. just plow through the obstacles become who you want to be. Fake it till you make it. That's my mantra and figure it out. And you will reason everyone knows that same. There's a lot of truth in that saying, I've heard from Will Smith. I don't know who actually said it, but it's He who says he can and he says he can't are both usually right. You know, yes, that's the truth. You just got to trust that you can just fail forward and just keep getting better until you're there. So yep. 100% Well, buddy, I really appreciate your time here. And obviously the last question is, what's your favorite caffeinated beverage? Dr. Pepper? Dr. Pepper for the weird. I mean, for me, away from it, unfortunately, because of the health stuff but yeah, that's, that's still I mean, we got to we got to do what we got to do. But you got it. Yep. Jordan, I appreciate your time. And thanks for just all that value dropped for our community and tell us one last time where we can go find you know, code advantage.com. I'm on Twitter at no code advantage, YouTube at no code advantage. I'm trying to ramp up my youtube channel a lot here soon. So. Yeah, thank you so much. I appreciate your podcast is awesome. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it, buddy. Thanks for listening to the caffeinated hustle. Sponsored by caffeinated labs LLC. For more information for to connect with Ben. Check us out online at caffeinated labs.io. Or email us at support at caffeinated labs.io. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode. Or give us a follow on social media by checking the links in the description. We'll see you next time.