How a dad on paternity leave used no-code to start a $$$ online business
David Bressler had only been learning Bubble for three weeks when his site for creating Excel formulae using A.I. went viral. Less than 9 months later he’s switched to part-time in his day job to focus more on growing his new business.
Briefly introduce yourself
Hey, I’m David Bressler - based out of Orlando, Florida. I’ve been dabbling in no-code before “no-code” was even a phrase. In college, I built several Wordpress sites for myself and did a little freelancing work for small businesses for some extra beer money.
I’m currently working part-time for what was my full-time job for 6 years, as I’ve been focused on growing Excelformulabot.com, a web application and spreadsheet add-on for Excel & Google Sheets that uses AI to translate text instructions into formulas within seconds.
Describe your career journey prior to discovering no-code
Throughout my 11 year career, I’ve always worked in analytics, specifically marketing analytics.
I didn’t always love numbers as much as I do now, but when my career started - I started asking a lot of questions, oftentimes starting with “why.” Why is business down? Why are we marketing in this market? Why are we discontinuing this initiative?
I always sought answers, but oftentimes, business decisions are based on gut instinct. My curiosity got the best of me, which is why I started to go deep in analytics, so I can answer the questions myself and have supporting reasons as to…why.
How did you discover no-code?
I was on paternity leave in June of last year and I knew I wanted to build something within the six weeks in which I was off from my full-time job. Given my analytical background, I started to see more and more use cases and applications of artificial intelligence on my Twitter feed.
I wasn’t following anyone in no-code or AI, but the Twitter algorithm started to tailor my feed towards it, and it ultimately was the gateway into the no-code community on Twitter.
I had experience working in Webflow previously, where I built a website that is currently pending an acquisition - EverythingByZipCode.com.
But, through Twitter, I learned about Bubble.io, which is the tool that I used to build Excelformulabot.
I built a barebone AI application that more-or-less included three elements - an input box, generate button and an output box to generate Excel formulas. No login, no marketing pages, no paywall…nothing!
After several weeks of learning Bubble.io through trial and error and watching YouTube videos, this is what I had to show for it. It doesn’t look like much, but several hundred thousand people requested a formula within a month span.
How long was it from starting to learn Bubble to launching the site?
It took roughly 3 weeks from learning about Bubble.io to launching the single page application. For the next month, I added more features to the single page app.
Then, because I wasn’t monetizing the site, I was forced to move quickly in making an actual website - subscription-based, SaaS looking, etc. It took me about a month to build the new website, which I’ve continuously worked on weekly since then.
How did you drive so much traffic to your website? Did you do any marketing?
Innocidently, I posted the site on the Excel subreddit just looking for a few testers.
That post quickly went “viral” or as viral as a post can get in an Excel subreddit. Someone recommended I share it on the InternetIsBeautiful subreddit, where it quickly receives tens of thousands of upvotes.
The next day, several creators with millions of followers on TikTok that share “websites that feel illegal to know” picked it up - one of them being Matty McTech, with 4.1M followers.
I’ve found that the content creator world is a lot of “monkey see, monkey do,” so shortly after big name creators shared it, it was shared by several hundred micro-influencers. I’ve doubled-down on the influencer/creator industry by launching the Excelformulabot ‘Earn Cash’ program, where anyone can promote the site to earn cash.
I also run light PPC campaigns around people searching for Excel formula help or Excel courses.
How have you monetized Excelformulabot?
The site is monetized via subscriptions (95%) and affiliate sales (5%), where I promote complimentary Excel products like spreadsheet templates and courses.
Describe how no-code has changed your career trajectory
I don’t know yet. To be determined! The company is growing exponentially. It’s crazy to think that I was early on the AI train, but I still think we’re also very early when it comes to no-code. I don’t think learning no-code will change my career trajectory, rather it will be everything I learned along the way in terms of bootstrapping and growing a startup.
How are you leveraging your previous skills and experience in your new career?
Coincidentally, I think building in Bubble.io has more parallels to working in Excel and in analytics than it does computer science. So much of it is rule-based login, so having a background in Excel and analytics and being able to understand database structures has been incredibly helpful.
What were the biggest challenges to learning no-code and making the career change?
Just how easy it is to build no-code web apps. It’s a blessing and a curse. I wouldn’t have been able to build what I did if I had to code it. But, the same can be said about the 30 other people that copied my idea and built their own Excel AI website. I just stumbled upon this job posting, which is hilarious in so many ways.
What were your biggest lessons learned?
You’re not going to know everything. For the no-code applications out there, there are so many things to learn and constantly new features being rolled out. I built a pretty cool website with a handful of integrations, but I can promise you - I don’t know a tenth of what’s possible in Bubble.io.
If you’re finding yourself stuck in a problem, see if there’s a YouTube video. Every day, there’s more and more tutorials being shared on YouTube. Established creators are making it easier for young creators by sharing their tips and tricks. If you still can’t figure it out, there’s many resources on Upwork that can help.
What’s your plan for the next 5 years?
I don’t know my plan for the next 5 days, let alone the next five years. So much has changed in my life in just the past few months.
What advice would you give to others hoping to change careers the way you did?
If you have an innovative idea for a website/web app, don’t think there’s a high barrier to entry. Gone are the days where you need to pay an agency hundreds of thousands of dollars. There’s no-code agencies that can spin up a proof of concept for you in a week for a fraction of the cost. There’s also YOU. YOU don’t need to know how to code to build something awesome!
Interested in learning to build apps with no-code? For a limited time only you can get pre-launch access to my new Zero To Pro Bubble Course at a 50% discount on the full price. Click here to start learning!