Drew Thomas

How Work x Whistle built multiple profitable companies without code

Work x Whistle

I don't just build differently... I do everything differently.

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What's your personal background? What motivated you to start your own company?

I originally cofounded a digital agency while I was in college for graphic design. So I started as a designer, and the agency turned me into a developer, marketer, and entrepreneur as well. After 13 years, I started consulting on my own. To pay the bills I did a lot of code and marketing work for clients, but I started a few side businesses and fell further and further down the nocode rabbithole. A few years ago, I made the decision to commit to nocode and officially branded Work and Whistle as a nocode shop.

The motivation to commit to nocode was mostly about timing. I've had confidence in it since before it was called nocode, but only recently has the ecosystem matured enough for more advanced client work and larger adoption. I wanted to commit to the trend and become someone who can help shape it, so I decided to be as "all in" as I could be.

What no code tools do you use when working with clients to automate their processes?

The tools I use most for client projects in general have been Webflow, Zapier, Integromat, and Airtable. I'm pretty sure I'll be using more Parabola in the future.

What's an example of a recent project you worked on to automate tasks within a company?

I recently used Parabola to run a Webflow site off of Airtable. It was my first time doing anything real with Parabola, and I was really impressed. I ended up with a flow where we check Airtable for "ready to go live" status, create Webflow collection items for those, and then update the original Airtable record to "live." Then, we pull both the Webflow data and the Airtable data, sync them into one updated dataset, and then push any updates back to Webflow to go live.

How do you attract clients?

Being active in the nocode community and running the No Code List have been pretty unbelievable for attracting clients. These days, I'm on a couple referral lists for different platforms, but even those relationships originally came from being active and helpful on nocode Twitter and in Slack groups!

What are the biggest challenges you've overcome building Work x Whistle?

There's a lot of learning and change happening right now with nocode client work. Some of the biggest challenges have actually been things like client handoff and working with lots of different tools and accounts at once. It's getting better, but the whole space is pretty new, so there's friction for sure.

What's your advice for non-technical people who want to start a company?

Non-technical is a spectrum, but if you consider yourself non-technical, you can 100% build, run, and grow a company. You won't need to learn code, but to be clear... you'll probably need to become a little technical.

What are your future plans for Work x Whistle?

Who knows! Work and Whistle is an umbrella company that also runs three other profit-generating businesses, so it will always exist in that form. The consultancy itself is completely flexible... it's a way to make money, but it's simple to pause if something more important comes up!

You've launched multiple no code products such as No Code List and Really Simple Store in addition to running Work x Whistle. What inspired you to create these products and what are your future plans for them?

No Code List is essentially a passion project. One day I'd like to make money from it, but right now it pays for itself in credibility and exposure. In the future, it'd be great to make it more of a deliberate community with more user generated content.

Really Simple Store started as something completely different than what it is today. It's shifted many times over the last five or six years. Its most recent form... basically a nocode product embed... is what I and my long-term customers have always used Really Simple Store for. It used to have a storefront and more "extras," but today it's just a shopping cart that triggers Zapier, and it serves a very specific audience.

I have another product, Joustlist, that's about to be re-launched as a nocode product on Bildr. It's currently a React web app and API, but I was able to use the API with Bildr, so it's a seamless switch data-wise, and it's much faster to make updates now.

How do you think the rise of no code tools will impact entrepreneurship?

I think most of us, even the believers, are underestimating how far-reaching the impacts of no code tools will be. I think the effects will be 100x what any of us are imaging now.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

If you follow me on Twitter, you might know I've been hyping Bildr lately. The reason I hype it is because I actually believe it's going to create a new nocode paradigm. It will basically redefine what nocode is for a lot of people, especially the naysayers. Bildr isn't alone, either. In the very near future, the meaning of nocode and who can build what is going to radically change, so if you're reading this and on the fence... dive in! It's about to get wild.

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