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Thimo Waanders

How SubSocket built a tool to implement PayPal payments, all without code


SubSocket offers a feature-rich dashboard with everything you need to implement recurring or one-time PayPal payments, no code required.


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

I have always been fascinated by the world of web development and the endless possibilities it offers for creating beautiful and functional websites. However, despite my interest, I never felt that I had the necessary skills or knowledge to create truly advanced web applications. That all changed when I stumbled upon a platform called Bubble. With Bubble, I was able to quickly and easily create MVPs for all of my project ideas.

I never start a project with the intention of turning it into a company, but rather I find problems that I myself am facing and try to find solutions for them. That is exactly how I came to create SubSocket. I encountered difficulties implementing PayPal payments, and was surprised at how complex and confusing the process was, especially when compared to using a platform like Stripe. After talking to many people who shared the same problem, I decided to develop SubSocket as a solution for this issue. The platform offers a streamlined and user-friendly way to handle PayPal payments, making the process much less daunting and confusing.

What no code tool did you use to build SubSocket and what purpose did each play in the final product?

SubSocket is a website that was entirely built using Bubble. One of the features that I found to be particularly useful when building SubSocket was the ability to create custom plugins. These custom plugins allowed me to add a wide range of functionalities to the bubble app, such as the ability to handle the PayPal integration. This allowed me to include advanced features on SubSocket that would have been difficult to implement otherwise. Furthermore, the launch of bubble's new responsive engine provided us the ability to create even more engaging and user-friendly designs, which is a key aspect of why users use SubSocket.

What were the initial costs to get SubSocket off the ground? 

There were not a lot of financial costs associated with the development of SubSocket, but a significant amount of my time and energy went into it. As I had to work on it in my spare time, it took several months to launch the MVP. The only financial costs that I incurred while building SubSocket were the monthly subscription fee for the Bubble platform. Despite the limited costs, it was a challenging and time-consuming process, as I had to balance my work on SubSocket with my other responsibilities. Despite the challenges, I felt that it was worth it as the end result was a website that met the needs of my target audience and filled a gap in the market.

What was the process of building your product from idea to launching?

When trying to implement PayPal recurring payments, I was amazed by how confusing and complicated this process was. Products and plans could only be created with an API call and a simple dashboard was nowhere to be found. This combined with the confusing documentation made me build an early version of SubSocket in Bubble for personal use only. I noticed that I wasn't the only one struggling with this and after some research I found hundreds of posts from people struggling just like me. That's when I decided to spend time on optimizing and expanding the feature set of SubSocket to make implementing PayPal payments fun again. 

How do you attract customers?

We have a multifaceted approach when it comes to attracting customers. One of our main strategies is to optimize our landing page for Search Engine Optimization to increase its visibility and ranking in search engine results. We are also experimenting with Google Ads as a way to reach our target audience and drive traffic to our website. Additionally, we have created Bubble integration, which has proven to be an effective way to attract traffic and engage with potential customers. The bubble plugin that we've developed has already been installed over 1400 times, which demonstrates its popularity among our users. We constantly monitor and analyze the performance of these strategies and make adjustments accordingly to ensure that we are effectively reaching and attracting potential customers.

What are the biggest challenges you've overcome building SubSocket?

The biggest challenge we faced during the development of our product was the creation of a user-friendly interface that was easy to understand and use. A significant amount of time and resources were dedicated to perfecting the user interface  to ensure that the user experience was as seamless and streamlined as possible. This was a critical aspect of the development process as we understood that if the product was not easy to use, it would not be successful in the market. We knew that we had to put in the necessary effort to make the product intuitive and user-friendly, so that even those with little to no technical experience could navigate it with ease.

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

Marketing a product and securing paying customers is an intimidating challenge, as I have personally experienced. While technical skills in building and design are important, the art of marketing requires a unique set of skills that are not always easy to come by. It is an ongoing process of learning and adaptation, and success requires persistence, creativity, and patience. However, do not let these obstacles discourage you, as they are to overcome with hard work and determination. One crucial strategy is to engage with your early adopters and solicit their feedback. This can provide valuable insights into customer preferences and needs, leading to necessary improvements and greater appeal to your target audience. So, do not hesitate to reach out to these early customers, and make the most of their input!

What are your future plans for SubSocket?

The goal of SubSocket is to make the process of adding PayPal payments to websites as simple and hassle-free as possible. That's why we're constantly looking for new ways to expand our payment options. Currently, we offer one-time and recurring PayPal payments, but we're keen on adding PayPal marketplace payments to our list of services. This would allow our users to easily handle all their marketplace transactions through SubSocket, making the process even more convenient.

Another area we're exploring is the possibility of using SubSocket to manage PayPal invoices. This would provide our users with a one-stop-shop solution for all their PayPal payment needs, including invoicing. The idea of using SubSocket to handle invoicing aligns with our goal of simplifying the process for our users and it sounds like a great fit for our platform. By expanding our services to include PayPal marketplace payments and invoice management, we hope to become the go-to service for anyone looking to add PayPal payments to their website.

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

The rise of no-code tools has the potential to greatly impact entrepreneurship by making it easier for individuals to create and launch new businesses. These tools allow users to create functional websites, apps, and other software without needing to have extensive technical knowledge. This can lower the barrier to entry for starting a business and allow more people to become entrepreneurs. Additionally, no-code tools may also help entrepreneurs create MVPs more quickly and efficiently, which can be beneficial for testing and validating business ideas. As No Code tools lower the barrier of entry to web development, many more entrepreneurs can build and test their product ideas.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

If you want to follow my journey or want to see what I create using Bubble you can follow me on Twitter: @thmawa

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