50Plus: Do you have to know how to code to build an app?

If you have reached 50 and want to find ways to continue earning income, my standing advice is to give serious consideration to solopreneurship. With over 3 decades of life experience, the hyperconnected world we now live in puts us in a perfect position to bypass the ageist job market. That means we can stop playing the game of sending resumes to companies, government bodies and non-profits that mostly would prefer to ignore us. By experimenting with offers to over 4 billion other people in the world based on our decades of life experience we can find ways to "hire ourselves" as solopreneurs. 

In Find Your Niche Online, my first online course, I focus on a group of role models who I chose as examples to demonstrate the range of possibilities for solopreneurs. It turns out my personal role models up until the time I created the course were all Millennials. However, collectively they didn’t represent the entire range of possibilities, which is much broader. They are all content creators who podcast, write blogs, produce video blogs where they hand out various forms of advice or in some cases offer online courses in a range of subjects based on their expertise.

It is interesting in retrospect that only one of them had experimented with either software or a physical product as an integral part of their offer to the world. Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income took the time a few years into producing his weekly podcast to create a podcasting toolset that he offered as software as a service (SaaS) to other podcast wannabes. The software was a byproduct of solving his own problem. In an earlier foray into software Pat was the only one who experimented with apps but gave it up after a few years of trying after moderate success.

From a distance creating apps is a complicated business. It feels like it has to be rooted in a deep programming background to even fantasize about giving it a go. Between the Apple app stores for both iOS on iPhones and tablets, as well as for OS X on Macs, Google Play for Androids and other app stores it seems like every idea has been touched at least once. It had never really crossed my mind to consider creating an app until I ran across the story I want to quickly share with you.

Tara Reed, Founder of Apps Without Code, as the name of her venture suggests, tells a very counterintuitive story about building apps. Her claim is that she did it successfully without any knowledge of how to program. Tara started with an app idea that was burning in her brain but didn’t want to take the time to learn to code so she set out on a search for a non-coding solution.  In the end she assembled a series of off the shelf resources that she thought might help her reach her goal. Lo and behold she reached her goal. Her resource list was anchored by Bubble.is and included tools like Zapier, IFTTT (“If This Than That”), Google Sheets, Typeform, Canva (covered in a class, Consistent Canva, currently offered in the 50Plus Nation course catalog) and a number of others.

Tara’s approach, whether or not she knew it at the time, was pure “lean startup”. I became a disciple of the lean startup method 6 years ago and have used it in accelerator programs, at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and in my online teaching at 50Plus Nation. It represents the current gospel for entrepreneurs. The goal of an entrepreneur, especially a solopreneur, is to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) that allows you to test your idea on a target audience to get feedback before you spend too much time or money without knowing that your startup idea, in your niche, is likely to succeed. Using an MVP is the best way to validate an idea. However, if the original idea doesn’t pan out, the lean startup method informs you on how to pivot, change direction, to try again with improved odds of success.

Tara is launching a revised course dubbed AppHacker where she will teach you what she did to build her app without code. The course launches officially on March 23rd. Tara has piqued my interest with what I have seen so far, including a TEDx talk she gave in Detroit last year. However, I am not yet ready to give Tara’s course my full blessing for the 50Plus demographic as part of my curation of courses offered on 50Plus Nation until I see more. I am sufficiently interested that I am going to participate in her Webinar today February 22nd at 8 PM EST to get a live taste of what her course will be like.  Feel free to join me by clicking the link below to reserve a spot.

There will be a series of three other no cost real world exercises after the Webinar before her launch sequence closes in March. Depending on how I feel about the Webinar I may decide whether to participate in those exercises too. I will let you know. Stay tuned.

If you are inclined to join me in watching Tara’s Webinar on February 22nd (tonight in the EST) you can register at this link: