A few years ago, I thought of a digital solution called The Action Bank that people could use to set goals and track improvements on a daily basis. As an experiment, I started a spreadsheet, made a list of personal key performance indicators and manually tracked them for 30 days — and got incredible results. I was able to push myself out of my comfort zone in several areas, and started to notice patterns in my behavior that I wasn’t previously aware of.
From a 30,000 foot view, The Action Bank combines various psychological methodologies with an easy to use banking style format. In psychology class, you may have learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. My app follows a similar concept, where by identifying and working on your core needs you can ultimately reach a state where you are living a balanced and fulfilled life.
I realized there was something to my idea, and others seemed to think so too as well. So I kept tinkering with The Action Bank and about a year ago, I decided to get serious and bring my system to market. I even landed a paying customer.
There was just one problem: I had a killer idea, but no product! After all, I am a business consultant by trade — not a designer.
My Excel spreadsheet worked fine for my own self improvement goals, but it would have been impossible to scale it to hundreds or thousands of end users based on the type of system that I was using.
I realized a better solution was needed, so I tried using free project management software in conjunction with Google Sheets. With this setup, I would pull data out of the platform’s API and drop it into Google Sheets and Google Analytics. But I was still stuck, as this solution was unable to scale.
Making matters more complicated, the timeline sped up when I landed a project with a major university to test The Action Bank out on 100 students. So, once again, I was in a position where I had an amazing opportunity, but no way to capitalize on it because my product wasn’t developed enough.
I needed a fully-functioning app, and fast. And since I’m not a developer, I needed help. So I started searching Google for phrases like “apps with no code” and “how to get apps built,” but everything I found was either too expensive or way past my skill level.
I could spend weeks describing the trouble that I went through with this process — and it’s something you may be going through as well. I went through the ringer trying to find someone who could help turn the idea in my head into a reality. I knew it was possible, and did not stop pursuing my dream — even with experts telling me that I would need to spend between $30,000 and $3 million to make my idea work, which was laughable.
At that point, the last thing I wanted to do was take all of my consulting business’s money and drop it into something that was still an unproven concept. I wasn’t at the point where I was comfortable going all in.
First, I needed a proof of concept and product market fit — both of which are critical components of getting a startup off the ground if you want to grow and attract investment down the line.
What I was experiencing is an age-old dilemma facing entrepreneurs, which is creating a minimum viable product (MVP), without investment, and bringing it to market in a very short amount of time before someone else thinks of the idea and capitalizes on it first.
After discovering AppSheet’s app maker platform, I was able to overcome this hurdle — and I could not be more grateful that I discovered the company. At this point our app is complete, we have a dozen testers working on it, and soon we hope to get our university project off the ground.
To get the process started, I went to Upwork.com and searched for developers who know how to use AppSheet. Here I discovered Stefan Quartemont, who has been instrumental in helping me execute The Action Bank. We had an initial conversation about my idea, he expressed interest and I sent him screenshots of what I built in excel. We started collaborating together, and Stefan took my idea and started building an app from the ground up. During that time, we were in communication with one another and it was a great collaborative experience all around.
Altogether, the process took about 6 weeks (as opposed to 6 months or longer) which is very impressive.
“We were looking at a 2 month development timeline to get this app in a position where it could serve about 100 different end users. With any other platform that’s not even remotely possible but AppSheet is very robust and takes care of a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Its graphical formatting data structure makes it extremely fast.”
As Stefan pointed out, another reason why AppSheet is so fast and easy to use is because of the real-time interface that developers can access while layering code.
“When you’re working with a ground up platform a lot of times your changes can’t be seen in real time,” Stefan said. “You will see tons of lines of code on your screen, but then you’ll go to refresh your emulator and notice something not working which is very frustrating. AppSheet makes it super easy. You make a change and see it done right in front of you. You also get error reports delivered that show critical issues you need to fix. AppSheet has saved me so much time in building things efficiently and avoiding critical mistakes.”
I love this program and working with Stefan and the rest of the AppSheet team has been fantastic. Put it this way: I was able to take an idea that was in my head for years, and turn it into reality thanks to AppSheet.
We are still in our early stages, but now that the hard work of designing the app is done, we can turn our attention to spreading the word, perfecting our solution and growing our business.
It’s amazing to think that this idea would have never gotten off the ground if it wasn’t for AppSheet.
Now, the ball is in your court. What game-changing app will you design?