In this interview Andrews talks about how he built an agency that helps businesses automate their processes with Zapier.
Hey Andrew, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?
I was born in the south of England, spent a few formative years living in London before burning out on that and heading out to explore the world. I ended up as an expat in Budapest where I’ve now been living for 6 years.
Can you tell us a little bit about Luhhu, what is it?
Luhhu is an agency I set up when I became a Zapier Certified Expert. Working with a small (but growing) team of other freelancers, we help businesses automate their processes with Zapier. While most agencies focus on being experts in other tools – like Pipedrive and Hubspot – and use Zapier to extend their work, we focus 100% on helping people solve problems using Zapier.
How did you come up with the idea of the product? What was your inspiration or motivation?
I first discovered Zapier while working on another side hustle of mine. It didn’t make all that much money so hiring people wasn’t an option. I decided to automate as much as possible, found Zapier and quickly got very good at it. It all clicked.
In search of more money I started freelancing for other businesses, first picking up work through Fiverr and Upwork, before realising the demand was so high I could build a full time business around it. Luhhu launched at the very end of 2018 and it’s grown rapidly since.
What problem or pain point is your business solving? Who are your customers?
The amount of time businesses waste on repetitive manual admin is insane. Our favourite clients to work with are they ones that get that. They’re happy to invest some time and money upfront to free it up going forward.
In terms of the type of business, we have anything and everything, from law firms, to real estate companies, ecommerce stores and even occupational therapists. There really isn’t a type of business that couldn’t benefit from automating their processes.
Are you a full time maker or this is a side hustle?
This is a full time job for me.
Is your business profitable? How many customers do you have? How many of them are paying?
We’ve been profitable since day one, including paying myself a very comfortable salary. In the last year as an agency and before that as a freelancer I’ve worked with over 200 clients. Clients tend to come and go, bringing us new projects a few times a year. This means at any one time we might be juggling upto 10 active clients. It’s fun, if a little hectic.
Do you know how to code?
Did you ever run into things that you couldn’t figure out without coding? Are there are any limitations of the no-code tools you are using?
Not so far. I’d like to think I’ve found workarounds for just about every imaginable problem using Zapier. Some of them could definitely be solved easier with code though, and I’ll happily tell a client when they’re stretching the capabilities of Zapier too far.
Do you think you will ever need to learn how to code or hire a developer?
What were the first steps when you started the business?
I threw up a profile on Upwork and started bidding for work, and when I won it I over delivered to ensure good reviews. Once I started to get regular work I built infrastructure to support my work, mostly using Airtable. One of my biggest moves was to get certified by Zapier which brought in a new stream of work and added to my credibility.
Once I founded my business I stepped things up, promoting on Twitter, building more stuff on Airtable to manage my work and manage a team – and I built the agency’s website using Webflow.
What kind of no-code tools did you use?
As mentioned, Airtable manages the work, Slack manages the comms, while Zapier (of course) ties it all together.
What are your favorite no-code tools and why?
I probably spend 60% of my day logged into Zapier, but I’ve tinkered or built side projects or experiments in so many other tools – Integromat, Bubble, Landen, Webflow, Table2Site and Carrd to name a few that come to mind.
How did you get your first customers?
Other than Upwork and Fiverr, I’ve got loads of customers through my website (many of whom found me via the Zapier Experts Directory). I’ve also had some success finding clients both through Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit which makes me feel OK about the amount of time I find myself spending on those platforms.
Did your original idea change?
There’s never really been a game plan other than to build up the agency, build up the team and keep building fun, useful stuff for people on Zapier.
What do you think about the future of web and app development and the no-code movement?
I see nothing but growth. Nocode enables a wider number of people to take their ideas and develop them quickly into products. That’s not to say that it makes it any easier to turn those products into business.
What do you think is the best thing about the no-code tools?
It enables people like me – people that can’t code – to have just a chance as anyone else to build a tech business. I mean quite literally without Zapier, I wouldn’t be sat here doing this interview.
What do you think is the worst thing about the no-code tools?
Learning to code does introduce you to lots of concepts around data, process development, security and general good techniques when it comes to building apps and IT infrastructure. I think these point and click tools, while great for getting an MVP together quickly, push people to build projects that might be hard to scale if and when they find success.
What resources do you wish you had when you first started?
Communities like Makerpad and the explosion of Slack groups and Discourse forums have made it so much easier to get help learning to use these tools. I’m thankful that these were already starting to develop when I got started.
Do you have any tips for people who want to start a business but they don’t know how to code?
Learn. By which I mean use the internet to learn a little about economics, a little about accounting and finance, a little about IT, and business theory. Coding really isn’t the major issue here. Then, through the lens of what you’ve learned take ideas you have or find, and analyse them to see which ones could be viable.
Only then does the question of coding come in. With an idea scoped out in your head look around the various nocode tools that are available, and see if they offer what you need to build out your idea.
What do you think is the first step for anyone who is just getting started?
Sense check with yourself. Is this a product people want or a problem that needs solving? Can you sell it at a price that is quite a lot higher than what it will cost to make/supply? And be sure to factor your time in generously here – the ‘ramen profitability’ concept can be a trap in terms of figuring out whether a business is really viable.
If it ticks all the boxes, build that MVP and then hustle for customers. Find people in communities you know, and promote on Twitter and basically wherever. Encourage people to pay, even at a discount, rather than give free previews – you’ll get more realistic feedback that way.
What did you learn from creating your business? Any mistakes you made? What would you tell your past self?
Starting a business takes a lot of hard work, a lot of time reading and researching stuff you know nothing about and also learning to know when to ask (and pay) for help. The only thing I’d tell my past self is to keep at it.
Any plans for the future, new features? Are you working on something else?
I’m looking to put together a sort of hub of resources for people that want to get better at Zapier – think tutorials, links to useful articles, zap templates, stuff like that.