Michelle on the Significance of Idea Validation and How it Was Done for Typedream

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Michelle Marcelline is the founder of Typedream - No-Code Website Builder with a Notion-like Interface
 

Tell us about your product and what inspired you to start it?

Typedream is a no-code website builder with a Notion-like interface. We decided to build Typedream because we saw a problem when building our previous product, Cotter (acquired by Stytch), a passwordless login plugin for no-code website builders like Webflow and Bubble. When building Cotter, people started asking for a passwordless login plugin for Notion.
 
That was how we discovered that people were building their websites on top of Notion because of how easy and familiar the interface is (similar to other note-taking apps like Google Docs and MS Word) and that there is an opportunity for a new website builder with a Notion-like interface.
 
That is how we decided to build Typedream, a no-code website builder with a Notion-like interface but independent of Notion (because there are some functionalities that are needed for website building that is not doable via Notion as they are a note-taking app).
 

How long did it take you to acquire your first 50 customers, and what was your growth strategy?

We got our first 50 customers through manual recruiting. Our initial target market was those who built their websites on Notion. We rebuilt their sites using Typedream and asked them if they would like to claim their websites and letting them know our #1 selling point: our interface is just like Notion but we built the features need for website building: buttons and navigation bars. Rebuilding people's sites was not scalable but we started out by doing the things that don't scale.
 
We also started growing our Twitter account via #buildinginpublic where we shared our journey, learnings, successes, and failures building a startup. This allowed us to build our personal brand, and by extension, awareness of our offerings (product).
 
We treated Twitter as a journal: we shared our journey building our company, shared weekly updates on production, and gathered feedback from our audience.
 

Which technology stack are you using and what challenges and limitations does it pose?

Not a technical co-founder so I'm not sure.
 

What are some of the most essential tools that you use for your business?

Website builder: Typedream
Internal team notes: Notion
Internal team communication: Slack
Community channel: Slack/Discord
Payment: Stripe
Email marketing: Loops
Social media marketing: Twitter
UIUX: Figma
Form: Tally
Bug/feature request tracker: Linear
Calendar: Cron
 

What have been some of the biggest insights you've gained since starting your entrepreneurial journey?

Validate your idea by talking to potential customers (do not assume that your idea is great without talking to those who will actually use it)
 
A common mistake is to jump into the first idea that comes to mind, without really stopping to think critically about whether it's a good idea at all.
 
To avoid this mistake, do not skip the Idea Validation stage.
 
Find a few people in the space and share your idea. Interview them:
-What's missing from the current solution
- What they did to hack the current solution to achieve what they want
- If your tool exists, would they pay for it
 
Before building Typedream's MVP, we interviewed 200+ Notion to Website users to dig deeper on the problem:
- Why Notion to Website and not other NoCode website builders?
- What's missing from Notion to Website?
 
www.first1000.co