Two years ago Doodlekit Online Free Website Builder was nothing more than a vague idea in the back of our minds. Ben and I had just started our own web development company (Doodlebit Web Solutions) a few months earlier, and we were selling small custom websites on the side when we had the time.
As more and more of our clients started requesting the same tools, we started to develop a custom, reusable framework. We immediately saw an opportunity – why not just sell this framework to the masses? The currently accepted philosophy at the time (a.k.a. Business 2.0) stated that in order to be a successful internet startup you had to have several millions of dollars in venture capitalist funds, resources, and business connections. The assumption back then was that software and web companies should break even after $20 million in investment. Not to mention you would need to move out to Silicon Valley (*see How To Build A Bulletproof Startup).
Then one day we came across a blog post from a small internet startup company called 37Signals that changed everything. The blog post, How To Shoot A Bullet Through Your Startup, railed against Business 2.0. It defied Corporate America’s view on how to run a web company. It denounced the waste, bureaucracy, and mindset of these entities that limited others from pursuing their dreams.
We loved it.
37Signals explained that you could start your own Web 2.0 company with hardly anything down and just one or two people. They had done all this themselves and had great success. Ben and I raced out to their website and purchased their online book, Getting Real, that explained in more detail how to achieve this type of success. We sat down and read the whole thing in one night.
Heath: "It's gonna take a few years to get Doodlekit up and running. We got 2 clients, $600, a refurbished PC, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses."
Ben: "Hit it."
The next day we started Doodlekit. We scrounged up $300 each, grabbed an old refurbished PC from Ben’s basement, slapped in some extra memory from my old computer, and we were off ‘getting real’!
A year and a half later (just 4 months ago) we had our first major release of Doodlekit. Since that time our membership base has increased to over 15,000 and our revenues have gone up 10 fold. We have zero debt.
Most of our competitors are multi-million dollar startups from the Business 2.0 way of doing things. Many of them still have yet to break even. We compete head-to-head with these companies and hold our own. How? Because Doodlekit is a much better product than what they offer. I find it rather humorous that a small company of two employees can successfully compete against so many multi-million dollar startups. If you put what we offer next to what they offer and let a consumer pick which one they want, they will pick Doodlekit. The only thing Doodlekit lacks right now is the budget that these larger corporations have for marketing. That’s all going to be changing very soon.
We aren’t out to be the next MySpace or YouTube. We aren’t measuring our success based on millions of dollars. We just want to make a decent living doing what we love doing – building websites! Doodlekit and 37Signals has given us both this opportunity, and for that, we are very grateful.
If your interested in helping us get the word out, please feel free to promote Doodlekit via a banner on your website. Ben and I would really appreciate it!
On a side note, I just wanted to let everyone know that 37Signals will soon be coming out with Getting Real (Second Edition). Ben and I will be the first in line to buy a copy!