Back in 2018, Andrea remembers reading on the StackOverflow developer survey that most developers have 0-5 years of experience. He wanted to become a content creator, but his area of expertise (iOS) was already quite saturated. By chance, he was doing a contracting gig and the client chose Flutter for a new app. He checked it out and was immediately hooked. He published a few videos and articles and received incredibly good feedback. As Flutter was quite new then, he decided he should establish himself as an instructor, and make a course on Udemy. That was the beginning of his very long journey as an entrepreneur.
Andrea was born in the land of pizza and pasta, otherwise known as Italy. He studied in Italy and completed a MSc in computer engineering. Once his schooling was complete, he moved to the UK, a move he doesn’t regret however he does acknowledge that the food is better in his native Italy. As a result, cooking is now one of his hobbies along with working out and running.
Although Andrea did have a job for a few years as a developer, he decided that freelancing and consulting gave him more flexibility and freedom in his career. Being based in London means that there is a lot of high paying contract work that he continued to do to supplement his income while he built his online courses. Building online courses allows him to have creative control over his work and although he loves the fact that he can take time off between freelance contracts, he prefers having the creative control. He transitioned from working full time to part time and then to contracting. He did it this way because he says it was great for his piece of mind having a stable income while he was bootstrapping his business. Earlier this year, his final client contract ended, and he has been dedicating all of his time to his business.
This was not the first entrepreneurial work for Andrea. Prior to codewithandrea.com, he launched a few indie apps for iOS. He says he didn’t have the business acumen in the beginning and fell for the idea that he could make money selling apps. He quickly learned though, that there were better ways. He became a content creator and learned about branding, growing an audience and all the things you need to know when you own a business.
Andrea is passionate about teaching others. His tutorials and courses are “from developer to developer” and are based on hands on experience with his own projects and work. He does all the work himself, including brainstorming ideas, coding, and planning the courses from start to finish. He does all the scripting, recording, editing, marketing, sales and interacting with the audience.
One of his tricks to keeping himself accountable is that he tracks his time.
He works 30 hours a week which is the optimal amount for him. He says that his company is growing slowly but rather than rush it and burn out, he keeps it moving forward at a steady and slow pace.
When Andrea started his business, the only investment he made was on some software for video production. His start up expenses were quite low, which allowed him to focus on the work and not to worry about money.
He works alone at home and has for the past two years. He interacts with students daily on social media, but he sometimes finds it challenging to not have a team to bounce ideas off of. He is truly the captain of his own ship.
Andrea says that calling all the shots can be demanding. He sometimes creates videos or content and there is little to no reaction or traction. It takes him months to produce a new course and there is no guarantee that it will sell once it is launched. This can be quite tough on him and it has forced him to think more holistically about his growth strategy.
The best decisions he made for his company were to grow his email list from the start.
That one step has been essential in getting the first sales and good reviews. He also puts out a lot of free content. YouTube is great for that and he is certain his audience appreciates it. He knows that they are the reason he is moving forward with his business and that he couldn’t reach the places he has reached on his own.
Although he claims he has not made any catastrophic decisions, he does wish he had launched his own website sooner. He also says he should have launched his first course sooner because timing really matters on Udemy and hot topics get saturated very quickly.
His advice to new entrepreneurs? Have a steady income when you first start out so that you have the time to build your business slowly and without added stress. He worked part time on other contracts until he was sure his company could sustain him. He also says to be patient. Sometimes growth takes longer than you expect. Andrea says that before launching any business, it is important to decide and know who your target audience is, and to plan a growth strategy from day one. Don’t over think it. Put stuff out there before you feel ready and see how it goes. You can learn and grow from there.
He also says that having a mentor or watching others that are successful has had a big influence on him and his style.
Andrea has had a fascinating career so far and his plans going forward are to establish himself more on Udemy to ensure that his income is stable. Once he gets there, he can try new things. He would like to try his hand at building a micro SaaS. But time will tell whether that will be a reality or not. For now, he is content to keep growing the business that he has.