ExpertsPublished April 16, 2024

LowCode Agency: How to Build a Thriving Business by Building Custom Software

Explore Jesus Vargas’ remarkable journey from solopreneur to founder of a top agency

Megan Johnson

Megan Johnson

Technical Educator

LowCode Agency: How to Build a Thriving Business by Building Custom Software

The demand for custom software solutions is surging. Globally, the custom software development market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.4% per year for the next seven years.  LowCode Agency, founded by Glide Expert Jesus Vargas, is one low code development agency capitalizing on this demand.

Based out of Miami with a global client base, LowCode builds custom software for businesses using no code tools like Glide. Jesus started as a solopreneur before finding Glide, becoming a Glide Certified Expert, and eventually founding LowCode Agency.

What began with a PayPal invoice of $300 from a Fortune 500 company has blossomed into a sought-after agency with a powerhouse team of 25 and counting and a portfolio of big-name brands like AMEX and Coca-Cola.

LowCode's trajectory is not just impressive; it's a testament to the increasing demand for custom business solutions across industries. We sat down with Jesus, and he shared his journey with Glide and how he was able to carve out his path in the no code space.

Growing a freelance business as a Glide Certified Expert

Jesus has a background in traditional web and software development. He spent his early days building software for notaries and lawyers, but he began seeing gaps in the capabilities of code-based mobile app development, especially for businesses. 

Discovering Glide

These gaps led Jesus to venture into no code development. He explored various no code tools before stumbling into Glide through Product Hunt, drawn to the tagline “build an app from a data sheet.” Jesus explained, “I do understand relational databases, so I looked into Glide, and then it just made sense. I felt really comfortable with Glide. I liked Glide the best.” 

He liked that the foundation of every Glide app begins with data—in the same way the needs of his business customers were firmly grounded in their data. Coupled with the speed and portability of its process, Glide's intuitive interface, integration options, and functionality made it an ideal choice for Jesus to start building business apps. 

As his freelance business started to pick up, Jesus promptly rose to the level of a Glide Certified Expert and began contributing to the Glide Community.

I got super involved in the Glide community back then. There were only like five or six Experts then. I spent hours a day on the forum, and it was a very small community so the Glide team ended up knowing who I was.” 

Discovering what no code could do

His first projects were relatively straightforward internal tools, such as business directories for flower shops. Over time, he branched out to create more advanced apps for prominent companies, including startups. He built his first advanced app for a solar company in Cancun that allowed them to track visits to client’s homes and assess the feasibility of solar panel installation. 

Instead of clients sending us WhatsApp messages with pictures of their roofs, I built an app with a form for the field-ops engineers. They would go to the site, take pictures, fill out the form with the space measurements, and the app would calculate how many panels they could fit on the roof. Then, everything would be visible right in the app.

This tool helped them streamline the decision-making process, as their team could quickly calculate how many solar panels each roof needed. With each project he completed, he learned more about Glide and its capabilities.

Building a client base

Jesus’s first major breakthrough came in the form of a lead from Glide. “A few months in,” said Jesus, “someone from Glide said, hey, we have these clients. They're a Fortune 500 company. They need help. Do you want to do it?”

The prominent company specializes in wood products, including walls, floors, and doors. It needed a dashboard to manage its production lines. By tracking the materials used in production, it hoped to minimize waste and optimize efficiency. 

Before coming to Glide, the company had worked for a year with a traditional software development agency on a custom solution. Coding an app can take 12-18 months, but even within that timeline they just weren’t seeing the progress they needed.

Jesus promised to deliver a custom solution in just three days. Though met with skepticism, the client agreed to give him a chance.

Though the initial discussion had only happened that Friday, Jesus had the app up and running by Sunday night. All the functionality they needed was there, letting the company easily track their production materials by clicking and searching for specific item materials. The client was delighted.

The positive feedback from the client and the welcomed success of his app led Jesus to realize that he could build a viable business from this. He saw how badly companies need custom solutions to run their businesses more efficiently. No code freed him from the rigidity of traditional development and let him offer custom solutions in a way that was more cost-effective for him and his clients.

“That was the light bulb moment for me. This is the train that I missed the last time. This is the train that I'm not going to miss. This is what I'm going to do. So eventually, I started building the agency.

Building LowCode Agency

LowCode has grown alongside the development of Glide as a platform. During the early days, projects typically had a smaller scope, creating tools like directories for small businesses and tracking apps. 

“Glide was a very early product back then, and we couldn't do much. As Glide has evolved, it has allowed us to get bigger projects for which we can charge more. Now, we're making very robust CRMs, inventory management apps, and client portals, and we usually connect them to tools like Salesforce, Oracle, and SQL databases, which are often really complex solutions.”

As Glide introduced more powerful capabilities, like Glide AI and SQL integrations, Jesus was able to create more and more capable and complex solutions for his clients. Today, LowCode specializes in building sophisticated, tailored solutions, working on 15-20 projects simultaneously. 

A recent project for a home improvement company required a full-service ERP solution that could calculate measurements and estimate the materials needed to carry out the required work. One of the client's key pain points was manually extracting specific measurements from PDF reports and inputting that information into work orders for their contractors and builders. 

Jesus built a streamlined AI workflow that could extract the relevant data and automatically generate work orders with accurate measurements. With the custom app that LowCode built, the company was able to deliver the same outcomes for their clients more efficiently. Their production lead time has decreased, and contractors can get to work faster.

While Glide’s increasing capabilities contributed to LowCode’s growth, Jesus made some key strategic decisions that were key to their success. 

Investing in processes 

When Jesus first started LowCode, his team was more focused on end results than internal processes. However, Jesus quickly realized how important processes would be to succeeding with clients. One of the earliest projects they took on met the client's specific requirements but didn't align with their expectations. Their app just didn't work in the particular way the client wanted.

This realization catalyzed LowCode to hire their first project manager to aid communication between clients and developers. "We have to spend more time in the middle,” said Jesus, “scoping out projects and understanding requirements clearly because everything happens in the middle."

Their project manager scopes out the client’s requirements and develops a deep understanding of the client's workflows. This helps their team identify how they can best use Glide to improve those unique workflows. 

He advises when building no code solutions for clients, there needs to be a strong focus on scoping, understanding, and mapping user flows. You have to do a lot of discovery research and speak with multiple team members so you can build an app that will succeed.

Investing in sales 

While no code has a thriving community of enthusiasts, it's still fairly unknown among more traditional industries. That means agencies need to invest in outbound lead generation and education of potential clients.

Low Code has a unique approach. While traditional methods like pitching play a role, LowCode also invests in sales by creating high-quality content. By creating engaging YouTube videos and informative blog content, LowCode attracts valuable leads who might not have found them otherwise.

Jesus emphasizes that cultivating strong client relationships is critical. Satisfied clients are likely to return for future projects and refer others. Exceeding client expectations and delivering exceptional products turns clients into advocates for their agency and leads to valuable referrals.

The future of custom software development

Jesus sees custom software development as the future and LowCode as on the leading edge. 

While previously only enterprise companies had access to very custom solutions and developers, nowadays with low code tools, no code tools, AI, anyone can build custom software for a fraction of the time and cost of traditional development. I see more and more businesses using custom software for their needs.”

No code is democratizing access to custom software. There’s ripe space in the market for no code agencies to find their niche, assisting companies with building custom solutions. 

Jesus anticipates that the demand for custom software development will continue to rise. Current business apps are too rigid, not adaptable to business’s unique workflows, and often come with excessive features that companies won’t use. More businesses will look for custom software apps to meet their needs. 

Web design and software design: a powerful combination

Another key strategy for future success, according to Jesus; merging web design and software development. 

We got leads looking for web development, and that's why we got into it. I saw that there was a lot of interest. For us, it's not even a complementary offer because our app clients are web clients, and our web clients are app clients. People who are building web apps are getting leads to build software. There's a crossover.”

Adding web design to their skillset allowed his agency to offer clients a unique and powerful service. Clients who needed websites also needed automations, custom apps, and specialized software solutions. The same was true in reverse. 

Jesus believes web development agencies have an opportunity to strategically expand services to include both web design and no code software development. Platforms like Glide make it easy by offering resources such as Glide University and Glide Certifications that make it easy for web developers to begin building software, too.

Be at the forefront by building custom software

Jesus has ambitious goals for LowCode in 2024 and beyond, including increasing staff headcount.

Our main goal is to be the leading agency in the no code development space, the best Glide agency.”

Opportunities for building custom solutions for businesses are only growing. Pioneers like Jesus have started the conversation, and begun introducing businesses to powers they never thought they had access to. The freelancers, agencies, web designers, and no coders who are taking advantage of this moment will be the ones leading the way. 

For those of you hoping to follow in his footsteps—the Experts Program exists for you. Find opportunities to build revenue, grow your business, and find your own success.

Build your Agency with the Experts Program

Megan Johnson

Megan Johnson

Megan is a multilingual writer, and B2B marketing professional dedicated to bridging product, content, and communications. Based between Lagos and London, she loves developing and sharing her skill with SQL, no code, and UX design.

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