Hi <<First Name>>,
Hope summer's treating you well. 

Our Surf Office business is quite “sleepy”, as you can imagine - not many companies plan their off-sites at the moment. That's why I've been investing more time in learning new things and experimenting with various ideas.

Learning “no code”
When you wanted to build a web app or a tool in the past, coding skills were always required. I’ve been using so-called “no-code” tools for already many years.

A whole backend product (automated event planning) of Surf Office is built on Coda. It’s mind-blowing how complex things you can make without programming skills these days. 

Webflow has been always on my radar and I finally had time to jump deeply into it. On the first look, Webflow looks like just another drag&drop website builders but its CMS is extremely powerful and decided to try some projects with it. 

Let’s build a marketplace
In one of my previous emails, I shared a story of how I built a coworking cabin.

After having the first prototype ready, my initial plan was to partner with a manufacturer, build these cabins on scale and rent them as vacation rentals. 

The plan with finding a manufacturer didn’t work out. The good news is that I discovered some interesting patterns by interviewing about 20 people who were interested in buying this cabin.

Most of them just wanted to buy any nice, reasonably-priced prefab house for themselves and they already have done some research before. Their main challenges were: 
  1. Find and compare all the available models
  2. Figure out all the administration around it (permits, utility hookups, etc.)

As I already had a quite solid spreadsheet of manufacturers (150+) from all around the world and I started to make a research if something like a marketplace exists. 

I spent a couple of days doing keyword/competitors/content research in Ahrefs. A friend of mine Mojmir helped me with the research of keywords in the paid search. Then I also looked on those keywords in subreddits, FB groups, and Twitter.

The result was very promising: There is a lot of demand but no marketplace/competition.

Staring with a super-niche
I deep-dived into Webflow to see how I could import my database to their CMS and how it could all bind together. I designed all the possible filters and categories for prefab houses and realized that it might take many months to ship it. 

So I started to think about the minimum viable version with just one use case and no filters/categories yet. 

And here it is: a list of all manufacturers that can deliver you a backyard office.

I published the website yesterday and I haven't made any promotion yet. Just replied to some tweets and prepared the email you are reading right now.

And got the first “investment” offer from a random person on Twitter after a couple of hours posting the first comment 😀

My plan now is to test the feedback and start playing with 1-2 easiest business models (I wrote down 12 in total). Then add more houses based on the use case (cabins, vacation rentals, etc.) and filters (“shipping to [state], bathroom included, etc.).

I'm curious about your feedback. 

This first version is very simple yet and I'm not sure if to launch it on Product Hunt. What do you think?

Greetings from Amsterdam,

Copyright © 2020 Peter Fabor, All rights reserved.

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