DANI BELL WAS a British copywriter who hankered for her own marketing startup. Like many founders today, though, she faced a roadblock. She couldn't code.
Normally, an entrepreneur in that situation would need to spend money, and maybe even raise it, to hire developers. But Bell did something different: She bolted together software from various online services.
Bell used a point-and-click tool called Webflow to build her site and a client-management tool to let customers order services. Airtable, an online spreadsheet, let her store details about each job. And she glued many of these pieces together by cleverly using Zapier, a service that uses if-then logic to let one online app trigger another. (Whenever Bell creates a new task for one of her contractors, for example, Zapier automatically generates a Google doc for it, then pings her on Slack when the work is done.) Nineteen months later, her company—Scribly.io—had around 23 clients and was doing $25,000 a month in recurring business.