Why your next side project should use Stripe

I know what you’re thinking. We’ve hit peak side-project. Does the world need another app, notebook, or Kickstarter-funded eBook? Yes, the creator tools for the unbundled professional are abundant. But when it comes to actually getting paid for the creation of value, now that’s a different ballgame.

What if I told you that you could create a beautiful website that could securely and quickly take payments in 95 minutes for $26.87? Well, you’d still need a good idea, product, or expertise. BUT, presumably most of you reading this have an excess of 95/26.87, and thus the ability to create a series of cheap options WHILE teaching yourselves vital skills in the process.

The stacks for all industries are changing. Non-coders have access to code, web services and hardware that five years ago would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The API is moving up, but IMHO not in a way that will destroy tons of jobs, but one that will open immense possibility to those with curiosity and just a tiny about of technical sensibility. The most “technical” part of this project was figuring out where to Copy+Paste four different fields.

I so deeply believe in this shift, that I created a step-by-step playbook below (or here with all the images). Also, note that there are no relationships with any of the services listed below.

Step 1: Start with an idea

Yes, this is the hardest part. But remember, your “launch” costs are effectively free, so feel free to experiment. I noticed that I had a very niche expertise in the productivity software Omnifocus. People kept asking to learn how to use it, why not try creating a small course around this expertise?

Step 2: Buy a domain (15 minutes)

There are so many funky domains available (check out khe.wtf) and they’re often < $10/year. I bought Omnifocus.guru for $6.88 via namecheap.com.

Step 3: Setup a website (45 minutes)

The magic starts kicking in. Carrd.co is a site builder (like Squarespace) that lets you build stunning sites off of a variety of templates (another personal example). It’s free, but to access some of the “widgets” it’s $19.99/year.

Step 3a: Pick an image (5 minutes)

Remember when clip art was both ugly AF and expensive. Another “stack” has changed and you can access thousands of beautiful images via unsplash.com for free. I quickly searched “computer” and added it to the Carrd template. The site was done in 45 minutes.

Step 4: Set up Stripe (30 minutes)

More magic. The set up is free, with the simplicity of setting up a Paypal/Venmo account. And if you’re wondering about security, Stripe is used by some of the largest E-commerce companies (Target, UnderArmour, and Lyft). Yes, the stacks are changing — this dopey blogger has access to the same payment stack as these behemoths for free.

Step 5: Connecting the three providers (5 mins)

This is the hardest part. It requires copy and pasting 2 values, twice. You read that right. First, you have to paste 2 API keys from Stripe into Carrd (to accept payments):

Next, you have to redirect two web addresses Carrd and Namecheap (to make omnifocus.guru “live” on the web.)

And Voila

You guys are probably right in assuming that very few people will buy this webinar. And that’s fine, it’s almost besides the point. With this base knowledge, I can keep building the stack. Maybe buy a few Facebook ads? Integrate the class into email via Mailchimp? Connect it to other marketing platforms via Zapier. The possibilities are endless, but I’m so pumped to grow my own stack — and for you to create your own.

Meet Omnifocus.guru

This is a real project, so feel free to sign up. My primary objective was to learn how to use Stripe, so I’ve priced the course at a level to cover my costs, $9.99.

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