Ultimate Home Calculator

📈In the first 24 hours over 10,000 rent vs. own scenarios were run on ultimatehomecalculator.com I like to think that's thousands of people making smarter decisions based on numbers. There's a fun backstory behind this project that may inspire you to try a side hustle...

I’ve wanted to do this little app for years but even when I worked at a multi-billion dollar home loan company I couldn’t make it happen. Then in June—while on vacay in FL— @innoc_bystander and I got into a debate on twitter about renting vs. owning.

He took matters into his own hands and sent me an Excel model. It was a brilliant model! I spent 10-ish hours on vacay analyzing & modifying it. Then I set it aside for a month.

In July I picked the project back up and began looking for a web developer to turn the Excel model into an easy-to-use web app. Here's the recruiting post 👇

The response was overwhelming. At least 20 super-qualified people reached out. Many of them were willing to work for free just to be involved in a fun project. Several people suggested that I look into no-code tools. So I did a little research and...

I stumbled into a niche tool called @appizy that does one thing (and one thing only):

⚙️ Converts complicated Excel files to web apps—with higher fidelity than other no-code tools. You upload the Excel file and it spits out HTML/CSS/JS, preserving all functionality. Cost: $12

After a bunch of tweaks & iteration, the hardest part was solved—I had a functioning web app.


👹  It was ugly as hell.

So I asked @lisamulroo, our Head of Design at Swell, to take a crack. She killed it! Just one more step — putting Lisa’s beautiful design on the ugly (but killer) web app.

One of the people who responded to my “ad” was @BizGuyEli.

He had a unique combo of coding, Excel, and finance skills and viewed this project as a fun way to learn. 72 hours later the Ultimate Home Calculator was live! Why should you care about this? 👇

It’s a great example of the power of 3 things:
1️⃣ Getting started—I have a full plate and it would have been much easier NOT to take this project on as a side hustle. But it’s something I care about so I committed to taking steady…
 2️⃣ Baby steps—This entire project happened in hundreds of tiny chunks of time over the course of 2 months. And it was completely asynchronous. 👉  There wasn’t a single meeting or phone call. This shows the power of…
3️⃣ Building in public—Because I engage with the Twitterverse on personal finance I have a self-selected community of followers who also care about this stuff and were willing to help. Fun Fact: Our last 3 hires at Swell also came from twitter. Building in public is the future!
Do YOU have a product or business idea, an itch you want to scratch? Use these same 3 steps to make it happen:
1) Get started today
2) Break it into baby steps
3) Build in public with a community
What’s stopping you? Worst case you learn a lot and meet some great people. 🤙