The Fit with Friends journey started on a Google Spreadsheet. With a few simple equations, a spreadsheet was converted into a fitness tracking device, giving users points for their workouts! Just through Google Sheets, a daily email and the GroupMe app, users engage in a fun, interactive workout tracking competition!
Through iterations on Google Spreadsheets, Fit with Friends developed into what it is today:
Each user has their own sheet to track their daily workouts
Icons represent the activity categories
An automatically updating leaderboard visually shows how teams stack up against each other
The spreadsheet looks way more exciting than you would think a spreadsheet ever should look
Only monthly users have access to the spreadsheet
Users are able to comment on other people’s sheet with encouragement… or trash talk!
The biggest limitation with Google Sheets is that it doesn’t work super well on phones. Google Sheets has a decent app for androids, but it’s not great for iPhones. The Fit with Friends spreadsheet looks much nicer, cleaner and is much more user friendly on a computer.
The other limitation that I foresee is capacity. I currently use two different spreadsheets with about 20 people on each spreadsheet. As there is still a lot of manual set-up that goes into each spreadsheet, 40 or 50 users is not too many to handle… yet. As Fit with Friends grows, we might outgrow the capacity of Google Spreadsheets and the manual set-up that goes into each month. But for now, it’s manageable.
So what have I learned?
The Google spreadsheet is a feasible prototype and a completely free tool. It is accessible to all users and does almost everything we need it to. It even has features, like commenting on other people’s sheets, that I probably wouldn’t have thought of if I first developed Fit with Friends as a mobile application!
The spreadsheet evolved tremendously from month to month as I learned new spreadsheet tricks. Check out some of the iterations that the Google Sheet has gone through to get to where it is today.
With each month, I learned and tried new features. Each month the spreadsheet got better and better until it became what it is today!
Now the Google spreadsheet is almost completely automatic, freeing up my time to put more work into turning Fit with Friends into a business and building a web application.
I never would have thought of starting a business at age 22, but because a Google spreadsheet has caught on and grown for nine months, I can see that I might have a profitable business on my hands. I was able to try something risk free and just for fun. As Fit with Friends grows on Google Spreadsheets, I am encouraged to keep iterating.
The Fit with Friends Google Spreadsheet has lasted so long because people respond positively to it and I enjoy working on it. For nine months, I worked on Fit with Friends without getting paid. It wasn’t glorious, but I enjoyed it and it kept growing! For nine months, I poured time into Fit with Friends for fun and to create something lifestyle changing for my friends. Now it’s paying off! Literally and figuratively!
Coming from an accidental entrepreneur, you might roll your eyes at this, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned to just make something! Get started, do something cheap, and iterate. An idea is great, but bootstrapping your way through cheap (or free!) iterations is, I think, the best way to create something awesome. Plus it’s fun!
Start today! Now!