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I'm a single founder, I'm nearing $400k/y revenue.

It started a side project on here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8107222 and then grew over the last 2 years.

2014: ~$50k 2015: ~$200k 2016: ~$400k

Also traffic also doubled every year, so revenue is tied pretty closely too that!

This also includes about $7k/m from my remote jobs site which is also tied to Nomad List: http://remoteok.io.

It's now a cost of living and city database with 1,000+ cities, and monetized with a 10,000+ people membership community of digital nomads, remote workers and general travelers. They pay $75/year to be a member (not everyone is recurring, I just started with that)

I haven't had a lot of costs as most of it I do myself. Although it's been very hard work, especially in the beginning before I automated everything. I do have to charge 21% sales tax, and Dutch tax is relatively high but I've just opened a Ltd. so it'll be less now.

The hardest part? I think early on capturing a new market quickly, keeping it while lots of competitors (including funded ones) keep coming in again and again and try to copy everything you did but do it better. And then hopefully don't get traction, haha. Also dealing with the hate you get when you charge for an online service requires you to grow a thick skin.

It's mostly been an extremely fun experience though and I'm really happy and proud of what I made ^_^

P.S. I've been lurking on HN since 2010, that made me learn to code seriously and build stuff. I'd read patio11's posts and was super inspired. So I'm really thankful that HN existed and helped me get here.




>"Also dealing with the hate you get when you charge for an online service requires you to grow a thick skin."

Out of curiosity, was the fallout over the lack of security very bad? I was in Chiang Mai last fall and nomads at coworking spaces and meetups were all talking about it. Several downloaded the entire chat logs from Nomad List. I was horrified to be honest but hadn't really chatted about much of anything yet so I never complained.

I will say though that it was a bit grating to see you bragging on twitter about not bothering with frameworks or testing right after having seen discussions I'd thought were at least somewhat private downloaded and passed around online.


What. No, there was never a security breach. We uploaded the logs because people asked for them.

Lots of people asked for the chat logs (of public channels only) to be public and searchable. Like the forum. So I made them. Then lots of people didn't like that and wanted them to be private. It was never a security leak, I uploaded the logs myself. That was the whole point. I've never had any security breaches.

It was never a private chat, it's always been publicly accessible by anyone who paid the entrance fee and then scraped it. And they could (and probably) have already done that since the beginning.


Woah... everyone was saying there was. I hadn't been engaged enough on the site after arriving to realize. Thanks for clearing that up!

(I guess misunderstandings are also difficult to catch as a solo team, too)


Haha yes. I think at a certain scale you get rumors. I was never aware people thought it was a breach btw! Pretty crazy.


Sincere congrats on your success.

Found this the other day: nomads: people who have larger collections of coffee shop wifi passwords than clothes - @jongold


Haha, that's probably true!


Great job man!

You've mentioned something about automating. Can you tell me more about it and which you've decided to not use?

As for competition, how do you specifically handle this?


I've automated mostly everything from getting weather data, to soon giving people refunds, to soon ad sales.

I mostly try to ignore competition and stubbornly make what I would like to use myself. It helps that I am a "nomad" myself, so I know kinda what they need.


Also one more answer: I think BECAUSE I work almost 100% alone, I work faster than big teams (the mythical man month thing). The stuff I make isn't top-notch, but it works just good enough for people to enjoy using it. It's not super hip flashy designed, but it does what users want it to do. I see many other (especially funded) startups build really flashy stuff with huge 20+ people teams. And it looks great but it's not simple to use for people.


What are some of your competitors? Haven't come across any other sites like yours!


Thanks for sharing. Immediately thought of NomadList when I saw this post.

> keeping it while lots of competitors (including funded ones) keep coming in again and again and try to copy everything you did but do it better

My current project https://remotebase.io borrowed a lot from NomadList. While it's not successful yet, I can see what you mean.


Hi Sung-won! I love Remote Base and I borrowed A LOT from Product Hunt, and they borrowed a lot from Reddit, who borrowed from Digg. So it's all just inspiration. I think it starts to bug when it's competition!


RemoteBase is awesome and I follow your work pretty closely :)


Love your work with remoteok. Tried to emulate it with a solar-focused job board. What all did you do to start generating revenues from it? I liked the fact you gave credit to the original job boards, and focused on up selling existing listings.


It's about $2k in job ads, but another $3k+ in normal ads, partly from BuySellAds, which has a text-based native ad API they're letting me try out.


Hey, I'm curious, you mentioned that you've just opened a Ltd., so, what form of company have you been running until recently?


An SP, but that's stupid tax wise as almost 50% goes to tax then. With a Dutch Ltd., it's 20% corporate tax and minimum CEO salary about 50K/y. So then you pay ~50% on that salary + corporate tax on your revenue.


I remember seeing this when it just started (like two years ago, not sure if it was one of those 12 startups/year). Current one looks fantastic compared to that one, so I guess it's one more example that demonstrates you shouldn't hold off until it's feature-rich eye-catching candy. Your project story is inspiring!


Amazing project and very inspiring! I'm curious about how do you scale to start getting revenue. For example, at remoteok.io companies have to pay to post a job. Was it for free at the beginning? How did you do the transition from free/low-fee to 200$? Thanks and keep up the good work!


I usually start with a low price and then slowly raise it until I see a big drop off. Not scientific in any way but it works for me.


patio11's posts? Could you share the link of the post?

Thank you.



Thank you.


I didn't even know that that site had a source of revenue. Where does it come from?


It's mostly from memberships (click Join) and some ads


Great stuff! How did you build the community around NomadList early on?


I built the site, but then I thought, omg I'm going to lose all these users once they leave.

So I added a MailChimp email box, then a chat group, a forum and kept making more for them. That's how people kept coming back and finally paying money.


Been following your blog for a while now Peter, since I first came across the article Wired did about you. I'd love it if you wrote a post about this, and your success in generalup until this point!


I will! My blog is a perpetual backlog of posts, but it'll happen :)


I've just spend 30 minutes examining the cities on your site.

Great work !


Thanks! Let me know if you have feedback etc :)


Why don't you open a company in Estonia? Its super easy


Because I live in the Netherlands. And if I want to keep living here, I can't just offshore my company to somewhere and run it from here. Especially not since it's a 1-person company. It'll be judged by the Dutch IRS as a Dutch corp. not an Estonian corp. Then I'm double taxed. Depends if you're audited or not for this to happen.

It's a myth you can just open a corp anywhere and benefit from low tax, a lot depends on where you live personally (as CEO), where your staff is, where your customers are and where you spend the "fruits of your labor". Why is it a myth? Because otherwise EVERY freelancer would offshore to a low-tax country. They can't. It's a loophole that doesn't exist.


Estonia will grant you a form of partial citizenship so you can do exactly this.

https://e-estonia.com/e-residents/about/


You can but I don't want to make a case since you already feel strongly about not doing it.


I'd love to be debunked :)


I am interested to know :)


Super cool! Congratulations for the success!


Thank you!


What stack do you use?


Plain HTML, JS and PHP


Best stack, Sensei! Zennn




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