It started a side project on here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8107222 and then grew over the last 2 years.
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.
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.
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.
(I guess misunderstandings are also difficult to catch as a solo team, too)
Found this the other day: nomads: people who have larger collections of coffee shop wifi passwords than clothes - @jongold
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 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.
> 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.
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.
Great work !
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.