How Pieter Levels Makes $2.7M/Year With 0 Employees

thumbnail
0:00-0:59

[Music] are you intimidated why are you he said he took a run before this because he was nervous now no because i've been on a lot of podcasts but like they're usually kind of small you know it's like i see you guys as like joe rogan for business so it's like there's one step but wow above is like joe rogan and then there's you guys and then below it's like yeah i don't want to dis all the podcasts i've been on they're amazing but you know like this is like a level so uh but it's good you know i mean computer levels so and you also don't know what sam might ask you because sam might just come out

0:59-1:09

of left field and be like but that's the thing i was thinking like sam is like he's not a regular uh interviewer you know he adds some crazy [ __ ] so wait me first of all i i don't know if that's true i don't know if we first of all it's not just me it's you too sean that asks weird stuff but also i don't think we asked that weird questions i think we asked the questions that everyone's thinking no that's true but i mean you're not just man like you know there's yes man podcast where like they just it's kind of like a fan thing obviously that's not you guys you have real [ __ ] real questions and that's i think it's more

1:09-1:66

interesting as well can we sam can we share the thing you were just telling us in slack can i share that on here on the pod yeah which one the sampar strategy for networking this is um you know you can go to harvard you can go to stanford you're not gonna learn this one like you know it's a very small little tweak but it's just so sam that it just is awesome so if you're if sam wants to hang out with you he'll text you just like a normal person would but and he doesn't need to even know you he's just like interested in you maybe maybe it's

1:66-2:20

a cold dm maybe it's a text message maybe he got your number from somebody else like hey it's sam uh you know i'm in san francisco but instead of saying wanna hang sam will just go i'm in san francisco let's do this he sent me some [ __ ] that i won't say out loud but yeah but i think it worked yeah so sam what what is this and why does it work so well it's like a phrase like you know like people will be like uh you know i [ __ ] with that guy like i [ __ ] with drake i like drake

2:20-2:79

it extends from that and i just say it and people uh they reply i don't know i just yeah this particular one i it was a ceo of a multi-billion dollar company who i'm friendly with i just said what's up i'm in your hood let's andy goes down when like it worked out it's amazing and now so normally we try to play cool but we've actually been chasing you peter we've been we've been talking about your projects we've been being like hey we got to get this guy in the pod sam is a fan of you for sure i would say i am less of a fan than sam but i am a that doesn't mean i like you it's just i'm

2:79-3:29

more in the closet about it whereas sam is very open sam's like this guy's amazing this guy's like an artist thanks man this guy's got great hair and you do have great hair so it's all true and now we finally got you here and it was hard i think right because you like don't do you don't schedule or something like that like i mean it it like it looks like being an ass right on instagram if you do that but i like like you guys i would get so many dms and they're all like i mean generally they're very low quality dms right like i want to collaborate but i don't want to invest i

3:29-3:84

don't want to like people want something from you i think it's like being a hot girl in the club like people want something for you but they don't want to invest the time to actually get to know you or you know you feel like an object and i don't like to feel like that and i want to um spend more time with you know like with my friends in real life with uh my girlfriend or something i want to spend time on in the gym you know on my health and cooking food and and that kind of stuff go for walks and uh i think because i because i've been doing this for 10 years like startups like eight years and

3:84-4:38

now i get the money is going well so i don't really need to do any calls anymore any dms so i'm just trying to create a more chill life and i'm not an [ __ ] it just means like i don't have time to met to reply to everybody so i close my dms and and then people get really angry on tweets they're like why don't you why you close your dms are you arrogant and stuff so i wrote a blog post like kind of explaining my day and my routine and what i do in the day and that i don't really have time if i do all the things i do now to also dm everybody reply everybody and do calls and stuff um and that's pretty much the argument

4:38-4:92

or even let's give the context so let's explain who the heck you are so uh your name is peter lovells you're known on um twitter as levels io right yeah that's the uh that's the right way to say it i saw you a while back i'm just gonna say some interesting things about you i believe that you can correct me if i have any of these wrong i believe you publish how much you make every year and in fact it's in your twitter bio in your location there's like a meter that's like your road to three million a year yeah and it says 2.7 million so your meter is almost all the way filled up

4:92-5:46

um you build a bunch of random small projects usually around some things you like or believe or your lifestyle which is kind of a nomadic lifestyle so i believe i think you you you hop around or you don't have like a home base so you live you know you could be like in bali and then you could be in the netherlands you could be a different place all the time and you make these small websites or apps and it says in your bio that you have 13 million monthly active users um and i've i remember seeing you because you did a community like a like

5:46-5:93

a nomad community a slack community really early on like slack had just come out and i was like this guy's like charging 10 bucks i think it was 10 bucks a month or something to get into this thing i was like he's got like a thousand people here wow this is actually this guy's making good money doing this um like just by making a slack group and you just do a bunch of small experiments like that um that's what i know sam what did i do i'll give pe peter let me give like the outsider's perspective that's a little more holistic so basically there's two things

5:93-6:49

that are interesting to you the first one is your businesses which actually are the least the lesser of the two interesting things so you have roughly five or s yeah you have seven different businesses uh ranging from nomad list which makes uh 2.1 million dollars in the last 12 months that's a that's a a job board you have another job board called remote okay that's making 115 dollars a month you have read mate read make which looks like it's like an ebook something like that yeah it's like an ebook yeah yeah 60k a month then you have got like a bunch of really you're seeing these numbers because he publishes them where do you publish

6:49-7:03

these he publishes all of them on like the the url uh go to his twitter profile and we'll let you talk sorry peter in a second but go to his profile go to his twitter profile and then like click off and it's like uh open revenue at the very bottom but i'm reading off of our notes so and then you have like a qr menu creator then you have like an inflation chart which doesn't seem like it makes money but tracks uh inflation and then you have rebase which is a platform to help people become a citizen of uh portugal help them re relocate the portugal so what's the first part is those businesses like i said you have those that are interesting i would

7:03-7:56

narrow it down to say you have a series of job boards for nomadic or remote work that are pretty profitable but the second thing that's even more interesting is the way that you do these things so you do a few things that are interesting the first thing is i think you're the only full-time employee right and you use a team of contractors and second of all you have this weird personality that's very embedded in everything you do so that's kind of like my big intro of what you do i could see a website and i could know you built it without you having an about page which is kind of

7:56-8:10

clunky right it looks a little no it's like no but it doesn't have a nice way i guess yeah it's another designer yeah no i think it's accurate description um it's like like i'm not very nomadic anymore like i'm slowly settling down right but i started very nomadically i was like moving around every month um i started like in 2014 i started nomading and i uh went to all these places and i started building these apps these little websites little products to validate and i remember i mean i told the story so many times but i was following patrick mckenzie patio 11 on hacker news famous

8:10-8:66

hacker news a guy and now he works for stripe and he would do he would share his revenue on his blog about all his little products he made and it was like appointment reminder for barbershop so you got to sms just before your appointment so you don't forget it that kind of stuff and i was really inspired like okay this is not like some big vc funded guy he's just like an indie guy was just on his laptop kind of building stuff and i kind of mixed that with the nomad thing where like building from your laptop from your backpack moving around i think also getting inspired from different places because if you move

8:66-9:14

around you i mean i know sam moves around a little bit as well uh you your life becomes very unique because you meet different kinds of people you you're in different kinds of places you see different kinds of products like in shops like if you're in asia you see some futuristic [ __ ] you don't see in europe and america and all that stuff kind of it helps for inspiration for creating products in some indirect ways as well um so that's pretty much what i've been doing and i think it's i've been trying to be like radically honest like i know this this american guy who pushes the

9:14-9:64

radical honesty movement um so i'm trying to do that in my personal life i'm trying to do it on the internet i'm not perfect but i'm trying to be as honest and open as possible uh because i don't like this fake corporate stuff and it's because i started business administration and i have a master's degree in it so i know all the management consultancy [ __ ] you know i've been there i've done that i know that's where my friends work i know investment bankers and i hate that that a lot of that world where it's like fake and not real and i uh want to be very open and honest and i

9:64-10:19

think it's also a little bit of a european thing not to slack off americans i love america but like um in europe people are very uh a little bit more direct and a little bit more uh straightforward and uh i think that comes across in my in the stuff i do a little bit so what's the total size of all your of all your projects in terms of top line and bottom line revenue and isn't it true that you're the only full-time person and how many contractors are you using yeah so i have one customer support contractor part-time uh isabelle and she works for all my projects um and i have a

10:19-10:75

moderator for the slack group because dude slack groups they there's some drama in there like i've had some crazy drama in these sledge groups in communities so you need to have a moderator you need to have rules and you need to have a you cannot just automate this moderation away like i tried that but you need a real person there to you know check on messages and stuff um and then i have a devops guy he's my best friend daniel and he uh works kind of like a sls sla like a service level agreement where if the server goes down he gets a message you know if i'm sleeping with something he

10:75-11:30

brings it back up but the problem is never was down anymore like it doesn't we haven't really had that for years so um he does security updates and stuff you know like because i have a vps i don't use amazon i use a vps on digitalocean and linode um and he kind of keeps that stuff safe you know so that's good and how big is the business top playing i'm sorry how big is the business um so remote case the job board it's the biggest business makes the most money normally this is starting to grow though it's like it's past i think 100k this month 100k a month um so almost like a million dollar business

11:30-11:83

um remote case 1.6 million a year i think um and rebase is a new business it's an immigration agency so i want to help remote workers immigrate to countries that want to attract remote workers with like you know beneficial tax stuff uh portugal is one of the first ones to do that um so those are the three businesses really make money and the rest doesn't really make money a lot like the book makes like i think like 4k a month so but everything you do is part of one flywheel so i've looked at your kind of like system

11:83-12:34

and i've looked at a bunch of people because i got into a little pickle where i was like god i'm doing so many things and i want to do all these things i'm interested in all these things but [ __ ] you know am i going to be able to juggle five different things i got a podcast i have a vc fund i have my e-commerce business i have a newsletter business i have um you know i don't even know what else course business i got i got another [ __ ] right so it's like uh am i going to be able to do this and what i saw that you did i like i have this kind of like mental model of a solopreneur and a solopreneur nobody's

12:34-12:88

actually solo everybody's got like a little support team around them that's like helpful some some in a big way some in a small way but basically it's like somebody who builds a personal brand and then builds a bit builds a successful business and lifestyle around that and what i noticed was that you had this formula which is i don't know if it's intentional or unintentional but i'll say it out loud because here's my my read of your business it's basically you ha he starts with the red pill so a red pill is like you know that scene in the matrix where morpheus is holding out a blue pill a red bull he's like you

12:88-13:35

know do you want do you want the truth or do you want to you take the blue pill you could just go back to your normal life just as everything was you could forget this ever happened and neil's like no i need to know the truth what's the truth he takes the red pill and basically it's like every great solopreneur i think starts with one truth so like uh tim ferriss's truth was basically that like the nine to five work in a cubicle for 40 years model is like effing broken and you don't need to do it that way like you could work four hours a week and live like a millionaire and so that was like tim

13:35-13:85

ferriss's red pill and yours was basically like this idea of being a nomad a digital nomad um which was like hey yeah you don't have to you know prescribe to the subscribe to the normal way of living you pick a a place that's where you are from that's where you live and you pay you know you just kind of stay where you grew up and like and you go to an office every day and like you have to wear shoes and whatever you're like no i wear flip-flops i walk around on beaches i just kind of go wherever i feel like whenever i feel like and i carry a little like backpack and that's my life

13:85-14:37

um yeah so you start with the red pill then you be then you create content around that red pill says you talking about that lifestyle and sharing everything from like hey people always ask what i keep in my backpack for the day here's what it is it's like yeah there's every bit of content you can come up with that's like poppy that's like fits that red pill so then you be that big gives you authority on that subject so you become like a authority and so you know pomp became an authority around bitcoin and tim ferriss became an authority around life hacking and you've

14:37-14:91

become an authority around nomadism and then you take that and then you basically spin off one of many businesses that can come up with it but every one of those business either it's a big money maker or it's just another funnel and more content more new audience that's gonna like get sucked into that same red pill lifestyle that you are like talking about and so it even though you're doing six things they're all actually part of one flywheel and every one that you do is gonna feed it either because it's gonna give you a bunch of cash that lets you fund this lifestyle in a bigger and better way or it's gonna give you new

14:91-15:47

content new stories new things to be known about um that fit that lifestyle as well that's how i see it i'm curious is that a good is that traffic is really accurate and my thing started when i was i was blogging just like you said i was blogging about like nomading um but i was blogging for my mom because back then you had like travel bloggers like 2013 and i was going to travel kinda and nomad and i wanted to you know every place i went i wrote a little i was this city to live in and stuff and what happened all the crazy [ __ ] that happened to me and my mom was reading that um but i wrote it in english

15:47-15:98

because my mom was obviously dutch but i was like okay she can read english so it's maybe easier to get more traffic and stuff more audience but it wasn't like super like a big idea it just kind of happened and then those blogs started showing up on hacker news and i started writing more about like bootstrapping startups as a nomad in in thailand or something or in asia and those started going on hacking is really high and i think that was the time it was like 2013 2014 there was a time when i noticed that um the developers in san francisco worked for all the startups they also were realizing okay maybe i can start doing

15:98-16:48

this remotely because remote work was not cool back then and nobody was not cool back then because you had the tim ferriss wave in 2008 it's like the first nomad wave but there was i love tim ferriss but there was something about the the followers there and the the business that were created they were kind of like like shady there was a lot of shady [ __ ] i met i came across in asia in thailand like americans and europeans it was like a lot of brain supplements and [ __ ] like do it yes yes dudes yeah drug dealers online directories and like spam daxing and like

16:48-17:00

they're still shady [ __ ] but less and i was like i really hate this shady [ __ ] i don't feel like part of the scene uh i think it would be cool to make it more like uh you know mainstream like reputable businesses reputable jobs that do it um so i kept blogging about it and it kept taking off in hacker news and uh and you're right i think and then i went on twitter and i think i kind of organically people started following me and then a lot of people went nomad a lot of my friends went nomad because i was blogging and they became my friends now um and yeah and then i started all those

17:00-17:48

businesses and but i think it's it's not like some it sounds very like a constructive it's not a master plan no it's not a master plan it's very organic like uh i kind of try i'm like user zero i try to build stuff for myself and i always have like i have like new ideas like there's just like you said red build there's like something that's a discongruence in society and what i'm thinking and most people then think like okay there must be wrong something there must be something wrong with me but i think like arrogance i think there must be something wrong with society maybe this

17:48-18:00

is like a new thing so i'll try and make a little website about it like inflation like three years ago or two years ago i was tweeting about inflation like this shit's gonna go crazy with all the fat printing money and everyone's like nah inflation is fine stop stop whining about it i'm like no i'll just prove you that the real inflation numbers are higher so i made this inflationchart.com website that shows the inflation numbers are really high turned out to be true kind of now so yeah that's all great what what uh technology are you using to build those sites because they all do look alike and you seem like you can spin them up like

18:00-18:53

really quickly well that's really funny because i get a lot of criticism for the technology i use i use php because that's the language i knew because i was making a blog like right like wordpress so i knew php a little bit so i was like okay i just need to write with the language i know because i don't know under other languages and i did that and then i use javascript and i use jquery so everybody starts laughing now because jquery is like way pass a but i still use it because it's so easy to you know make a button bind an event to it age exterior to the server to the php script does something with the database

18:53-19:04

sends it back and it works for me really well and i think it doesn't matter what you use but as long as you use something that's really fast um feedback loop and iterative loop where you can really quickly develop like i can make a new button in like you know 20 seconds and deploy to the server it's really fast and i know other developer friends of mine use a very big stack all those you know kubernetes and all the stuff all these keywords i don't really know and for them it takes sometimes like you know an hour or maybe even days to deploy a new feature

19:04-19:51

and i think what we learned from startup and lean startup is that the customer feedback loop has to be very difficult to be very fast iterative so you can really quickly change stuff and it also makes your customers really happy because they see something they have a problem or a feature idea you can really quickly build it and then they see it and that's i mean if you want happy customers that's how you get it you make something for them they're like oh my god i influenced this product and uh yeah so that works for me so very very simple stack

19:51-20:04

we won't laugh at you because not because we're nice we just we don't know anything about i don't know what jquery is neither the samsung i mean nobody these days you're safe here we're too dumb to to call you out on any of your technical nice nice it's a good podcast what do you what do you think what do you think this whole your whole thing's worth because if you go okay so depends if you do 5x sorry sean go to his like sites and you could see like it's like something slash open it's usually like the website slash

20:04-20:63

open and then like it says like so many stats most of which honestly are kind of useless but it's just like it's cool uh it's like you know like how many seventy percent of them are like you know the equivalent of like a step counter it's like uh it's like oh how many dms did i get today how many uh no i don't need it no you do you have it but it's collective it's like dm sense you know it's collective events yeah but for example i'm on nomadlist.com which you said yeah i think your biggest one slash open and on it you see the revenue chart you see you know co2 removed from the atmosphere you see the full p l you see a bunch of other things and one of

20:63-21:30

them that you see is my okay so 73 profit margin your team says 0.78 so i guess that's like part part-time yeah like full-time equivalent like fta yeah and then plus 492 bots what is that service yeah yeah yeah so uh he has the valuation too he is if you scroll down it says we sold for i mean it's not super accurate i did business but it's the pe ratio of public companies that are similar in industry and i try like sync it to that sometimes um but the dude it completely depends on the multiple somebody's going to pay for

21:30-21:82

it right like uh have you seen those those are extremely low no i've sold nothing i've been in selling processes with previous guests on your podcast you know so uh but it kind of bounced off i'm just a lot of i think i'm just going to guess it was andrew wilkinson because he loved manchester united yeah because he loves john boards that that's just a guess i can't say anything but 80 i signed any 80 of the acquisitions they bounce off right so right now i'm like i don't really care uh i like that i have cash flow and my life

21:82-22:26

is nice and but i until recently i was really like until like a few years ago i was like obsessed by the selling because you build a startup like in the movie like social well not the movie social network but in big movies about startups they're like oh my god grow big and sell and you're a millionaire but then if you become millionaire yourself with your cash flow you're like okay why does it matter actually well let's actually talk about that because what's interesting about you is you have a few that you could sell so like remote okay and nomad lists are

22:26-22:76

both pretty cool have you calculated like how much money you want and how long it's going to take you to get there via cash flow and if it's better to like well why don't i just sell one and i can get like an eight or ten million dollar lump sum but then i still on this other one that's making like yeah three million dollars i mean have you thought have you done that math and and what are you doing the thing is most of my revenue is profit like the margins are really high especially remote okay it's like it's like 94 margin uh pre-tax so it's very high um so i'd say

22:76-23:24

10x after thanks gets interesting i think the problems with bootstrap companies you usually get three four five x uh profit or review which is too low for me it's like i can i might as well wait three years or four years and sit in this chair and the sites will probably keep running because they're fully automated and i barely need to work on them they kind of just keep going it's like heavily automated like really heavy heavy uh it's just that i won't build new features anymore then and the site will start looking a little bit old because you know design trends change but generally it will keep

23:24-23:77

running so it doesn't make sense for me to sell for you know 5x or 4x if i might as well wait and also like normal this is like my baby so if i sell it uh they're gonna [ __ ] it up i already know because they always do um like let's say a big a big remote startup buys it okay i know vc fund remote startups are cool but they're also going to be bought by big boring companies later like corporate companies right and they're going to shut this [ __ ] down they're like and this is my contribution this is my life's work it's like a

23:77-24:23

legacy so uh remote okay i care less because it's a job board job is not very interesting but normally this is like this whole movement and culture and and there's like tens of thousands of people on there and my friends are on there and it's like this work of love you know and um so yeah it's hard it would be hard to sell that because people are going to [ __ ] it up are you the largest go ahead sean well one thing i was going to say you tweeted out something that said a 10-year overnight success which i think is a common uh

24:23-24:75

uh idea that most people don't don't realize which is by the time you hear about something you don't know the 10 years of kind of toiling and tweaking and iterating that it took before the big kind of breakthroughs happen i had my life was the same way you know i started my first startup when i was 20 21. and i made my first million by the time i was 30 or 31 right like it wasn't it took 10 years and um and you know and then and then every year since then a bunch of great stuff has happened but like it took a long time to get that breakthrough and i was looking at your chart sam i don't

24:75-25:32

know if you saw this tweet that he has but the chart basically shows i think you start the sum of all my revenue together in one chart yeah yeah it's all your revenue from all your projects all together in one chart and it's looking like it's like i don't know 2012 or 2013 start and basically if i go all the way up until let's call it 2019 you're at maybe 600 700k and per year in revenue and only in the last like like kind of the pandemic boom you know let's say 2020. from 2020 you went from under a million dollars to 2.5 million a year right so you two and yeah

25:32-25:85

x and you like it's because it sounds amazing wow this dude's making almost three million a year it's like yeah but he's also been building that momentum and stacking these assets and it just really took off and which i'm guessing is like pandemic fueled a lot of people wanting to be nomads and like you were there to catch that wave you were the guy ready to catch yeah but now he this was coming like right this was like i did this presentation in 2015 where i predicted there would be one billion remote workers in 2030 and everybody laughed at me and i was like even in the comments like youtube

25:85-26:39

comments were like this is ridiculous whereas your sources is [ __ ] and then confident happened and it suddenly seems very reasonable and but nobody could have seen this coming and i had no idea i was actually kind of like thinking like you know of it or what exactly but it kind of like it if you look at the chart it's kind of like you know it doesn't really go anywhere and i was like thinking okay this is [ __ ] like i i tried i tried everything to make it grow and sometimes it grew and sometimes it didn't but generally it wasn't very it wasn't like a vc startup where like

26:39-26:92

well it looks like there's these p there's these run-ups and then a plateau and run-up in a plateau which is by the way that's how all progress actually looks if you zoom out and i remember that like during 2014 when i first moved to silicon valley there was a small group of people like you this i think when you created that first slack community that was like nah being a nomad is the way to go and um yeah but those people were like freaks you know they were they were very yes and but there were some people who took the red pill at that time i think steph

26:92-27:47

smith who was just also worked at the hustlers she met you in i don't know indonesia or something like that because um she had i think probably during that more like that time period 2014 15 16 something like that she was one of those people that defected then whereas now there's like another wave and like if you look at kind of like any lifestyle movement it happens this way it starts with like very i could take crypto it starts with the the cypherpunks exactly you're right yes they don't they hang out in cryptography forums and they took the pill first yeah and then came you know the next the developers then came

27:47-28:05

the the finance bros and then it's the same with the next music like music genres like hip-hop like early hip-hop and i come from electronic music so drama-based music it was my previous career like music producer it's the same thing like edm taking off in the us in 2009 2010 with dubstep that's what broke edm and u.s that kind of stuff it you like these these movements these scenes are almost dead and then suddenly something happens like right and it's so unpredictable you have no clue what's going on you can only surf it so i think the metaphor of surfing is very accurate it's better to serve these waves

28:05-28:60

in general i think life just surf waves stop trying to control it uh just serve it and kind of like you know pivoting like pivoting startups into that's pretty much just serving like steering the surfboard over the waves because you cannot you cannot control the market at all you cannot control society at all you know one of the things that bothers me about the this indie hacker movement is well i i just i really i really like it i like it but in general what i don't like about it is like people think pretty small so they're like uh you know like there's it's kind of related to like the fire movement which

28:60-29:08

is like oh i just want to save a little bit of money so i can make 40 000 a year in passive income and and i'm like oh that's cool like getting your first step is cool but like that can't be it with life like you have to like you know you're going to want more you want to do more things and contribute to society and with a lot of these indie hackers they kind of come up with silly stuff where it's like a small widget that they sell for four dollars a month and they hope that they can get to a thousand dollars a month and i'm like man that's like neat if you're just starting out but i think that this could be bigger and you're actually one of the few

29:08-29:65

people that i've seen go harder you know you're going harder on this um are there any others like do you think i'm going harder on it like well your numbers are bigger like it's like like it's it's substantial like your numbers are nice already and it could be survivor bias right well yeah definitely but i still think that there's a mindset of like um like for example your twitter bio thing says your meter is going to three million i would say most people who are indie hackers and makers and kind of like the the sort of tinkerer community

29:65-30:20

they don't even have their meter to their their meter you know initially is going to start much lower sixty thousand or seventy thousand a year yeah and maybe yours did too but then you like oh cool i filled up that meter i leveled it up so what was your like initial goal was it like making enough to not need a job or where did you start when did you get more ambitious so i i mean back when i started i had a youtube channel for this electronic music i was making and stuff and i was making like a few thousand dollars from youtube adsense so i had some runway uh some cash flow to live off of travel off and work on mini startups but it was

30:20-30:82

very fast it was shrinking because of the competitive like the copyright claims on youtube in 2012 and stuff so it was pretty much becoming like below a thousand dollars a month um but uh so i had that cash show but to go to your question i think it's a power law like you always have a few people in a scene who will make more money or get more successful and stuff also there's a delay effect i started in 2013 or 2014. all these indeed this indie scene didn't really it wasn't cool until maybe i think 2018 or something 2017. so these people that are going into it

30:82-31:35

now they're just starting kind of and i think the widget thing is interesting because you said it's only a widget uh if you make one feature really well that solves like one problem you can get some customers and you get some cash flow and then you can build a second feature and you can slowly scale up uh to a bigger to a real business to real product toolkit right and then i think another thing is you don't see a lot of people with multi-million revenue because they will quickly raise pc like once you pass a million dollars a year they will switch to okay let's go big let's go

31:35-31:86

become a billion dollar company and i think i'm the exception i'm like i don't want to be building another company i'm fine like like this kind of chill um and that's why you don't see those people a lot because i do know them and they quickly disappear like this app we're using now uh riverside i think is raised pc now started bootstrapped and then i think oprah winfrey used it and because it's my friend nandov he makes it he's like dude overwhelmed for you so i'm like oh my god this is crazy he's like yeah i think i'm gonna raise pc i'm like okay yeah you should do that uh because they think this is like this

31:86-32:34

could be bigger than just a few million right so you tweeted something out the other day that's related to this you go not sure if people realize it but if your app does twenty thousand a month on revenue you're probably already a millionaire twenty thousand dollars per month times twelve months assume you could sell for let's call it four or five multiple yeah that's a million dollar selling price right you're sitting on a million dollar asset and when you put it that way i think that sounds and it is way more achievable than this idea of like i got to build a

32:34-32:87

million dollar business like i don't know i don't do i have the big idea whatever but getting something to 20 to 30 000 a month in revenue seems approachable right it's approachable and that's kind of awesome i think that's an amazing like just a like you didn't all you did is you said something that was true out loud and i think if more people heard that that's why i'm kind of bring it up here i think if more people heard that that is a pathway to a millionaire status that does not require like winning the startup lottery of like inventing the next big thing

32:87-33:41

or working and saving and you know paying your crazy w-2 taxes for like you know 15-20 years to get the same same outcome yeah exactly yeah i agree yeah and i think it's it's reachable especially if you think about high automation very high margins so software business you you're not going to hire a big team of 10 people immediately you work with part-time contracts like i do and you keep your margins very very high because then you can sell for 5x right then your revenue is almost your profit so it's the same

33:41-33:87

um yeah i think 20k brainstorm or business together that could get to 20k so what's an idea that you you're not currently building but you thought of because i'm sure you're an idea guy and you think uh you can make a website that does x or you could make nomad lists for this other niche or you could make you know um the the immigration one for this other thing so what's a business let's brainstorm a business together what's a business that you think could get somebody to this millionaire status

33:87-34:38

dude i think what's man it's like again this is so personal so i've been living like i used to live in hostels right in like dorms in 2014 i didn't have money shared with six people like crazy then i started like private rooms in hotels then the rooms got a little bit more luxurious because i had more money and then i started discovering like apartment hotels and it sounds like [ __ ] but it works so well with remote work so i mean i was part of the hotel right now in europe on the beach and there's a kitchen what's an apartment hotel what does that mean sorry apartment hotel is essentially a

34:38-34:85

hotel so full service furnished nice interior hotel room but you also have a kitchen you have a bedroom you have a living room you have it you know it's very big it's pretty much like an airbnb but you pay per month or per night or whatever you pay per month well you can pay for a night you can pay for a month it's just like sean um it's like that guy or whatever yeah it's like saunder and it's like all uh i forget the other one the guy was supposed to come on the podium canceled you did one of these in nashville right or something where you're like this is awesome

34:85-35:45

it's working yeah it's like a it's basically just an apartment that you can rent for five days and they're pretty cool i do i do them all the time the problem that i've experienced is within new york it's like 10 grand a month and it's like 600 square feet so that's why i tend to go airbnb but i'm in smaller less expensive cities you can get like a thousand square foot place for like six thousand a month and it's just it's basically uh an apart apartment building that has one floor or all floors dedicated to airbnbs yeah the problem of airbnb is that i've noticed the quality is very very high there's a big range of quality

35:45-36:03

and there's problems there's no daily cleaning it's it feels too much like um unexpected like you don't know what's gonna happen the water stuff might break if things break here you just get a new apartment right and i've done this in europe and i've done this in asia too in thailand and i spend about you see two to three k three and a half k so it's a lot of money it's more than normal rent but the cool thing is that it it solves a lot of problems you have in your daily life um because it's surface and stuff and it's it's a huge thing in asia it's a huge thing in in southeast asia even in

36:03-36:56

korea taiwan and stuff so i think that's going to be bigger because of remote work because you have remote workers even with families with kids and you don't want to live in a hotel or a hotel room is very depressing like i go insane in hotel rooms it's just like a bed and you can barely walk around the bed there's no space i need to cook food i need to buy steak from the local butcher i need to cook it with broccoli and spinach and with my friends and stuff and you can do it in an apartment hotel and i think the if you target it's a high-end market i think of remote workers that make a lot

36:56-37:08

of money like 200k or 100k something if you target them you can make a lot of money because it's um service furnished so what would you build you'd actually build an apartment hotel or you'd build a digital product that's a big question because i i'm a software guy i don't wanna i don't wanna own stuff i don't wanna have all this i don't even wanna buy land i don't even want to buy a house i want to be able to be a consumer a customer of these kind of things right but i wanted long term i want to be able to rent for like six months you know or 12 months even i want to be guaranteed to stay so we uh my wife and i are like we're at

37:08-37:64

the point where we're gonna start having kids soon and i live not like you entirely but a little bit where we spend we spend half the year one place half a year at the other place and what we're going to do next year is just rent do a 12 month month lease in new york and just not be there all the time but i'm looking to rent all of my furniture and i've been looking at a place where i was like all right i just want to like book this one place and i want to pay someone like three grand a month but they have to show up before i arrive they've got to completely set it up yes and it's gonna be 100 furnished for me

37:64-38:18

and i've been looking at these and there's a few startups in the space that are doing furniture rental and furniture rental is not popular right now and i tell people all the time i'm like i just want to rent all my furniture i don't want to own any of it and they they think it's nonsense and they think it's crazy but if you run the math it's significantly like it's about the same in terms of price but in terms of headache i think it's a thousand times better and that's another yeah yes yeah so it's it's all about the headaches so if you can afford it you can reduce the headaches of

38:18-38:71

ownership and ownership uh it sounds so privileged though but whatever it ownership is a big hassle [ __ ] breaks all the time and if you are like if i spend my time on my laptop building on these apps it's probably better use of my time than managing all this this stuff and if a company can specialize in you know managing this stuff and renting it to you it's much better i think that's a real you're on point that's a real business and um imagine you can go to a website you can say like okay you can choose different sets of furniture different interior stuff

38:71-39:17

paintings on the wall or whatever and you can just click and you arrive and it's already done for you like you said i think that would be really interesting uh yeah what what else yeah things that you're interested in either kind of niche categories or things in your lifestyle that you're like huh i do this lifestyle thing differently than people this could be you could build a business around this i think that the biggest problem with the digital nomad thing is that there's a maybe it's a good big podcast just to say that uh there's a perception that

39:17-39:66

people travel really fast and i have the data that they don't travel fast they travel like every few months or even i think the average is seven months now it's very slow so the the word digital moment is it's a horrible word of course we have so many connotations but it's mostly remote working people who want a little bit of a different life want to see different places a little bit um you know they have boyfriends girlfriends wives husbands they have kids even this family is doing this as well moving around every week doesn't really work being very slow is big and

39:66-40:16

if people are more aware of that they can find a lot of products built for this long term slow mad market which most of us are we're mostly slo-mats and i'm a little mad also slow meds yes think about education think about like homeschooling is taking off also because of remote work uh if i have kids i i don't know if i want to put him in a regular school maybe you know elon musk builds his own school that's kind of cool but you can do things in a different way and like now it's still very we're still niche like this remote work thing is

40:16-40:67

still niche it's going to get only bigger there's only going to be more more people doing this once physical jobs get automated so um if you make products i have no specific product but if you know if you build products for those people that's a high-end market of like tech workers that are most so if you don't but you said that you don't own stuff or you you kind of said like you don't like owning stuff you said that you you said that you don't want to own real estate so if you're making two and a half million dollars a year in profit this is a question that sean always asks

40:67-41:22

that i'm stealing it which is what do you do with your money then yeah so i'm heavy in etfs um i read a blog post by what's his name the guy from google that does seo and he's like i just put everything into in etfs so vanguard etfs s p 500 um but also i'm heavily invested in asia because i believe in asia i believe in the future i know the west there's a lot of things about asia that are good but it's very i still think it's very futuristic and um i also invest in crypto like i hold bitcoin and ethereum um it's always scared to say those things

41:22-41:75

on the podcast right but it's all like very secure and stuff so it's not exactly the most shocking thing to us every tech guy every tech girl is crypto yeah exactly but i i mostly you're actually not allowed to have that haircut if you don't own like three yeah you can't have a high fade with like long top hair yeah yeah if you don't on three um i spend about like four five k a month or something that's it so most of it is just uh i do need to pay tax but after that most of it goes to you know etfs and stuff it's scary to invest now because it's a scary time but

41:75-42:39

generally i'm like i want to do this for 20 30 years in etf invested and stuff and sometimes stocks but my i did a benchmark my s p 500 etf outperformed all my stock decisions over the last two years so i'm stupid just like most people sean you want to tell them what you did recently what oh selling with your stocks yeah yeah so i sold not everything but pretty much everything sold maybe 70 80 of the stocks that i hold um i get that i mean yeah but yeah i'm scared they always say like don't try and time the market so i'm like okay i'll just sit and just crash with the you know why didn't you do that

42:39-42:92

why don't you just like chill uh two reasons one i didn't want to risk a margin call because i borrowed a little bit against my stock portfolio but and you know to what i felt was extremely safe and it's still safe but i was like ah look if this drops another you know 20 then all of a sudden i'm having a headache that i don't want to deal with i don't want to have to deal with freeing up a bunch of cash just to buffer this so i was like i noticed that every morning i was waking up and i was checking it and i was like okay logically i know

42:92-43:43

i'm in pretty good shape here but the stress of having to think about this is taking away from my like you know my day-to-day quality of life it's like that's the opposite of what i want money to do i don't want money to give me stress my money's supposed to take away my stress so what did you do with the money the opposite what did you do with it where is that it's in cash right now um like i might do something like whatever some short term you know fixed incomes type stuff but like for now i was like again i don't care like i don't need the two percent i needed the peace of mind and so that was the first thing the second

43:43-43:92

thing was i thought what will i regret more what do i believe more do i believe that this is the bottom or do i believe that this is kind of like actually thinking that this is the bottom you know six months in and that it's all going to get better soon but basically like there's three paths either it gets better now it stays this is about the bottom but we stay here for an extended period of time one two three four years or it has further down to go and i basically thought that it getting

43:92-44:47

things going up soon seemed like the least likely thing like i would i would actually be betting against that heavily and so i thought okay i have nothing to lose here in terms of upside because i just fundamentally don't think that stocks and everything's just going to go ripped back up again and we're all going to pretend like you know that was it we just had a few months of pain and then it all went right back up and and remember things go things are all green again so i thought either it's gonna be flats boring and sideways for a period of time or it's gonna go down more and i thought well in either case then i

44:47-44:99

won't regret being in cash because a i don't have to sweat it every day i don't have to think about it every day and b i'm there's no i'm not losing anything during you know by doing this and so that was my thought process and i figured okay there's going to be these little bear market rallies so just sell at the top of the next so that's what i did everything rallied five percent i just sold and i kept like i don't know twenty percent still in the market and i just put left the other eighty percent in uh and you know not thinking about it cash but i held my crypto i didn't sell my crypto

44:99-45:43

that's good yeah are you guys mostly invested in the american uh stock market or worldwide yeah like you said i believe in asia i'm like yeah i believe in asia too but i don't know what the [ __ ] you're talking about how do i go invest in asia and where would i invest i don't even know what what does that mean are you buying the equivalent of like an etf for like japan or something what are you doing dude i had a vanguard etf china and then suddenly disappeared from my broker app and i'm like what the [ __ ] is happening and i get this message they're like vanguard left china in march or something because they were like this is

45:43-45:98

too crazy i don't know got something like yeah no privatize or did something made private companies public or something yeah no they they [ __ ] jack ma for sure there's a lot of weird [ __ ] happening but i still think i should be invested in in those markets and uh um have i told you about the jack mom thing how it's crazy that the third richest man in the world that they were trying to was like hey dude shut up and he's like yes sir they just took jack my brother-in-law calls me like so we

45:98-46:50

had one moment where like a month in when people started noticing jack ma's missing and my brother-in-law in the car one day was just like where's jack ma like if he was in the car but he's like bro why aren't we talking about this he's like where's jack and we just started laughing like how crazy is that that jack ma is just not like what if you just couldn't find elon musk because he said something you know that that biden didn't like like that the idea is crazy they did it with the tennis player too yeah i saw that my brother-in-law still calls me he'll be like he'll just call me out of the blue it's been like a year

46:50-47:03

now he'll be like yo where's jack ma and then he'll hang up and like that's the whole call it's so great you just feel like he's yelling where is jack ma but dude that's the thing with asia and china like all the stuff is accurate there's some crazy [ __ ] um but the other thing is also accurate that there's there's lots of happening in in asia and i think in the west in europe and america we have a blind spot because we get so much information that's negative about asia especially about china and i'm i'm not a china spy or something my friends call me china spy because of that but i think it's a blind

47:03-47:47

spot a little bit in the west uh we're gonna miss out on you know i mean china is gonna be the biggest economy in 2030 i think by gdp it's already the biggest economy people pitching power parity or something um ignoring that just you know because there's a lot of arguments why we should ignore china but it sounds like a blind spot in the west a little bit to me do you uh er what well i'll do it we'll do an easy one do

47:47-48:01

you act you like tweeted out your calendar and it was like free for a week or something like that and i know sean and i i i kind of like that sometimes i don't like that because i'll do that for three days and i'm like oh my god i'm so bored it are you is it real that you just don't play in anything yeah so this is the only plan thing and it gives me stress because i'm like oh [ __ ] this summer's coming up um but i mostly like i spend my days like i live with my friends so my friends are my neighbors now so i brought all these nomads friends to portugal and europe and we kind of live

48:01-48:49

together a lot of a lot of them are in the city near here whatever everyone's kind of near so we just have like dinners outside and we cook food and the sunset on the beach and just this nice chill life that i never had because i was alone in hotel rooms i had friends but they were always around the world and now they're all kind of here so i mostly do that so i don't want to do calls about like because what am i going to call about like i like having calls with you guys what am i going to call with other people about like new business i don't know don't you get bored like no because i can i because i work

48:49-49:06

on my websites right i open my make coffee i make open my laptop meet my friend and we code a little bit together make a new feature um you know then you go to the gym we go to sauna uh we go swim uh that kind of like but that's very reason right this kind of chill life and i don't get bored as long as i ship a little bit on my websites i don't really get bored you're like the only rich per so basically it's almost always the truth that no matter how hard you try the more income that you make your life your lifestyle gets inflated uh maybe

49:06-49:61

sometimes not as much but then other times a ton and like i was like oh i'm gonna fight it like i can't imagine spending more than ten thousand dollars on a car or whatever and then you make more income you're like uh whatever who cares um you said you spend four or five thousand dollars a month you're one of the few people that has acknowledged that your lifestyle actually doesn't seem like it's been it's it's not no at all it's 100 on purpose like it's very um incidentally sometimes you spend more right like last month was the hotels were really booked so we had to pay a lot of money but now it's chill again um

49:61-50:08

i think it's on purpose because i try to follow like last one was like 10k or something that's still that's where you know we're in lisbon you're making three million dollars a year yeah but paying 10k for a hotel is ridiculous it doesn't make any sense like it should be the max like two or three k for me personally but i've seen a lot of people um do that lifestyle inflation because i know from corporate from again from studying business i know the management management people and stuff they get paid more and they get golden handcuffs right and they can't leave a lot of my friends are like that and i don't want

50:08-50:52

that to happen to me i mean can't have it to me but you get what i mean um and i know that material goods don't really make me happy so i buy a new shirt or something or i buy a new iphone within two weeks i'm used to it and there's studies on this there's like research about this stuff like if you buy a new car even if you get married after six months you're the same happiness if you buy a house after six months same happiness so if you know that stuff you know that okay you don't really need to spend money so much you don't need to buy stuff essentially and

50:52-51:06

um generally it will probably make you happier do you what do you think you would want to spend more on let's say that like you know food like good food like organic uh you know free roaming i mean it's cliche like joe rowan right but free roaming grass fat cow beef you know that are happy animals organic vegetables uh you know that kind of stuff like not goods you know experiences right it's on purpose i do this what what are some of my experiences that you think are worth the money what sorry what are some experiences that are like worth the money that you

51:06-51:70

know when most experiences no so that's yeah you're right so man you got me like you're trying to find like stuff right yes i fly business guys because no exactly i'm done with uh i i can't sit i only do it long haul and i only fly like i flew only once in the last 16 months and i flew business qatar really nice and you can lie down and sleep and stuff but that's about it i think and you notice one thing i noticed like i was in bangkok in this luxury kind of apartment hotel stuff but it was a little bit too luxury for me you know

51:70-52:17

and i was there for a month and you start noticing that you don't meet as much interesting people like i met one instant person who had this giant wheat farm the biggest wheat farm in thailand because i just legalized it was kind of cool but generally it's a very different it's more like a socialite kind of paris hilton audience you know but in the hostels you would meet crazy people you would need backpackers but also like researchers and entrepreneurs and fledgling entrepreneurs you know you met generally more interesting people because you were more uh in those areas

52:17-52:77

and i found the problem yeah sorry did i tell you about did i tell you guys listen to this sean did i tell you about sam corkos from levels level other levels uh what's the oh yeah i know yeah levels so the the levels health the thing that goes in your arm so this guy so he raised yeah that's right he raised uh so he has a startup that makes eight figures in revenue it's worth i think it was 400 million dollars so let's just say that he's worth 150 million on paper not real on paper he came over to my house and he was with his girlfriend and she made a comment like joking like

52:77-53:26

oh you know he always gives me a hard time because it takes me forever to pack but that's ridiculous i only had this one carry-on and i was like well how long does it take you to pack sam he goes oh i don't pack i was like what do you mean he's like well he had a drawstring bag you know what a drawstring bag it's like a bag that like where you can get these at conferences yes he had that's all he had was that bag and he goes well you see i only own the clothes that i'm wearing right now which is a white t-shirt a pair of pants socks underwear and shoes i only own that plus another pair of underwear a jacket and

53:26-53:80

uh this bag and my laptop which i have right here on me that's literally the only thing that i own wait what he goes yeah i've been doing i've been doing this for like eight years now or something like that and i only live and like i do what you do he's like he does what you do peter he lives in um like these airbnbs and hotel style setups and he's been doing it for years and that's all he owned and i thought that was the craziest laundry every day i don't understand how is he well i was like i was like so i was like well what if you gotta go to a funeral what if you have to do this he goes well i just go to a thrift store um when i need to go

53:80-54:32

and i buy stuff and then i just bring it back and he does it partly out of i think this is my guess he does it partly out of um like convenience of not wanting to worry about stuff i also think that there's like a philosophy like a very philosophical thing going on here because it's like extreme but have you ever heard of anyone peter being that crazy dude yes actually like in 2014 i was in chiang mai and it was an australian guy who would fly from australia to thailand to chiang mai with only his macbook air and

54:32-54:94

the clothes he wore and not even a bag and he would buy everything he needed on the spot and he would be there for like two or three months uh and he would donate the clothes he wore to charity and then he would fly back to australia with his macbook air in his hand i was so impressed this data is wrong every freaking time have you heard of hubspot hubspot is a crm platform where everything is fully integrated well i can see the clients hold history calls support tickets emails and here's a test from three days ago i totally missed hubspot grow better

54:94-55:59

that see that's cool i would do that because i think that actually adds to the experience of traveling like traveling fully light and then when you get there so yeah find what you need and then giving it away when you leave like i'm i'd actually get down with that but like i i rotate to underwear and i put my underwear in my bag no but i think it comes down to philosophy and i do think it sounds pretentious but i don't care uh it comes down to constraining your life in a certain way i think constraints are good in creativity in life and stuff and um it makes you focus on the really

55:59-56:11

important things in life for you personally it must be different for everybody you know for me that's like you know girlfriend friends health food you know happiness all that stuff kind of and and creative work meaningful work very important like i need to be able to i need to have something to do in my day i need to feel like i'm contributing something like sam said and uh so what do you own so i have a backpack i have a rolling suitcase though like a small one um i have clothes i have a iphone macbook pro uh

56:11-56:68

i have a toothbrush um you can name all the things you own right i have two stadia control controllers like gamepads you can use stadia here it's kind of cool um yeah that's about it i think i mean i mean i have like backup phones and stuff because you know two-factor authentication stuff but it's not you think you're gonna do this you mentioned you could talk about your family or not if you want but do you think you're gonna do this when you have kids so what does doing it mean because i'm mostly settled down i'm also in one

56:68-57:21

place i'm just like trying to not by doing it as in uh not owning stuff i mean like i i think your life is cool but you have to acknowledge that this alternative in the sense of like you know one percent of those but yeah yeah for sure for sure i think it's interesting that like the stuff i do may or may not become a thing because a lot of things i did eight years ago now are normal right so it might be that the things that who cares become i mean if you're happy who cares if be oh no it's not about me it's more like yeah it's more like it might become

57:21-57:67

nature um i think uh i think even if you have kids you can do it in an alternative way you can uh you know you can go to thrift store get like secondhand toys or something secondhand clothes that kind of stuff but it all doesn't have to be this so consumerist and and buying and you know i mean it can we can do it in a different way and um i'm just trying to figure out like how how i yeah i want to do that and we've trying to focus on yeah a nomadless style red pill before briefly

57:67-58:17

which was um my i forgot what it's called sam do you remember the name of like the zero waste project or the zero the zero project or something like that so basically my wife told me about this she was like yeah you know there's like uh like in the city in the little town we live in there's uh like this facebook group and what they do is it's just like it's like a barter it's like oh it's not even a barter economy it's like a giving economy so it's like if you have stuff you just give it into the giving circle and other people can take it out and then they can give stuff in it's

58:17-58:73

basically like oh your kid i think it's a lot around kids stuff like my kids grown out of this but that's it it doesn't make sense right yeah like craigslist randos it's like yeah amongst this trusted group of people who buy nothing the same thing but the buy nothing project yeah um and i think i might have butchered exactly how it works sam do you do you know a little bit how well it's just the idea of like um instead of like reduce reuse recycle it like for like consumer or for like plastic and [ __ ] they're like no no let's just like uh reuse we're gonna reuse everything so instead of buying a new toy we're gonna go get one for free

58:73-59:25

and then we're gonna give away when we're done it's just a mindset and then there's uh there's a bunch of companies in the space but the big one is like this uh buy nothing series of facebook groups we're just like i'm gonna give away i'm giving away these children's clothes come get them yeah i think i mean it's that's nice like it doesn't make any sense you have a baby and it grows out of its clothes every month or something or every two months so why would you buy everything new if you can ask your family for clothes they already wore whatever right it makes more sense to me personally um yeah

59:25-59:76

who do you want to be like who do you who do you admire and who do you want to be like because like the reason why people buy [ __ ] for their kids is because they want to have they want their kids to have jordan so they look cool for other people because they want to impress other people who do you want to impress and who do you want to be like you think like who do you look up to um i i like derek sivers i don't know if you know derek sivers yeah he's uh tell me about him who is he he's um he started a company called cd baby in the 90s i think or in early

59:76-60:27

2000s and which was like one of the first uh indie kind of music distributors where you could send your music as any uh musician and they would press the cds for you and they would send it to your customers and stuff and and they also know on spotify and stuff and he stole those for 30 million dollars i interviewed him for my best first thesis actually he's really nice guy like the most nice guy in startups i think and he's very he writes a lot he writes a lot of books now he's very philosophical also kind of nomadic he's been in like living in singapore he lived in new zealand lived in u.s and stuff

60:27-60:82

and he's very um if you go to his website like derek severus.org surface.org i think he writes very much kind of same concepts that i talk about like um about simple life and and uh yeah it's hard to describe him but i think that's a very inspirational guy to me and i don't really need to impress i think i want to impress my parents just but they're already happy with me so it doesn't really matter i want to um i want to try and stay have like a stable you know

60:82-61:40

happiness because i've been depressed a lot i've been anxious i had like especially when traveling you go crazy in these you know in hotel rooms alone like um traveling can can it brings you very deep into your own self and stuff and i think the most important of me is to impress myself by just you know being stable and and having a stable happy life with with people around me and uh yeah like kind of wholesome life you know and that's my what part of your life are you not impressed by for your either yourself or derek sivers or if any if any of those people right

61:40-61:87

you just mentioned like the lifestyle you mean yeah what part of your life is not at that point where they're you you feel like it's not impressive in that way that that like well like i want to have a family too like you guys uh and that's what i'm working on um and yeah that's like that's more of a focus now you know like pretty easy by the way you just got to do one thing i'll tell you to find the right girlfriend you know and then you need to see if they're not crazy you need to like connect and all this stuff and i

61:87-62:38

think uh yeah that's that's it don um dude sean you have a yeah go ahead go ahead go ahead i wanna hear what you say no i mean like a little bit like you say like like i think about elon musk every time elon musk presents something you're like oh [ __ ] like that's so cool like why am i building shitty internet websites this is my only life i have i'm gonna die i should do something bigger but then i have to like bring myself back to like no it's cool you're doing okay like doesn't really need to be bigger but i mean everybody wants to make like space rockets i guess but it's just so hard to

62:38-63:00

do that you know sean you um you have a you have a dog right a little dog yep i've got a big dog how do i love yeah yeah so you like animals i love owning animals like big aggressive looking dogs that's what that's my thing it's like i'm a weirdo how do you live this the the i want to live a little bit more like you it's and i can do it uh a now because i have a little bit of money so i can just like pay for fancier airbnbs that are pet friendly and b i can only do it basically in america doing this lifestyle abroad with an animal even in america i drive you either have to fly private or you have

63:00-63:54

to drive most places um i drive most places how do you how do you live this life with an animal i don't have animals but i want them i had i had two cats with my ex-girlfriend and it was actually interesting we went to in bangkok to this this luxury apartment hotel and they were cat friendly and it was like this you know high society of bangkok people with cute cats and cute dogs and asia all the dogs are small they like small dogs i like big dogs too like you sam but uh and they walk around in the hotel and it's super cute and they have like cats and dog ice cream and stuff and

63:54-64:04

food and they have little like a little beds for them to sleep in and stuff and everything is serviced and that's another big market i think you know tech people with pets and stuff they want to travel as well dude sean have you looked into have you guys looked into flying in america with an animal so basically if you're why do you think i don't go places dude your animal's under 20 pounds right yeah she is but like that also means like she's not like tough enough to do all this stuff like we're like oh god how's she gonna handle this experience

64:04-64:54

um you know of going on a seven-hour flight or whatever yeah but she she's the dog's able to so like in term i don't i don't know if she's physically able to but she's allowed to you could put it in a carrier and put it on your lap or like in the above whatever the suitcase thing and if you have an animal that's above 20 pounds who's putting their dog in the above thing you can put your dog down i don't know dude it's like it's like putting a blanket over a it's like putting a blanket over a bird cage it's i i don't know that's just what you put it

64:54-65:09

underneath you you put it underneath there whatever you [ __ ] do i don't know i don't have one of these things but uh that's what they say on the directions when you look online but uh uh like if you have an animal above 20 pounds you cannot bait you basically cannot this whole emotional support animal thing that's kind of nonsense it's kind of getting phased out you cannot bring an animal a dog on a flight i i'm always amazed that for popular routes they don't have like a once a month or twice a month animal friendly right it's gonna happen it's absolutely gonna happen it's a huge growing market i think because a

65:09-65:59

lot of something rich people are not having kids sorry right i was gonna say i read something that one airline is like being like yeah we'll fly pets like i think they do a lot of pets in the cargo or whatever because most airlines have been phasing that out and one i think it's southwest i forgot which airline some airline is making bank because they take all the pets and uh it was like a differentiator it's like you know bags fly free but it's like hey we let you fly your pet and everybody else is saying no nowadays man i think you can do it you can i think it's all about slow matting so if you do if you move like every let's say

65:59-66:13

every six months it's not that bad for the dog or the cat uh and you you give them a stable life in where you arrive and not too much chaos and stuff i think it's okay i think it's not okay if you keep moving like every week or every month this might be a little bit stressful for the dog and the cat right but six months like yeah it's okay and especially if you get a tweet you had a great tweet it was if you don't have a dog in your profile picture on twitter are you even trying it's a growth hack it's the biggest growth right sam has one right you have a facebook picture i think uh yeah you

66:13-66:68

can guys use this on tinder right this was a dinner dating trick like you you because they swipe right for the dog not for you but they still swipe right so yeah i've noticed there's like two hacks when i was single if like if i ever walk around with like a niece or a nephew or like a kid uh that's like an automatic door opener to meet women and then the other one was having a a an aggressive but nice looking dog it's like doors i'm all they're disarmed we're good you know and why does that be aggressive but aggressive looking but nice is that one of those things where it's like

66:68-67:21

dog owners look like they're pets and so if your dog looks a certain way they'll think that about you they want to heal you you know like women want to heal you sometimes they're like it's like seeing a guy with like a sleeve tattoos who smokes cigarettes in a tattoo under his eye who like you know just wants to like spend time and cuddle you know like it's like so it's really good it's you know you're you're you're eclectic i don't know it just works don't ask me uh that just works yeah um so dude i love summer yet dogs by the way the big white polar bear dog right

67:21-67:76

and i think it's very strange like it's it's so fluffy it's like that's a very asian move of you that's they're very popular in asia right yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah i've seen him here too yet but yeah what are some is there anything that people assume about your life and your lifestyle and your businesses uh that you like for example with the hustle as well as sean's milk road a lot of people are like oh that's it it's just a [ __ ] newsletter you just write these these words and you just hit send that's so easy anyone can do it and it's like well no it's actually like a user

67:76-68:21

acquisition play like you gotta know how to do that and then it's also like you're just not good at writing like you have to be good and that's just talent you either have it or you don't and so that that's like some misconceptions about our businesses what about yours is there anything that um people always assume and you're like no because like people can anyone can copy you yeah i think generally people think that every uh website or app or company they're a customer of that it's more simple than actually is because you can't see behind the hood and it's

68:21-68:70

actually way more complicated than you think because there's so many edge cases in every business that you need to code like if statements for or build like little scripts for special features it's much more complicated and i think people realize that when they start because people always clone you right like they make a copycat of your website and somehow doesn't take off because they've been able to copy the outside of it the aesthetic kind of but they don't know what's happening under the hood so it's um it's much more complicated like dude a job board is much more complicated uh

68:70-69:19

than you think like um [ __ ] how do you explain this there's so many little parts that you know especially companies want they want you know invoices for every little thing they add the price is dynamic that kind of stuff i i changed job post pricing based on how many people post jobs on my site for example there's so much stuff happening behind the curtains that you don't see yeah it's much more complicated i was thinking about the misconception about yeah sorry and a lot of your stuff is automated to where like you don't have to be involved

69:19-69:74

it kind of runs itself you said everything's automated i think 99.99 and to post on your job board it ranges from a hundred to a thousand dollars i think whatever the huge range for sure yeah yeah how would you for the like i'm i'm tinkering with something that costs many many thousands of dollars a year is there how would you figure out how to do that like and so in my head i'm like [ __ ] i gotta hire a bunch of sales people that sucks do you think that you could automate most things even that are high ticketed items oh for sure dude i sell job post bundles for like 50k via

69:74-70:27

stripe which is like amazing for me to me like i'm like how do you do that that works so you make a page called buy bundle and you have the this you can go to remote okay dot com slash buy bundle and you'll see like a slider where you can make your own bundle and get a discount based on it and it's all automated and you add your credit cards and then you pay you know 50k or 40k whatever and how many people do that oh yeah it's it's like a lot of it's like 30 of the revenue i think bundles

70:27-70:76

no [ __ ] so someone's use yeah using a debit card or whatever for 50k yeah dude these company cards this is what this is lagging information people don't know the company cards have been upgraded i think because they're using it for much more these days really like it's a lot of money and i have no idea like i never thought like i don't i'm not hiring people i don't know how this works i just tried like okay maybe i think companies ask me like can we buy a few job posts for in the future i'm like okay i'll make this thing and a lot of companies use this so you

70:76-71:32

figure out the features that people want based on uh talking to them of course dude i'm looking at the sales pages by bundle so by 25 25 jobs is 22 000 you do something interesting on your sales pages is you just pack it with information that's totally the right move but you pack it with text like you use icons to kind of break it up the emojis yeah i use emojis a lot yeah no it looks like a circus right but it kind of works it's not like well-designed right it's not like minimalist design it's just like i just add stuff every day and it just

71:32-71:86

keeps growing but it works kind of what's the biggest purchase someone has made i can scroll up i got to jump through it i got another call i got i gotta run too peter this has been amazing i gotta go yeah nice to meet you sean see ya what's uh what what has been the biggest purchase that you've had this scrolls all the way up to 150 000. i think 50k or something around 50k maybe 49. but that happens that happens a lot yeah yeah yeah yeah this is crazy yeah i'm working on this thing and like it's like 10k a year and i'm like oh man i'm gonna have to like

71:86-72:45

get on the phone all the time yeah seeing you is quite in inspiring but i get annoyed if i if i need to use like i want to use these uh location service apis to figure out where are people traveling to for example and it's always like you need to do a sales call you need to like contact us and stuff and i get so annoyed with it and i know people on twitter get annoyed with it that they can't get a price directly and sign up you know um yeah i think it's much easier to do like this like a sales flow um i think it's easier i would argue maybe for me it's easier for you but i would actually

72:45-73:00

argue there's there's a world where it's not effect as effective though because i would i'm in the same boat as use i don't want to have to do all this crap and i'm not naturally a sales person but when i hired a sales team and uh they they shockingly were shockingly good at drumming up demand and i remember a cool podcast with the founder of squarespace i think it was and he was like you he's an engineer he's like i don't want to leave my room i don't like talking to people i like freedom and he goes and he goes the biggest one a huge mistake i made was i looked down on sales people and i looked down on

73:00-73:56

this like type of pricing where i think i got to get him on the phone but he was like i looked down on it and i was wrong it was effective they dr they created demand for a product and that surprised me most so like yeah i don't know i think so i think you're right i think my problem is that it's it's been it's very hard to meet good salespeople or to find them and it's unclear for me how i how i can hire them and um you know i how can i rate a person to hire them uh as a good salesperson i don't know what's a good salesperson

73:56-74:03

and i i've never done outbound almost never done outreach and stuff um and i'm scared that if i hire sales people i need to manage them and then you know they might [ __ ] up they might start spamming everywhere in linkedin and then it becomes like a screenshot thing on twitter like look peter levels is spamming with his website and stuff that might turn bad and i think you're right if you get the right sales people it can work i just i'd never been able to you know find those people it just matters what you're optimizing for if you're optimizing for happiness

74:03-74:55

and a well if you're opting for happiness and like a good life do it your way your way is working really well if you want to like grow at a certain rate per year and you want to really push it i i do think a sales person is is you do need a sales team but that's not what you're optimizing for you're optimizing for freedom so and happiness yeah and i also think that there's this there's different types of companies for example there's companies that ask for a lot of forms like they want like a w8 form like all these us irs forms and stuff they want you to sign everything they want you to sign an nda and and there's some

74:55-75:07

companies that just you know enter their credit card on stripe and it's done and it's different customers and the customers that ask for a lot of questions on email they generally convert less for me they pay less money and they are more of a hassle to you know do customer support for and stuff um so you also you get different types of customers if you do it all automatically you get more kind of modern customers that are easier to deal with i think is there anything that we didn't talk about that you wanted to talk about um

75:07-75:64

no i think i think we maybe transparency like the reason i'm so transparent is uh um i think it's very like i said i think it's very important to to to be honest and to to show other people that you can build a a nice indie company like this um by sharing every like ups and downs of it um and instead of because everybody else is only sharing like the good things and the we're growing so fast and we're hiring and we're funded and blah blah and i think it would be cool if we did business in a maybe in a more wholesome way where we uh you know

75:64-76:22

share everything and share the ups and downs and uh yeah maybe not grow super super super big but more in a you know wholesome manner i have a i like that but i have a few critiques the first is yeah i think that if you're high so you remember buffer so buffer uh they did the whole stick they did it even more extra well equally as extreme as you i would say but they revealed one of my inspirations for sure yeah but they revealed everyone's salary and they did that yeah i think they did it as a marketing shtick they did it because they're like well like you know like our products okay it's good enough

76:22-76:72

but like let's come up with a cool shtick so we stick out and it aligns with our philosophy it's great and it worked really well for them but i actually think that it probably hurts them after a while it's really hard to do that after 100 or 150 i don't know what the number is some amount of employees because you're like dude i don't want my [ __ ] all out there and when if i was you like i don't like like when we sold our company i didn't exactly reveal how much i made because i'm like man i don't want to be a target i don't want people to take advantage of me i don't want to be judged in a particular way

76:72-77:25

i don't want that type of attention so i'd rather just say like round whole numbers instead of like exactly no there's a real there's a real security risk for sure yeah like you don't want to talk about where you are right now yeah yeah part of it is because yeah for sure 100 yeah yeah 100 part of the downside but at the same time it's a marketing it's maybe it's agree it agrees with your with your life philosophy and also it's a pretty sick marketing stick like yeah thank you yeah i think it's all it's hard to stop it

77:25-77:70

because i've been doing it for so long it's become part of my identity it would be hard to like hide all this stuff now and they're like where did this open page go like why are you not sharing anymore i'm like i'm just done with it now um you know yeah and i don't think it's it's this recurring marketing machine that i think is a big part of why uh my businesses work became successful and why i got a lot of audience on twitter it's because of this i cannot deny that so it's very hard to quit that right once you've been doing

77:70-78:21

it for so long yeah that's why i'm nervous about even doing it in the first place yeah yeah yeah you know it's kind of like a i haven't gone hard on youtube or any other social platform because i'm like oh i don't want a commitment uh like you gotta keep up i wanted to do youtube as well and i have the same problem yeah i'm like this is gonna be a new recurring like activity i need to do every week i need to upload a video make a video yeah i think there's a world where you could do seasons you know like a tv show has a season i think there's a world where you could do seasons and do quite well but

78:21-78:68

uh the majority of people do it like regularly and i'm like oh man i don't want to get on that treadmill that's scary no i think it burns you out like look at all the youtubers burning out it's uh they all bail extreme yeah yeah yeah it's extreme schedule yeah i think this is my i think it might be interesting if i just sit in front of the laptop like this and i just tell the stuff i i know and i think and instead of writing it down and just making like little videos uh derek savers also did that he makes little videos about small topics you know five minutes explain something in the next video and so alex

78:68-79:21

for mostly is doing it uh the guy on our pod he came on our podcast alex for mosey he's been doing it lately and he loves it and he and it seems it seems like a lot kind of a lot of work but not that much work no more work in this podcast and i don't consider this podcast to be too much work um but it works well but uh dude thanks for coming on this has been fun i uh i hope you you will come on more often and we'll do a little more brainstorming this time yeah there was super fun thanks for having me yeah hopefully we didn't you you said you were nervous because we were going

79:21-79:72

to ask you no but no i don't think we asked anything because we didn't ask anything crazy yeah cool there's not much to ask when you tell everyone on the internet about everything you do yeah this is always when the good part of the podcast starts right because you end it and then like the the real [ __ ] hopefully not the real stuff i hope was was going on the whole time it was great um yeah dude thanks this is awesome um pimp out your stuff so it's at levels yeah it's a twitter.com levels io so l-e-v-e-l-s-i-o

Key Themes, Chapters & Summary

Key Themes

  • Unconventional Entrepreneurship

  • Lean Business Operations

  • Nomadic Lifestyle and Work

  • Automation and Minimal Staffing

  • Revenue Generation from Online Ventures

  • Work-Life Balance and Personal Freedom

  • The Future of Remote Work

  • Minimalist Living and Lifestyle Choices

Chapters

  • Pieter Levels' Entrepreneurial Journey

  • Embracing Small, Efficient Projects

  • Managing Online Businesses with Zero Employees

  • The Role of Automation in Business

  • Balancing Freedom with Financial Success

  • Insights into Digital Nomadism

  • Perspectives on Remote Work Trends

  • Minimalism in Life and Business Practices


Summary

"How Pieter Levels Makes $2.7M/Year With 0 Employees" provides an insightful look into Pieter Levels' unique approach to entrepreneurship and business. The discussion primarily revolves around Levels' methodologies in creating and managing successful online businesses with minimal staff.


Pieter Levels, known for his significant online presence, particularly through his Twitter handle @levelsio, has established a distinct brand in the realm of digital entrepreneurship. He is celebrated for his transparent approach to business, often sharing real-time revenue statistics and business insights openly with his online community.


The conversation begins with an overview of Levels' entrepreneurial journey, highlighting his unconventional approach to business. He emphasizes the importance of building small, efficient projects that align with his lifestyle choices, rather than pursuing traditional business expansion models. Levels' focus on maintaining a nomadic lifestyle while generating significant revenue through his online ventures is a recurring theme.


A significant part of the dialogue is dedicated to discussing Levels' various online projects, each contributing to his impressive revenue stream. These projects are characterized by their lean operational model, relying heavily on automation and minimal human intervention. Levels explains how he manages to run these ventures without a traditional employee structure, instead using a mix of technology and a small network of part-time contractors.


The transcript also delves into Levels' philosophy on work-life balance, personal freedom, and the avoidance of lifestyle inflation despite his financial success. He shares insights into his minimalist approach to living and working, underscoring the value he places on flexibility and freedom over material possessions.


Levels' perspectives on the future of remote work and digital nomadism form another crucial part of the discussion. He provides predictions and observations about the evolving nature of work, especially in the context of increasing automation and the global shift towards remote working models.


In conclusion, the transcript offers a comprehensive view of Pieter Levels' unique approach to entrepreneurship, emphasizing his success in creating profitable online businesses with lean operations, his commitment to a nomadic lifestyle, and his forward-thinking views on work and life in the digital age.