The Hustle has a short post about the open startup movement. It links to Pieter Levels monster post where he documents, in great detail, the process of building his Hoodmaps business to more than 300,000 users. This follows Gary Vaynerchuck’s idea of Document, Don’t Create. Rather than generic advice and platitudes, it’s a lot more valuable and interesting to read exactly how you built something. The press likes this, too. Documenting the process and key business metrics can be a great way to promote your business. Checkout Baremetrics for a list of companies openly sharing financial details. Business Opportunity: When an idea, like open startups, is clear and simple and is gaining traction there will be more newsletters, podcasts, conferences, apps, consulting, etc. around it. You’ll see.
If you are active in digital nomad and online business communities like IndieHackers or ProductHunt, you will likely have heard of Pieter Levels. He is the creator of NomadList, which ranks popular digital nomad cities around the world. It was part of the 12 Startups in 12 Months project he undertook in 2014. NomadList and the accompanying job board now make $20k + per month in revenue.
There are many lessons to learn from Pieter Levels. Embracing the open startup, digital nomad, and lean startup movements when they were still in their infancy put Pieter ahead of the trends and made him a clear thought leader.
Coming up with a big challenge with a catchy name like “12 startups in 12 months”, got him a lot of press. Delivering on that promise with some business successes made it even more compelling. Being a serial entrepreneur is interesting. Doing 12 startups in 12 months is a story worth sharing. There are still new startups benefiting from the idea.
Lessons to Learn: Try lots of things to see what gets traction. Building in public is a great way to generate interest. Openly sharing financials can also help promote your ideas. Bold challenges can generate publicity. Never underestimate the value of a simple and clear tagline or idea to promote your work. You need a community. Get involved in the online communities where your audience is.