How Pieter Levels Became a Millionaire

Pieter Levels' journey began far from the nomadic lifestyle he would later embrace. With a background in business administration and a master's degree, he was well-equipped for a conventional corporate career.

But Pieter wasn't cut out for the 'fake corporate stuff,' as he puts it.

Disenchanted with the artificiality of the corporate world, he sought something more authentic and fulfilling. This craving for realness would become a cornerstone of his entrepreneurial approach.

So, he took a hard left.

His Inspiration & Nomad Journey

Pieter got inspired by Patrick McKenzie, a guy who shared his earnings online from small projects like appointment reminders for barbershops. This idea of making money from little things, combined with the freedom of being a nomad, excited Pieter.

He loved the idea of building stuff, without needing a big team or big funding. An idea nowadays so familiar to many of our customers here at Plunk. But nearly 10 years ago, when he did this in 2014, people considered him an alien.

Pieter's nomadic journey wasn't just a series of travel experiences. It was a melting pot of inspiration.

Moving across different continents, he absorbed the unique qualities of each place. In Asia, for example, he encountered futuristic products not found in Europe or America. These experiences not only enriched his life but also sparked ideas for new products.

His lifestyle became a perpetual source of innovation, fueling his creativity in unexpected ways.

Building a Remote Empire

Pieter's approach to building businesses is as unique as his lifestyle. He focuses on small, manageable projects that resonate with his interests and beliefs.

Embracing what he termed the "shotgun philosophy," he embarked on an audacious project - launching 12 startups in 12 months. This approach was a deliberate deviation from the norm. Rather than pouring years into a single idea, Levels chose to rapidly prototype, test, and either pivot or abandon ideas based on their market viability. This methodology allowed him to fail fast, learn quickly, and, most importantly, discover the few golden ideas among the many that didn't take flight.

Pieter's approach to building businesses is as unique as his lifestyle. He focuses on small, manageable projects that resonate with his interests and beliefs.

The Shotgun Philosophy

He went sort of mini-viral with his second startup: Go Fucking Do It. It’s a site where you’d say: “I will do this, by then, or pay $X. And then you’d pick out a friend.

As soon as the deadline passes, the friend needs to vote if he or she did the thing they said they would do.

If yes, the money gets returned to them. If not, Pieter kept it. The idea got picked up by some media and got him some traction. Read the story on his own blog here.

His most successful ventures to date are Remote OK and Nomad List. A job board and a community for finding remote work and places to live. Together, these make +$2 million dollars a year. But his portfolio doesn't stop there.

Recently, Photo AI, Avatar AI, and Interior AI have also grown exponentially.

However, it’s important to remember, that not everything he touches turns to gold. This is an older tweet by him, so the numbers are slightly off but the core is still true. Remember what he said. use the “shotgun philosophy”

His Marketing Strategy

Pieter understood the power of community and transparency. By building in public, he not only leveraged platforms like Product Hunt and Reddit for initial traction but also created a narrative that others could follow and learn from. This approach wasn't just about launching products; it was about inspiring a movement, showcasing the raw, unfiltered journey of turning ideas into reality.

Gary Vaynerchuck once said: “Document, don’t create.” Which is exactly what he did.

Today, X (or Twitter) forms the largest part of his audience. And, he’s starting to give TikTok a short as well as going on various podcasts to generate content quickly and efficiently.

Read this article on Building in Public to better understand how to do this.

Also, Pieter doesn't have a big team. He works with a part-time customer support person named Isabelle, a moderator for his Remote OK and Nomad List Slack group (which he’s now moving over to Telegram), and his best friend Daniel, who helps with server management. And probably a handful of freelancers when he needs them.

This keeps the profit margins high and the headaches low. A good mix.

To Conclude

Pieter Levels' story is a testament to the power of following one's passions and breaking free from conventional paths. His journey from a business graduate to a successful digital nomad entrepreneur shows that success doesn't always follow a prescribed route.

And this has made him become sort of the nomadic guru to which many people look up to. Like he once looked up to Patrick McKenzie.

The joy of building small, impactful projects, and the courage to be transparent and real in a world that often values the opposite is the root of his success.

Now it’s up to you to take the parts that fit with your life and apply them accordingly.

And if you need email in your own projects (which you do), give Plunk a try.

Carlo D'Agnolo
CarloFounder & Head of Growth at Plunk