Rod is a founder who has successfully monetized a directory showing websites for finding a job. He has made $20k from his Job Board Search site and also runs a successful villas website in Mallorca. Read his interview for Rod's tips for founders, how he has made money from his directory site and his journey building in public on Twitter.
Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Rod, I live in Mallorca, Spain and started coding at early age of 12 years old to learn Clipper and quickly realised that programming was what I wanted so when finished the High School I started studying ‘Computer Systems Engineering’ at university where all the programming classes were based on C++, after 4 years I quit (Uni wasn’t for me, I was only interested in coding classes and being behind the screen with my IDE) and I started travelling. In 2008 I got back to coding focused on web development.
Back in 2010 I had the chance to make and direct bookings project as a freelancer. After I launched the website custom development requests started to come up frequently, so I founded Jomres Plugins & Development agency, and I haven't stopped since. I joined multiple start ups in the hospitality industry, always as a contractor or fractional full-stack developer, like Handiscover and later Quirkyaccom which is a known British accommodation portal with around 3M yearly visitors.
I never used Twitter or any social networks (which I regret) until after the pandemic I discovered the build in public community and Pieter Levels account which was super inspiring
Can you tell us what you’ve achieved with JobBoardSearch?
I don’t know the exact number right now but surely I’m close to $20K in revenue, coming from around 70 paid users or job boards. In May JobBoardSearch.com had 44.8K unique sessions and 92K pageviews. Also I’m trying to grow other channels:
• Job seekers newsletter: 5,000 members
• Subreddit /r/jobboardsearch: 3412 members
• Twitter @jobboardsrch: 903 followers
Not long ago I added “topics” to categorize job posts on the Telegram Group, and improved the bot that posts the jobs with a better layout and details. Before that it was stuck on 23 members for 6 months but a few days ago I passed 3500 members!
Why did you create JobBoardSearch?
It was thanks to Twitter. I was scrolling on my phone and a Pieter Levels’ tweet about Stack Overflow Jobs shutting down came to my feed. Under the tweet a lot of folks where asking about alternatives and I thought “I can build a list just for fun”. I was actually brushing my teeth on a late Saturday before going bed and right away I registered https://stackoverflowjobsalternatives.com/ and went to bed.
I never thought about monetizing it but again, a few months later, Pieter in a DM suggested adding premium listings with highlight, custom brand color, and sticky features. He also told me to rebrand, and who dares to not follow his advice? He even helped me to pick the domain among 3 available, so https://JobBoardSearch.com was the one. I also decided to include the 3 Sponsored slots, Gold, Silver and Bronze, which generates most of the revenue.
I tweeted about the paid options and almost immediately Phil from 4 day week job board acquired a sponsored slot and became the 1st premium job board ever (and he is still sponsoring the site). Minutes later another founder paid and the next morning the 3rd payment came. I couldn’t believe it and realized that I was onto something. A week later I posted on Reddit and it went viral, the post had 790K views in 24 hours, and JobBoardSearch.com passed 48k unique visitors.
A few days later I commented under an Indie Hackers post and a platform moderator replied that if I write a post about JobBoardSearch he would feature it on the home page and newsletter. Here’s the post. Also, I received a solid offer of $20K to acquire the website but I declined.
What have been the best marketing channels for growing it?
For me, it is Twitter - building in public was a great win-win situation for me and JobBoardSearch. Twitter is where most job board founders learn that it exists. I never spent a single penny on ads, but I have seen my site mentioned all over, Reddit, Instagram, TikTok, even accounts with millions followers. Also, a lot of blog post have mentioned it so that generated thousands of backlinks. Direct traffic is the largest source and the 2nd position is Google.
I focused on programmatic SEO, based on the job boards filter tags combinations. Also there are 10 tags like its title and meta descriptions which were generated with the OpenAI API. There is a blog section and I hired a writer but after two articles he stopped. So next I plan to put some effort into generating content.
Can you talk about your Tourist Itinerary bot?
I built it to learn about OpenAI API and Telegram bots. I found it pretty easy to do it. I have to say that ChatGPT helped me a lot to speed up and understand all this stuff. The webhook is made with PHP and the database is SQLite.
It doesn’t make any money. I didn’t even code any premium logic, and right now I’m not working on it because I work on so many things. I also do agency work, run WhatToDoInMallorca, I’m building a Chrome extension for review, I’m working on another AI based Telegram bot. I have no time for everything. It’s a pity as it has already passed 200 users with almost no promotion.
I think it has potential. When I tweeted about it the founder of TravelMassive reached out, asked me to post it on his platform: https://www.travelmassive.com/posts/tourist-itinerary-bot-635305738
Also an Instagram influencer with 1M followers saw it and sent me a DM asking if I could do one for her but it didn’t end up happening.
What is the business model of your VillasMediterranean site?
The business model is commission per bookings, and is not easy at all to be honest. The first year its revenue was close to zero. I don’t have the exact numbers right now but I know it is in between 150k and 200k Euros.
It’s hard because you are competing with AirBnB all the time and they invest a lot of money in ads and we invest 0: we are investing in quality photos, drone footage and content. What we do is to offer something different, a more personalized service.
To landlords we offer full property management like taking care of promoting (getting bookings), taking care of the check-in, after check-out cleaning, hiring the companies to clean the pools and doing the gardening.
And for the guests, we wait for them with the aircon switched on and set to the perfect temperature, with fruit and cold drinks. Also, when they request it, we sort out the initial shopping, airport transfer, and we have even arranged private jet for guests. Also, as we are locals, we know the best places for guests to go.
What does an average day look like for you?
I’m a night owl, so I wake up late, close to noon. It is not easy for me to be in the working mood until after lunch, so I do work that doesn’t need too much focus before lunch, like replying to emails, spending time on twitter, doing Instagram posts, but not complex agency/client work.
After lunch I never fail to have an espresso and a dip in the pool, then I work until about 18/19. After, I take a break to go to the beach for a couple of hours. When I come back I have dinner and around midnight I get back to the office for deep work. This is when I’m more productive and I like to code. I go to bed between 3 am and 4 am.
Where can people find out more about you?
I’ve been running https://www.jomres-plugins.com since 2010, 13 years. My services are Jomres based (a booking engine for Joomla and Wordpress), direct booking websites (Hotels / Accommodations listings / Car Retals), or doing custom development for startups in the industry (Like Handiscover or Quirkyaccom) as a contractor.
This helped me to learn a lot about the processes and system to run these types of business in the hospitality industry. Quirkyaccom is a known portal in the UK with around 5k properties and 250k unique monthly visitors, a lot of bots running in the background for automations, SEO work, A/B tests, Open Baking integrations, custom iCals, complex tariffs system, connections to APIs for pricing and availability.