7 min read

$300k as a solo founder with no CS degree or employees

$300k as a solo founder with no CS degree or employees

KeyValues is a business ran by one founder, no employees and makes $300,000 a year. Pretty good, huh? This article is a deep-dive into the business model, sales and marketing techniques of KeyValues. It also covers what you can do differently and how to get more traffic with SEO by changing how you build a directory website such as this.

Intro

Lynne Tye learned to code with the help of a friend before briefly attending a bootcamp. She quit the bootcamp after she realised she was picking up the material very quickly on her own.

Soon she was earning $100/hour as a freelance developer working remotely. After getting into the prestigious startup accelerator Y Combinator she decided she didn't want to actually raise venture capital. Instead she made her own startup, KeyValues, with the money she had saved up as a Software Engineer.

Lynne's website KeyValues shows you the best companies to work for depending on your values and priorities. People can filter companies by lots of different factors like diversity, work/life balance, management style etc.

How much revenue does KeyValues make?

Lynne has talked in interviews of making revenue of about $300,000 a year with no employees. She is in a position now where she can charge thousands of dollars for companies to be featured but originally she had to list them for free.

Obviously this is the classic chicken and egg marketplace problem. No companies want to pay if there are no developers using the site and no developers want to use the site if there are no company profiles there. After a year or so she was able to start charging new companies.

How much money goes into running Key Values?

You could easily build Key Values with no-code tools like Webflow (affiliate) like I did.

Lynne describes her costs as being very low - a few hundred dollars a month. If you still want to code, you can build it using NextJS and Netlify. You just need a static site. As it's not a job board, you would only add a company once they have paid. So you don't need a dynamic website for this business.

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