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Interview with a Successful Startup Founder

Growing a Financial Comparison Company to $100k/Month

Johannes Larsson
Johannes Larsson
August 10, 2021
Category of startup
Finances
Country of startup
Remote
Revenue of startups
$100k-$500k/mo
Interview with a Failed Startup Founder

Growing a Financial Comparison Company to $100k/Month

Johannes Larsson
Johannes Larsson
August 10, 2021
Category of startup
Finances
Country of startup
Remote
Cause of failure of the startup

Johannes founded Financer, a financial comparison site focused on sharing financial education. He currently manages a global remote team based in over 26 countries and is making +$100k a month while helping people make more financial-savvy decisions.

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Hi Johannes! Who are you and what are you currently working on?

My name is Johannes Larsson, I’m a 29-year-old, Swedish entrepreneur currently living in Cyprus. 

I’m the founder and CEO of Financer.com, a financial comparison site, and manage a global remote team based in over 26 countries. Financer.com focuses on sharing financial education and comparing financial products so our readers can make savvy and informed choices.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I had already been experimenting with affiliate marketing and creating websites for quite a few years before I started Financer.com. I had created 400 websites and trialed different kinds of monetization for them, such as Google ads, and confirmed to myself this was what I wanted to do long-term. 

But I didn’t have a real focus because I hadn’t found an idea I was passionate about yet until I created Financer.com. I could see how much value it was giving to people, which was a huge motivation to turn it into something bigger. I had a vision for a global business model with websites in different countries, but it was clear the only way to make all of this happen was to let go of some of my other projects and do what I had never done before: focus. 

Johaness Office

This turned out to be a huge turning point for the business and I now advise any entrepreneurs out there who are balancing lots of projects but not feeling fulfilled to choose the one they care about most and give it 100%. 


How did you go from idea to product?

I didn’t overcomplicate the journey or search for investment when I started Financer.com because I knew what I was doing and how to build a website and affiliate income. I focused on exactly what I did best, SEO, and I took my time building up the different country sites and a remote team. This method worked out well, and today Financer is represented in 26 markets around the world.

There were, of course, obstacles along the way, but this usually came down to ignoring the lesson I had learned previously, focusing on my key idea. I experimented with other industries, such as gambling, but quickly realized I was better off concentrating on financial education and comparison. That was what our readers came to us for, so that’s what we continue to give them.

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Which were your marketing strategies to grow your business?

Most of the Financer’s success comes down to good SEO knowledge and passion. As a team, we’re all passionate about the mission of educating people to make the best financial choices and, at heart, we’re a group of SEO geeks. That means we’re always learning, discussing new strategies, perfecting old ones, and focusing on creating content that is both extremely valuable and ranks highly so that people can easily find us.

Financer Landing Page

It’s not a complicated strategy, but it’s continued to work for us and helped us to reach more people sustainably and cost-effectively.


How are you doing today and what are your goals for the future?

Financer.com today is a thriving global business with a team of passionate intrapreneurs behind it. However, we’re always striving for more and are far from the finish line of where we plan to grow to. 

We’re currently based in 26 markets and will be growing this soon, including some of the harder to infiltrate markets such as the UK where there is a high barrier to entry. As the markets we serve grow so will our team and I’ll continue to hire through the intrapreneurship model which has been very successful for us. 

As well as building on what is already working well for us, improving our content and working with new affiliate networks we also have some new ideas in the works. The sky is the limit and we look forward to hitting new milestones, breaking down doors, and taking Financer.com to new places.


Since starting Financer, what have been your main lessons?

One of the lessons I learned since starting Financer.com is to keep networking and building your connections. When I lived in my hometown, I didn’t have a tribe of business people around me, so I searched for that in Malta and then around the world as a digital nomad. I quickly saw how much value there is in networking and believe it's been extremely beneficial to my business. Now that I’m based in Cyprus I continue to grow my network and say yes to opportunities where I can connect with entrepreneurs from all walks of life. 

I’ve also learned to stay true to the reasons I wanted to start a business in the first place. There was a time when I had created for myself the exact 9-5 job I was trying to avoid, so I had to go back to basics and think about what I wanted from my business. Now I work flexibly to suit my schedule and I hire intrapreneurs who are independent and growth focussed. They don’t need constant watching over and we’re all working towards the same vision.  

What were the biggest obstacles you overcame? What were your worst mistakes?

I’ve learned that you need to be very thorough throughout the hiring process. I’ve been lucky to hire many great intrapreneurs, employees, and freelancers over the years, but this was a learning curve. I used to be much freer in my approach to hiring and this didn’t always work out. Now I’m very clear about the people I want to work with, as they’re representing my business and need to have the same hard-working approach and vision I have or it just won’t work. 

I try to see the mistakes of my team and me as learnings and something to be grateful for. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. There are so many things I could have done differently from the start but we are all just doing the best with the information we have available at the time. Every CEO is a work in progress and I’m always reading and learning how to become the best leader I can be.


What tools & resources do you recommend?

I am reliant on so many tools for my business but these are some of my favorites:

  • Slack. Slack is our digital office and with a remote team of over 50 people all living across the world from each other, it is the perfect place to keep in touch, collaborate, and share information.
  • Ahrefs. We use Ahrefs daily for keyword research, monitoring backlinks, and overall SEO health. 
  • Agorapulse. My team and I use Agorapulse to schedule, manage and monitor social media content.

The resource I recommend to people the most is simple, read for at least half an hour every day without fail. I have learned so much of what I know from reading and hearing other people's experiences and insights. Some of my favorite books are The One Thing, The E-myth Revisited, The Shortness of Life, and Leaders Eat Last.


Where can we go to learn more?

  • My blog where I share all of my learnings.
  • A complete guide on becoming an entrepreneur that I recently released.
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