I dropped out of college in 2017 because I realized I was doing it for others and not myself. I didn't really have a plan of what I wanted to do, but I knew I could at least document my journey of "figuring it out." So I created an Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube... account.
I posted videos every day, talking about what I was up to, whom I was meeting, my plans and goals. Random things. For whatever reason, other people (mostly my age) liked it, and I started building a following on Instagram and Youtube.
Look at that stud
In February 2018, I flew from Germany (Bremen) to NYC – because I needed to get out of my comfortable bubble at home and this was the craziest thing I could think of. That's when a friend of mine, Quentin Allums, told me about LinkedIn Video and that I should check it out (a new feature on the platform back then).
I already had 10k followers on Instagram but never really used LinkedIn. So I just started posting videos every day. Turned out it was good timing. I was one of the first video creators on the platform, right after Microsoft bought LinkedIn and introduced native video. People started noticing, and I slowly grew an organic following (the VP of LinkedIn Video even invited me to their NYC office in the Empire State Building – a very exciting day for a 21-year-old with no clue about life).
Making friends in NYC
I still didn’t have a business. I was just posting on social media and growing a following for fun. To keep me afloat in NYC (it's expensive), I did some Instagram and Youtube Growth for people, e.g. growing Timmy Ham's Instagram from 70k to over 400k followers in 3 months.
Oh yeah, I also ran into Garyvee (and had to prank him).
Instagram Growth Hacker Meetup NYC
Towards the end of my stay in New York, in August 2018, two business owners I met at networking events independently reached out to me and basically said “I like what you’re doing on LinkedIn with these videos. Can you do it for me and I’ll pay you for it?”
Why would anyone want to pay me *actual money* for something I’m doing for fun?
So I joined forces with a friend of mine who was a freelance ghostwriter at the time and started my first company – what is now Project 33.
Running into Garyvee
We created LinkedIn content for founders and CEOs, and boy did we make A LOT of mistakes. It’s one thing to create content for yourself, speaking to people who are the same age as you. It’s a very different thing to create content for someone else who has a business audience of accomplished CEOs.
We lost those first two clients. Around the same time, my co-founder and I broke up. The usual, different values. So in May 2019, I had to start over from scratch (with negative 122 Euro in my bank account, what a sob story).
This experience forced me to create the processes and frameworks that allowed me to understand the principles of what makes good content good, how the different platforms’ algorithms work, and the psychology of how people buy B2B products & services.
I’ve grown Project 33 back to a team of 4 (me, Jay, Saurabh & Matthew). We’ve worked with 20+ clients, all of them far more accomplished founders and CEOs than I am, and helped them successfully implement our process.
Speaking at OJM Summit Belfast
Jay joined me as a Content and Project Manager in December 2019. Before that, we've been friends for almost 2 years, having met in NYC. Jay worked for close to 20 years in sales and sales management (he's older than he looks) in industries like IT, Food and Beverages, HR, and Finance. He quit his corporate job and worked as a freelance photographer, working for brands like Jeep, Porsche, and the NFL, before joining me. He is now our Creative Director.
Matthew joined us as a Video Editor in January 2020. His passion for filmmaking began when he picked up an old family camera at 14. Since then, he has built a loyal following, sharing his art on his personal Instagram and Youtube channel. He graduated as a Cinematography Student from Orms School of Photography in Cape Town and is too creative for the videos he does for us (he'll make his own documentary one day).
Jay, Matthew & Finn in Cape Town
Saurabh joined us as a Copywriter in February 2020 after sending me one of the quirkiest (and best) application letters I’ve received. He worked as a copyeditor for a UK company for 2.5 years before coming on board. His journey as a writer began at 16 when he wrote a novel (which he claims to have buried so that no one can find it). In his free time, he writes on LinkedIn, runs a community of 16k artists on Instagram, and has had a newsletter for 3 years (with some of his writings published on big blogs like Addicted 2 Success).
Since I wrote this page in 2020, we've had Bruna, Tobi, Sven, and Nandan join the team as Project Manager, Video Editor, and Copywriters respectively. I'm too lazy to write a paragraph for them right now, but they're amazing people and I couldn't be more proud to have them on the team.
I take pride in being a team of practitioners.
I still post 3-5 times per week on my LinkedIn, and we repurpose that content on various other platforms. I have an audience of over 20,000 followers on LinkedIn, 15,000+ on Instagram, and my content has been viewed over 5 million times in total.
Finn's LinkedIn content stats
All of our clients come either through referrals or from inbound. We close 5-figure deals in under a month because prospects know me before I hop on the first call with them. In 2019, I generated $38,000 in revenue purely from my personal LinkedIn. In 2020, we did over $100,000 in revenue purely from content and broke through $250,000 in revenue in 2021, 90% of it coming from our content. I don’t say this to brag—seeing the companies and founders we work with, I know that we’re a tiny company and that I still have much to learn.
I say this because this stuff works.
Content calls with customers