Why I'm (not) launching 24 startups in 2024

Update (15th March 2024):

This was a “mistake”.

A couple of months in to the challenge, I learnt that it was not having the intended effect.

Here’s what I mean.

My motivation was for launching 24 startups in 12 months was to quickly learn about creating income streams and develop skills in the process.

But what I discovered was that, in reality, the challenge stopped me from doing anything.

It started well..

I launched the first “startup” and moved on to the next one before January was out. But then life happened. We accepted an offer on our home. My family were all ill. And so on, and so on. As a result, I lost momentum, and struggled to get it back again.

The more time that passed, the more I felt like I was falling behind, and the harder it was to act. A conflict formed between the startups I wanted to launch and the ones that I had time to launch.

That’s when I realised that I wouldn’t gain much by doing things just to meet the demands of the challenge.

Even if I were successful, and created new income streams, there’s a good chance they would’ve been things I didn’t enjoy or want to maintain. Therefore, it’s unlikely I’d even have reached that point.

Which brings me to the bigger motivation behind the initial challenge…

24 startups in 12 months was never really a result that I wanted to achieve. In fact, it was a process… a process I conceived to support my long-term goals.

The thinking was that, if I brought 24 products or services to market in 2024, even if none of them worked, I’d be closer to knowing what would work in the future. And as a result, I’d be closer to being able to build a portfolio of income streams that gave me the freedom to spend as much time with my family as I wanted, work and live anywhere, and support a multitude of things that I see in my future “rich life”.

My vision of the end result remains… but this particular process will be scrapped.

Despite the challenge not getting me much closer to the result, it did teach me what won’t work for me, and has therefore helped me correct course and choose a new approach (which is why I used inverted commas around the word mistake at the start of this update).

So what’s the new plan?

Well, the main reason this challenge didn’t work for me is that it was too much. It might have been ok if I had a part-time job or if it was my full focus. It might have worked if I didn’t have any responsibilities outside of my job – like my wife and children. But with all of those things in mind, the number of startups I challenged myself to launch, in the time allotted, was too much. So here’s how I’m thinking about it now…

The result I want – multiple income streams – is a five-year goal. I chose five years because that’s when I want to achieve it by. I don’t want to rush it. I don’t want to sacrifice time with my family, the job that I love, or other aspect of my life in order to achieve it sooner.


I think the 24 in 12 challenge was inconsistent with the five-year timeline. It was forcing me to move faster than I wanted to.

So, what I will do instead is work on a phased plan. And in phase 1, which I currently expect to last for a year or so, I will focus on easy-to-take steps that establish a fast start, and give me the skills and confidence that I’ll need in the future.

I’m not sure exactly what those steps will be yet – but it doesn’t matter.

I know, from experience, that if I focus on my vision of the end result, keep track of reality in relation to the result as I take action (like abandoning the 24 in 12 challenge and correcting course), then the steps I need to take to get there will reveal themselves.

This time, in my own time.

Slowly, surely – onwards and upwards.

Original post:

In March 2014, entrepreneur Pieter Levels challenged himself to launch 12 startups in 12 months. To date, he has launched 70+ businesses, and only 5 of them are making money. That’s a 93% failure rate. But the 7% that remain produce $220,000 per month.

Similarly, as an aspiring author, Benjamin Laskin was told that it takes at least 10 books to achieve mastery. So what did he do? He wrote 10 books in 12 months. Ben has now published 20 superb novels.

Pieter’s story highlights that business is unpredictable – so it’s better to launch rapidly, see how the market responds, and move on quickly if it doesn’t work.

Benjamin’s story highlights that developing skill requires repetitive practice. And, the sooner you do the reps, the sooner you’ll increase your skill level.

Clearly, Pieter wanted to launch a successful business, and Benjamin wanted to write a successful book. I think that’s a given. But their approaches also suggest that most of their focus was on practicing. Actually doing the thing they wanted to do. Over and over again. Their approach led to learning and improving, which led to quality outputs. As a result, they both ultimately enjoy success.

So I’ve decided to steal Pieter’s idea – but double the number – by launching 24 startups in 2024.

When I first decided to do this, I planned to do 12. But it didn’t sit well. Most people who work on startups are either self-employed already or building on the side so they can later quit their job. But that’s not the case for me. I have a full-time job that I really enjoy and it’s relatively flexible. So my motivation is not to replace my employed income. But at the same time, I could get fired or made redundant tomorrow. I might develop an illness next week that means I can’t do the job any more. For some unforeseen reason, the role might change, and I stop enjoying it. Who the hell knows what’s around corner? What I do know is that relying on one income stream is a disaster waiting to happen. So my goal is to build a portfolio of income streams that increase my flexibility, security, and freedom in the long-term. Or, at the very least, develop my ability to create income streams – knowing full well that most of what I try won’t work.

I see my job as the bedrock of that portfolio. So I want to make it my own – to the extent that’s it’s possible in an employed role – by focussing on the areas in which I can contribute the most value and that I enjoy the most.

So when I decided to launch 12 startups in 12 months like Pieter, I asked myself, “why don’t I do this as an employee as well? I’m fortunate to work in a progressive team that would welcome new income streams. I think I can make this work.”

With that in mind, I decided to I would launch 12 “personal” startups and 12 “employer” startups this year.

What I mean by a startup

At this point, you’re probably asking something like: “how the hell are you going to do this?” That’s what I wondered when I read Pieter’s story. It sounds exciting – wildly ambitious – but is it actually doable? I mean – 24 startups in 12 months? With a full-time job and young children?

Allow me to qualify what I actually mean by a startup.

When Pieter started his 12 in 12 months challenge, he noted how some people assume that the goal of a startup is always to build the next Apple, SpaceX, or Facebook. In fact, the vast majority of startups don’t take off, and many of those that do started with small intentions. Take Pieter’s example of Dropbox. Drew Houston decided to build a graphical user interface for rsync as a side project. He probably did not start that project expecting or aiming to build an $11 billion company.

So what does “startup” mean in this context?

Pieter’s aim was to see if he could get market fit for each startup in one month, which meant “picking an idea, developing it and launching it to press.” He had no idea whether each idea would get any customers or revenue. But if he could get the thing out to the market in one month then he’d learn whether it was likely to get any traction very quickly – and move on if not.

That’s broadly my goal as well: build something, put it in front of a market, and see what happens. And do it 24 times this year.

If there’s no response from the market, so what? Even if I don’t know exactly why something didn’t work (after all, it’s not always possible to know why a market doesn’t respond to something), by going through the process, I’ll still learn something about how to build income-generating assets. Like Benjamin Laskin, I’ll be putting in the reps.

Rolling project log

Here is an overview of each startup. I’ll also write a separate article for each one to explain the idea, what happened, things I learnt, and the next steps.

1) Process automation service

This is a service to help businesses automated processes using Zapier. Automation was a game-changer for my healthcare clinic. I’m pretty good at it – and understand the business owners perspective – so I thought this would be a simple and relatively easy place to start. It didn’t work out that way. Here’s the story

2) Transformation Examples

This is my first attempt to launch a startup as an employee. Transformation Examples isn’t actually a startup – it’s the top of funnel name for what could become a business with multiple income streams – each of which I’d consider a startup in this context.

I’ve made some content, but have yet to publish it, as I need permission from my employer to share what might be considered intellectual property. I’m getting a bit twitchy that it’s now February and I haven’t launched any internal startups. If I can’t get permission to test this concept then I’ll need to find another approach – quickly!

3) Healthcare joint venture

I’m fascinated by joint ventures. Not in the spammy my way that online marketers do joint ventures. Rather, I’m eager to help people, businesses, and organisations utilise each others assets to get what they want – for a fraction of the investment of building it from scratch themselves.

There are many, many ways to do this – and I have plenty of wild ideas – but my strategy is to focus on small opportunities that the highest chance of working – even if the payoff is small. That way, I’ll build skills, momentum, and reputation.

So when my wife mentioned being approached to joint venture with another local healthcare clinic, I saw an opportunity. There’s clearly an opportunity, albeit small, but the other business were butchering it. Someone needs to take control, put the pieces together, and make it all work. The potential payoff is so small, it’s not the best use of time for my wife, as she’d have to learn how to do it. But I don’t care about the payoff. I just want to make do a deal that works, to any degree, for all parties.

So that’s what I’m working on at the moment.