While I may not be particularly qualified to dispense advice, I periodically have people ask for my opinion about a business that they’re interested in launching. I have run an online business for 6 years, and am happy to help when I can.
Like many in StartupLand, I’m all-in on the idea of creating a minimum viable product and testing concepts quickly and cheaply. As such, my advice is nearly always the same — quickly pop up a website, drive some traffic there, and start talking to potential customers. Are people interested in what you’re selling? Better yet, can you sell it before it’s actually ready? If so, you might be on the right track.
Certainly, this advice is not universally applicable. Asking someone to buy a $50 watch based on a half-baked website is feasible. Convincing a business to implement an entirely new software system based on some marketing copy and a few stock images? Not likely.
To that end, I recently fell in a trap of offering an MVP that was woefully insufficient.
In early 2018, I started to spend time thinking about But Everywhere. The idea was simple — a three month working road trip around the US for remote workers. The company would handle all the logistics of the trip, in which participants would spend two weeks in each of six different cities.
Following the advice I would give myself , then, I created a website and started working on getting some traffic. After some early press placements (a national piece and articles in towns where I planned to stop, like Madison and Traverse City), coupled with a small Facebook budget, I quickly had over 100 applicants.
I had an idea of how I’d pull it all together, but my thought was that I’d first get people to commit, and worry about the finer points later. A reporter seemed to have an inkling of what was going on when he jokingly asked if “this was some sort of Fyre Festival deal”.
I made it my goal to talk to as many of my applicants as I could, and it quickly became clear that people weren’t ready to hand over $5k (and commit three months) to a project that was this opaque — they wanted some details. In hindsight, asking people to commit three months based on a website template and a conversation was, and is, absurd.
So — with that in mind — I’m releasing the entirety of the first cohort’s itinerary.
Could someone simply steal this and do the trip on their own? Sure. But I believe there’s real value in having someone manage all these details, as well as being a part of a group of travelers — something you won’t get if you simply replicate this plan.
Cohort I will be a smaller crew — just 6 people. Preference is being given to those who have already applied, but if you’re interested in joining, I’d love to hear from you.
Without further adieu, then, here it is. But Everywhere’s inaugural itinerary:
Location: Bozeman, MT
Workspace: Cowork Bozeman (soon to be called Big Sky CoWork)
While in town: This is a great time to be in Bozeman — hike, go for drives, and explore the West!
Lodging: 3br/2.5ba home on the south side of Bozeman. A bit further to downtown (4mi) then other stops, but very close to Montana State University and campus town.
Location: Fargo, ND
Workspace: The Prairie Den
While in town: Catch a Fargo RedHawks minor league baseball game, explore the city’s many museums, and plug into the booming Fargo tech scene during your stay in North Dakota.
Lodging: Extremely unique 4br/1.5ba loft, in the heart of downtown. A quick walk to North Dakota State, with tons of space.
Location: Madison, WI
While in town: Wisconsin football has home games on 9/1 and 9/8 — get your Badger gear and head down to Camp Randall! You’ll also be in town for Madison’s Iron Man, when the town is overtaken with world-class athletes. Madison’s downtown is flanked by two awesome lakes (Lake Monona and Lake Mendota) with great outdoor activities around each.
Lodging: While the exact home is still to be determined, we have partnered with a real estate professional in Madison who manages several vacation homes. All his homes have great reviews, and are high-quality.
Location: Traverse City, MI
While in town: The Sleeping Bear Dunes (Good Morning America’s most beautiful place in America) is just a quick drive away. Take an Autumn drive down M-22, and explore downtown Traverse City. You’ll also be working out of 20Fathoms, Traverse City’s newly opened hub for tech, startups, and entrepreneurs (read about their launch here).
Lodging: 3br / 2.5ba condo, 1 mile walk to the heart of downtown Traverse City. Walk to beaches, parks, and restaurants.
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
While in town: Catch a late season Pirates game, get trippy at the Andy Warhol Museum, and stop by Primanti Bros during your time in the Steel City.
Lodging: Similar to Madison, we are working with a company who manages dozens of short-term rentals in Pittsburgh. Exact home will be finalized shortly!
Location: Portland, ME
While in town: With tourist season in the rearview, you’ll have a quieter Portland to enjoy. Exploring the city’s waterfront is a must. It’s a bit of a drive, but you won’t regret a trip to Acadia National Park.
Lodging: Being six months away, several property managers are not yet booking for October. As this is past Portland’s busiest tourist period, we will have our pick of homes.
TRAVEL DETAILSTo keep things as affordable as possible, our cohorts will be shuttling from city to city via minivans. We’ll take care of the booking and payment for the cars, but count on our participants to take the wheel.
There’s no sugarcoating it — some of these drives are a haul. That said, what better way to see the country than via a good old fashioned road trip? For each travel day, we’ll have 2 minivans rented — giving our participants ample room to stretch out and enjoy the ride.
Note that our participants won’t have access to the vans during their stay in each town. These will be one-way rentals, and need to be returned upon arrival. As such, our participants should plan to utilize taxis, ridesharing services, and public transportation in each city.
Bozeman > Fargo: 11hrs
Fargo > Madison: 7.5hrs
Madison > Traverse City: 7hrs
Traverse City > Pittsburgh: 8hrs
Pittsburgh > Portland: 11hrs
Our cohorts will call a fully furnished house or condo home at each location. While we can’t always guarantee a 6br home (and thus a private bedroom for each participant), each participant will have his or her own bed at each location.
What’s more, we’ll do our best to secure housing that’s near city center (and your workspace).
So — there it is.
If you’re interested in joining Cohort I (or a future cohort), I’d love to hear from you.
Email Mike@ButEverywhere.com or visit ButEverywhere.com.
Hope to see you on the road.