01 Jan

My Own Estate Agent

A Lancashire property expert approached me in 2010 to talk about his vision for a “for sale by owner” or “how to sell my house myself” website.

His experience in this sector and passion for the idea of using twitter, facebook and the Internet in general to allow people to sell their houses themselves was clear, but I needed facts.  I found out that:

  • in the US, ‘For Sale by Owner’ makes up over 10% of property sales, and the average fee charged by Estate Agents (or ‘Realtors’) is over 7%!
  • in the UK, ‘Self Sale’ is rising every year, but is still less than 1% of all property sales, because Estate Agents, knowing that they’re offering less and less for the money, are selling at increasingly desperate prices!
  • 10 years ago, your Estate Agent could reach more people, more effectively, about your property, than you could even dream about…
  • …in 2012, thanks to social media, mobile Internet, and online advertising, you can reach people more effectively, more frequently, and more personally than any estate agent!

Passion and gut feel are essential for any startup, but without market research, you may as well be trying to sell greasy chips to skinny girls.  I asked myself “If we launch an online property advertising service, is anyone actually going to search for it?”  It turns out that yes, they are, in droves!

  • In 2011, over 20,000 searches are made every month relating to self-sale, for-sale-by-owner and related searches
  • Based on Google searches alone, we could achieve thousands of unique viewers every month
  • Only a handful of companies in the UK are actively targeting this market
  • By 2012, we saw a distinct growth in for-sale-by-owner related Google searches

This was enough to give the idea wings, and we’re edging ever closer to the launch of myownestateagent.com, the UK’s only dedicated For Sale By Owner company.

01 Feb

Red Green – e-Commerce in a Box

After selling Versatilia Ltd in 2010, I had time to consider what really made me tick.  For 15 years, I’d developed and sold e-commerce websites, features for e-commerce websites and advice on e-commerce.  In 1997 I built Aria‘s first ever e-commerce site, and by 2010 I’d developed a large scale e-commerce system for the promotional products industry, supporting over 900 websites in many countries, languages and currencies, taking over $15m per year in orders.

So it was a natural step to take that experience and build e-commerce sites not for a fixed fee, but for a share of profit.  Bear in mind that a full online shop setup can take hundreds of hours and a lot of ongoing investment, meaning that by taking that risk, I would be literally betting my experience against the rest of the world.

Red Green Ltd takes this idea one step further – offering people with experience and contacts in a specific industry the chance to use their skill and experience without having to fully understand how to set up a website, online marketing and a business, because Red Green will provide all of that in an easy to use form – it’s your online shop in a box.