Thousands flock to London for big events and need accommodation. Photo: Andy Matthews
The site is nearing completion
Place application, in return I would get exposure on it. Because I don’t have a big marketing budget, I’ve been looking at free ways to promote the business with things like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. For businesses like mine, which are funded very cheaply and especially online, social media is really valuable because it provides massive exposure if you use it correctly.
As your business is built around providing a service for special events, does it provide a steady source of income? MP: Obviously if there’s a big event coming up then that’s when things really pick up, but I’ve had a steady stream of income over the past three or four years. Last March, when the Royal wedding came along, I had a load of adverts, maybe 200 a month, and then things went quieter. This year, as soon as January 1 came, the website got smashed. I guess because the Olympic story is out there and always in the news, when 2012 came along all the homeowners thought ‘We want to have a piece of this’. I ended up getting about two million hits in January. What would you say has been the most important factor in the success of London Rent My House? MP: I would say most of all the initial idea. The success of a lot of websites is down to a unique
Inspiration for London Rent My House came from the Olympics
“The success of a lot of websites is down to a unique idea which catches people’s imaginations” idea which catches people’s imaginations. But I think what I’ve enjoyed most about doing this is that if I want to do something I can do it. I’ve had to pick books up, do a lot of Googling and looking at online forums to find out how to do things. But the best thing has been being comfortable doing things myself. For anyone who wants to run their own web business I think it pays to learn a bit of web coding and to be able to do it yourself. I think getting the word out and getting people talking about it has also been important. Fortunately, I think my site was the first to pop up and then the BBC picked up on it and did a story. So I think I was in the right place at the right time.
Issue 2 of UpStart magazine. Inspiring and supporting Britain's startup community.