The Startup Sit Down: Build Your Online Business With Oliver Neely And YoungWebBuilder
What does a 19-year-old kid from the UK know about building websites? A lot, if you’re Oliver Neely, founder of YoungWebBuilder, a site geared toward youngsters to help get their online businesses up and running. I caught up with Oliver on another edition of The Startup Sit Down to find out how playing video games turned into a business, how UK teens are feeling the unemployment sting and how tweepi is his top tech tool.
Hi Oliver, thanks for taking the time to give us the YoungWebBuilder lowdown. Our KillerStartups fans are looking forward to being inspired. Let’s get started.
What’s YoungWebBuilder all about and what makes it stand out from the competition?
Oliver Neely: YoungWebBuilder is a website aimed at helping those between the ages of 13 and 25 to build their own web-business or hobby site online. We hope to provide a place for people to gain support and share their experiences.
At the moment we are the only website in the UK and pretty much the only website in the world, that does what we do.
Youngwebbuilder was derived from technicianinabox.com which we had been working on in our spare time, however there were a number of reasons that the project did not take off so quickly.
After my discussions with Stephen that Technicianinabox could be offered free with advertising or up-scaling quality guides, we came to the decision that we should create a website one step before Technicianinabox. TIAB is essentially a compilation of guides that take you through the process of setting up a local technician business. However, we realized that this was one step too far for a lot of young people, since we were planning to market the product to everyone with an emphasis on teens that have been hard hit by the UK’s austerity measures.
The idea was that with Youngwebbuilder we could share much more knowledge much quicker and to a larger audience without charging a monthly fee. Youngwebbuilder does cover business, entrepreneurship, but also cover’s learning useful skills and building hobby sites.We cover everything from design, business, app development, SEO, Marketing, Sales, Programming and money-making. We hope to build a community of knowledgeable people who can share their experiences with other web-builders.
We are always coming up with new ideas so there is usually something new going on.
What was your latest “WOW” moment?
ON: There have been several. Recently, I was speaking to a person who was a member to the TIGsource forums, (support for indie game developers). At the time the creator of the very popular Indie game Minecraft, now owner to a prestigeous BAFTA Markus Pearsson, was also active on the forum.
He told me that he was working full time as a game developer for other companies. He soon quit the job, as Minecraft was bringing in $200,000, and this was in alpha. The game has now launched in a finalized version bought by 6,137,148 people, this to my calculations equates to around $79,782,924 in sales (Wow).
I think the success is due in part by a combination of luck, an understanding of the market, timing and passion.
Favorite inspirational quote/book/movie?
ON: “The money is in the list,” Stephen Ryan
Biggest startup surprise (good or bad) so far?
ON: The biggest startup surprise so far has been the fact that little or no one else has already come up with a similar website. The really unique idea behind our website is that we focus on “web-business.” It is a relatively easy and cheap way to get started with a business, especially for teenagers. Online stores are bringing havoc to high-street shops who have been around for many years, the overheads are low, the marketing is cheaper/easier, and there is much more flexibility. There is a lot of talk about young enterprise right now, including new funding in the UK and US for people between 18 and 24 to start their own business. But there is little other place for like-minded people to share their experience and knowledge.
One thing you would have done differently?
ON: We have had a bit of trouble understanding exactly who might visit our website. The real fact is that anyone could visit our website, you can find a gamer, you can find a tech head, you can find a film buff. We are not particularly looking for anyone who is already making websites, we want to inspire more! So we would have benefitted from profiling our target audience more, to really understand who and where we need to be marketing.
It is something that I feel is very important to profile your potential audience.
What is YWB’s success sweet spot? In other words, is there a metric of success that you have in mind, or a main goal you hope to reach?
ON: I would really love to become the “place” where people looking to build a web-business, or teenagers/students looking to make money would visit. Much like moneysavingexpert is the “place” where people go to save money. I have often looked at 10,000 guests and members viewing the forum. Just to have a regular group of members and a constant stream of new web-builders would be great. We only share quality and no nonsense.
If you could choose two types of Internet companies to invest in, what would they be and why?
ON: I would probably invest in an app development company or an online retailer. I think there are a lot of creative ways that both can be marketed, I would love to share my marketing and savings knowledge with people.
Favorite tech tool?
ON: My favorite tech tool right now is tweepi, it is kind of a specific tool, because it is for twitter management. However it is incredible how many people do not know about it. There are a lot of methods for increasing twitter exposure, there are also plenty of people making money from it too, but the only methods that I recommend are to use natural following aids such as tweepi, not follow exchange sites, or bulk buying sites.
I have said to many people, 100 people who have chosen to follow you because they like your business is far more powerful then 1000 followers who you bought or who you found on an exchange website.
You might say that you can target followers on exchange sites. This is not particularly the case. It is not particularly natural. With tweepi you can fine-tune the people you want to follow, and they will choose to follow you back.
If someone gave you $1 million to launch a startup what would it be?
If I were given $1m to start a business I would definitely build a savings website or agency of some description and launch a large advertising campaign to build a large list of moneysaving fans to promote awesome savings to.
Parting words of wisdom for startup newbies and wannabies?
ON: Find something that you enjoy, that you are passionate about and stick with it.
Be persistent and don’t be afraid of talking with press and news outlets.
Try to find something different, find something that you can offer and keep telling people about it, share your passion and build a nice list of followers who enjoy your product/service.
Thanks Oliver! Good luck with the future success of YoungWebBuilder. And much love to my beloved England!
Also, all you budding app builders, be sure to check out the youngwebbuilder competition to win a developed iPhone and android app from a professional app company at a value of £1200/$1900. You can find all the details here.
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