Over the next few months I hope to write a series of posts about setting up, building, and running an online business in Spain. To kick-start the whole affair, I asked my friend Dean Hunt a few questions about his experiences as an internet entrepreneur here in Spain.
I met Dean in Madrid last year, and apart from being a lot of fun to hang out with – if you don’t mind going to bed absurdly late – his up-to-date marketing advice has also had a significant impact on the fortunes of our own little online set up.
Here’s the quick-fire interview, I’m sure questions in the comments will be more than welcome:
- So Dean, how long have you been in Spain?
Just over three years now. It doesn’t seem that long, el tiempo vuela.
- What exactly do you do here work-wise?
I am an Internet Entrepreneur. I know that sounds quite vague, but what I actually do can change from month to month, depending on where I see opportunities. I am also now considered one of the leading Marketing experts on the Internet, so that has been a touching accolade.
- How long did it take before the net paid the bills?
I was messing around on the net for a year or so before I came to Madrid. But in terms of trying to do it as a job, it took a year of intensive self education before I was in a position to be paying the bills, and even after one year, I was scraping by. Luckily I have continued to improve both my skills and my profile, so I am now able to make a handsome living: I currently make approx. 10 times what I was earning in the UK.
- Many people will think ‘I can’t do that’ – What special skills does someone need to be able to make money online?
If I had to pick one skill I would probably say writing. The Internet is essentially just a lot of content strung together by links, we have a saying in the industry: “content is king”, with good content, you will succeed, and invariably most content is written… even videos and podcasts are often scripted. Unfortunately most people with this talent use it to teach, proof-read, do freelance writing etc… and frankly, it is extremely difficult to make a 6 or 7 figure income that way.
- Do you think Spain makes it particularly easy or difficult to set up an online business?
Spain makes it very difficult to set up a business, I have built a house in Madrid and I have a limited company here, and the bureaucracy can be crazy. I have done things in the UK via the net or via the post (mail), yet in Spain you have to fill out 15 forms, queue from 6am, pay hundreds of euros etc… A Spanish person once told me that the Spanish like to make things as complicated as possible, from what I have seen, he was right.
- You have a somewhat lively blog at deanhunt.com – can a personal site like that make a big difference to someone’s online potential?
It started purely as a place to gather my thoughts, all of that exploded in late 2006 when I had almost 250,000 visitors in a one week period. Since then I have been addicted to the thrill of it, and now have a loyal following and reader base. For me it has helped a lot, despite the fact that my services are fully booked for a year in advance, I still get people contacting me on a weekly basis with job and partnership opportunities. The blog has helped a great deal in opening doors for me.
- What one piece of advice would you give the fledgling blogger?
Stand out from the crowd. There are approx 6 billion web pages on the Internet, find a way to stand out from the others.
- If you could change one thing about your working life…
I work from my home office, so over the years I have started to miss the daily face-to-face interaction with other people. So I suppose it would be interesting to work one day of the week in an office with like-minded people.
- The thing you like most about life in Spain is…
The beauty. Whether you are on a beach in Southern Spain, In Madrid Centre, or even in a quiet little town, it is beautiful. Throw in the good weather, and you have a perfect recipe.
- Any Spain moans?
Just the usual I suppose: Lack of customer service, terrible drivers/roads, David Bisbal
- The one post every should read on your blog is:
It is more of a page than a post, but http://deanhunt.com/category/life-in-madrid/ shows all the blog posts regarding my life in Madrid. There is everything from photos of my house, to the announcement of my engagement to Elena, to me eating snails in a bar in Madrid (yikes).
Many thanks Dean! Remember to check out his blog at deanhunt.com (mind the killer bunnies!), and feel free to comment/ask questions below.