Online Business in Spain – The Dean Hunt Interview

Dean Hunt

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 πŸ˜‰ – 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 πŸ˜‰

– 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.

38 thoughts on “Online Business in Spain – The Dean Hunt Interview

  1. dean hunt

    Thanks Ben.

    I will do my best to make time to answer any comments. I know from experience that making money from the net can be perceived as tricky, but it can be life changing, as you well know πŸ˜‰

    Dean

  2. Jonk

    Hey Dean

    Any guy with a house like yours should be listened to, big time. Nice work.

    I’m familiar with some of your work already so when I saw you comment on this blog it was surprising. I’ve noticed you around the place commenting on internet marketing type blogs before…. and maybe writing guest posts? (John Chow’s?)

    Anyway… I’m writing an ebook about 101 life-hacks for the home with a money-saving slant. I’ve also written an ebook – 79 tips for saving money on petrol.

    What I want to do is build up a mailing list using these books as carrots, then launch a membership site full of money-saving tips and life-hacks for the home – something like SimpleSavings.com.au which has 25,000+ members except do it better.

    I have no idea how to draw publicity to it… I mean, how many free e-books are there!

    I’ve been thinking of putting a price-tag on the book and going around to webmasters and saying, I’ll create a password for your users to download the book for free. Then maybe more people will download it to get something for free, so to speak. What do you think of this – do you have any suggestions?

  3. jomik746

    Very interesting article Ben. While I don’t think making a living by the internet is for me, I am in awe at the talents of the people who can make it happen.

    Wait, is he reading a copy of Errant in Iberia in the picture? πŸ™‚

  4. Brendan

    Interesting story. But I can’t help but feel that it smacks a little of Amway and every other get rich quick scheme, which only works for those who got in at the beggining and not so for the ones at the pyramids foundations. Big buck and no substance. Lots of hype to suck you in. Fine for those who like it like that.
    Or maybe I’m just not seeing it, I don’t have what it takes. But wait, that’s what the people at Amway told me all those years ago “your not the kind of person we’re looking for…..either I’m the one that’s wrong, if so then that’s fine, if not well done to you!

    Unless you can convince me otherwise…but I imagine I don’t have what it takes anyway if I’m asking that question…I’m selling myself out already…and I’ve already blabbed to much…

  5. dean hunt

    Jomik746 – well spotted. That is the book I am reading in the photo πŸ˜‰

    Brendan – Ben makes his living from NotesfromSpain.com, would you class his sites as a get rich quick scheme or a useful resource?

    Same thing applies with me, I have had many sites like NotesfromSpain, and if you can provide valuable content to people, you will make money.

    There is nothing wrong with being sceptical though.

    Dean

  6. Ben Post author

    @Jonk: you really need to check out teachingsells.com – this is so focused on what you are asking. You can get a taster for $1 for a week’s trial membership I think, but from your question, I’d say you might benefit enormously from a 3 month membership. I have, and I don’t even run membership sites.

    It’s run by the same guys who do copyblogger.com, and they really know what they are talking about.

  7. dean hunt

    Jonk – That is EXACTLY what I am currently doing. In fact, I launch my membership site in early April.

    I also used many of the same techniques to generate publicity.

    Contact me at: deanhunt08@gmail.com and we can have a chat when I get 5 mins.

    Dean

  8. Brendan

    Thanks for taking the time to reply to my rather cynical comments.

    As far as I can see Ben makes his money through selling worksheets through NotesinSpanish, it’s something tangible. You seem to me, to be on another level?

  9. dean hunt

    I have done what Ben is doing as well. In fact, I currently own a forum with over one million posts on it.

    I also sold a network of sports sites a couple of years ago, which helped pay for my house.

    I focus now on my marketing sites, which I can understand why that aspect may be perceived more cynically, but bear in mind I have done many other types of more “tangible” sites as well.

    Dean

  10. Carl

    Let’s seeÒ€¦. Lives in Spain, has a beautiful house, a beautiful wife, works at home, looks like he’s having fun all the time, a sense of humorÒ€¦ I definitely hate him!

  11. luke

    With me, you’re probably throwing pearls to swine here but I couldn’t help looking at that photo thinking ‘ouch!’.

  12. Matt

    Awesome post. It’s something that I’m interested in learning more about, in fact, I just signed up for your newsletter and read a couple months worth of blog posts. That’s why I like NotesFromSpain, not only do you get all the latest on Spain, but you also get cool posts, like this, thrown in.

    ~Matt

  13. dean hunt

    “@Luke, I’m totally lost as to the meaning of your comment!?”

    haha, me too. I even searched google for the meaning of that phrase.

    I think he is referring to the fact that I have an English Bulldog asleep on my crotch area. hahah

    Dave – Thank you.

  14. frank

    “@Luke, I’m totally lost as to the meaning of your comment!?”

    “Do not cast your pearls before swine”, something to do with not wasting your time on people that will not appreciate it. Pigs don’t appreciate pearls! πŸ˜‰ Perhaps he means that what is said is wasted on him, he doesn’t appreciate what you are talking about.

  15. Jonk

    I’m not sure if I just commented or not. Just @ Ben I have followed that link and will sign up to the trial at the least. Also have emailed Dean.

    I’m in Madrid in September through December, maybe, just maybe it’d be interesting to get a small group of people together and talk about that sort of stuff. Share ideas. Just a thought

  16. luke

    Sorry for any confusion. This subject is well delivered and probably very interesting to some people (these are the ‘pearls’). However, since it doesn’t relate to me, all I could think of was that the dog looked in a very dangerous position. My manhood was quivering in fear. I admit to a primitive sense of humour, hence the ‘swine’. I hope I don’t need to explain anymore?

  17. Jill (la vieja de la manga)

    I’m still not quite sure what you do, but no matter, you’ve grabbed the bull and had the courage to make it work for you. You deserve your success. The house is very impressive – I bet your Mum & Dad are proud of you πŸ™‚ I wish you & Elena much happiness.

  18. Mike

    @Ben – Great post – I look forward to reading more on this topic.
    @Dean, I really enjoyed reading your “Life-in-Madrid” blog. It all sounds very familiar. Spanish partner, moved out to Spain just over two years ago, working from home (Barcelona rather than Madrid in our case) – we’re informáticas rather than internet entrepreneurs, but it pays the bills. πŸ™‚ Watch out – those Raving Rabbids will get David Bisbal in the end…

  19. Thomas Gray

    The killer bunnies will get you…

    An interesting article. Not very aplicable to me, but an insight should we say into the mind of the master.

  20. Chuck

    Por que no one escribe en Espanol.
    Viva los bunnies de muerte.

    Hey I’m from Caney Creek Ga. What do
    I know about speaking Spanish.

    People who say this doen’t apply to them may need to open the box and get out every now and then.

    I am still wondering how what you do and Amway are related and have to wonder about a guy who worries about his manhood when the dog is on your lap?

    Life in Georgia is a bit different.

  21. Ashish Jha

    Aah… i expected much from this article.this article is quite simple.well, what i always like about dean hunt is that he is very straight forward. But, one thing i will certainly tell everybody is that dean hunt has a very good business sense and writing abilities are really very nice.He can convince almost anybody.I am not saying because he is famous now, i am saying because i know from last 2-3 years. I have seen him grow, i have seen his success. He has really done a great job.

  22. James

    I have been reading Deans stuff for a few months now, and I can see why this guy has become one of the biggest online business celebrity names.

    I was lucky enough to hang out with him recently as well, and he is the REAL DEAL.

    This is a good interview.

    James

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