Key takeaways from Mixergy Podcast: How Clever Entrepreneurs Turned 3 Air Mattresses Into Airbnb, The Site That Makes Any Home A Bed And Breakfast
1. Adversities create opportunities
⁃ When the founders had no income they came up with the idea to rent out their air mattress so that they are able to make rent.
⁃ Initially, it was only meant to rent out their own apartment space but other designers saw and wanted to rent out theirs too! (Side hustle/side income)
⁃ Solving your problems maybe solving other people’s problems too. Ppl maybe in the same situation as you!
⁃ Creating themed cereal boxes to fund their own business when they had gone 1 year without income.
2. Think of how your business can help your customers (Unique Value Proposition)
⁃ Cheap place to stay
⁃ Stay connected to the city
⁃ Social environment for ppl that is going to the conferences
⁃ See the city in the eyes of a local
3. Your target market can change over time
⁃ At first, the owners thought that this concept of air mattress bed and breakfast would attract only young college designers in the United States. But, to their surprise, their 1st guest is a guy from India and the next one is a 35-year-old lady.
4. Being different beats being better
⁃ Whole different concept caught the attention of the press. Word got out fast! Gaining a lot of attention.
⁃ Added profile element on their site which gave both the host and the guest a sensing of who they are expecting unlike existing platforms like CouchSurfing etc
⁃ Photos of the renting space (Professional photography)
⁃ Identified events (focused interest, a niche)
5. Your brand is your story
⁃ Tell your story in an interesting way, all successful brand has a story behind it.
⁃ Press loves a good back story
⁃ Remember: FACT TELLS STORY SELLS
6. Strike the iron while it’s hot
⁃ When there was an event coming up in 3 weeks, the owners had no time to think about the design or the marketing of their site. They see the opportunity far greater for exposure than to have a perfect site that no one knows about.
7. User/customer experience
⁃ Go through the customer journey yourself can give you much-needed insights to improve and adjust
⁃ Thru this experience, the owner found out that cash transaction can cost user experience, to rectify this, they set up a payment gateway on their site first thing they got back to their office.
⁃ Whilst being a “customer” they spoke to many guests that wanted to rent space for their vacation even when there weren’t conferences. This gave them a sense of the market demand for holiday homes.
8. Ideas come from conversations
⁃ Talk to your peers about problems and find a group of ppl that are willing to solve problems.
9. Go where your customers are
⁃ As soon as they started to visit New York City more, which was where most of their users were, their business started to make a profit.
⁃ Work the grounds, really know your customers
⁃ “We started realizing all the things we thought were awesome about our website were terrible. And we had no idea. But now we’re trying to book we’re like, ‘Oh my God! This is annoying.’ So we started realizing I want to see bigger room photos because I can’t really get a sense of where I’m staying. And so we basically redesigned the website.”
⁃ “Make a hundred people fall in love with you”
⁃ Because once a hundred people fall in love with you then, if you are in a market where there are many more people like them then you’ve basically solved the problem.
10. Mentor & Coaches
⁃ Having an outsider look into your business can help you see what you don’t see. Especially from experienced business owners.
⁃ Once Paul Graham (their mentor) looked in their business, he asked them to pack their bags and go to New York City, because he recognized that they are in the “experience” business. And, the most crucial aspect is to understand their customer’s pains and needs in creating a good “experience”.
This piece was originally written by Edmund for Side Hustle SG Telegram group.
Edited for The New Savvy.