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)

Beautiful airbnb IPO
Credit: Fox School of Business

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.

10 Important Lessons on How Airbnb Scaled Their Way To Massive Success & An Upcoming IPO
Credit: © Getty Images for Airbnb

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.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva

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