I am an internet/real estate entrepreneur raised in rural Cheshire but now living in London. Between 2010 and 2016 I set up and ran multiple companies from my bedroom whilst in full time education. Then in mid 2016 after finishing education I moved to London.
Pre November 2010:
Before November I had just “experimented” with stuff on the internet. I had created a few Youtube channels, a few unfinished websites and a few other various bits but nothing of great significance.
November 2010: Starting Out
In November 2010 I created, what I would call, my first “proper” website. It was a gaming blog offering help with games across all gaming platforms and many games.
I made the website on a free platform called blogspot. This meant the sites domain was like this ‘domain.blogspot.com’ and I really wanted just a .com domain. So my dad loaned me $10 to buy my first .com domain!
I worked on it for many hours per day, trying to drive visitors to it and trying my best to get the website “out there”. I even considered putting up posters around my local area… I literally wanted to do everything I could to get people to visit it. Due to the broad market of the site, focusing on many games, it didn’t get many visitors as it wasn’t niche specific. In that December of 2010 I started writing about a game called “Cityville” on the website, my posts gained lots of traffic and “shares” on facebook. In that December, something clicked… I could build a site on just that game and it would most likely be successful.
This is a screenshot of the site… It’s terrible I know…
December 2010 - June 2011
So I launched a website just for the game “Cityville” and in a matter of weeks it was a huge success and over a few months I had gained millions of visitors and hundreds of thousands of Facebook fans! This site required loads of work but it was so worth it. It made me happy every day to see that thousands of people were seeing what I wrote and liking it. At the same time as that I was making money from selling guides for the game as an affiliate. It was not the money that motivated me, but it was just the enjoyment of knowing people from most countries of the world were visiting the website.
June 2011 - July 2011
It got to the stage where the game “Cityville” was starting to die down, and not many people were playing it actively and users were declining. With that came the decline of my website, the one which I had spent days on end working on. But it was worth it, I had just had my first real taste of success and it felt good.
After the “death” of my website, I didn’t just want to stop with doing things on the internet. I was a member of a few online forums at the time, including a forum called “Digital Point” in which webmasters like myself have a place to discuss and trade. Something on that forum caught my eye… “a ready-made, startup website” Its asking price was $400. At the time, this seemed like a very risky investment as I had never dreamed of spending that on anything digital like a site or domain. All of this aside I thought I would take the risk so I bought the website and this was the most money I had ever spent at once in my life at the time.
The website’s business model was simple, you could shorten long internet links. For instance, arranrice.com/about would become urlf.ly/123 and this allowed twitter users to write more characters in their twitter tweets and still post a website link. On top of this if a user clicked on a link they would have to wait 5 seconds to load the web page they were trying to access. In those 5 seconds I would display an advert and this would make money, some of which was paid to the person who created the link so they made money as well.
The site required me to own a server, something which was new to me as before my old blog was hosted for free by Google. Owning a server and a website which was all custom coded was such a new thing to me and I self-taught myself the basics of everything on Youtube. I felt overwhelmed but over time I slowly learnt how it all worked.
August 2011 - December 2011
After owning this website for some time and with my best efforts of trying to market it, it wasn’t getting a lot of traffic. This made me almost give up hope for the site, so I put it up for sale for less than I bought it for. But whilst the website was for sale something excited me; the site’s traffic was starting to go up and it was gaining more and more users. As soon as I saw this, I took it off the market. The reason for this was clear, my past marketing efforts for the site had only just taken effect.
The site started to experience phenomenal growth. At the sites peak I was getting in excess of over 100,000 visitors per day. With that number of visitors came a cost; the site’s servers were becoming overloaded resulting in huge costs. These costs were higher than the sites revenue at the time, this resulted in my having to sell the website which was making a loss. I still however managed to sell the site to an Italian company for more than I bought it for due to the large user base which I had worked hard to get.
December 2011 - July 2012
In early December, I had an idea. As you read above, I bought a ready made website. So my idea was simple. I was going to build ready made websites and sell them at a profit.
So over the course of 6 months, I developed close to 300 websites and sold about 80% of them at a profit.
July 2012 - December 2012
After some ups and downs with selling ready made websites, competition and saturation meant that too many people had caught onto the idea that they could sell ready made websites for a profit. So in July 2012 I had to stop as I was no longer making a profit.
This is why I decided to start a new gaming blog. This time I went about it smart. As you read before, on my old gaming website, it gained many hundreds of thousands of Facebook fans. Although the website was dead, the fanpage was not as the fans still played other games which were popular at the time. This is why I created a new gaming site called “Gamer Hook”. This gaming site wrote about all the most popular Facebook games. It was in a broad niche, however due to me owning the large Facebook page it was very easy to promote the new gaming site.
This was also the time I hired my first freelance employee to write for the website as, writing about all the most popular Facebook games every day was very hard work. This writer wrote 15-20 posts per day for the site and overall saved me hours of work a day.
Over time “Gamer Hook” grew and it was becoming ever more popular. It was running by itself as my employee was doing most of the time-consuming work.
After 5 months I decided to sell “Gamer Hook” mainly due to the fact that I wanted the capital to try and start building mobile applications (something I didn’t do for months later). I sold the site for a small 4 figure sum and it was the biggest payday of my life I had ever had. It felt amazing!
January 2013 - April 2013
So from January 2013 until April 2013 I had some money which I was going to invest in mobile apps. However in the end other things caught my eye and over the months I experimented loads with different things and gained loads of experience in many different digital fields:
- I Published Kindle Books by hiring freelance ghost-writers and getting books wrote and then they were published under a pen name so I got to keep all of the book sales revenue.
- I became a freelancer graphic designer because I had lots of experience in designing things for all of the ready made sites I sold. I designed sales pages, logos and business cards for many clients.
- I tried cost per action marketing, by using my marketing skills to bring in leads for leading companies such as Kellogs, Match.com and Disney.
- I wrote and launched my own online course on how to build and sell startup websites at a profit.
April 2013 - July 2013
So during March I had basically became obsessed with playing a game called “Minecraft Pocket Edition” on my iPad. It was very addicting and fun to play, at the same time I noticed the lack of information online for the game as it was really popular, with millions of players, but very new.
I spotted a gap in the market, and thought it would be a good idea to create a website giving people guides, cheats and tips for the game.
Not expecting much, the first thing I posted on the website was “I want this website to become the World’s largest Minecraft Pocket Edition website”. Within 3 months, taking me by shock, it did completely that.
Following on from the websites early sucess in late April 2013 I launched my very first IOS app and very first Android app for the website and the app literally took off and gained thousands of downloads over night by surprise! I was shocked the morning after releasing the app to see my minecraft pe site’s visitors in the tens of thousands due to the insane popularity of the app.
July 2013 - December 2013
By July my site and app had been very successful. My sites visitors were in the millions, and my app downloads were in the hundreds of thousands. The site was helping over one hundred thousand people each day and it made me feel good that I was helping those people. The site had become the world’s largest and #1 Minecraft Pocket Edition fan website.
In September 2013 staff were needed. I was writing and producing content for the site myself it had started to take up up to 8 hours per day. I literally had time for nothing else. So I decided to hire a full time freelance writer to take my place in producing content. After all.. I was still in full time education!
December 2013 - December 2014
In December 2013 my Minecraft app was still going strong and me being me I decided to launch 100 more mobile applications! This was very hard work, but it was really worth it. Some of the apps were to do with Minecraft, others were more general like Wallpaper apps. These apps all became successful and between them all now have in excess of 12 million downloads.
This portfolio of mobile apps still generates revenue today and is a great asset.
In May 2014 I released my first paid application for android. I set the price at an ambitious price of £1.99 when most of the similar apps were retailing at only £0.69 – £0.99! This app has been a huge hit! By June 1st2013 the app was the 3rd top paid news application in the world and it was getting 150-300 downloads per day. On top of this I released the same app on IOS and it was getting 5-50 downloads per day at £1.99. This was all new territory for me releasing paid apps and I had no idea how successful they would be. With the right content and the right marketing they did well. People we happy to pay for the premium content.
The thing with me is after over a year of doing the same thing again and again I got a little bored and wanted change. So in Early December I put the site up for sale and just before Christmas I sold 80% of the Minecraft website and app. I still own the other apps that were also made during my time owning Minecraft PE Cheats.
In January 2015 after the sale of my Minecraft site I had funds to create a new site. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I was going to… I would normally tend to create 5-10 completely new websites and hope that at least one would be successful, but this time was different. I acquired the domain Wizzed.Com a year or so earlier randomly as I tend to buy things and I thought I could put it to use. So I created an entertainment website targeted at young people.
I created the site, employed one writer and had some content made. Then I went to marketing the site and found content discovery networks like Taboola and Outbrain. I promoted the content on Wizzed with them and made a big loss. After lots of tweaks and adjustments and countless late nights the site was made profitable.
In February 2015 I registered my first private company – Wizzed Media limited.
December 2015 - October 2016
Wizzed Media has grown rapidly over the past months. I have taken external investment and now our websites now get 300 million pageviews+ per month and our social media pages are reaching up to 40 million people per month!
On April 1st an office was opened for Wizzed in Camden, London. We now have a team of 10 people in the office and a further 10 people working remotely.
Woop and in June 2016 I finished education! With an office already in London I moved down right away after taking a long trip to California and Hawaii.
In May 2017 I sold the shares of Wizzed to my investors in order to start a new company. My new company TOAT has a network of guide/cheat apps for the most popular mobile games. TOAT's network has one million monthly active users.