Online 'how to' advice
Tell us what your business does:
MadeGood provides free ‘how-to' information on a range of practical subjects. At the moment we're just covering bicycle maintenance, but hope to expand into several other areas before the end of the year.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Working on academic research projects in international development and technology, I would often have to provide people with technical advice on how to fix things, and how things work.
I found a wealth of technical literature on a whole range of subjects, but it was terribly presented, and badly written for non-technically-minded individuals.
How did you know there was a market for it?
YouTube gets around three billion views a day, and has spawned some hugely successful channels that specialise in how-to advice. Expert Village is one of the biggest, but there are many more.
Ifixit is another very large website that provides information on how to fix gadgets and technology. Most of the content on these sites is crowdsourced, so the quality is often very low. There currently isn’t a 'high quality only' how-to video website.
What were you doing before starting up?
I was working as a lecturer and researcher for a university in London.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes, I've been self-employed almost since leaving university.
How did you raise the money?
I helped start a furniture e-commerce site, which was fairly successful, and the earnings saved from that have bought me the time to start MadeGood.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
My initial idea was way too broad. I wanted to cover every subject and ended up covering nothing!
With the latest version of the website we have focused on bikes, partly because it is cheap to film, but also because anybody now visiting the website will now get a good grasp of what we are doing. We offer a fairly comprehensive resource for cycle maintenance already, and are expanding all the time.
How much do you charge?
I want the website to be free for as long as possible, but may add a premium £20 per annum version in about a year.
What was your first big breakthrough?
A fortnight after launch we received 1,500 unique visitors in one day!
Our first goal is to receive 3,000 unique visitors in one day, so – if we keep this up – we are halfway there already.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
If you're not sure it's for you, then it definitely isn't!
If you really want to go it alone, then you will – no matter who tells you it's a bad idea.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
In five years’ time I’d like to be managing a website with five million (or more) unique visitors a year.