Joe Connor has one of the best sites for finding discount codes and free offers available. His background in web-based marketing has allowed him to create a strong, successful enterprise that millions of people use to save money and millions of businesses use to find new customers.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and what made you decide to start your business?
I left school at 16 in 1974, served an engineering apprenticeship, worked as a design draughtsman, studied for an HND in product design, became a member of the Chartered Society of Designers and was part of the team which won the 1990 BBC Design Award.
I retired, aged 31, in 1989 to become one of the first house husbands raising our son while my wife continued her banking career.
Having been involved in computing since 1980 and online years before the world wide web changed all our lives my hobby turned into Renegade Publishing Ltd. which was formed in 1989.
What does your enterprise do? What sets it apart from your competitors?
Renegade Publishing Ltd. was launched to look after Atari Computing magazine and evolved into an internet services business with local customers before getting into affiliate marketing as a new media publisher.
I realised it was more profitable to publish my own websites and make money from affiliate marketing than producing websites for customers and put my efforts into CantBarsed.com (http://www.cantbarsed.com ) which is one of the original UK shopping portals launched in 1999. Thousands of loyal followers still use our free cantbarsed.com webmail addresses and they remain the ultimate way to tell your boss you’re taking a duvet day – especially if you want to leave and start your own business!)
You have special expertise in affiliate marketing and voucher codes. Can you tell us how you gained those skills?
My expertise is built on a solid understanding of computing and online services combined with over a decade of trial and error experience in the emerging affiliate marketing industry where EVERYONE was learning on the job.
I was working with the concept of “promotional discount voucher codes’ on CantBarsed.com, listing promotional codes we negotiated directly with merchants, years before these were offered to publishers, promoted in newspapers and advertised on TV and we ranked top or thereabouts on all the search engines for search terms which would be worth millions today.
Using that experience we developed DiscountCodes.tv to be the cleverest code site around where you can search by keyword, brand or retailer and drill down through the results to find codes, deals and freebies you wouldn’t find on other code sites.
What kinds of challenges have you faced since starting your business?
Having the right proposition at the right time has been the key to financial success in the affiliate marketing industry but in recent years you also need financial clout. Finding a profitable niche in the face of direct competition from companies with dozens of staff is the challenge.
We have diversified into other marketing sectors including price comparison with BillyBargain.co.uk ( http://www.billybargain.co.uk ) and we are always trying to work smarter and look over the horizon with other projects in various states of development.
Do you have any suggestions you’d make to those just starting out?
Just Do It! There are so many hurdles to jump it’s much easier to give up but running my own business and turning it from hobby earnings into a profitable company has been very satisfying. Always strive to work smarter and, when finances allow, work collaboratively and make sure your business fits your lifestyle and not the other way around.