Until he hit 40, Martin Philips was happy in his career as a freelance sales and marketing manager, and felt no need to start his own business. The hours were mainly Monday to Friday, and in his words, he had “a nice life”. So what changed his mindset?
Becoming an entrepreneur
“I had been looking for a niche for about 15 years before starting Recommended Hotels,” says Martin. “With freelancing you could only earn as much money as there were days in the week. Added to that I was hitting 40 and it was very much a young man’s job being on the road doing sales five days a week.”
Martin had his lightbulb moment in 2003, when online travel agents started to emerge. Clients began to ask him to set up their hotels on these websites to increase bookings. Martin recalls: “I don’t know why I suddenly realised the internet was going to be huge for the hotel sector, but I guess I just spotted a niche and realised its potential!”
Martin started selling his service on a monthly retainer, with a commission in the volume of business generated, moving quickly from his back bedroom into leased premises. “After starting out with just seven hotels we ended up with 250 clients and selling an average of 9,500 rooms a year: we generated £26.5m worth of business for our clients on average.”