Having an in depth knowledge of your industry is an important part of creating a successful business. Diego Gomila founder and CEO of AffilRed has exactly that. The serial entrepreneur has over 20 years experience in the travel industry. I interviewed him to find out more about his entrepreneurial journey:
Tell me about your background:
Well I guess I can say that I'm a self-made man. I started out as a salesman, travelling to different cities in Spain and selling a variety of products. During a trip to Majorca I was asked if I’d be interested in selling Internet connectivity. Back in the day I didn't know anything about the Internet, but I was very interested, so I did lots of research. I could see the potential and the opportunities it offered, so persuaded two friends of mine to go into business with me. They agreed and we launched a hosting and web design business. This got me started in digital and a few years later I started AffiliRed.
What is AffiliRed?
AffiliRed is a Performance Marketing Agency totally focused on the travel sector. We connect our travel advertisers with multiple affiliate networks all around the world. We set the campaign up for them and the advertisers pay a commission to affiliates on the sales they generate. Our advertisers benefit by increasing their direct online sales across the globe and affiliates monetize their sites with these programmes.
What was the inspiration behind the idea?
AffiliRed started as part of our first company. It was a division of our online marketing agency, which specialized in the travel sector. The affiliate side of the business expanded at such a rate however, that eventually it outgrew and superseded everything else we were doing.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business?
I like to have talented people around me and work as part of a team. I enjoy exploring new ideas and opportunities and seeing the business grow. I am also very proud our brand and its recognition among our advertisers and in the performance marketing world.
What is the worst part of running your own business?
The future is uncertain and that will always be the case. However, I see this as a positive thing. It drives me forward and encourages me to explore business opportunities from new products and services.
How did you get customers on board in the early days, when perhaps the service you offered was less understood by the industry?
It wasn't easy. We practically had to teach our merchants using a blank canvas. We had to introduce them to the affiliate and performance marketing model and get them to understand the benefits this could bring to their travel business. At the time, most travel companies hadn't even considered an online marketing department. Similarly, affiliates needed to understand the complexities of the travel business.
So, step by step we adapted our system and our software to satisfy the needs of both sides. The important thing was, throughout this process, we always believed in our product.
What does 2014 hold for AffiliRed?
We will be expanding the business and pushing into new markets, including: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Australia.
What advice would you give to any aspiring entrepreneurs?
Believe in your project, learn from your mistakes and work hard. If you do this, success will follow.
Good luck to you Diego!