SBI! Reviews: Rental Agency
Update #1

by Fiona McCardle and Jim Andrew

Well, one year down the road (see our original story) to fame and fortune and our dastardly plan for world domination is more or less on course. Looking back now, I can't quite believe we have come so far in such a relatively short space of time.

Blind enthusiasm, hard work (and SBI!, of course) have seen Rent a Villa in Tuscany scale the giant learning curve and the web traffic rankings in simple, do-able, leaps and bounds. We get 7000 visitors per month now. When I think of how hundreds of people with a very specific interest in Tuscany find us every day, people we've never met from around the world, and how some choose to do business with us, it still amazes me.

Funny, I still feel we are web "newbies" with so much to learn, and yet here we are with a top site about a highly competitive part of the travel world... sensational Tuscany.

That SBI! Action Guide is so important. Each time I reread it, I find something that I missed the time before. An example?

One traffic building method, which we haven't fully explored so far, and this may seem ironic for an "online" business is "offline" buzz. One of my top priorities this year is to get more traffic through self produced, illustrated, newspaper/magazine articles. They are free, give us lots of publicity and it's fun doing them.

Somewhere, Over The Rainbow

Think it's all long lunches and snoozing under an olive tree? No, really,  we do actually spend some long hours "playing" with computers.

Don't feel too sorry for us, though. There are worse fates than slaving away in the "Rent a Villa International H.Q." (ie laptop on the kitchen table). Having said that, it could become quite a solitary existence, if it wasn't for SBI!.

Lots of people contact us through the site, customers looking for a villa in Tuscany (even the SiteSell president, Ken Evoy this summer!). And, as I recounted last year, you never know when someone out there is looking for that special hideaway Tuscan castle "just for the family."

What an amazing business.

And we also stay in touch with SBIers through the SBI! Forums, which have quickly become a supportive, online community of very knowledgeable, positive people.

SBIers just "get it." They are too busy building their web business to worry about "how it all happens" and are full of enthusiasm and ideas. It's contagious to watch everyone working and moving ahead.

Visitors often contact us through our Web site, wanting to know if it's all true, and even some local people here in Tuscany plead with us to reveal the secret of  "how we did it." I always tell them the same thing... "We just followed SBI!, used the tools. 'All' we had to do (ha!) was supply the brainpower and work."

Ken Evoy is very clear about that. We wanted to build a real business. We were ready to work. We succeeded.

Non-SBIers seem unable to "get it" -- either they want a fool-proof formula or are full of excuses and doubts, some even waste their time trying to prove (to us!) that SBI! can't be true and that there must be a catch.

I hope (for them) that some day they'll "get it".

Our Plans?

In a few weeks we're off to the mountains skiing, and even though we're not technically "in the office", e-mail enquiries still keep coming in and when family and friends come to visit over the summer, work fits in around fun.

The site has made our working life flexible, enjoyable and profitable. We've changed our lives, thanks to SBI! sure it's hard work, but it's worth it to have the quality of life we want, living in sunny Tuscany.

As for the future, we've just bought another two SBI! site packages. I can't divulge the top-secret site concepts right now! Let's just say they are not "rocket science".

The new ideas have grown out of our present site concept - renting summer holiday villas. We can't do it all ourselves, so will be collaborating with a few folks who are bursting with enthusiasm and ideas but don't know about SBI! (maybe we should keep quiet about it).

After you've done it once, it's tremendous knowing that you can do it over and over again. Blue skies and warm nights ahead.

Fiona McCardle and Jim Andrew