SBI! Reviews: Rental Agency
Update #4

by Fiona McCardle and Jim Andrew

"Help - I might be turning into a zoo keeper!"

I was going to drop you a wee note a few weeks back, but I was assured that the world was going to end at any second, so I decided to hang on a bit, just in case. Seems like we're still here... still being verbally sand-blasted on a daily basis with the standard cable news fodder of doom and gloom, but hanging on in there!

Boy, am I glad we found SBI!. Why? In times of crisis, I can't think of many better ways to weather the storm. How many "proper jobs" can you say this about?...

  • You don't need to employ anyone.
  • You don't need an office or expensive equipment.
  • You don't need to buy stock, run factories, etc.
  • You don't need to commute to work every day.
  • You can work (very) flexible hours.
  • It costs less than the price of a coffee a day.
  • You are a click away from as much help and support as you want.
  • Your market is international - if your country is hit by crisis, sell to another.

Can you think of any other job where you can build an international empire from your kitchen table, whilst wearing your p-jams?

I don't want to make light of world economic conditions, but SBI! gives you the tools to weather the stormy "economic" days ahead, better than most.

6 Years of Progress

What's happening at Rent a Villa in Tuscany International HQ these days? As the years zoom past at warp factor 25 and I resemble the old bloke in the Kung Foo TV programmes more and more each day (more like Kung Foo Panda, says Rosie), what wise words have I to impart? Well...

  • Step by step, tortoise fashion works. Plan things out and then steadily work towards them. Don't get bogged down in false deadlines and paranoid about figures. The internet is part science, part art. Google is bigger than all of us, don't try to understand it!

  • Don't get worried about the latest fads, internet fashions etc. Do keep up to date with what's going on, but don't start listening to every new idea that comes along.

    Any great Hollywood director will still admit that no matter how many special effects and cool explosions you add to a movie, bottom line "storytelling" is what it's all about. Same goes for the internet - people are looking for trustworthy information, presented in a clear simple way. Keep your eye on the ball and don't confuse people.

  • Think like a child or your grandmother when designing a site. Ask yourself if your super-cool, drop-down twirling widgets will make life easier for people or just confuse them. Keep it simple.

  • Screen out the million and one net gurus, friends, friends of friends, etc. who "think they know it all about the web." Listen to Ken.

    OK, these days he may spend most of his time floating around in his pool and drinking rum punch, but when he says something, take notice. He cites Steve Jobs of Apple fame as his hero, but I'd wager that Ken has changed more lives than any number of i-pods.

Rent a Villa in Tuscany is pretty stable and progressing, never actually finished but then it never will be. Our main challenge now is growing a six year old company to the next level.

Our new site is almost finished. This html stuff is much more challenging than I had imagined (don't rush to swap over from the easy to use block-by-block SiteBuilder!).

New Developments

On a personal front, our "rustic" farmhouse is looking slightly less "rustic," our slice of Tuscany is looking slightly less like a jungle, and we're looking forward to the olive harvest in a few weeks.

We've now got 3 cats and a dog and the main topic of conversation round the kitchen table these days is how nice it would be to have a couple of chickens, a few goats, a pig or even a donkey! I suspect I may be turning into a zoo keeper. Watch this space!

This year, I've also become an SBI! coach, which is proving to be very interesting for me. Working out what time it is in other parts of the world is quite a challenge. Not being a techie, I tend to specialize in the first five days of the Action Guide, initial concepts, brainstorming niches, working on site blueprints, etc. It's great being in at the beginning of a new idea.

What do most people need advice on? You've guessed it... they need guidance on how to keep things simple, logical and not fight what Ken and the Action Guide say.

Keeping It Simple

So, what's our plan for the future?

Keep trudging along, keep it simple, keep it real, listen to Ken...

And try not to turn into a zoo keeper!

Another Rum Punch anyone?

Fiona McCardle and Jim Andrew