We are Mark and Mandy

Founders from the Netherlands and co-owners of dozens of websites. Actually, we never thought about becoming entrepreneurs. In fact, website building started as a simple hobby via a slow 56k modem.

Mark created his first site about Formula 1 when he was fifteen. After each Grand Prix, the results were quickly typed out and uploaded via a 56k modem. Dial up and enjoy keeping the phone line busy. The website was on free hosting space from our Internet provider and visitors could then view the results on the website. But this website crashed at more than 80 visitors and the Internet provider soon no longer allowed this. Can you still imagine that?

Building websites

Mark also started a website with ringtones. In the good old days, you had to enter ringtones manually via codes on a website. That was the only way to get a new ringtone. Later you could also use this site to download logos for your phone. Because of the downloads of these logos, Mark started earning money with a website for the first time. Admittedly a few hundred euros a month, but for a teenager it was quite a lot.

That tasted like more. Mark began his studies in Communication and Multimedia Design and founded his own company in 2012: Web&Media. Assignments to build websites quickly followed. The fire to do business had been kindled.

A company together

Meanwhile, the same thing happened to Mandy. The childhood dreams of becoming a doctor, astronaut or pilot were over. After studying and working various side jobs, Mandy was also drawn to the freedom of entrepreneurship. That’s why we started a general partnership together in 2014.

So we became business partners, and where some couples don’t like that, we love running a business together. We are very different, but therefore complement each other: Mandy is a specialist in online marketing and takes on the customer journey and interpretation of a website. Mark designs the sites and deals with the technical issues.

Location-independent work

Our first big in-house project was TurkijeVisum.nl. This website gave people an easy way to buy a visa for Turkey. We were working on it day and night: laptops and phones went everywhere with us, because we regularly had urgent requests from customers. Our site hit the media and grew rapidly. At one point we bossed a team and hired a call center.

In the meantime, we weren’t sitting still either. We were able to work location-independently and travel all over the world. Mandy was always trying to find good deals to travel and that’s how we came up with the idea for VakantieViking.nl. On this website, customers find the best deal for their vacation. We also translated our love for travel to our website Besttravelmonths.com. Here you can check the best travel months and weather for more than 4,000,000 places around the world.

New opportunities

It seemed like our luck couldn’t run out, but unfortunately it did. The corona crisis hit us hard. We never worried so much about our websites in the travel world. We thought: if one country doesn’t go anymore, another can. We could never foresee that the entire travel world would come to a standstill. And with it, our income. We had already signed up with an employment agency when we were able to take advantage of government support at the last minute.

With that support we kept our heads above water. But we didn’t want to throw in the towel. Our entrepreneurial spirit went to work: what can we do? That’s how we came up with ideas for other websites outside of travel. In corona time, we built Brickcatch.com: the largest LEGO price comparison website in the United States. We also started Laadpaaloverzicht.nl, where you can see for every day out in the Netherlands whether you can charge your electric car on site. All new projects ensured that within a short time we no longer needed government support.

Tens of thousands of visitors a day

We learned during this period that we can always fall back on each other. No matter what happens, we always recover. It also became extra clear to us that we find creating websites the most fun there is. From the design to the customer journey to putting the website together technically. And once a website is up, there is always something to develop. It’s never finished. Also, you can come up with new ideas endlessly. It’s work we can put all our creativity into.

We now have dozens of websites that are visited tens of thousands of times a day. On our websites we work with advertorials and affiliate links. We also like to go on press trips and promote products if they are relevant to our clients.