Negotiation, Negotiation, Negotiation

UK Property Investment news and comments from Mark Harrison of

A new year, a new challenge

Posted by markharrison on December 14, 2006

About a year ago, Mike Stimpson (President of the National Federation of Residential Landlords) told me off! He asked me to show him my diary for the previous and following weeks, and once I’d done so, he told me that I had to stop telling people that I was “retired”.

He was, of course, right – having retired in my early 30s, life did get very boring, and over the past 4 years, I’ve picked up more and more things, primarily building new businesses.

A number of people had spotted that I seem to have disappeared off the scene since early November, and that very little seems to have happened in Harrison Towers. I’ve posted next to nothing on Internet discussion groups, and haven’t been to many property networking events. Here’s why:

For 2007, there’s a new challenge, which has meant that I’ve needed to clear my desk a fair bit:

  • Effective as of the 31st December, I am stepping down as a non-exec Director of IDomus ltd. The last 18 months have seen tremendous results for the company – appointment of a full-time Operations Director, appointment of a part-time FD and full-time financial controller, move to a 5,000 sq. ft. warehouse, succesful second-round funding achieved, and consolidation of Harmony as Europe’s leading software application for home control, plus of course web sales up to the multi-million pound mark. The opportunity to be mentored by Darryl Mattocks is, well, something that many people would have paid for – instead, I got to learn how one of the UK’s most seasoned “serial entrepreneurs” works first hand, and got paid for it!
  • will continue to run, but with negotiation courses no more frequently than monthly. However, I am stepping back from acting as a consultant negotiator for new property deals worth less than £5m. (I am, of course, seeing through the deals I’m already working with for clients.) The ebook is selling, the free mini-course on Property Negotiation is running, and the “Property Negotiation” book should be avaialable in the shops in the new year (honest!)
  • will continue to run. I love writing the newsletter, the site generates passive income, and I’ve met many great people with whom I’ve been able to put together deals of one sort or another. If you don’t run a website, then you should! (I’m also collaborating with another author on a second book to be published in 2008.)
  • I will run at most 4 “specialist seminars” during the year on other aspects of property.
  • The Nightingale Conant / Entrepreneur TV hook-up is, of course, primarily passive income for me. I think that Nightingale Conant is a great company, and I enjoy working with them. However, now the second version of the CD set is released, I’d be surprised if they need me for more than a couple of days next year.
  • The “Blog Marketing” DVD will, obviously, continue to sell. (First feedback from an early customer who has used it to get to #1 on google for her chosen search phrase in only 6 weeks, in preparation for a product that won’t even launch until April 2007!)

So, it looks like the things I’m carrying with are pretty much passive-income… which leads us onto the big question: what am I going to be doing?

A few months ago, Iwas approached by a technology startup with a very interesting business idea. Initially, they wanted me to come on as an Internet marketing consultant, but changed their mind and offered me the role of Marketing Director on the second meeting… which was nice.

However, having spent a far bit of time with them in November and December, it’s clear that they need help elsewhere, so I’ve agreed to step in as CTO (Chief Technology Officer) until at least the end of 2007. (I suspect that we’ll be looking for a new Marketing Director in the new year.)

Having only been involved with relatively small websites like for the past 4 years, it’s a very odd feeling back running a team of IT developers, but it appeals to the inner geek (and there’s some really interesting techy Web2.0 stuff with Ajax and so on).

The role comes with a huge block of stock / options, but more importantly the chance to work on what I think could be a category-killing business.

Of course, as with any startup, there’s a real chance it’ll fizzle and we haven’t gauged the market demand right, but, heh, high-risk, high-reward eh?

The advantage of building a decent property portfolio is that it allows me to work on the projects I choose, and not one a boss does!


2 Responses to “A new year, a new challenge”

  1. […] I said a while back that I would be giving rather fewer talks in 2007. […]

  2. Huge Ones said

    I think it is exciting you have found something useful and challenging to do and hope your new venture really takes off.

    Having met you a number of times and attended some of your excellent seminars I am sure that your new venture can do nothing else but succeed

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