Success From One Cent!
Posted on April 15, 2015
We never can tell just how low an auction will end. But more recently we’ve had a return flight to Bali go for $11.03 and a return flight to New York for just $4.06.
Through the company One Cent Flights, we have created a world of travel that changes the experiences many have come to know. We give away thousands in flights and holidays every month through competitions.
How it works is as follows: we use a pay-per-bid auction model. Essentially you pay a small amount to bid. Each time a bid is placed, the auction price increases in set increments of one cent, and, just like a house auction, bidding continues until no one else wants to bid. The winner of the auctions pays the final auction price, and the up-front purchase of bids enables us to offer the flight at that price. We often see auctions domestic to Australia ending at under $1. We never can tell just how low an auction will end. But more recently we’ve had a return flight to Bali go for $11.03 and a return flight to New York for just $4.06. Some of our customers have even won auctions using the five free bids that they get when they sign up.
I started my first business when I was 17, selling gaming codes on eBay. I found this easy and discovered that it could even be a particularly lucrative business. Australian retailers weren’t serving this market segment well! They sold games at $119 that cost $59 in the USA. So I decided to apply basic business principles: buy low; sell high, and began purchasing the games from Asia at a cheap price, and then sell them for about $80 in Australia. From there, I went on to sell limited edition redemption codes. I had plenty of success with this, making $75,000 while in high school! However, after a while, competitors quickly jumped in on that market, saturating it, and had to look for a new potential business.
Since I can remember, I’ve had a passion for travel. This might have something to do with the fact that my dad is a pilot. When I first came up with the idea for One Cent Flights, I was still at school. I thought it could be cool to combine auctions (from my entrepreneurial experience) and travel (from my childhood exposure). A couple of years after launching the platform, the company has expanded from Australia to include New Zealand and Singapore.
The day we launched the business was my most memorable. We still had so much uncertainty and my whole team stayed up all night making sure everything was ready. When we pushed the button and launched we started getting users signing up every few seconds and bidding—at that point,we knew we could build something really exciting.
I have learned to reach out to everyone for feedback and advice. Many people, especially the most successful business people, love to help others and open doors for those they see as ambitious and aspiring. Use these networks to build the strongest team you can, and empower them to deliver what you can’t do alone. Also, be aware that everyone has insight and information that you can learn from, regardless of who they are. Every time I meet someone I try and learn from their experience. The same strategy is implemented even from our customer service angle. As a team, we learn from our customers, providing platforms for them to constantly give feedback. Interaction is key.
Who knows what the future has in store for One Cent Flights? I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from the experience. Not many people go into business to make a loss, so making a profit is the end goal. But being able to give people the chance to score their dream holiday when they may otherwise not be able to afford it is a great thing
My name is Elliott Donazzan, and I am making a success out of my story, one cent at a time.
Edited by Sharon Green, Editor-in-Chief