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“When I was sixteen I applied for eight jobs, seven of which were using my father’s name “Al-Khames” and the eighth using my mother’s name “Adams”. The only job I got an interview for was the eighth…”

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Founded in early 2009, Ethan Hardy Limited was born with a goal of continuing one man’s work further into the business world. The backbone of Ethan Hardy is an aspiring entrepreneur with over 10 years internet and business experience, Khalid Al-Khames. What started as a part time hobby soon became a true love for business and internet.

Ethan Hardy prides itself on being a forefront supplier of quality application and media websites to a wide audience across the globe. In addition to providing fresh content across several websites, Ethan Hardy also operates a web management and search engine optimization consultancy, delivering bespoke solutions to clients worldwide.

Finally, Ethan Hardy also owns and operates a number of prime, generic domain names that are available to let for popular search terms.

Khalid Al-Khames, Ethan Hardy Ltd. - Internet Entrepreneur

MO: How did you come up with the name Ethan Hardy for your company?

Khalid: When I was sixteen I applied for eight jobs, seven of which were using my father’s name “Al-Khames” and the eighth using my mother’s name “Adams”. The only job I got an interview for was the eighth and I realised that I needed to change people’s perception in order to get a “foot in the door”.

When it came to naming the company my early experiences stuck in my head so I knew it had to be simple to pronounce, easy to remember and generic. I browsed through numerous sites for names that would signify my personality and life and that’s how I came up with “Ethan Hardy”; strong and courageous.

MO: How did your early success in monetizing websites build the foundation for Ethan Hardy Ltd.?

Khalid: Prior to forming the company I had bought and sold websites to clear my student debt. I knew if I wanted to take the next step and begin trading with companies and serious business types rather than individuals I had to look more professional. Simply having a business e-mail address, telephone number and company registration number really help emphasis that you’re a proper outfit.

I continued to build and monetize websites under the company name which really funded the growth of my business and build a good relationship with regular buyers.

MO: What’s your favorite type of client to work with?

Khalid: I rarely work with clients these days as I’m too busy with my own projects. I get a lot of requests to do SEO work and partnerships but I generally refuse. However, the clients I still work for all understand the importance of what I do, how it benefits their business and what investment is required to make it grow.

I really enjoy working with forward thinking people who are happy to let me lead and I’m fortunate enough to have a small pool of clients like that.

MO: What influenced your decision to concentrate and invest in the transportation industry, specifically running taxi related websites?

Khalid: I was approached to work for a group of entrepreneurs who wanted to invest in the taxi industry. They initially had a fleet of vehicles working under another taxi firm but they wanted their own. I decided to test the market by purchasing a telephone number, marketing it online and forwarding the calls to a local firm to see the volume of work available from the web.

Talks broke down but I was left with the telephone number and by that point a website. I realised it would be a waste to dispose of it so I spoke to the company I was forwarding the calls too and they were happy to pay me on a pay-per-call basis.

Traditionally taxi companies have relied on word-of-mouth and offline advertising to succeed and where I had an edge was utilising my online marketing skills to target an area of the market nobody was.

Almost two years on and one of the sites is generating close to 50,000 bookings per annum. I also have similar operations in other cities.

MO: Can you tell us anything about the innovative taxi booking system you’re currently working on?

Khalid: A large proportion of bookings I received are through the telephone but a growing number of individuals want to do this online. As a result we have a pre-payment platform that makes life simpler and ensures the entire process is completed in a matter of minutes.

Realising that automated systems are an attractive feature I’m developing smart phone and kiosk applications that will enable users to book a taxi without ever having to speak to anyone. There are alternatives out there but they are limited in what they can do and this is where I believe the company can flourish.

MO: How have you managed to create an unrivalled portfolio of platforms?

Khalid: By purchasing the generic domain names associated with the market we’re in and subsequently marketing them heavily, I’ve managed to build an online presence that (touch wood!) is doing very well. For example our taxi operations in the city of Glasgow go under the domain name “GlasgowTaxi.co.uk”.

Furthermore, the innovative systems that are being worked on will tie nicely into our web presence and are completely automated meaning they’re cheap to run, easy to maintain and do the work of more than one individual. The savings and benefits provided will no doubt be attractive to taxi users and companies alike.

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