10 Things You Didn’t Know About Justin And Eye on Spain

Published on 14/02/2011 in Expat Life

1. It was born in a shower

ShowerThe idea for Eye on Spain actually came to Justin whilst having a shower way back in 2004 whilst living in Kent. It was a real “Eureka” moment and he stormed out of the shower sopping wet to tell Susan about his brain wave.

He still gets his best ideas whilst showering, but going off his recent lack of good ideas maybe he’s now given up showering!

2. It’s time to roll the sleeves up

Being relatively short of cash and unable to afford to pay a web programmer, Justin trotted off down to the bookshop to find a book about building websites. A whole wall full of books about hundreds of programming languages stared back at him until one caught his eye: “Building Dynamic Websites with Asp.net”. EOS was officially in the making...

Justin still has that book and sometimes even refers back to it. We think it’s time he bought some new, more up to date ones!

3. The wrong launch date

12th of July 2004 was the date that Justin chose to launch EOS to the world (just a small world, actually a very small world). But that was a bad choice of date. 12 of July is Susan’s birthday. Was she happy to share her birthday with a website?

Justin has secretly been trying to change the official birthday of EOS but too many people seem to know that it’s actually 12th of July. Justin’s going to have to live with this one for some time to come yet.

4. It was different back then

The original concept for Eye on Spain was to keep off-plan buyers up-to-date with the progress of their developments, through monthly progress photos and a message board for buyers to chat amongst each other. The service cost just €99 per year per community.

It was a complete disaster. An average of three orders a month meant Justin couldn’t even fund his weekly Kit Kat Chunky intake. Time for a rethink.

Justin in Alan Sugar's article5. A letter to Sir Alan Sugar

During the launch of EOS, Justin managed to get it into most of the Spain and property related magazines. He was even filmed for the “Living in the Sun” TV program but later rejected....something about being dull we think! But his moment of glory was having his letter picked up by Sir Alan Sugar (now Lord) for his page in the Daily Mirror.

Lord Sugar made Justin’s letter the main feature of his page the day it came out in the paper. With an estimated readership of 4 million people Justin felt that his time had come. He sat by the phone that day waiting for the rush of orders to come flooding in....but they never did.

The newspaper story brought just 50 visitors to the website that day....and no corresponding orders.

Feeling totally disheartened Justin didn’t even bother to read Lord Sugar’s advice....much to his regret.

6. The money’s gone

Having totally misunderstood the costs of moving to Spain and setting up a business there, after about four months Justin had totally run out of money. Armed with his new programming book, Justin started advertising for clients to build websites for. He got a couple to do and it kept him, his family and EOS going a little longer.

To say Justin’s websites back then were rubbish is an understatement and I’m sure he’d like to apologise to those clients someday.

7. The big deal that never was

Justin finally got round to reading the advice that Sir Alan Sugar had given him. He had basically said that Justin should approach the agents and developers to get them to offer the EOS service to their buyers as an independent progress monitoring service.

This was actually brilliant advice and buoyed by this Justin started talking to one of the “big boys” on the Costa del Sol.

It all looked great. The deal was going great and finally it seemed that EOS was going to make money, well, at least enough to live off. Contracts were drawn up, Kit Kat Chunky future looked rosey until....the marketing manager, who Justin had been dealing with, left. He left the day before the contract was to be signed.

The next day the new marketing manager thought it was a silly idea and knocked it on the head. So much for Alan’s advice.

Maybe Justin should have used this as an opportunity to knock himself on the head.

Web designer8. Time to get a job

The money runs out again and Justin gets a job building real estate websites. The only problem is that these are not in the programming language that’s in his book. Justin blags his way to getting the websites done in the language he (sort of) knows.

Trying to see a way out Justin wonders if anyone will give him a thousand Euros for the doesn’t-make-any-money website which is EOS. He even considers simply turning it off.

There are no takers.

9. Adsense to the rescue

A chance meeting with someone one day opens Justin’s eyes to the opportunity of monetising the website using Google Adsense ads. Still not sure it will work he doesn’t bother doing anything with it for a good few weeks.

The day he does he then kicks himself many times for wasting so much time.

EOS starts to make money.

10. No going back

All of that above that was just some of what happened in the first year of Eye on Spain. The truth is that had Justin and Susan not sold up in the UK, they would have gone back after just three or four months.

EOS is a website which continues to flourish purely by desire, sheer determination and a considerable amount of sweat.

Maybe it’s time Justin took another shower!

Written by: EOS Team

About the author:

We've got lots of stories to tell....and plenty of juicy stuff about Justin!  Would you like to know more?  We could write a whole book you know.  Leave us a comment below if you like this.  Gracias.

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Ralph said:
06 May 2011 @ 00:55

Oh, BTW, nice article. ;-)

Ralph said:
06 May 2011 @ 00:54

Hi Justin, I would like to know if it is possible to advertise my business at your website (EOS). You can contact me by email at: rsanchezlamoso@hotmail.com

ChrisB said:
18 February 2011 @ 23:44

Justin, I've been a silent member for years but I have to say, the community you've built up in this website has been a constant inspiration. As a UK owner who bought off plan and now has a nice house worth half what I paid that I can rarely visit because I am lucky enough to have it on long term let, just knowing that I am not alone means loads.
Knowing that you're just an ordinary bloke who tried and managed to make it stick just makes it all the better.
More power to your elbow and keep up the good work.

Steve G said:
17 February 2011 @ 22:50

Great story and good to know we helped Justin on his way because we were one of the original 3 per month. (Don Miguel Residencial) which actually never got completed.
Steve G

Margaret said:
17 February 2011 @ 22:38

All the previous comments I fully agree with but let me share something with you all.....behind the entrepreneur, the business man , the professional lies a person who is decent, caring and ever willing to help a fellow human. I thank you Justin for being a true gentleman.

Sandy67 said:
16 February 2011 @ 12:16

I first came across EOS when my property was being built in 2006.Due to the lack of progress reports from the developer or the agents, I scoured the web for anything that would give me info and hey presto! EOS showed me pictures of my property and put me in touch with others (fools?!) who had purchased on the same complex. This led to much giving and receiving of advice and tips and I am very grateful to Justin for that - long may he continue!

Justin said:
16 February 2011 @ 12:00

Thanks for the lovely comments. All the facts in this article are true and it does amaze me that we ever managed to get this website going!

Hopefully it will provide some inspiration for some people. Just keep working hard and never give up.

Costas said:
16 February 2011 @ 11:27

Brilliant stuff mate - I enjoy rererereading the story every time! :-)

Colin said:
16 February 2011 @ 08:19


I would love to have a little advice and the dos and don'ts of setting up a website, and especially in Spain, as this is something that I am planning to do. I was in Spain working for nearly a year, buy had to come back due to redundancy, and now I would dearly love to come back!

It's good to hear you can succeed if you are really determined.

Christopher Gamble said:
15 February 2011 @ 21:48

Thanks for that insight....entrepreneurism in action. 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration....a great example of what sheer hard work can produce. Well done and good luck!

Hollie Shaw said:
15 February 2011 @ 21:35

I really enjoyed reading this article. And I am myself going through something similar here in Spain!! Nice to hear a happy ending... It has been 'liked' :)

Suzi said:
15 February 2011 @ 20:49

Brilliant article and very funny.
It just goes to show that if you have the determination to succeed you'll find a way, no matter how long it takes.
Looking forward to hearing some more interesting facts about EOS and the incredibly hard working man behind it.

Graham said:
15 February 2011 @ 20:26

Funny Justin. Has been shared

Gillespie said:
15 February 2011 @ 19:52

A great story and an inspiration to all entrepreneurs in Spain.

Spain is a less lonely place thanks to EOS - people come together in a kind of WWII spirit in the face of adversity.

Thanks for the great consistent service to all at EOS.

P.S. Did he shower every week back then???

Stephen M Reid said:
15 February 2011 @ 18:32

Dear Justin
I got the feeling when dealing with you way back,that you enjoyed "The Experience" too much to be a professional.
You are now.
Good luck. Over the last 40 years I started and ran successfully the "Reid Group" which consisted of about 6 companies all together mostly in the printing, construction and "Leisure business's". One I had to liquidate because I took my eye off the ball and left it to others. The rest I sold on as going concerns except the surveying consultancy which was only as good as myself and when I retired the skills obviously went with me.
Thought for the day!
It's strange how people who work hard end up being lucky?

Stephen (Story Teller Man)

Neil M said:
15 February 2011 @ 18:17

Well done.Really good story with just the correct injection of humor.
I found it very interesting how it all began.
It just goes to show that if you really wan't somthing to work you have to work hard to make it happen.
No free rides in this life unless you are born rich, but if you try try again you could sucseed. If you don't you won't.
I look forward to the next installment.

Neil M

Steve said:
15 February 2011 @ 17:36

Great story and some fantastic advice to all those with "eyes on Spain"! It's $%&/( tough and it gets $%&/() tougher every month at the moment.

You will always survive and do well because you know have a terrific site and the respect of your readers and advertisers.



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