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Now displaying: September, 2019
Sep 5, 2019

 ALB56 – The Japanese Trainspotter

Who is Chris King?
Chris has built a business around his greatest passions - travel, riding trains and Japanese food. Originally from the UK, Chris King now lives in Osaka, Japan, and spends a lot of his time travelling by train in Japan, Britain, Asia and Europe.

Chris started the Train Hacker website when he was living in Britain to help people save money on rail travel. The project then branched out to Europe and Japan, helping train travellers find cheaper train tickets, rail passes, tours and holidays.

While travelling by Shinkansen bullet train in Japan, Chris was astonished at the amazing tastes and rich diversity of Japanese food - he had to discover more, and a new project “Food Tours Japan” was born. Now, Chris is exploring the wonderful world of washoku and keen to show that there’s so much more to Japan than sushi.

Chris is a longstanding one percenter and has built a business around some of his greatest passions, which include travel, trains, and a love for Japanese food. Originally from the UK, Chris now lives in Osaka, Japan as a digital nomad and spends a lot of his time travelling by train in Japan, Britain, Asia, and Europe.

Let’s go back to how John and Chris met
Chris and John met over a decade ago and when they met, Chris was not a digital nomad, as he is today and was not living in Japan, writing about food and bullet trains.

Chris spent eight and a half years working for BT he worked with some really bright people and managed to get involved in a lot of digital stuff. Everything from kind of online customer experience to e-commerce but the most enjoyable bit for Chris and the bit he had most involvement was affiliate marketing. 

Affiliate marketing in the “Wild West” days
Chris started off working in the affiliate team at BT.

Chris had a really good boss and worked with really good people and feels they embraced it really early. Chris was in a sales team, which meant he was on quarterly sales bonuses whereas as you know today, most affiliate marketing is in the marketing department. 

But the sales team were heavily incentivized, and he had some really golden years with bonuses. So that was their one thing that made them really unique and Chris also feels because they were in sales, it also helped them build on the relationship side. Essentially, they were very soft in their approach really to affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing and it’s reputation

Chris tells us he felt affiliate marketing had a kind of a bit of a bad reputation and he thinks it probably still does within agencies. That said, the model has stood the test of time. 

Chris recommends anyone that has a small company to embrace affiliate marketing. There's a few networks out there and there's technologies out there that if you are a small company, Chris says it's like a virtual sales force. 

How did Chris become a digital nomad?

The reason Chris wanted to get out of the corporate world is because he wasn't prepared to sit around and wait for my pension, Chris wanted to see the world. He didn’t want to see the world when he was 60, he wanted to see the world whilst he was young. And then that kind of led from one thing to another. 

Chris went travelling for six months. Come back and started a business. He now feels that after travelling in India for six months, it was maybe not the best state of mind to come back and start a business. His first publishing business didn't really work that well. Then he did consultancy, but he had that itch to travel again. 

The birth of the ‘Digital Nomad’

Chris needed to go to India to just cleanse his soul really, just to restart his life. It was here he realised he could travel and run his business at the same time. Whilst out there, he was doing research for his travel clients and also starting some travel projects. So, the digital nomad thing kind of came out of a whole load of things coming together.

Chris aka the train hacker
Chris started the Train Hacker website when he was living in Britain to help people save money on their rail travel. The project then branched out to Europe and Japan, his aim was to help train travellers find cheaper train tickets, rail passes, tours, and holidays. 

Why Japan? A love story...

One, the train travel projects was leading him down that route because Chris started the Train Hacker when he was living in Britain to help people save money on their rail travel. The project then branched out to Europe and Japan, his aim was to help train travellers find cheaper train tickets, rail passes, tours, and holidays. He was in and out of Asia and realised, he found Asia a lot more of a mellow place to be. Also, these days it's where the growth is, Chris just loves the kind of free entrepreneurial style that things were done in those countries. 

Chris met his wife who's Japanese at a train station actually in Vietnam. This was a moment to Chris who thought to himself, he was working in train travel, why was he not writing about more inspiring stuff like train travel in Japan?

From that point onwards Chris focused more on Japan travel projects. He could see there was an opportunity there. There was a lack of content being published and what was being published about travel in Japan was what he found seemed to be quite inaccurate. So, he decided to go out to Japan and do some research for my business over there.

The BIG house and the BIG car...

Not for Chris, he has old friends who he’s met up with, they are loaded. They've got three cars. They've got massive houses. They've got big gardens. One thing they say to him all the time is they don't have any time. 

Chris say’s you kind of make the choice. There are other ways you can live your life. And too many people have kind of fallen for the got to have a big house, got to have a car, got to have this, got to have that. And you don't really need that. 

You can work where you want. There are so many more opportunities now to set up a business. There's so much more help now like the One Percent Club and so many books. You know, there's so many people, so much stuff out there which can help you now start a business. So yeah, you don't need to do that guys and ladies. Give it up now.

Freedom...
Chris just wanted freedom more than anything else and of course it goes without saying he’s ambitious. He wants to make money, but he values his  freedom more than just purely money and material things. 

How has the One Percent Club helped Chris? 

It helps him focus and with his time management. Working with John and Jason in a similar business which has been helpful but also the other people in the group, it is a diverse group of people and it's good to listen to them. Ultimately, focus, time management and accountability.

How Chris’s love for Japanese food led to another business opportunity

While travelling Shinkansen (the bullet train) in Japan, Chris was astonished at the amazing tastes and rich diversity of Japanese food. He had to discover more and a new project, Food Tours Japan was born, click play to find out more. 


For links to everything we talk about, including the video recording of the episode and transcription of everything we talked about, head over to the show notes at bigidea.co.uk/podcast.

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