James O'Day gives an insight into the Pearlshare story, the site and app where you can create and share personal local guides.

Pearlshare allows users to build and share personalised local guides at www.pearlshare.com or through the app which can be downloaded from iTunes. Users save their favourite Pearls – restaurants, bars, hotels and attractions – and create guides, based on themes or locations. They can share them with friends or publish to the Pearlshare community. At the heart of Pearlshare is the idea of trusted recommendations. It is ideal for the booming Airbnb market and other holiday rental hosts, allowing them to create customised guides for their guests.

Pearlshare was co-founded in 2014 by chief operating officer, James O'Day, who was previously a project leader at Boston Consulting Group's TMT practice in London; chairman, Michael Liebreich, a serial media and information entrepreneur and world-leading energy analyst and chief technical officer, Oliver Brooks, another serial entrepreneur with two start-ups behind him. It raised seed funding from some of Europe's leading investors and, with its user base growing rapidly, has now raised £1m as it builds a community of like-minded travellers sharing independent advice.

Here, James O'Day gives an insight into the Pearlshare story.

We came up with the idea when... Travelling for work and pleasure. We would often ask friends for the best places (e.g., restaurants, cafes) to visit and save them in Evernote or as notes on our phones. As we started getting asked for our lists, we progressed to thinking about if there was a bigger opportunity to make these personal recommendations available more broadly.

The biggest challenge is... Choosing where to spend our time - as a small business, with an enormous potential range of avenues to pursue, prioritising where to go and how to spend our time is always the hardest thing to do. There is always more that could be done, but should it?

The average day is spent... There is no average day — every day is different, which is what keeps it interesting! However, many have a number of similar elements. The day probably consists of meeting with team members to set the direction for, or review various areas of work (e.g., advertising, content, product decisions). I also spend a significant part of my time speaking to potential recruits or investors.

The team consists of... Our team is six people full-time, with a number of fantastic supports around the world. We have a development team of four, plus four on the content and user team.

My favourite quote... Never fear the future. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present (Marcus Aurelius).

I am where I am today because of... A combination of wonderful mentorship, amazing opportunities (and taking advantage of them), luck and hard work.

I am who I am because of... My genetics and my experiences.

The best advice I've been given... Our beliefs shape our perception and experience of reality. Therefore, if you believe you can achieve something (or not) then your experience will be influenced by this... Believe you can and you will.

In five years I’d like to be... Continuing to learn a lot, working with amazing team members and to have helped build Pearlshare into a successful business with millions of users around the world.

The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online... Just how much luck and serendipity is involved. More than we would ever like to believe.

Our biggest mistake and what it taught us... I don’t see anything we have done as a pure “mistake”. There are many things we could have done differently and better, but from each, we have learned an enormous amount.

The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date Building a team and, with them, a product that people are using and enjoying.

July 2016