If you want to learn a little more about how to make easy money in SEO then this blog post is for you!
Like all other SEO’s and digital marketers out there I have a story about how I got into this business and while people generally like to paint a sunny picture of how things went the truth is that most of us started off in a relatively dark space.
Spoiler Alert: Like any good story with a happy ending this one ends with having a beer that turned everything around!
I want to tell you the story about how I went from frustrated business owner to one who is having fun every single day doing what I love. I absolutely assure you that you can do the same thing by learning from my mistakes.
In fact, this story is the actual story of how SEO Cheat Guides was borne and why I try to help everyone scale their business and shed their stress (it’ll literally consume and kill you if you can’t learn to get away from it).
Just over a year ago I had a full time job.
I was on the senior management team of a $100 million dollar health-care business (I joined them after they purchased a company I founded and grew).
Regardless of the title and pay, it was a job. The real 9 to 5 grind type of job filled with politics, people issues and a never ending mountain to climb.
I had been there for a few years and was reminded that corporate life was simply not for me anymore.
Having founded 3 (and now 4) companies I knew one thing above all else….I REALLY enjoy the entrepreneurial game.
Sure, working at a corporate job comes with some perks (the guaranteed pay and benefits in my case as a VP of a health care business there was some prestige), but at the end of the day I was happy to move on from the grind.
Thankfully because I always had the entrepreneurial spirit I had been running my digital marketing business on the side prior to taking the corporate position.
I always kept this side project operating mostly because I always knew I wasn’t going to stick around doing the 9 to 5 forever but I’m also cautious so I wanted to ensure I had something viable in place when I made that transition.
After I collected my final paycheck (and took the requisite time off to relax), travel, read, and catch up with friends I was ready to take my digital marketing business to a new level.
At the beginning my story includes tons of frustrations and challenges and these issues are the same ones that you are likely facing each and every day.
Yes, I had a small and stable group of clients paying me a monthly retainer…which was awesome…but not enough to sustain me at the level I wanted to be.
At the beginning of each month I had my admin process the payments from my clients (the magic that keeps us coming back again and again…We all love seeing money flow from their bank accounts to ours).
But that’s when the dance would begin!!
I didn’t have anyone on my team that could do SEO without me very closely directing the show.
So now I had a full time job that required my highest level of attention (because we all know that the client comes first…even when it hurts).
At night I would find myself watching webinars, the internet marketers invention to pitch me on the ‘latest and greatest’ tricks of SEO.
You know the drill…webinar for 2 hours, a few good ideas followed by an elaborate sales pitch. Then the next night was much of the same. Another webinar with a few more good ideas. Rinse and Repeat!
All of the information was okay but at the end of the day whatever I bought would be nothing more than yet another set of video’s to sit and watch.
Hours upon hours! Some literally turned it into an all-night freaking marathon of content. I don’t know what they (or I) were thinking…like yes…If I give you 40 hours of video then you must be getting more value…right?!?!! (WRONG!)
By the time I watched all the videos there would inevitably be another product launch or some other change to their ‘system’…that or Google would update something and then it would be time to start over.
I was quite literally spending so much time consuming information and so little time building my internal process that things just weren’t adding up.
Note: This isn’t a knock on any of the SEO Guru’s out there as some of the information was useful. It is just a simple observation that I was spending so much time consuming the content of others that I wasn’t applying ‘Business 101’ and setting up a process for the growth of my own business. I was literally a mouse on a wheel. Lots of activity but no opportunity to really make any forward progress.
On top of that all, by the time I watched all this information it was impossible to synthesize it down clearly enough for someone else to do the work for me. It was a huge dilemma.
So I would do the client work on my own.
Sure enough the Guru’s teachings worked, but I simply didn’t have a system to hand it off to others.
Even when my business was bringing in $15k/month I could not escape the grind of doing all the work. I simply didn’t have a way to hand off, manage, delegate, train, and monitor a support staff.
Then, any time I was lucky enough to land a new client I would stress out about how I was going to be able to do the work I promised. THAT was the beginning of the tipping point for me as there is NO WAY I should have been disappointed about taking on a new client.
Oh by the way, I had no time to do lead generation either. Between work, doing the SEO, and watching webinars I was burning out.
I tried everything I could to solve the issue too (or so I thought at the time).
I hired a buddy who is REALLY smart as the answer to all my problems.
He had an MBA from a top school…I mean sure…he wasn’t an SEO…but that doesn’t matter right?
Well, I brought him in and taught him what was working at the time.
He picked up what I taught him fairly quickly, but then when the Big G changed something and our old technique wasn’t working as well he was paralyzed.
Fast forward 3 months and clients were starting to see their sites dropping like a stone and my buddy simply didn’t know what to do. Not his fault as I pretty much left him hanging out to dry (sorry bud!).
I was busy enjoying life (fat cat corporate job, new baby, happy wife, lots of travel, you get the idea) and thinking he’s taking care of the clients while the money flowed in. Well, not so much!
Long story short, as clients starting calling me and saying they weren’t happy and that they were going to have to let me go the light bulb went off and I finally figured out that things weren’t going as well as I thought they were (Go ahead and say it…’No sh*t Stuart’).
So, I went ahead and did the only thing I could do at the time and I ended up having to let him go. ANYONE who has ever had to let a friend go knows ‘that sh*t ain’t fun’.
After righting the ship by delving back into the SEO guru’s latest tricks, taking massive action for all clients and kissing ass and assuring clients the issue was resolved we retained most of our clients (all this while maintaining that corporate job during the day).
I figured I would try a different and smarter approach.
This time I went to someone I didn’t know that I met in an SEO group. She was an SEO who seemed to know her stuff. She couldn’t sell so she couldn’t build an agency but she knew more than enough SEO to be effective.
It is at that point that I changed my model again and I figured I would bring her in and get her to run the SEO side of my business so that I could focus on sales, scale up and get back to a life of leisure.
My new employee was in love with the work. She was “an artist” and didn’t seem to understand that we had a budget of time per client or that we had to work on the client jobs that didn’t give us the creative outlet as well!
Here we go again!!!
I ended up right back in the same sticky and uncomfortable situation.
Some clients (the ones she worked on) were over the moon happy while the others were NOT (she didn’t get to those ones because she was ‘an artist’ and you can’t rush the art)!
And they started calling complaining…
Now this is the point in the story where I am leaving my big corporate life.
As I mentioned I took some time off (luckily my departure from them came with a sizable goodbye cheque). I then travelled with the family, read, sat by the pool, and of course visited friends (insert Ian, my partner in SEO Cheat Guides here).
Over what turned out to be a lot of beers Ian and I were talking about all those things you talk about over drinks and we finally got on to the topic of what I was working on.
I was explaining to him that I was ready to scale up my marketing business much like I have done for the previous companies I had built….and in a haze of beer glasses…we discussed systematizing the SEO business.
From there I built an entire outsourcing system, to hire, manage, train, delegate, and do lead generation.
While the Webinars were teaching me the latest SEO tricks they weren’t able to teach me how to scale my business in a sustainable way that allowed me to have the more leisurely lifestyle I prefer (for those who don’t know me already you should understand that I don’t like ‘work’ but I LOVE to get client’s great results).
In the 6-months that followed I was able to focus fulltime on the business and build out the system that I didn’t build while I was working full time. As I was doing this for my digital marketing company I quickly realized Ian and I had stumbled onto something that many others could benefit from.
So again over beers we discussed the idea of starting SEO Cheat Guides. I was already doing the work of building the guides for my company and sharing a few with others would be a good way to get a gage if the market was interested in what we had created.
What we created at SEO Cheat Guides I applied to my SEO business with results that made me smile. I have been able to shed my technical workload and have spent much more time on landing new clients, pitching new niches, talking to the incredible people in our Facebook Group, and most importantly enjoying more free time with family and friends (including a couple more drinking thinking sessions with Ian).
I consider myself fortunate to have tripled my monthly business (I am dead serious) and I attribute every bit of that success to setting up a proper system of procedures (like any big business would do). It is the best time investment I have ever made and after building 3 other businesses I can honestly say this is now the easiest!
I have even linked up on another non-SEO business venture and there is only one thing that would make me happier.
I want to see each and every person who joins the Facebook group or reads this blog to enjoy that same level of success (or even more success).
That is absolutely no joke and is nothing but sincere. I know you can do it and the truth is that aside from the initial time investment you can set-up a system of outsourcing that works for your business and for the client offerings you have.
I have already written a blog that gives you the general framework for what we came up with in using our SEO Cheat Guides to be able to grow so quickly. You can easily use that blog to re-create what we’ve done and to automate much of your business. I very much encourage you to do that and to invest that time TODAY. It is literally the best investment you can make in your business and in yourself.
I’ve also created a course “The Ultimate Outsourcing Course” on exactly how I put it all together that you can feel free to check out. I promise it cuts out all the fluff and gets right to the point as I understand what it’s like to have to sit there all night going through content and then figuring out how to take action on it.
I hope you take my advice and use the blog or check out the course and as you all know Ian and I are readily available to answer your questions and to give you all the guidance you want. We simply want to see you build out your systems, take hold of what you deserve and to shed your stress!