Start your own dating agency
I can't tell you how sad it is for many of my friends who grew up in a town they knew they couldn't move back to if they wanted to make a decent living. I had no friends in the industry, I had no idea what I was doing, how SEO companies were structured, or even how to do anything beyond what I had learned in college. I could have saved myself at least two years if I had worked for someone who could have pointed me in the right direction first. I had a few clients, and I decided I needed some help, so I signed up for SEOBook.
I dove into blogs, but at that time I didn't know who to trust and read some really awful advice. There was a feedback forum, so I posted my super-awful website for Nifty Marketing. (I had The Nifty Way.com, and it wasn't until later—by some good grace of the heavens—that the person who owned Nifty let it go, and I bought it for .99 with a Go Daddy code.) When I posted my site on SEOBook, I got brutal feedback. But someone in the forum said something that changed my life forever. The few clients I had at the time were really small businesses in Idaho, and I had been spending a lot of time in Google Maps.
Sure, extremely fast growth and funding means you come to market quicker. I don't have to make short-term decisions for a board that hurts the long-term vision I have.
But by growing at the slow rate of 2x per year (which isn't that slow), I have been able to continually innovate and offer better services without taking do-or-die risks. And I make enough that I stopped caring about the money around year three; slow and steady wins the prize.
When I started in 2009 there was very little information online about starting, running, or growing an Internet Marketing Agency. I was in my final semester at BYU-Idaho and had accepted a job to be the chief marketing officer of Rove Pest Control after spending my summers during college as a door-to-door salesman for them. But, due to some changes at Rove I knew that I was going to have to have to find a different career.
The ones that did exist were from superstars that charged a billion dollars an hour. My wife was pregnant, we had just started building a house in Burley, and I had a full load of credits.
After making around 0 on the site I knew that I had found my career choice. Of course you need to make money, but if that is the only thing you are looking for as a business owner then eventually you will fail.
From the first year of my business until now I have had opportunities to get funding and take on partners. I am not saying that it's bad to do either of these things, but if you take a close look at our industry you will see that a lot of funded companies and partnerships don't make it.
He said something like: "You offer SEO, Web Design, and PPC. I realized that I enjoyed that aspect of marketing, and was getting clients ranked.
That is exactly the same as 100,000s of companies around the world, who by the looks of things are better than you at it. So, I redesigned my site, changed my messaging, and decided to focus. I remember quite vividly trying to use my door-to-door sales skills to try and cold call businesses to get work.
This was his response: The best advice I can give you is to optimize the local listings of a bunch of clients.
The more you "play" in the space, the better you'll get at teasing out the parts of the algorithm that really matter.