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I recently appeared on a podcast, it isn’t out yet so I won’t link it but here are the questions I was asked and the answers that I gave…
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Sure, I do link building work for clients, I’m motivated by my illness so concentrate on automation and processes to remove myself as much as possible. I’m also a minimalist, and you can see that influence right through my entire life, the things I buy, my business, my processes and even my diet.
How did you get started in this business?
Pretty simple story really, I was in university writing small articles for some extra cash, I was getting like £30 per piece, then a guy asked me if I could write SEO articles and that he’d pay £50, so I was like YES, had no idea what SEO was but then just googled it and the rest is history
Then the way my brain works, I figured if this guy can pay me 50 then how much is he making from it, so started my journey down the rabbit hole, the first site I ever had anything to do with was actually with one of the guys most of you would know, we ran a site it ended pretty badly so we don’t really talk anymore but I hear he’s a millionaire these days so it worked out pretty well
Did you have any particular skills that brought you into this business.. i.e. (web design, graphic design, copywriting, video etc)
Not especially, I tend to just learn things that I need to do, these days I can do pretty much everything, I can write well but that all I came into this with. Maybe the way that I think about stuff is a skill too but I’m not entirely sure.
I also have the ability to not give a fuck about failure and just try stuff, for example if I read a post that makes logical sense that give instructions to do something, I don’t even think about it, I just go and do it, this is a problem that a lot of people have, even with my posts, they don’t follow instructions. People always try to change stuff, I just do as it says, if it works i keep doing it, if not then I try something else
When you first started how did you find new clients?
It’s something I don’t really see many people talking about, I was just walking around my local city and every time I saw a company name with a website and phone number, either on cars, storefronts whatever, I just took a pic, I got home had about 35 and called them all:
Who I am
What I do
What I’d done before
That I could do it for them
What if I did that would mean for them
Made like 5k recurring on my first day with new clients.
At what point did you bring on other people to help you?
A long way in, I was just running through my to do list every time I got a client on board, I’ve always been process minded so I always write down every step I did to try to minimize the time it took to do stuff, but then I was in hospital lost everything, got out built things up again, then went in again and lost it all AGAIN.
So I started to think of ways for me to go missing for a month and not lose all of my clients, so I fleshed out all of my own to do lists and started breaking them down and handing them off to VA’s to do each individual aspect.
What were some of the early challenges you faced in terms of growing your business?
Just the illnesses really, I think if you just consistently do the same things and approach with the right mindset then you’re gonna be fine, no problem is really too big to me, I don’t worry about small things, lose a client, gotta perform the systems to get a new one etc etc but that’s my minimalist attitude coming out again.
How did you overcome them?
Systems and processes, if you have a robust system that works, it’s simply a case of implementing it, get clients and fulfil for clients and I’m gonna be fine.
How big is your team today?
I have 10 people, 2 team leaders an American and an Indian and 4 teams of 2, who each can handle 2 clients, so I just hire new ones if I need and drop some if they aren’t performing.
How do you determine when to bring on new people into the business?
When I need them, I don’t like to overload my staff so I keep them at 2 projects per team of 2, that means they have some free time for extra work if a client needs and stops any confusion.
Do you focus on helping a certain type of business? Or do you focus on a certain geography?
Yeah, I read about all these people saying to niche down, like only work with dentists or accountants, while I see the benefit of this from a sales perspective, I can’t think of anything more boring, working with the same content and approaching the same people every day, that’s not for me.
So my niche became my city, I just took clients from here and became the go-to guy for SEO, like if anybody is talking about SEO with other business owners there’s a pretty good chance that my name comes up
But I have clients all over the world now.
How do you currently find new business?
I have a couple of methods:
Paid traffic sales funnels
My email system
I send absolutely everybody I speak to towards my content piece which is aimed at sorting through their problems, it basically answers any possible objection, price, trust etc etc
Does a good job of qualifying people who aren’t good enough for me or need another solution.
I also niched down to just link building, this attracts a certain type of business who know the value of what I do and generally already have on page etc sorted and they just need a consistent source of white hat links.
Do you have any tips you can share on how to find new business?
Yeah sure, if you do what you do well, then don’t worry, at that point, it becomes a numbers game, I saw this thing once where a sales team would set up a spreadsheet and their aim was to get 99 rejections.
The idea was to get to 99 as soon as possible and that way you’d more than likely get at least 1 yes.
Don’t overcomplicate it, tell them what do you do, how you’ve done it before, you can do it for them and what the results of doing it for them will be.
Looking back on how far you have come what advice would you give to yourself now if you could go back and speak to the younger version of yourself?
Don’t worry about stuff that you can’t control, I used to really kick myself when I lost a client, like what could I have done better, but most of the time, there’s nothing, you can never know what is going on with somebody else.
I can send all the traffic in the world, but if a client can’t turn it into business then they won’t ever see the value. So don’t get attached to clients, attrition is natural in business.
Also don’t undervalue yourself, just because you think something is easy doesn’t reduce the value of it, SEO is specialist and premium, business owners don’t know how to do it (even if they think they do) so charge accordingly. I once made something like 14k from a client who earned £6.8million from my work, that will NEVER happen again.
What are 3 of the best lessons you have learned that you could share with new SEOs?
SEO is easy, just boring and repetitive
Niche down and only offer one simple thing
White hat is worth more, large companies don’t need this huge growth and a steady 5-10% increase is actually preferred, it’s the same amount of work and more money.
What advice would you give them if they want to grow their business?
Keep doing what you’re doing, then systemise it, whatever got your first client will get you your 10th too.
Fill up at your current fee, once you’re full, raise your prices, then get full again, then raise etc etc eventually you will hit your perfect number, mine is 5 clients at 10k. Something that I still haven’t achieved as 10k clients are harder to come by and even harder to keep happy.
How do you currently divide your time in terms of major activities?
I don’t actually spend a lot of time on work at the moment, so I’m focusing on my blog, really trying to get used to being on camera, my 2 main focuses at the moment are:
My Youtube channel
I do have some time management things that I do, so I have 2 pages in my notebook, keep everything I need to do on one page then every morning I put what is essential in one page and pretty much don’t stop until it’s done. But I’m not extremely busy at the moment so I spend most of my time on pet projects and not a whole lot of that HAS to be done.
How big are you planning on growing your agency?
People usually don’t like this answer but I’m not your typical guy.
I’m not really planning on growing it, ideally, I would actually shrink it, the ideal for me is 5 clients at 10k but it’s hard to get and keep them. This is a lifestyle thing for me, the more clients the more stress and I don’t like stress
As soon as my blog hits the same levels as my agency consistently then I’ll switch my concentration completely. Obviously, I will never completely quit client work as then I’ll have nothing to blog about.