“Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven” -John Milton, Paradise Lost
“I’m not your boy.” -Emory Rowland
One week has passed since I traded my SEO Manager title for full time entrepreneur. I want to report back to you some things I’ve learned over just the past seven days. Some great wins along with a few defeats came my way. Here’s what is going through my mind along with some lessons learned and discoveries.
Not overwhelming doubts but they have appeared. Can I actually succeed? I have told my wife not to worry, that I will make it happen. Talking about my trials and successes with you here will force me to stay accountable-hold me to it folks!
A little early to feel like Gary Cooper in High Noon
Making a Good Living
In the kickoff post, I didn’t mention what I would actually be doing and what my plan was—I know you thought I didn’t have a business plan and I forgive you. It turns out that being underestimated by others can be a strong success driver. I hope my competitors continue to underestimate me. In fact, if you are a competitor, you do realize I’m just some bored, unemployed, blogger right?
For some perspective, I’ve been behind the doors of an agency managing SEO client and cost per action campaigns for four years. During my off time, I’ve been tweaking Clickfire.com and building out other sites (can’t wait to tell you about these). Yeah, I love this stuff so much, I do it in my spare time at home. I also feel like I’ve tightened up my affiliate marketing and social media optimization sensibilities.
So here I am on my own. What am I doing? A lot of my friends assume I’ll be setting up shop and trying to sell SEO services to whomever I can. Not exactly. SEO consulting or any kind of consulting for that matter can be a great way for established experts to make a living doing what they enjoy. For those with years of proven results and a network of industry contacts, this track becomes even more tempting.
But SEO consulting has its problems.
- Control – the most obvious drawback is that while the consultant may be working from home with flexible hours, he’s helping someone solve their business problems, that is, working for someone, that is, having a boss, that is, being told what to do. He will never get full credit for his contributions. Recommendations will be compromised and the consultant can easily be blamed for a VP’s mistakes.
- Sales, support and administrative burdens – A consultant could farm most of these tasks out but my sense is that the risk of being dragged into stuff other than figuring out what the client’s problem is and solving it will never be very far away.
- Limitations – I suppose there is no limit to what a client might be willing to pay. If a consultant’s skills are truly valuable, why is the consultant not deploying them for himself? I realize this doesn’t work for every industry, but with SEO, the little guy can compete with the big guy, which is one reason I so dearly love SEO and which leads me to what I really want to do as an entrepreneur.
I Don’t Want to Make a Good Living
I want to make a killing. My business will use organic search, paid media and email marketing strategies to develop and monetize web properties through advertising agreements. I don’t want to share specific targets or goals, at least not yet, but I’m looking at a time frame of one year to judge success and whether I want to continue. I will be doing some SEO consulting for select clients but I’ll stay devoted to the freedom and rewards of making my own business a success. Such as:
- Control over all major business decisions – freedom from being forced to observe the fruit of bad decisions warned about
- Ownership of all properties – 100% equity, zero company politics
- Profits go to me – (see org chart)
- Responsibility – I kind of like the idea of having no one to blame
Takeaways from the Week
- Work with partners, not for bosses – I love all of the partners and contractors I work with. If you don’t like working with someone, don’t.
- Get away and think – Escaping to a place of solitude gave me an opportunity to do what other entrepreneurs may not be able to do inside the office: thinking.
- Contracts are your friends – Sign a contract before investing time in any project
- Think big – why settle for the egg when you can have the chicken? Or the hen house? Why not the farm?
- Don’t spend too much time on social media, but definitely spend time. It’s beautiful.
- Listen to loud music while you work – the others won’t matter as much.