There is a marketing milestone being set today. We have hit 1,000 customers over the weekend. We started off with nothing, we didn’t even have a website even though we started as a website design company in 2011. Our initial goal was 1,000 customers when we evolved into a SEO link building agency, and now that we have met that goal we want to be able to keep on going and to keep growing.This has taken a lot of work and dedication from our team and we are happy to have gone through it and come out the other side. Your business is worth the time and effort to us, we thank you all.
During this time we have had to learn some harsh lessons but believe that only on the precipise do we as humans and our companies evolve. We have learned a number of important things along the way. We have learned what does work and what does not work. There are some successful lessons that we have picked up and I want to share these with you.
I would like to show you:
- Never stop giving and be yourself
- Set yourself up to be a winner
- How to make a profit on your first day
- Take some risk and learn from your mistakes
- How to stand out from the competiton
- Promoting awesome team members
- Why your business should be on autopilot
- I’m still learning many other things
You will get to see behind the scenes of how we work and how we made our business grow. We have tried and failed at many different ventures along the way. We have learned what to do to become successful by making many mistakes and through these we continue to learn what to avoid in order to keep being successful. Take our lessons for what they are. You can use what applies to your business.
This is not only about us. We want to help you to be successful. The help people gave us at the beginning, helped us out to no end. So, it’s about you. If you can take what we have learned and apply it to your business they we are happy. You can get thousands of users and hopefully surpass your own goals. If you have higher goals this is a great place to start. Many people have great ideas but they have nowhere to begin. We are giving you a beginning place.
I have broke this down into 10 (7) essential lessons that you can use for your business.
Sit back and let the learning begin.
Never stop giving and be yourself
One of the major ways we grew our agency is by helping people for free. When we first started out, people helped us for free, so we like to pay it forward by helping people too.
Whatever we can do to help you out, as long as it doesn’t break the bank, we do it. Why you ask?… Well….because we care about your success, just like people cared to help us succeed when we started out on our agency adventure.
You need to crush any fears you may have in order to enjoy success.
How often do we find ourselves scrolling through another company’s Instagram account or hearing a competitor mentioned in the news and developing a bit of green-eyed envy that they seem to be doing better than you? It’s very easy for any startup to look at what their competition is doing and try to emulate that success for themselves.
The best advice I can give that truly works is to be yourself. Find ways to differentiate and set yourself apart from the rest of the pack. Focus on becoming the very best at what you do and eventually people will take notice and customers will flock to your business.
Set yourself up to be a winner
You need to have a purpose and a reason that will guide your decision making, help you have the energy to go on, and help you through some of the tougher times. You need to be persistent. Some days are going to be easy and some days are going to be hard. You need to have that motivation from within to keep on going. If you think you can win, you are going to win.
If you are not sure think big. You can always make changes at a later time if needed. If you believe in something you need to work on it in order for it to get bigger. You need to believe that it can work. The more you believe in it the bigger your idea can become and you can share it with others as well.
The purpose is more than just to sell the link. While you are looking to make money there is more than just having a website in order to make this money. We want to make the work a little better at the same time. In order to attract people the website has to be visually appealing and attract a lot of visitors.
Simple is not always exciting but it does make money.
This may seem huge but every year people spend billions trying to launch their small business. Before wasting money it is important to make sure that money is going to work for your benefit. Most of these people fail. The first website does not go as well as they have planned. This is common. Just because your first try has failed does not mean that you should give up. We want to help other people be successful and do so by using our knowledge of SEO. The more effort you put into this the better your site will be and the more visitors that you will be able to attract. Your desire will help you make more money in the long run.
Our mission is to grow as big as possible. We want to expand and make our customers businesses bigger and better too. The bigger we get the more we can help. We can share the tips with people that work for us and they can work for you as well. We can come out with new products and services. We can also provide our customers with better information. We want to share the information that we learn and pass it on so that you can be successful as well.
We are fortunate enough to have data and marketing experts to help design and taylor our products to our customers needs using the information that we have built up over the years. When you wake up in the morning you need to light your own fire and get out there and get stuff done. No one will do this for you. You need to be able to do this on your own.
We are looking to bring some of the best SEO practices to the industry and help you grow bigger as well.
When we work we know our purpose and our mentality is to go out there and make things happen. You are the only one that can motivate yourself and make things happen. If you are not going to do this, no one is going to do it for you.
Many businesses can offer valuable things to the world. If there is something that you can help the world with you need to do everything possible to make people away or what you have to offer. Give it to them. You have something valuable or you would not have even had the idea for business. Now is the time to get up and make it happen.
There is no better time than today.
How to make money on your first day
During a startup you may thing you need to spend a lot of time and money before you see a return. This is normal. You should test your ideas before investing to save both. The lean startup is what we did and it worked. You can make money before you have anything set up and even planned. You do not need a great deal of supplies of equipment in order to get your first custom. All you need to do is have something to sell and you are good to go. Spending time and money on equipment is cutting into your sales before you even have anything to sell. That does not make too much sense.
It is important to make practical business decisions as well. You need to think things out. For some people impulses may be correct but you should not rely on them alone. They do not make you money. For some people that is not so obvious. It is important to think about things with your head and think them through before acting on them. Think and then act is one of the first things many were people were taught as children. That statement should still apply today as adults.
We made our first website design sale over the phone. We didn’t even have a registered website ourselves…imagine that!
Startups do not work out because they are trying to be the next big thing and there may not be a market for what they are offering. There are so many products and services for sale that the advertisements can become boring. People may just pass them on and go onto the next thing. It does not always require something complicated to make money. There are many easy to use products and services that have made people millionaires.
Simple is not always exciting but it does make money. People do not need things to make their life more complicated, they need things to make it easier. Simple is best.
Many people feel they have an amazing idea so they they hire a software developer, build a website, get business cards, set up an office, and do all of this before they even sell a widget. All they need to go to get started is to sell their product.
Before doing anything else make a sale. This is the beginning of your business adventure.
You do not even need a website to do this. Making a sale is the first thing that should be on your mind before anything else. There is no business unless a sale is made.
We made our first website sale over the phone. We didn’t even have a registered website ourselves…imagine that! There was no domain name, no advertising, and no fancy ads on the internet. Caffeinated was run from an Excel spreadsheet and a personal dropbox account for the first 2 years it was in business. All of the SEO tools we used were free. Instead of building our site, all we needed to do was to focus on selling our product and it worked. We did did it with just the raw basics. We did not have an office and our old laptops and a phone line were our only supplies. We worked that way for a long time.
During this time we were able to focus on our customers, making sure they were happy and slowly building up our new business. We made a lot of money in this way. We were very successful. It was later on we developed the website and everything else we needed to become bigger and to expand.
We are not alone in being a lean business operation either. Many others have taken up this model. People start off with nothing but their product and they build up their business in this manner. This is an easy way to get started and get things off of the ground.
There are people making millions of dollars with online marking services and they are using their Skype account to get this accomplished. People may not have the money to start up a business but they have the idea and the products. That is all that is needed to get things off of the ground.
After much work we got an office, an entire team, and everything that is needed to run the business. We did not begin this way. We started off at home. As our business expanded we added other things that we needed.
Just find a solution that solves a problem that people have. If you can make their life easier in some way they will take an interest in what you are offering so you can make that first sale.
Nothing good comes out of being afraid. Fear can be a good motivator at times and can make a person stop and think about things.
You can run the numbers all day long but in the end you are going to have to take some risks. This can include hiring the first employee, spending the first advertising money on Facebook ads, or building your site with a developer. They can all be scary if you have never done it before. Without this risk there will be no reward in the end.
Just find a solution to a problem that people have. If you can make their life easier in some way they will take an interest in what you are offering.
You need to crush any fears you may have in order to enjoy success. Good things will come if you give it a try and get up and get motivated. If you do not go out there and get things done no one is going to do them for you. There are time when I was afraid and hesitant to do something but I knew it needed to get done. If I did not do it my business would have never gotten off the ground and I would not be where I am today. This was a risk worth taking.
There I some things that I was afraid to do such as launch a new product, make our ads, and spend some startup money. They were needed in order to bring our business to the next level.
As it turned out 90 percent of my fears never did come true. When everyone first starts out they may be a little afraid of the risk but they take it away. If you are expecting the worst if something good happens it would be great. If there is a small setback it will be no big deal.
Be sure to take on your fears and move forward. Some risks are worth it. They will help your business grow. If something is too outrageous than at least you will know it and the risk may not be worth taking.
How to stand out from the competiton
There are so many ads out there today you really need something different in order to get noticed. You need to be very different just to get the attention of people. People are tired of seeing the same thing day after day. It gets boring quickly.
Many ads need to stand out from others on the market. Most internet companies only cover a few categories. They show the same tired material over and over again. The best way to lose a customer is to bore them. They will low interest in your ad and move on. There are some things that people have gotten used to seeing too often. They include:
- Shady foreign people with no address offering very low rates
- The average boring executive that will talk all about marketing
- Someone that knows somebody that has made it on the internet
Think about it for a second. You can deliver the best customer service, create a furry mascot, a great logo, whatever it takes. You have all the tools that you need. There’s a way for everyone to stand out, it just takes being yourself or a little creativity!
For a startup, successful growth isn’t just about how many more employees you hire. It’s also about the existing employees too. Whenever we have hadf employees that have noticeably gone above and beyond the call of duty, then we make a point of discussing promotion opportunities with them.
Career advancement for us is about more than just a pay increase. It’s important that we are all on the same page about our long term plans for them and the company so we can tailor the promotion opportunity accoring to the needs of both parties.
One employee may receive a title change to be more reflective of their duties within a department, while another may wish to gain managerial experience through managing one of our interns within their department.
Why your business should be on autopilot
But when I ask about their day-to-day operations, they tell me they are losing the will to live, that they are flat out putting out fires and just trying to keep their head above water.
That is because in many small businesses the owners ARE the business. They have the whole thing in their head and the lifeblood of the business is dependent on them.
That needs to be fixed, because that is one of the main reasons why most small businesses don’t succeed.
If you want to ever scale a business it is imperative that you get your operations on autopilot. Andy and I developed a streamlined system that automated every process that we had completed manually before. The only manual processes we have left is the creation of content and our quality assurance team who check all of our hand written content and ordes are correct.
How do you do this?
You need to have your whole system mapped out, broken down into steps, checklists, training material and diagrams to create customer and production flows. Which was a pain and took us a lot of time to put it all together so Andy could build our custom system. This allowed us to really scale our business without to many real operational problems, even with a very heavily human powered process.
It is inevitable that something will go wrong from time to time even with our best efforts, so our support team is there to fix those things when they do. They help, answer questions and are their to make your day so please just ask!