Today I write about my experience starting out as an SEO and my transition into what some would call, “success” in this industry.
Qualifier: I currently generate close to $20,000 a month from the internet marketing I do. This is not to brag, just to qualify. If you’d like to see exactly what I do to generate this income, you can check out my recent article here: Top Ways I Make Money In The SEO Industry
About four years ago I was fired from a job where I manned a register at a sushi restaurant for not remembering a special promotion we had that day.
I was devastated.
Having no skills at anything besides knowing how to get some pretty sick PVP gear with my World of Warcraft character, I panicked.
At that point in time (around age 18), I lived at home, had barely enough in my bank account for food, no education (dropped out of high school, got my GED), and was overall pretty unhappy with life.
After being fired, I started to apply for a new job at places like Taco Bell, restaurants, etc. Basically anywhere that I could get hired for minimum wage.
One job I applied for particularly fascinated me, Radioshack. I convinced myself that I was a qualified computer expert from the years of online games I played and I believe my “false expertise” showed in the interview.
Eventually, I received a call back and got the job.
While working at Radioshack I thought it might be cool to start learning how websites were made.
One night I did a search on Youtube for creating websites and found a tutorial that was extremely boring but the instructor had a relaxing voice so I watched the whole thing.
Around that same time, I got a call from a woman off Craigslist about a computer I was selling. She said she would buy the computer but wanted to first see if I could fix the computer she was trying to get replaced.
After looking at her computer and seeing that her problem was a simple fix, she payed me $50 for the help and suggested I start my own computer help business.
I questioned the feasibility of this, but filed the thought away for future reference.
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While later continuing HTML tutorials on Youtube I realized that I needed to buy a domain name.
I realized that I could use this domain to promote my possible computer business and purchased http://www.reliablecomputerhelp.com/
Shortly after buying the domain, I built the site with pure HTML and it was literally a blank page with a few links to other pages and some text.
I then ordered some business cards and started to advertise my computer help services on Craigslist for $25 an hour.
A few months later, an old family friend who owns an IT company showed up at Radioshack. I handed him my business card and asked him what he thought.
After he scanned the card and saw my website URL, he replied that he was looking for someone like me with web development experience.
I get a call a few days later asking for an interview.
In the interview he told me that he was too busy to check out the website I created (THANK GOD) and wanted to offer me a part time internship for $12.50 an hour.
To say I was thrilled would have been an understatement.
After a while of working at this new job, I quit Radioshack and began spending a lot of my time learning WordPress for a new site we were working on redesigning.
If you’re interested in seeing the first site I ever made and SEO’d on WordPress here it is.
Once the design was complete, I was given the task to SEO the site. Having no prior knowledge of what SEO was, I began learning from Ebooks off Amazon (Here’s the two I believe I started with: Adam Clarke and The SEO Black Book.
I Became Fascinated With SEO
I thought and still do think it’s incredible that you can use SEO to rank sites on Google and in turn generate views and leads off said rankings.
I began pouring all of my extra time into ranking my Reliable Computer Help site and learning as much as I could online about SEO.
I usually get asked, “where did you go to learn when you first started SEO” and my response is that apart from the two books I read, I spent countless hours Google’ing stuff around SEO and reading anything I could find.
Also, whenever I got into my car or did anything where I couldn’t read I would be listening to Podcasts. One of the Podcast’s I listened to a bunch which was actually about Social Media was the Social Media Examiner podcast. However, I also listened to almost every episode of SEO 101.
Many Months Went By After Being Introduced To SEO
I literally could not rank for “computer repair” in my town.
I decided to call up the guy who was number 1 (who was also an old family friend) and asked him if he could point me in the right direction.
He replied to me with, “you’ll never be able to outrank me.”
Shocked, I hung up the phone and realized that I had to outrank him.
I spent many more months actively trying to outrank him but realized he had an unfair advantage as he had a business location and I didn’t.
I eventually found out that I could rank my home address as a service area and at that point was on the first page organically, but realized SEO was my passion, not computer repair.
After a long thought out decision, I decided to change the entire theme of the site to target SEO in my city and outrank everyone for said keywords.
Within a few months I had out ranked everyone but realized I made a fatal error.
The searches I saw for my city around SEO were not potential clients but other SEO’s checking their own rankings.
Which means, I generated zero leads from that ranking.
Around this same time, work at the IT company was dying. I was only getting called in a few times a week for a couple hours.
Which meant I had no money and I was being charge rent at my house.
So, I had to begin looking for more jobs. I began applying to restaurants again.
I also went on Craigslist and spam messaged everyone in my city looking for internet marketing help telling them I was number 1 on Google.
A few days later I got a call asking for me to come in for an interview.
To my surprise, the company that was number 1 before I outranked them, was the one that contacted me.
Shortly after the interview I was hired and began working at the SEO campaign manager there for around ($50,000 a year).
I worked at this company for about a year and while I was there started a Podcast where I interviewed people like Rand Fishkin from Moz and Tim Soulo from AHREFS.
Unfortunately, it seems that the page has been taken down so I can’t link to it. 🙁
I initially decided to leave the company because I wanted to pursue a career as a motivational speaker, but realized that I had to generate income first so I put all my chips on the iPhone Repair site I ranked while I was there. If you’d like to see the tutorial I did of me ranking this site you can find it here.
After fixing a few phones, I wound up messing up someone’s iPhone 5C and around the same time had accidentally destroyed someone’s gaming laptop which would have put me in debt altogether around $3,000.
The man who’s iPhone broke told me that he was going to get an upgrade anyways, so don’t worry about it, and the guy with the laptop was able to use his manufacture’s warrantee to replace it.
Seeing how I got extremely lucky with both of these scenarios, I decided to never fix a computer or an iPhone again.
This is when I came to the realization that I could probably start getting SEO clients if I did some Youtube tutorials on what I know.
I went in full force and began doing 5-6 tutorials a day. Here is my first one after the initial decision.
Fast Forward Till Now, Eight Months Later
Here I am, sitting in my studio (no longer a garage) writing this article.
This journey has been insane and when I started it with the first Amazon book, I had no idea, this is where I would be.
- Almost 9,000 subscribers on Youtube
- Over 145 five star reviews on Google
- Almost 3,000 Facebook group members
- Close to $20,000 generated monthly
I know what you’re thinking, “Chase why are you always bragging about your accomplishments?”
To be honest, this article isn’t to brag. I’m here to tell you two things:
- It’s possible.
- It’s not what you think.
It seems that many are under the impression that making tons of money online is some super fun, extremely chill, and easy to do task.
Don’t get me wrong, it can be, and there are people out there who are doing just this and are having incredible lives.
But that’s not everyone.
Let’s Rewind To About Four Months Ago
About four months ago I started generating my first SEO leads.
I was ecstatic and began pouring all of my energy and time into ranking their sites, charging them about $500-$1000 per month.
At this time I had about 4-5 clients and I was making $3,000-$6,000 a month including the live audits I did which I charged about $200 for per audit.
However, even at this price I was struggling to get by. But hey, I was happy!
Shortly after, I began getting more clients and got my first ever deposit of about $8,000 into my Paypal from all of my clients at the beginning of the month.
Where Things Changed
Something about getting that $8,000 deposit shifted my mindset.
I went from, “Can I do this? Can I do this?” to “I did it”
Great news right?
For me it was great, however, it also made me feel like my job was done.
Even though $8,000 is an arbitrary number and in retrospect, is not an extraordinary amount of money, I believed I had finally made things work.
Which also translated to me, “Chase, you can chill now.”
Ever since this time, things have not been the same.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love doing SEO, and I still drive HUGE results for my clients, but the feeling is a lot different now.
I can’t explain exactly what this feeling is but I will tell you that it is now what I expected.
The problem with having some money and moderate success now is that I have many more choices.
To me this has been one of my greatest downfalls and has actually paralyzed me to continue SEO with the same fiery passion that I use to have.
I will continue to keep you guys updated, but just know, success, especially on the internet, is a double edged sword.