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Building a Business or Running a Method?

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by BHopkins, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I started in IM about 2004 and it was easy. I bought some domains, put up a few pages of content and started ranking and raking. My first profitable site came about 3 months after I built it and I was running the VistaPrint free business cards offer. After about 6 months I was ranking #1 above VistaPrint on Yahoo and the site was making $1500/month without me doing anything. Since it was so easy I bought more domains and replicated the process without the easy money.

    About 5 years later in 2009 I was sick of running various methods that would earn $0-1000 a month and then die off. I had hundreds of twitter accounts with millions of followers but it was all quick money that never lasted.

    In early 2010 I decided to build a business instead of using all of these different methods. I decided to focus on what I was good at, sales, and find a way to best use that skill. I started a link building business and had planned to do a 3 tier approach for price points at $77/$177/$377. It took a month before I got my first $77 client and I quickly realized that my price points were too low and these weren't the types of customers I wanted to deal with. I completely changed my site and scraped hours of work. I decided to focus on selling to interested people on the phone and skype.

    Two years later I have a very solid business with a lot of repeat customers. I rely on Google for about 50% of my new clients, 25% come through referrals and 25% I seek out.

    In my experience, building a business is much better than running a method.

    What about you? Are you building a business or running a method? How does it work for you?
     
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  2. steelballs

    steelballs BANNED BANNED

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    I concur a business before the method for me too...

    I have been doing online business since 1995 and it is not easy anymore...

    But thankfully there are still millions of opportunities but today they nearly all require work to maintain the revenue streams...
     
  3. alexandervich

    alexandervich Regular Member

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    What do you mean by running a method? Don't you run your own method in a sense while running a business?
     
  4. Jinko

    Jinko Regular Member

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    Building a solid business is always a better choice. Methods can result in some quick cash but as you know methods come and go, can become saturated quickly and can be eliminated with one swoosh of the Google wand. Put in the hard work building a business and reap the rewards. The cash won't come as quickly but you'll be around for the long term and have more of a stable and predictable income.
     
  5. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    The difference to me is all of the the 'methods' are stuff like CPA locking, redirecting traffic, instagram, twitter, facebook, etc. A 'business' sells a service or product or has a revenue stream that will be effective in 3 years.
     
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  6. alexandervich

    alexandervich Regular Member

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    In that case definitely the business. Why consistently struggle to get money like that, it is kind of like hustling for money. Not only that but later on in life you will want some kind of pride and reputation in what you do. Telling people you create fake Facebook accounts isn't that.

    Running a successful business doing marketing for many clients would be it. The only problem with this type of marketing that I have seen in my past is that you are still investing a lot of time and money into something very shaky like Google, which like you said yourself you get the majority of your business from.
     
  7. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    This is exactly what separates me from others that do SEO and link building. I've been able to get consistent results before and after Panda, Penguin and all of the other updates.

    Good businesses thrive in times where others are failing.
     
  8. Moneyman94

    Moneyman94 Junior Member

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    I think on the journey most people start off with what you called "Running a method" because they arent aware of any other way to do it. This method is usually quicker than building a successful business. Once a few marketing techniques they are working on wear out then they might focus omre on building a strong business model. They also have more expreience under their belts at that point.

    In the long run Building a strong business is always the best choice.
     
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  9. abuhanifa

    abuhanifa Senior Member

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    I am running different methods and also planning to do some online/offline hybriding . If I succeed I will surely post my success story here with he method .
     
  10. IamNRE

    IamNRE Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Yep, build a business or better yet, build a brand!

    Take coca cola, you may have 10 different cokes - all of them cheaper and or better.... but the loyalists will always pick the coca cola brand over the others!
     
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  11. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    Good point NRE, that is essentially what I have been doing. I get calls from people who have told me, "Oh ya, I've heard about you before". Others have said, "I think I read a post you wrote about XYZ".

    The difference is sustainability and the ability to outsource much of the work. With a method, you're involved doing everything. A brand/business can outsource some of the work.
     
  12. thetermy

    thetermy Regular Member

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    A business generally implies more risk/work. A quick earning is almost the polar opposite of that.

    Most people who rely on IM as their full time occupation are risking their time, so it makes sense for them to try to run a scaling business and not a quick product or scheme.
     
  13. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    I would agree that in the beginning running a business is more work and less profit. Some methods can be profitable the first day. I remember writing notes and thinking about my business for a week. Then I spent another few days looking at domains and trying to figure out the message I wanted to convey. It was a few weeks before I really did any "work" but I had spent significant time planning and preparing.

    However after your business starts to get customers, it's much more profitable and much less risk.
     
  14. loclhero

    loclhero Supreme Member

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    I started off in 1998 creating a business. I slowly built it (e commerce site completely coded by hand) and built a nice customer base. By 2002 when I was still working a desk job by day, it was mildly profitable. Early 2003 my business tripled and I was taking a nice draw every month. I ranked #1-#10 on G for so many serps it was amazing. In late 2005 Google had their "jagger" update that destroyed
    everything almost overnight. Listings on google started to sink and I started spending more on adwords. I held on for about 18 months but in the end it all went to shit. In very early 2007 I stumbled on a very black hat method that at the time I don't think too many people were doing. Overnight I started raking in money and was pulling down about 100 grand a year. In the past year or so it's been harder and harder and the earnings are nowhere near that.

    My philosophy is that if you are relying on a "method" that has no relation to google or a solid business that happens to depend on google, you're going to get stung one way or another.
     
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  15. hardcorebiker

    hardcorebiker Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I have stopped going for short term earning methods. Instead try something which can last for years to come like building authority websites. Those are the real businesses which you should focus on. Now if you are offering SEO services offline or online then it's actually still volatile if you see and its short term.

    I would suggest you to invest in building authority sites with whatever money you make from methods and reinvest to grow bigger and bigger. I am currently investing part of my online income in real estate and its the best thing to do instead of starting some offline business which is much more stressful.
     
  16. Getwhatchuwant

    Getwhatchuwant Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    No reason why your business cant be based on a "method".. For instance Amazon affiliate sites seem to be a popular method around here. To treat it like a business you build a quality site with quality content that is updated regularly and real quality links as well as social signals and other advertising/publicity.

    Too many of us (me included) look to slap a site together qucikly, automate content and links and then rinse/repeat... Working on a real e-comm site has opened my eyes, lots of content=lots of opportunities.

    So if you dont have the start up capital to do a "business" you can still bank as an affiliate if you make THAT your business and treat it as such.
     
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  17. sirgold

    sirgold Supreme Member

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    Very interesting definitions. I believe it has also A LOT to do with your personality, it's not simply a matter of long vs short term since -put in this specific way- both "a method" and "selling a service" *might* become equally obsolete or require a new skillset, some constant tweaking and so forth and both can yield to massive profits if done right. Building a "brand", as suggested, is surely great if you want to put your "face" on that and it might work great. On the other hand some other ppl might be more comfortable just generating leads or flipping domains or whatever else in a very discreet way without making too much noise. These 2 options are NOT mutually exclusive as well, so I really think it eventually boils down to your personality more than anything else.
     
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  18. thetermy

    thetermy Regular Member

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    You are talking about a start/up without capital.

    For example, one of the companies I started recently required an initial investment of around $30k to get it going. That is risky!
     
  19. BHopkins

    BHopkins Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    In my opinion, this is the exact definition of a method and not a business. If your "business" relies completely on someone else, it's not a business. Amazon could close their affiliate doors tomorrow and your method is over. Google could deindex your site and your method is over.

    A quality site with product reviews would be a business because you could just change your affiliate links to another company, drop ship the products, etc. and still be in business.

    You're quite the pessimist :) There are always inherent problems with any business and that includes brick and mortar. Consider small businesses that were shut down in every city across the US when Wal-Mart started opening stores. Most of the small businesses in my city closed with 5 years of Wal-Mart opening. There are a few that have changed their business model and thrived.

    One small business I'm thinking of sold pet supplies. Before Wal-Mart, they were the only store within 10 miles that sold dog food (they also sold a lot of high end salt water supplies). Since Wal-Mart, they have expanded their high end fish and reptile offerings, started selling pure bred dogs, unique birds and lessened their dog food section.

    This business holds weekly/monthly meetings for clubs and enthusiasts where they can come, trade and meet together at no charge.

    They've adapted to an environment that undercuts them on price and total numbers of products. They're nimble and do things that a corporation couldn't do. That's what has made them successful when their business was cut in half overnight.

    You're right, that is definitely risky for most people. That's one of the things I love most about IM, the low barriers of entry. Anyone can start a website and with the right plan can be successful and make money. Even better is that I can help someone start a business and it won't even hamper my business. Two people have added me on skype to talk about turning their methods into a business. I can help them and since they're in related but non-competing industries I'm happy to help.
     
  20. IamNRE

    IamNRE Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    You don't need to put a face out there to be a brand. Who is the face of youtube or adscendmedia.com ?

    But, then again some business like Google have Matt da Cunt.... but the name, philosophy, integrity and reputation can be the brand just as a face can be!

    I would personally say that being an Amazon affiliate is not a business as you have no real asset or control.

    What if Amazon change their policy and it cripples your whole business model, or they just decide to ban you all together for xyz reason!

    To me a business is an entity that gives you 100% control (i.e not an affiliate) and allows you to build assets (i.e customer base / goodwill) so that you can get a Management Buy Out (if that is your exist strategy).
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012