this is my success story and at the same time a huge thanks to the two people who have been most influential for my success. I was contemplating today how I got where I am and realized for the first time how much of an impact two people I never met had on my life and felt a need to thank them. For good karma and piece of soul if you will. I mean if somebody told me what I did helped him in a great way that would make me happy. So this is something I want to do. Use it as inspiration material or however you want. Would have posted it on my blog as the story of how I got where I am but i actually don't have a blog and since i had this account here thought to post it here (actually didn't even remembered the account here anymore so had to make a new one to post this). There are also many people here so maybe this will be inspirational to them in some way. I always find myself inspired by stories of other people's success. So hereit is. I entered IM by chance a while back. Never frequented forums like BHW nor did I read blogs or courses about the subject. Well, actually i did, but just now and then if i found something interesting. It wasnt however a part of my usual day to read about this. I happened to have a job as a web graphics designer for a company in my city. Was paid ok but nothing special. Then they hired 2 more designers and after a while i somehow eneded up having to do seo for my firm and some of their clients. I was doing seo and was doing a good job, or so I thought. Would get the sites move up in rankings but keywords were low competition. then i stumbled into BlueHatSeo (google it) where found all this stuff that didn't really understood well btu seemed really cutting edge (i realized a lot later that the postswere actually very old). Anyway, i decided to try to understand it and do it myself. And i did. Did spinning, sites with autogenerated content that was gibberish, parasite hosting, madlibs, spam, all the stuff I could understand and do. In some cases ti worked extremely well in other cases not so well. Overall i was doing great though. I felt very confident on my skills (thoug now, looking back, i realize i kinda sucked but was a bit lucky). Anyway, because of some personal issues between me and my boss at the design firm and since i felt i had wings and could fly solo i basically quit my job and went solo. Very very bad move. NEVER EVER QUIT YOUR STABLE JOB TO DO IM, UNLESS YOU HAVE MONEY FOR RAINY DAYS! Thing is I was making some money but I was only cutting even and I had lots of projects started that were not yet making a lot of money and all I made was just enough to live. Then guess what happened... damn google algorithm change happened and destroyed 72 of my 79 sites including all of the sites that were making the bulk of the money. Now i was bigger than life with big hopes and expectations and the very next moment i had nothing except expenses and became depressed. Being depressed is the worst thing that can happen to you when you fly solo. It totally screws off your game. Truth be told, the sites were in fact kinda crappy and trying to game google in every way. Tried to get a job again but couldn't find one so while i waited to find a job i started freelancing for companies. I would get i touch with them and propose SEO services and site redesign or to make their first site if they didn't had one. I did the same thing I did before for myself but changed it a bit where i thought would help. Ended up screwing up almost all of my clients. Happily they didn't knew much about seo and rankings and stuff so i didnt got a lot of heat for it. Meanwhile i was feeling like a failure, thinking seo isn't really for me, it doesn't really work unless you're a big compeny with a big budget, blamed the stuff i learned from bluehatseo for working in the beginning and then screwing you completely, etc. Also found a job opening (not related to web or design or seo) and i was pretty committed to take it and have a stable job again. Happily things didn't went that way. Being on a reading spree about google updates, blackhat dangers, etc. ended up (or i was given the link by somebody else) to this post from Madoctopus on BHW. search on forum: "Guide - How to Build a Link Network of Support Sites" by user madoctopus Read it and I was like "another bluehatseo-like aproach that is obviously bad as it kills the sites eventually since it is blackhat". But i read it again, and then a 3rd time. Then I went back to bluehaseo and re-read the stuff there. Took notes, analyzed what i did and how i did it and basically realized there were details i never thought of. Like if you read both Eli's posts from bluehatseo and the thread of Madoctopus they're kind of in the same area, i mean the strategy and principles are similar in a way. Did this for like 3-4 days 10h each day. This was very painful for me because I was realizing - though not yet fully accepting to myself - that i did mistakes. big mistakes. I had a very good opinion about myself and my skills and even when my sites have been penalized i was more towards blaming others than thinking it was my fault. Were the aliens, the government, new world order, anything and anybody just not me. I did everything i could but i failed so since i did everything i could it could nto have been my fault. Completely screwed up and unhealthy way of thinking but out of frustration and being depressed that's how i thought them. Anyway. I borrowed money from my father and my girlfriend and started all over again. I was more terrified than the first time. Thinking back this was the worst decision in my life because if it didn't worked out i would have ended up owing money and i hate owing money. I was lucky though, or rather i just happened to hit the nail on the head this time. The posts written by Eli through the perspective given by Madoctopus thread helped me to come up with my own stuff as well. Improvements to those ideas fi you will. Problem with this was that it was pretty slow. I mean I needed money now to pay my rent and stuff and the online projects would produce money in 3 months at best (hopefuly). So i went and found some more SEO clients. This time I focused on bigger companies. After getting weird faces from them a few times i reframed the whole sales pitch from "i will do seo for you" to "WE/OUR COMPANY will increase your online revenue" and make ti look like we are actually a company and have extensive experience and all that. Thing is you have to focus on what they WANT not the technicalities of what you offer. You will never hook a client if you speak to him using words like SEO and traffic if he's not familiar with those terms and what they mean. They all understand "revenue" however and they start to pay attention the moment you say that phrase. Found a client interested in long term seo and managed to deliver for him. Then took aboard more clients and got my girlfriend to help me out with everything as well. I'd get domains and build a network of sites with which i would power the client sites. Basically i was doing a combination of "SEO Empire" aproach from bluehatseo and Madoctopus ideas from his thread. It all went so well that two months later i was having 9 employees. Somewhere during those 2 months, while i was all full of energy and depression was just a bad memory of the past i was projecting, or rather hoping, that I could make maybe $50,000 within a year. Maybe even $100,000 if things go this smoothly. I was wrong actually. The very next month I got my hands on a few really big clients (by my standards at that time at least) and almost hit the $50,000 that very month. Now I have even more full time employees and clients from other countries as well (from referrals). Considering how things are going I am expecting to make a pretty large amount (way above my expected $100,000) of money by the end of the year. Also, my projects that I started earlier are also doing well but they're more of a side project because I am focusing on clients. That's my story so far and I hope I don't get affected by google again. This time i have a different mindset though and i see seo in a very different way. I'm not saying i cant get the sites killed again, just that I am a bit more skilled and have a better arsenal and this time having all sites penalized is a very slim chance. Every time I hire a new employee I have him read the entire BlueHatSeo blog and the post written by Madoctopus and my notes and modifications. Then I have a chat with him to see what he understood and explain to him better. The point is he has to understadn the big picture very well but also the modifications I made. So, to the thank you part of the thread... Thank you Eli and thank you Madoctopus. I can't really tell you how much I thank you but hopefully if you read this you will understand. This is just one sentence in a sea of text but it is the most important sentence. A few things I have learned in my journey: - Just because a method or strategy doesn't work it does not mean the method is bad. Maybe you just don't "read it" the right way or you don't focus on what is important. - Reading all the blogs on the interet about seo and marketing does not take you closer to being successful. You need to find your true self and the thing that works for you. Personally i think reading forums and blogs and courses is a total waste of time unless you have a very very specific question that has a very very specific answer. Problem is most stuff is just not helpful or in the case of seo at least very very incorrect and you'll spend a lot of time reading but not really learn anything useful. Doing is more important than reading. I don't have a technique to find good stuff, I was just lucky enough to read something and eventually figure ti out in a way that worked for me. Coudl have very well read Eli's posts and closed the browser since the first time i read them they made no sense. - Theory and implementation are two very different things. - Doing something (a strategy) exactly as you read it somewhere will probably not work too well. You have to add your own stuff to it. Only when you are capable to add something to it you trully make it your own and only when it is your own will work. - Success may be right around the corner. Personally i don't know not even today why I continued and looking back i realized i took some serious risks but gladly it turned out more than fine. - Read BlueHatSeo (all posts on it, but especially "SEO Empire" post) and then "Guide - How to Build a Link Network of Support Sites" by Madoctopus on this forum and then BlueHatSeo again and try to understand them. Read them many times! For me is like watching The Matrix - everytime i watch it is like a different movie because i see different things i didn't saw before and is like a different movie. Also do not focus on the specific but on the big picture and fill in with what you know about SEO. - It is not the strategy or knowledge alone that makes you have success. You have to do it! The knowledge is one thing and is awesome to have it but if you don't actually do the hard work yourself you don't have anything. I am more than grateful to Eli and Madoctopus for writing all that and teaching me but if i would have not worked hard I would have not went far. - When you sell, remember who you are selling to. Speak to him using HIS terms and telling him what he WANTS not technicalities. This is very very important if you work with clients. - Convincing/selling/marketing is 50%, the other 50% is delivering results. If you deliver results (especially more than you promised) they will totally love you and throw money at you. - Having employees is stressful. Having offshore employees is more stressful. - If an employee is "slow" fire him or he will waste you more money and time than he makes for you. - If an employee doesn't get it, he's either "slow" or you didn't explained well enough. - Having a girlfriend or wife (maybe even a pet) helps. I would have went insane without my girlfriend. - I made a lot of money in a very short time but there's no such thing in my opinion as getting rich fast. You have to take into account all that time when you struggled and made no money as well, not just since the time you started to make money. - Be determined! - Having your own company, though substantially more stressful and demanding than a regular job, is equally more rewarding and not just in terms of revenue. - "I've always preached that there is no rules in SEO only loosely enforced guidelines." - Eli I will send a PM to Madoctopus with the link to this so he reads it. I hope he does. I also send a comment to Eli on BlueHatSeo but he does not have a contact form or email listed and there are almost 200 comments there and he might not see it. If anybody knows of a better way to let them know about this post please let me know. Does Eli have an account here, do you know? I'd really like them to read this because what they did helped me so much and i want them to know i am grateful. I had to edit this post like 30 times t add one paragraph at a time because i was getting blocked words since i am on a fresh account.