Most of us have the dream to become successful. Though success differs for different people, most of our dreams need money to become a reality. It dictates the vacations you can take, the houses you can buy. Heck, that elusive “peace of mind” might even need money to achieve it.
Arguably, the most prosperous people are the ones doing business. With that, isn’t it good to pique the minds of successful businessmen and learn a few skills or two?
The Start of Ardor SEO
Leandro: Hi Kris! You are a very successful entrepreneur. But everyone did not start as such. We’re curious, how did you start?
Kris: Well Leandro, I am a software engineer and worked in finance until 2008 when the Global Financial Crisis took my job away.
Back then, I built an online game because I was a computer geek and wanted to learn some new technology. As the game was completed, I thought “How to get people to the website to play it?”
Like many entrepreneurs, I didn’t start my business with a plan or a vision. I was just being curious, playing around and fell into business.
The Lifestyle of a Successful Business Owner
Leandro: Wow! Talk about serendipity. The game you developed was actually the stepping stone for the bigger Ardor SEO company you have today. With that thriving business, do you still have time? What’s your lifestyle look like?
Kris: I do have time. And what’s good is that I dictate what I do with it. I start the day off with some exercise, inspiration, and discipline. Usually a walk by the river listening to an audiobook. Something on sales, business strategy or management.
If it’s Monday, I have individual meetings with all the team leads to set targets for the week and help them motivate their team members.
If it’s any other day, I live off my inbox (bad habit). I browse through to see what customers I can help service or how I can help support our team members. It’s the Ardor team that does all the hard work. They make me look good and I try to support them to provide value for our customers.
The Future of SEO
Leandro: That seems to be a pretty enviable lifestyle. You have full control over your time. And you even nurture your key people to do better. That’s remarkable.
By the way, Ardor SEO specializes in search engine optimization, right? In your opinion, why is SEO Important in 2019? And where do you think SEO is going in the coming years?
Kris: Seth Godin, one of the greatest marketers on the planet talks about Interrupt Marketing vs Permission Marketing. When you’re on Facebook, Youtube, listening to the radio, TV, newspaper and an ad pops up, that is interrupt marketing. You don’t want to see that ad. You want to do whatever you were doing before it was thrown in your face.
When someone goes to Google and actively searches for what they are looking for, then finds your business as the answer to that search. What kind of marketing is more powerful than that?!
There is a reason that Google is worth so much more than Facebook. People go to Google to find that they’re looking for. How to buy kitchen knives, how to hire a divorce lawyer, or how to get your girlfriend back—Google has the answer and is more relevant every year!
Most Basic Advice for SEO
Leandro: That makes sense! The one who searched for your contents is most likely ready to buy. You don’t need to heavily convince them to do it. So for both freelancers and business owners, what is the simples SEO skill that they can start with?
Kris: Content. You can’t rank a website without content. Google needs to be able to read the text on the website to understand what the website is about. But to be able to write content, you need to work out what your target market is searching for, so you have to do keyword research.
SEO is not simple and if you’re a complete beginner, what is it that you’re trying to achieve? If you really want to be an SEO analyst than it’s going to take a lot of work and effort learning the skills.
If SEO is not fundamental to your business or career, you’re best to leave it to a professional and focus on refining your skills at what you do. If you’re going to be a jack of all trades and a master of none, then it’s better to be a specialist
A Self-Sustaining Business That Doesn’t Need You
Leandro: That’s right! That’s why Ardor SEO is in business anyway! You seem to have it all figured out. With all your achievements, what’s your greatest accomplishment yet?
Kris: It’s actually building a business that can grow and live without me. We’re not completely there yet but we’re a long way through. We have team members that I don’t know that are able to succeed from Ardor’s tight processes and lead by great team leaders. We have projects that run without me thanks to great team leaders and customers that I’ve never spoken to that are handled with great account managers.
Leandro: And that’s what our target should be. A business that is self-sustaining with or without us.
Leandro: Given these achievements, we all know we need to improve ourselves to get to the next height. Generally speaking, what are you currently improving on in your craft?
Kris: Overcoming fear. We (humans) have fears of failure and we have fears of success. These are perhaps related to the fear of the unknown. As Ardor grows, I need to learn new skills constantly—skills on how to hire better people, how to better train people, better support team members, how to better lead the team, and outline the vision of the company.
We have a great lead generation process and sales team. They are really just starting to get their legs and, as they get better, we grow at a faster and faster rate.
This growth potential scares me sometimes. How can I handle a company with 500, 5000, 50,000 team members? Sometimes, I’m scared that I won’t be able to handle it. Overcoming that fear and learning the skills to be able to handle the growth is a challenge
Read and Learn While You Can
Kris: Also, my biggest regret is not reading and learning enough before diving into business. Sir Isaac Newton (the man that invented gravity haha) said “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”
He meant that the great work that he did was thanks to the invaluable knowledge he gained from those that came before him. Unless you’re building a rocket ship to Mars, chances are you’re not doing anything truly new.
Therefore, learn from those that have come before you. Read, Listen, Learn as much as you can!
I think with the knowledge I have now, I could grow a company to Ardor’s size very rapidly. Having tight processes and a solid strategy are the keys. Learn how to design your business before building a business.
Advice for Starting and Veteran Freelancers
Leandro: That’s golden advice! And we want to get more valuable insights from you as freelancers. What advice can you give both starting and veteran freelancers to go the next level?
Kris: Focus on those that you serve. A great man, Zig Ziggler once said: “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want first”.
Think first about the people you serve and provide them with as much value as you can. And for yourself, what makes you happy? Strive for happiness and you’ll do okay.
So there you have it! #TheCoolestGuyInSEO giving us dope advice for our freelancing careers. Craving for more? Catch him in person in the upcoming Working Remote Conference 2019! See you there!