This is a guest post from Adam Grunwerg, who runs a portfolio of sites in the finance, and education industry.
Investing in your Sites vs. Investing in Yourself
One of the things that I’ve been guilty of in the past is re-investing everything back into my sites (or investing in premium domains such as Investing.co.uk), without regard to investing in myself.
While it’s great to invest in a growing portfolio of web assets, I was completely naïve to think everything would just “come to me” in the future. Working on your own, isolated in your office, has severe limitations. I’m not just talking about boredom, but the enterprising setbacks, partners and opportunities your limiting yourself too.
Advantages of Partners, Contacts and Friends in the Industry
I’m not sure where to begin with this. Partners and Contacts in this industry are everything. From being close to the grape vine, getting exclusive links or being able to forge ongoing partnerships with key players in the industry; whom you know is everything.
I’ll provide an example of my own. This time last year, I was plugging along with my sites making a nice income, but I wasn’t putting myself out there at all. I’d been to no affiliate conventions, I didn’t keep in touch with many affiliates, and I didn’t really know anyone in my city. I also didn’t speak to my AMs or negotiate business deals.
Fast forward 12 months and I’ve got two clients for my SEO consulting business, potential partners to work alongside and a friend’s offices I can use throughout the year (including his team of editors and writers). I also keep in regular contact with my AMs and negotiate special deals on a monthly or quarterly basis. In the future I’d like to use my skills to set up a full-scale consultancy offering SEO, PPC and Social Media services. Other advantages include a number of exclusive links and deals I’ve solicited through key partnerships.
Where Does my Value Lie?
The thing I realized about my website business it that it can be 90% outsourced. I outsource 99% of my content anyway, plus I can use an editor to upload/link/add images to all my posts and content. I can also hire someone to manage my social campaigns (I’ve already found a guy for my site BinaryOptions.net), whilst PPC campaigns tend to not need much attention. I then had to ask myself where my true value lies. It’s pointless spending all day uploading content to my sites if I can outsource all of that for $50/day ($1500/month). It’s also pointless sitting around doing nothing, so the rational choice is to set up a consultancy and use my skill set. I’m already planning to take exams to become Adwords Certified, which is a good investment in myself.
Tips for Building Great Connections and Contacts in the SEO Industry
There’s a number of things that I’ve done and then planning to do to make some more contacts in the industry.
- Guest Posts and Participating in Forums: First of all, keeping a business or affiliate blog, doing guest posts, commenting on blogs and participating in forums and Internet communities’ helps a lot. Eventually you end up chatting with people doing similar things to you.
- Engaging with people on Twitter/G+: I’ve actually done a 180 turnaround when it comes to G+. I think the biggest advantage to Twitter and G+ is that you can follow/communicate with leading authorities in SEO and other niches very easily. This is great for building new contacts rather then just importing the same old contacts from Facebook. If you start following 100s of people/sites you enjoy on G+, start creating two-way conversations and share a great piece of your own content every day or week then you’re bound to start making some great connections.
- Become a Leading Authority on SEO Blogs or Forums: One thing I’m planning to start doing this month is writing regular blogs at SEOMoz.org and participating in the communities (especially Q and As). When you consider that the majority of people here are Directors or consultants at SEO agencies and brand marketing companies then you realize how good a connection they can be.
- Create Authority Sites in your Industry: I’m not saying it’s easy to become an authority but there’s definitely a “build it an they will come” mentality towards authority sites. Operators will want to be listed on your site, others in the same industry will want to get in touch with you, partnerships will be made and the others parts of your business will be see the benefits.
- Diversify into Different Markets and Niches: Diversifying into different markets massively increases the types of contacts you’ll make along the way. Having said that, there are lots of benefits for developing a network of sites in a similar niche that complement each other.
- Buying Sites/Domains/Contacting Website Owners and Looking for Partners: There’s a bit of randomness in many of the useful contacts I’ve made. For example, sometimes I’ve made useful contacts purely through enquiring on a contact form, getting to know someone, or buying a domain.
In conclusion, I just want to say that the value of investing in yourself is always greater than that of re-investing in your websites. By putting yourself out there and making new contacts on a regular basis, your business and websites will also see huge benefits.