22 May 2006

Cat Post: It was 11 years ago today.

11 years ago today I was living in my pickup truck. I was spending a lot of time in the Haight-Ashbury district in San Fran.  It was about this time 11 years ago that I collected $170 in foodstamps (the only money I’ve ever had to collect like this).

Right now we work in Troy NY – and we have one of the best offices in the city, with the best views around. We’re on the second floor, above the local Chamber of Commerce. I’m looking to move us to the 5th (top) floor…..it’s the total "Executive Ritz" office space…but also perfectly layed out for my team to function as I’d like it. 

I just got another tour of the space tonight, and in my future office I noticed a picture on the wall of Denali (tallest mountain in North America – in Alaska). In my current office I also have a picture of Denali (I worked there in 1993 washing dishes, then being a prep cook, the line cook, then assistant kitchen manager…..all within 5 months! In my time off I did a lot of exploring, both internally and externally.  I had a blast there)….to think that my future office has one picutre on the wall, and it’s Denali too! It was meant for me….it’s such a killer space, and my, I’ve traveled far…and my, what a long strange trip it’s been (and continues to be)! (as I listen to Terripan Station)

Comments

  1. graywolf May 22, 2006 at 11:48 PM

    so what got you off you’re butt and out of your truck? How did you find your way to SEO? What were some of the early mistakes you made that you can share and others can learn from? Where do you see yourself and the industry in 3-5 years?

  2. Jim May 23, 2006 at 12:13 AM

    “what got you off your butt and out of your truck”

    I was actually off my butt back then, and trying my best to survive as best I could.

    “How did you find your way to SEO”

    I found my way to SEO when I “settled down (and was married now) in early 1999 when I got a computer and got online…and was instantly hooked.

    “what were some of the early mistakes you made…”

    The biggest mistake I’ve made (and even relatively recently…but not any more…I’ve corrected this) was giving people too little training after hiring them. A few months ago I moved my office from “the other end of our ~5000 square foot office, to a new office connected to the link team office… Every day they get a few hours of my time and training….they’ve caught my excitement and apply it to the knowledge I’m giving them. Prior I hired…gave a bit of training, and then returned to my big executive office….no more – I now feel like I’m a member of the team, and not just the CEO. (I’m a better SEO than CEO…I’d admit it….I trust my business advisors (my business advisor, my financial planner, my bookkeeper, my lawyers, and I listen to my team as well….you’re only as smart as the people you associate with).

    I’ve made mistakes in taking on more than we could handle…we now have a “system” and reporting in place, and I won’t overbook again…(we’ve not taken on a new client in over 2 months, and our next opening is in July…we’re only doing 2 new clients in July, and 2 in August…and then I’m hoping for 4 new clients in September….it’s all planned… the team is trained, and continues to get training.

    I’ve taken SEO short cuts in the past…..but now that the engines are getting smarter, I’m working on getting “cleaner”.

    For years accounting was a mess and all our organizing was a mess….but overtime we were able to “clean it up”…to where I feel good now in all our organization of everything.

    “Where do you see yourself and the industry in 3-5 years?”

    I’m not sure….a lot of you know I’ve been dabbling in buying older sites….. I also strongly believe in the services we’re offering now…and we’re coming out with content creation in a few weeks as well…all these aspects have the potential to be “huge”….
    3 years….um…..dunno….working less and making more….and doing more things that I enjoy (like training and traveling) and more time spending with my wife and baby (and with next baby coming in November).

    I’ve been putting in over 80 hour weeks for years now….going from 80 hours to 30 hours would be a really nice thing…I’m working on getting my team so tuned that someday “soon” this dream should become a reality.

    Will I ever leave SEO….I don’t think it’s possible….I might feel lost without it. If somewhere down the line I made some really nice money so I didn’t have to worry about the future that’d be great, and if I were working 30 hours a week “training” and making a lot of money at it I’d be about as happy as could get….but for the moment while I’m still working the 80 hour weeks, know that I still love what I do almost 99% of the time. Each day in this industry gets me excited over new things. Maybe someday “soon” the 30 hour week will come to me….that’s a nice goal.

  3. IncrediBILL May 23, 2006 at 1:52 AM

    Wow Jim, I moved to this area in ’88 just in time for the big quake.

    You coulda crashed on my couch if I knew you back then…

    Probably a good thing you didn’t, I have a hard time getting people to leave once they get a taste ot my liquor cabinet.

    You’re just the opposite of me, you’re scaling up and I scaled all the way back to firing my customers. Done, goodbye, see ya, and just focus on my own web properties.

    Really ticks my wife off as I’m making a nice pile of cash and goof off most of the time [lunch out with buddies, happy hours, afternoon naps, poker, etc.] while she’s going to the office, oh wah. Tried to show her the way to shedding her corporate skin, she got close to it but chickened out.

    So, needless to say, I often doing less than your goal of the 30 hour week and call it “semi-retired” but my wife claims it’s “fully retired with a lucrative hobby”.

  4. Enkephalin420 May 23, 2006 at 8:15 AM

    From one Head to another…

    “If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
    And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
    Would you hear my voice come thru the music,
    Would you hold it near as it were your own?

    Its a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken,
    Perhaps theyre better left unsung.
    I dont know, dont really care
    Let there be songs to fill the air.

    Ripple in still water,
    When there is no pebble tossed,
    Nor wind to blow.

    Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
    If your cup is full may it be again,
    Let it be known there is a fountain,
    That was not made by the hands of men.

    There is a road, no simple highway,
    Between the dawn and the dark of night,
    And if you go no one may follow,
    That path is for your steps alone.

    Ripple in still water,
    When there is no pebble tossed,
    Nor wind to blow.

    But if you fall you fall alone,
    If you should stand then whos to guide you?
    If I knew the way I would take you home.”

  5. Shimon Sandler May 23, 2006 at 11:01 AM

    Jim, you’re truely blessed to have a career that you love (and are good…no, great at).

  6. Nick Wilsdon May 23, 2006 at 1:26 PM

    >Maybe someday “soon” the 30 hour week will come to me….that’s a nice goal.

    Heh I hear you Jim. It’s odd actually, I have the level of clients who could provide quite a comfortable life for me as a consultant – but I still plough most of my earnings into growing and training the business. When I read comments like yours Bill I start wondering if it’s the best way – but I know I get bored working on my own, I like being around others working on the same thing. Like you say Jim, they get as excited as you do – that’s a buzz.

    I’ll tell you something though, moment I’m retired I’ll be joining you both in the poker 🙂

  7. Greg May 23, 2006 at 1:52 PM

    I was living in SF in ’95 too. Out in the Sunset, a block off Golden Gate Park – good times.

    one of my buddies just turned me on to GD radio – streaming Dead, all day.

  8. kid disco May 23, 2006 at 3:47 PM

    Congratulations, Jim…

    11 years ago… I was finishing up my freshman year in high school. Ah, what a great year… the senior chicks were so hot… 😛

  9. Hawaii SEO May 23, 2006 at 4:31 PM

    I thought that was you in the parking lot selling the nitrous balloons. After Jerry died I lost interest as well and moved to Hawaii, got a internet marketing job, got married, bought a house, had a kid, etc.

    Long strange trip is a real understatement for me.

    Aloha!
    Dave.

  10. Hawaii SEO May 23, 2006 at 4:32 PM

    It sounds like the bus came by and we both got on. LOL!

  11. Robert Paulson May 23, 2006 at 8:58 PM

    I love stories like this – real-life folks who’ve looked at dumpsters wondering if there’s any good food in there, then grabbed themselves by the bootstraps and mad themselves a success.

    Speaking of that, all of that personal exploring you mention….eeesh. I hope your mother doesn’t read your blog.

    But kudos for your achievements, and I hope the trip down memory lane was a good one – sounds like it was. Keep up the good work, and I wish you continued success.

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