My First Week as an Entrepreneur

“Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven” -John Milton, Paradise Lost

“I’m not your boy.” -Emory Rowland

One week has passed since I traded my SEO Manager title for full time entrepreneur. I want to report back to you some things I’ve learned over just the past seven days. Some great wins along with a few defeats came my way. Here’s what is going through my mind along with some lessons learned and discoveries.

Doubts

Not overwhelming doubts but they have appeared. Can I actually succeed? I have told my wife not to worry, that I will make it happen. Talking about my trials and successes with you here will force me to stay accountable-hold me to it folks!

To be opened in the even of my death writes High Noon sheriff played by Gary Cooper

A little early to feel like Gary Cooper in High Noon

Making a Good Living

In the kickoff post, I didn’t mention what I would actually be doing and what my plan was—I know you thought I didn’t have a business plan and I forgive you. It turns out that being underestimated by others can be a strong success driver. I hope my competitors continue to underestimate me. In fact, if you are a competitor, you do realize I’m just some bored, unemployed, blogger right?

For some perspective, I’ve been behind the doors of an agency managing SEO client and cost per action campaigns for four years. During my off time, I’ve been tweaking Clickfire.com and building out other sites (can’t wait to tell you about these). Yeah, I love this stuff so much, I do it in my spare time at home.  I also feel like I’ve tightened up my affiliate marketing and social media optimization sensibilities.

So here I am on my own. What am I doing? A lot of my friends assume I’ll be setting up shop and trying to sell SEO services to whomever I can. Not exactly. SEO consulting or any kind of consulting for that matter can be a great way for established experts to make a living doing what they enjoy. For those with years of proven results and a network of industry contacts, this track becomes even more tempting.

But SEO consulting has its problems.

  • Control – the most obvious drawback is that while the consultant may be working from home with flexible hours, he’s helping someone solve their business problems, that is, working for someone, that is, having a boss, that is, being told what to do. He will never get full credit for his contributions. Recommendations will be compromised and the consultant can easily be blamed for a VP’s mistakes.
  • Sales, support and administrative burdens – A consultant could farm most of these tasks out but my sense is that the risk of being dragged into stuff other than figuring out what the client’s problem is and solving it will never be very far away.
  • Limitations – I suppose there is no limit to what a client might be willing to pay. If a consultant’s skills are truly valuable, why is the consultant not deploying them for himself? I realize this doesn’t work for every industry, but with SEO, the little guy can compete with the big guy, which is one reason I so dearly love SEO and which leads me to what I really want to do as an entrepreneur.

I Don’t Want to Make a Good Living

I want to make a killing. My business will use organic search, paid media and email marketing strategies to develop and monetize web properties through advertising agreements. I don’t want to share specific targets or goals, at least not yet, but I’m looking at a time frame of one year to judge success and whether I want to continue. I will be doing some SEO consulting for select clients but I’ll stay devoted to the freedom and rewards of making my own business a success. Such as:

  • Control over all major business decisions – freedom from being forced to observe the fruit of bad decisions warned about
  • Ownership of all properties – 100% equity, zero company politics
  • Profits go to me – (see org chart)
  • Responsibility – I kind of like the idea of having no one to blame

Takeaways from the Week

  • Work with partners, not for bosses – I love all of the partners and contractors I work with. If you don’t like working with someone, don’t.
  • Get away and think – Escaping to a place of solitude gave me an opportunity to do what other entrepreneurs may not be able to do inside the office: thinking.
  • Contracts are your friends – Sign a contract before investing time in any project
  • Think big – why settle for the egg when you can have the chicken? Or the hen house? Why not the farm?
  • Don’t spend too much time on social media, but definitely spend time. It’s beautiful.
  • Listen to loud music while you work – the others won’t matter as much.
Emory Rowland

I'm editor and keeper of the flame at Clickfire. I consider myself a fanatical blogger, entrepreneur and builder of Internet things from way back. My love for social media and success with organic search led me to start a SEO consulting venture. Apart from the Internet, I could be considered pretty worthless. More...

26 comments

  1. Even as a blogger I can’t afford to spend that much time on social media – commenting on posts with relevant keywords, heck, commenting to try and get a new audience member: those things have to be done. Other people’s work has to be read and given due consideration.

    It sounds like “think big” is a powerful motivator that has really helped you through this first week.

    Best of luck with this route, hope you hit it big soon.

  2. Emory Rowland

    I could probably do social media all day :)

    Thinking big is something I am learning to habituate. I’ll keep you posted, probably post a one month update as well.

  3. Hi Emory,

    You are starting with all the ingredients for a successful business. By parlaying your expertise in SEO, you are hitting the ground running.

    By targeting advertising – a sector that is a cash cow in nearly every business climate – your smallest gains will be larger than what most people have any right to expect when just starting out.

    You remind me of Gurbaksh Chahal, the author of “The Dream”.
    Even there, you have the advantage of experience, whereas as Chahal started from scratch in a less saturated field.

    I wish you the best and look forward to getting to know you better.

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  4. Listen to loud music while you work… how can one do that?? I simply cant. Its irritating and I lose focus, but thats just me :)

    Youre full of ideas. Good luck!

  5. Emory, I know you said that being underestimated is a good success driver, so I guess I should underestimate you, but I don’t. Every instinct I have tells me you are going to do very well. I have confidence in you.

    I plan to stop by once in a while to check up on you, so look out. There will be people peeking over your shoulder. Don’t slack! LOL. Good luck. I hope it goes really well for you.

  6. Emory Rowland

    @Mitchell Allen – I’ll check out Gurbaksh Chahal. “The Dream” sounds insteresting. I am hoping to leverage my experience.

    @Cindy – You caught me being idealistic. I want to hear only my most favorite songs at high volume.

    @DazzlinDonna – That means a lot coming from you. Please stop me if you see me going off the cliff :)

  7. Congratulations on your new journey! I love the organizational chart..that looks very familiar. I have that same phone system! :)Best of luck to you, I believe you have the right attitude to be successful.

  8. John Sullivan

    Hi Emory :)
    Pretty much everyone above came from a new blogger community I saw them saying you should join. As I was reading I thought I was listening to myself but your thoughts are clearer then mine in your writing.For 2 yrs I was locked onto a rant type blog and now don’t even want to post on it :)
    Change is scary but good.
    I totally agree with the contracts and ownership ideas as I almost looked to sell shares of my site when an owner of a big site msg me and saud PULL THAT POST and called me to explain the nightmare of a 10% share owner :)
    Best wishes in your new direction
    Thanks
    I don’t know where you live but I wish there were people like you around :)
    Peace

  9. Kim

    Emory,

    Best of luck on your venture. Find your internal voice and forge your own path.

    To protect yourself as a new business owner, be sure to check out this list of government resources.
    http://www.moneyandrisk.com/be-the-boss/entrepreneurs/government-resources-for-small-business-owners/

    I’m not trying to promote my site. The list is too long to list and it includes my honest opinions in there about the services you will get. (such as the quality of SCORE counseling vary from city to city)

  10. Emory Rowland

    @Kim, I would like to include that in the upcoming “My First Month as an Entrepreneur.” Thanks for sharing.

  11. Emory Rowland

    @Melinda – Thanks for the encouraging words!

    @John Sullivan – I signed up at BloggerLuv and looking forward to getting to know you all better. Appreciate the advise and kind comments :)

    @Kim, I would like to include that in an upcoming update about my status as an Entrepreneur. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Kim

    Emory,

    Remember you need to obtain a business license from your state or local government (people never realize this). You can research all that you need to do using the business resource tab on my site. It includes local government for each state.

    There will more business tools later as I am still negotiating for API access.

  13. My dad does that too… I let him listen to a some Andrea Bocelli music and next thing I know he is requesting them from me everyday and he wants me to turn the volume really loud :) I guess theres something in them that really inpires and motivates them spiritually :)

  14. John Sullivan

    the capcha no sh8t is coo
    I used that as a joke to say coo
    which what I have to say about what you said :)
    BloggerLUV is not a social network it may look like that
    but there are deals going down with each other
    it’s a working bloggers site and I think WE ALL would be
    happy to assist anyway we can with your new venture
    the premise of the site was after a long day of blogging you come by see your friends who work hard also make some deals share questions ideas etc.So it’s some exciting times for everyone :)
    Thanks
    Look forward to learning more about you and your work

  15. George Fischer

    Hey Emory,

    I like the idea of writing these posts to stay motivated. I find it difficult to get things accomplished when no one is “forcing” me to do it.

    Its going to be really cool watching your new ventures take off.

    Everyone who’s still “behind the doors” of “that agency” misses you and is wishing you the best!

    -George

    • Emory Rowland

      Hey George, I am trying to maintain discipline as I know that’s the downfall of lots of lone ventures. Time does seem to go by a lot faster. The interruptions are few, but the distractions seem more numerous and intense. Who’s going to stop me from just loading up a game of Modern Warfare 2 if I don’t feel like working? You know what I mean.

      The “behind the doors” reference applies a great deal to blogging. I feel a lot more free to speak out about things I learned during the agency days, whereas before, I kind of felt restrained. Thanks for the well wishes. I miss you guys as well–all the comaraderie and teamwork and heck, even the meetings :)

  16. Mike S

    I’ve been there too a couple of years ago. For me it felt like hell but I got used to it. i cant stand the music while working either

  17. Re: doing social media all day – that’s happening to me more and more even as I comment on blogs more and more. I have to help promote others, and I have to give others a chance to give something back to me.

    I actually cannot conceive of blogging without social media at this point. Someone asked me about how people were reacting to the Maimonides post, and I had to go to a number of sites to show the reactions. It’s very strange how “fame” – if this can be called that – works online.

    • Emory Rowland

      Blogging and social media really do seem to be converging. It’s interesting too, to see how individuals can be “famous” within a niche. They are no less loved than a big name celebrity. Keep up the fight and please continue to share how things are going.

  18. Thomas

    i’m too an entrepreneur. I also do seo, i’ve learnt many things about SEO, realize the power of that, i then decide to utilize it for building my business. Instead of building an SEO service, i do other business and use my skill in SEO, so now i’ve many business running well :)

  19. Emory Rowland

    Well said, Thomas. SEO is one skill in the toolbox and one channel in the revenue stream for accomplishing the objective. It’s my favorite, but still just one :)

  20. Hello emory,that’s awesome I love seeing anyone taking control of their future. Personally I’ve been working for myself for almost 20 years now. I have never looked back. I will admit some months I make $0 but the next month I make up for it. Basically it’s a constant push to do better especially when you have to put bread on the table.

    I have no doubt you will be a success it’s always scary but you seem to have a lot of great people believing in you & that in itself is already motivating.

    Oo one last thing I wanted to mention partner with like-minded services. Don’t be afraid of competition. With 1.9 billion users on the World Wide Web, there’s enough to go around.

    • Emory Rowland

      Hi Gabriella, your 20 years experience is encouraging. Working for myself for almost six months has been fulfilling so far. I appreciate the confidence in me and wise words.

  21. Congrats and best of luck, I’m going into year five and it was the best decision of my life! Looking forward to reading more about your adventures!

    Fred

    • Emory Rowland

      Thank you, Fred and congrats on 5 years as an entrepreneur. My confidence is soaring :)

  22. Jeff MN

    I agree, it takes a lot.

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