What’s “The Wall”?
I got that term “The Wall” from Wil Reynolds (see his tweet). He said;
I often “hit the wall” & realize I can’t do it all – instead of feeling helpless I start planning & prioritizing.
We had talked about this in person as well recently; the challenges you face when trying to run a business, do your work, balance work and personal life, manage commitments and think about the future.
The concept of “The Wall” has stuck with me, largely because I know I’m at that point right now.
New is Easy, Long Term Success Is Hard
This is also where the newness of everything is over. I can no longer have my “first post” on the Moz blog and be the “new guy with the great first post”. This is the REAL work now. The second post is much harder. Consistency and growth are the new metrics.
In the last year for me, things have been happening fast. Just a quick recap of what led to where things are today;
First, A History of Dan as It Relates to SEO
August 16th 1979
I was born
1979 – 2002
lots of stuff happened
Build my first websites: for my bands, and my own music projects I was involved in
Start making websites in my spare time for other people – teach myself HTML/CSS some PHP/SQL…. but this is when I also discover SEO – it fits my mind perfectly. art and science. analytics and intuition. calculated yet inspired. solitary yet social. and the PEOPLE are awesome!!
Decide I’m really liking this SEO thing, getting good results for people, and purchase this domain – www.evolvingseo.com – can you believe it was available for $9.99?
Spend a lot of time reflecting on my “life”, reading the 80/20 Principle multiple times, taking notes – Decide I want to do SEO full time - Built this website in a week (copywriting, everything)
June – August 2011
Start studying more and more advanced SEO concepts VERY intensely – reading every blog post – continue working on sites for my current clients. Start networking on Twitter
Won a free pass to Affiliate Summit East where I got to meet LOTS of folks who I think can safely say at this point are not only great colleagues but also some of the best friends I’ve ever had – despite living hours away.
September 2011 – December 2011
Get my blog going more. Learn learn. Read read. Talk to people on Twitter. Go to some SEO meetups hosted by Distilled and SEMNE – get a few more clients. Get rejected from my local BNI because the “Internet Marketing” company says they “do SEO and that seat is taken”.
Blogging starts paying off.
January 13th 2012
Things like this started happening… I had been following Wil Reynolds for over 12 months hoping to get his attention… and then…
Almost 100 people followed me that day.
My analytics from that month shows it well.
First post for the Distilled Blog went up – the mysterious search for “fave”
I wrote my first SEOmoz post - which got promoted in less than 3 hours to the main blog
First guest post on iPullRank.com goes up – Stop Ignoring Entity Search
March – April 2012
Clients start pouring in. Job offers. SESNY conference. LinkLove Boston…. more leads, more guest blogging opportunities, #seochat on May 3rd…
You haven’t seen me blogging because I’ve been SWAMPED IN WORK!!
Yes folks, when it rains it pours.
This Is Not To Toot My Own Horn
That stuff was EASY. I have yet to truly “succeed”. I’m humbled every day by the challenges I face ahead. RIGHT NOW ITS SINK OR SWIM. NOW, I’m facing real challenges. Writing blog posts and doing SEO part time for a few select clients and my own projects was EASY.
Disclaimer: especially for any clients reading this …I’m not talking about technical SEO skills being hard. I’m talking about getting a business up on its feet – managing workload, managing growth (heck, even trying to decide how the heck I want to grow!). SEO is the EASY part for me – that’s one reason I love and want to be doing it all of the time.
I’m Here To Conquer Challenges. These Are 5 Things I Could Do Better
Life’s a big school right? Constant learning. Failure is not an option.
1. I Could Be Better At Saying No
Yep… we’ve all been there right? What am I going to start doing to get better at this?
- Well, for one, I think there’s some good advise in the post on the Four Hour Work week – “say no by default“
- Honestly its just a habit I need to cultivate a bit better – say no nicely, quickly and move on…
- Remember Derek Sivers advise: “Hell Yes Or Hell No!”
2. Get Better Long Term Planning, In the Practical Sense
I was just two months late sending my annual LLC payment and reports. And when I sent it… wrong report. ENTIRELY wrong. FAIL.
My wife would be the first to tell you – I HATE taxes. Accounting? Can’t stand it. Contracts, NDAs, formality… I’d prefer to stab myself in the eyes with pencils.
But in order to move forward with a business that’s going to contribute and grow, I’ve gotta pay some more attention to having the books set up.
3. Stay Focused On What I Set Out to Do a Year Ago
My goals in doing SEO full time were to;
- Literally change the lives of my clients (in good way)
- Help others in the industry
- ALWAYS learn
- Speak speak speak (not there yet with that one)
4. Sometimes, I have No Idea How I’m Going to Finish All My Work
If you hang out on Twitter around 1am EST you might notice I’m there. If you hang out at 7am EST, you might notice I’m there. In fact, you might notice me online working somewhere in what seems like near-24-hour-sleepless-days.
Workload balance is a DEFINITE challenge. Do I hire help? One thing I know is: I. Will. Not. Fail.
5. Remember My True Hero, My Father (the Sculptor who was nearly blind)
This could be a whole story in its self (and probably will be one day). You may not know but my Dad is a successful (and a bit well known) sculptor. He made this (among many other things);
Guess what? My father has had two cornea (part of the eye) transplants and was even legally blind in one eye for over a year. Persistence? Not giving up? Determination? Try pursuing a professional sculpting career while being partially blind or have your eyes hurt so bad you can barely keep them open.
The best part? My Dad doesn’t talk about it. Ever. No excuses.
Lastly, Never Thought I’d Jump Into the “Transparent Post” Crowd.
What’s with all this transparency stuff?
I think its inevitable. As I’m writing this, I realize… this is a letter. To all my new friends, colleagues , clients – the people that have been there for me, and I hope to be there for one day. We’re all over the country, rarely see each other in person, never have time to catch up.
This is where I’m at right now. Done.. one minute left… off to a meeting… sorry about typos.
Album listened to on repeat while writing this post: Kanye West – Graduation