Image source: http://karlsprague.com/?p=14

 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;

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First, A History of Dan as It Relates to SEO

August 16th 1979

I was born

1979 – 2002

lots of stuff happened

2002-2006

Build my first websites: for my bands, and my own music projects I was involved in

2007-2010

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!!

December 2010

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?

May/June 2011

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

August 2011

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”.

January 2012

Blogging starts paying off.

I wrote about Ifttt

I wrote about some weird IMDB results

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.

February 2012

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!!

Started my position as an SEOmoz associate

Yes folks, when it rains it pours.

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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.

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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!”
I think the problem is… I LOVE everything about SEO… and I want to help EVERYONE.

 

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;

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);

The Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial – State House – Boston, MA – Robert Shure, sculptor

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.

This seems to happen a bit in our industry. Rand. Wil.

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. :-)

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Album listened to on repeat while writing this post: Kanye West – Graduation

 

About Dan Shure

I'm Dan (Google Plus Profile). I've been helping businesses improve their websites since 2007. Improving your bottom line is my number one goal. My obsessive nature and love for SEO as a true craft doesn't hurt either.

14 Comments

  • April 15, 2012 Reply

    Tod

    Dan, great post. I relate to it completely because I’m a year behind you. Thank you for helping me see a clear path to success. Good luck to you.

    • April 15, 2012 Reply

      Dan Shure

      Thanks Tod… I think you hit on another important reason for us to all share in the industry – it helps others who are “behind” to see what’s ahead – and it helps others who are “ahead” to remember what it was like to be “behind”… thanks!

  • April 15, 2012 Reply

    Croatian

    I love this part !

    “SEO – it fits my mind perfectly. art and science. analytics and intuition. calculated yet inspired. solitary yet social.”

    All the best mate !

    • April 15, 2012 Reply

      Dan Shure

      Thanks, yep… that’s a musician’s left brain – right brain thing :)

  • April 15, 2012 Reply

    Jonathon Colman

    Hey Dan the Man, congratulations on all your success in the SEO world this past year… and on all the hard work during the ~5 years that led up to it! (a point often forgotten by folks who appreciate accomplishments, but not the time and dedication necessary to achieve them)

    Even so, I’m sure that there are greater things ahead for you in the future. Really looking forward to meeting you in person at MozCon!

    • April 15, 2012 Reply

      Dan Shure

      Hi Jonathon

      Thanks for writing in… yep, there certainly was a lot of time spent behind the scenes leading up to the last year – time spent where I thought I was actually going to go down the path of maybe becoming a developer or even just a blogger (can you get much different? lol)… but I suppose that’s a true testament to my love and appreciation for BOTH technical things and creative things, and the synergy between the two. I’m grateful for taking some time to get familiar enough with the technical side of things so that I can at least relate to the point of view of a developer, and do a fair share of technical stuff if need be :-)

      Thanks for everything, I appreciate your encouragement in the last few months, and very excited we’ll get to meet in July!

  • April 16, 2012 Reply

    Ted Ives

    Dan,

    Clearly you’ve found a rare kind of work – the kind that you love and that also pays Glad to see you doing so well. Too bad for the rest of us that you’re so busy though – I look forward to your next deep-dive case study of someone!

    – Ted

    • April 16, 2012 Reply

      Dan Shure

      Hey Ted

      Thanks, I appreciate your tips with excel and some neat tools you’d found… we’ll get together again soon, k?

      -Dan

  • April 23, 2012 Reply

    Cam Collins

    Great post as I was able to relate to so much of it. The thing that resonated the most with me was “Stay Focused on What I Set Out to do a Year Ago”.

    I forced me to pull out my plan from 1/1/2012 and remind myself of what I set out to do this year. It should be a matter of habit to review long term goals constantly and stay focused on whats important. I think its ok to re-evaluate things that may no longer be relevant, but my challenge is not chasing after the latest shiny ball.

  • May 9, 2012 Reply

    Jordan Godbey

    Great to read your story Dan. I’m working on and going through many of the same things you mentioned above.

    It’s funny because I remember when all of this was happening, “the Fave” post, your youmoz post, etc.

    Can you attribute one or a few key things that contributed to your increase in new clients? From purely a client acquisition standpoint, what was most beneficial?

    Congrats on your success!

    • May 9, 2012 Reply

      Dan Shure

      That’s a great question Jordan! I got a handful of work cumulatively from each article. But one thing that really started to move things along, was Wil Reynolds recommending me to people he couldn’t take. I think he sent 4-5 people my way, 3 of which became clients. But this was literally after 14+ months of following him on Twitter and basically hoping to get the attention of people like him. Few things that really made an impression on him I think were: 1. I helped his team answer some questions in one of his Google Plus Q&A’s – and the team was impressed with my answers. So he tried to hire me! Told him I couldn’t move to Philly and all that, so he said he’d send people my way. and 2. I helped him try to figure out an importXML thing on a Saturday afternoon, which he must have appreciated.

      I also forgot to mention in the #SEOchat – I drove 6 hours round trip twice to go to the Distilled NYC office for meetups. I think meeting people in person can go a LONG way.

  • May 12, 2012 Reply

    Derek Edmond

    I definitely can relate to a lot of this. It’s important to celebrate the small wins as well as big ones as things keep rolling. Once you’re running your own show, it’s unbelievable the amount you need to know beyond SEO (or whatever the primary business endeavor is). Thanks for sharing and I think you are on the right track though! Let me know if I can assist.

    • May 12, 2012 Reply

      Dan Shure

      THANKS Derek… yeah, this is now about the 11 month mark of a self-imposed gradual career shift into SEO and what a damn learning experience! Pretty much I pushed myself until I hit that “Wall” now I have to find ways to get beyond it. Thanks for the encouragement, and the offer to assist :)

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