Today is Thursday, March 1, 2012 and it truly is the calm before the storm. On Saturday morning at 5am I am leaving with my family to go on vacation to Punta Cana for a little bit of relaxation. When I return on March 6 I will be quitting my job and that’s when the fun begins. The following paragraphs explain the storm that is to come and the impending changes to my life.

If you read my previous post, then you know that I have started my own internet marketing/search engine optimization company and have partnered with another company in Montreal, Canada. Right now, I still am working with Millevoi Bros. Auto Sales in Philadelphia and achieving great results with helping them grow their used car business. When I go down to present the February report to Mark in a couple days, I will also be asking for a referral to meet with his friend who owns a jewelry store in Philadelphia. As far as Canada goes, I will most likely be moving to Montreal the second or third week of April for about 5-6 months. My “contract” (In quotes because I don’t have a contract per se. I will be a sub contractor being paid on a monthly basis for services rendered) is with Benjamin Beauregard from Convernet to manage the business portfolio he is acquiring from the Consumer Choice Awards. The Consumer Choice Awards is similar to the Consumer Reports in America, but they rank local businesses in Canada whereas the Consumer Reports ranks products. Historically, the Consumer Choice Awards (CCA) has had 3 service offerings to their customers. Each service offering revolves around the customer being able to use the CCA logo because it instills consumer confidence. The first service offering is a bill board for the company with the CCA logo prominently displayed on it. The second is a featured article in the CCA magazine. This is similar to having an article written about you in the Consumer Reports. The third offering is a video series, either TV commercial or YouTube video that can be used to promote the business. Back in October 2011 Ben approached Marcel, the owner of CCA, to inquire about offering a new service to the CCA customers, search engine optimization services. Ben had known Marcel for a couple years after meeting him at a Tony Robbins event and had done minor work with Marcel in the past. Marcel agreed to Ben’s proposal and Ben started crafting the SEO service offerings that we would be providing. In November 2011 I was speaking with Ben on the phone about how I was planning on leaving my job and he decided to bring me into the picture. He explained to me that we would be offering 3 tiers of SEO services to the CCA customers. Tier 1 would be basic link building, Tier 2 would be link building plus link wheels and link pyramids, and Tier 3 would include the services of Tier 1 and Tier 2 and also include local search optimization to the mix. Jumping forward to present day, CCA has just completed a launch in Calgary and received 100 opt ins for Tier 1 service and 3 opt ins for Tier 3 services. Ben is going to start the on-boarding of these 103 customers by himself and when I get to Montreal in April I will start helping out and taking more responsibility. Statistically, we are planning on providing search engine optimization services for anywhere between 500-700 customers by the end of this year.

Knowing that I will be moving to Montreal, I have started to teach myself how to speak French. I downloaded the French Rosetta stone and was diligently working through each module for almost an hour a day through December and January. At the end of January I went out to Austin, Texas for the Third Annual Traffic and Conversions Summit and have been too busy (You will know why by the end of reading this post) to make time for French since then. Today I finally started back up and spent about an hour and a half getting myself back into the swing. I plan on getting a French tutor when I move to Montreal to help me master the language.

While I was at the Traffic and Conversions Summit in Austin, I had the opportunity to join the Equity Investors Network. This network was created by Perry Belcher and Ryan Deiss during the weekend of the event because they wanted to try and crowd source investment banking opportunities. Perry and Ryan make a lot of money teaching people how to use innovative marketing techniques, but the majority of their income is derived from growing businesses that do around $2-3 million per year to around $20 million per year. Their idea was “Why should we as SEOers only charge a client 1k-2k per month for our services when our services can literally triple the customers business and profits?” Wouldn’t it be smarter to negotiate for equity in the business, say 30%, and then when we triple the business we have now made a boat load of money. So this is what they have been doing for a couple years now. Either buying businesses or negotiating equity in them and then growing and selling the businesses. The problem is, you can’t just go out to business owners and say, “Hi, I want to buy your business.” It just doesn’t work like that. With a limited amount of resources and deal flow, Ryan and Perry were doing about 10 businesses per year. However, they realized that if they taught their Digital Marketer followers how to do exactly what they do, then they could create a community of SEOers who are buying and selling businesses. This would bring much more deal flow their way and give them the ability to partner with people on the biggest deals because they have the most experience and credibility. So anyways, I am now a member of EIN and at the end of March, I will be flying out to San Diego for 5 days to learn and train on how to do what Ryan and Perry do. They will be covering soup to nuts on how to source products and raw materials from China, how to negotiate for equity, all of the legal aspects involved, etc. By being a part of EIN I now have a network of lawyers, CPAs, investors, you name it, at my finger tips and we are setting up regular meetings in major cities with other EIN members. When I first signed up and became a member of EIN, I didn’t realistically think that I would come home from San Diego and just start buying and selling business. I just wanted to get in because the knowledge and experience I would get would be invaluable. However, with Ben and Justin and Nitten from India and Heidi from Minnesota going, I will now have my own in network of Investment bankers that I can partner on deals with together. Ben and I have already talked about how we can go in on smaller deals together to minimize our risk and learn the ins and outs of doing equity deals.

Recently, a friend and mentor of mine, Mike Kruszewski started his own business. Krusz was the top salesman in SimplexGrinnell for both Canada and America for 5 years in a row and my personal mentor before he left the company to go to Waymans. He is only in his late 30s, but he is a veteran when it comes to the life safety industry and he has important contacts throughout all of Philadelphia. Krusz noticed the importance of electronic reporting for building inspections as a key differentiator for the top companies in the life safety industry. He also noticed that there were really only two major electronic reporting companies in North America that had a stranglehold on the market. So he decided he was going to start his own electronic reporting company. Of course I was the first person he came to because he knew that I was knowledgeable about search engine optimization and knew the steps he needed to take to get his business off the ground. So we met and I explained to him everything I have going on and basically positioned myself as the perfect asset he would need to grow his business. I discussed the EIN and how I want to start asking for equity and naturally, he responded that he wasn’t going to give up any equity. Yada yada yada, I’m not concerned with that right now. I gave a lot of free consulting at our meeting to build my own personal value and credibility and show him that I had what it takes to blow his business up sky high. He didn’t take any notes. At the end of the meeting I told him that I would source some programmers for him to build his database/website for a friendly fee of $500. I was giving him a break with the $500 because I could have charged much more, but I guess he thought this to be on the high side. I got in touch with 14 top programmers from around the world and scheduled some Skype interviews. Before I interviewed them I spoke with Mike and he told me that he was in touch with a programmer that said he could do the job. I told him I had interviews scheduled so he had to make a decision before I spent all of my time interviewing. His guy wasn’t the best communicator, so he said only do a few interviews and then get back to me. I interviewed the CEO of a major development company in Pakistan that had 50 developers on board and could offer Krusz start to finish support including web design. I also interviewed the business development manager and senior systems analyst at a huge development company in India that also had an office in California. These guys had 500 developers on board and full start to finish support including web design. They also just got done building an electronic reporting site for a residential inspections company. I guess you could say I blew Krusz’s guy out of the water. Oh wait, I also secured the services of these companies for $12 per hour instead of the $30-40 per hour that is customary for the United States. So yea, I wasn’t concerned that Krusz wasn’t initially interested in giving up equity because I knew that I could position myself as the ultimate partner in growing his business. As of today, he thinks he is going to contract me to do his SEO work once the site is up and running, but that is not the case. By the time we get to that conversation, I will be back from the EIN Summit in San Diego and ready to play hard ball. I don’t expect him to accept my initial offer, which is ok. I want him to try for 6 months to grow his business himself in Philadelphia without my help. I’m fine with him paying for an SEO company because I can offer what they can’t, a fully integrated, complete marketing solution to taking his company national. When I come back from Canada, I expect him to have made a small footprint for himself in the Philadelphia area, but that’s about it. Then will be the perfect time for me to strike.

While I was waiting in the airport for my flight home from San Antonio in September, I met a man named Paul Baer. Paul was at the LMASS event and had made his living from being an expert salesman and also selling his own oil additive to NASCAR teams. Paul was 65 years old and was accompanied by his assistant Jeff. Jeff was in his 40s and was recruited by Paul from his old job as a stone mason. Paul wanted to train Jeff to take over parts of his business. Jeff had access to all of Paul’s resources from membership sites to training courses and software programs. The world was at Jeff’s fingertips, but according to my conversation with Paul earlier this week, Jeff didn’t have the entrepreneurial spirit and couldn’t cut it. Anyways, I spent 3 hours in the airport with both Jeff and Paul discussing the event, our skills, personalities, goals, etc. We hit it off and really got to know each other well. Before we parted ways we exchanged contact information and have kept in touch since September. Around the time that Paul had to part ways with Jeff, he started pursuing me. I was a young guy with a ton of drive and ambition, educated, owned a small business, and was ready to make my mark. The perfect person for Paul to partner with. Paul is an older guy who in his words “can sell sand to a camel” or something like that. He is very long winded and throws a lot of metaphors in, but that’s his style. He is an expert old school salesman with years of experience and $$ to prove it, but he isn’t super strong when it comes to the internet. As an active member of the warrior forum under the pen name “Old Dog” he noticed that the majority of the people in the forum were the exact opposite of him. All of these internet marketers were just that, computer people. Very few of them knew how to actually sell and were terrified of prospecting by cold calling actual businesses. After a little more research, he realized he stumbled upon a great information product idea. You see, when people have real jobs, their companies pay for tons of training for them. For example, at my company, I have gone through both Acclivus and The Sandler Approach for sales training. However, all of these self employed internet marketers aren’t exposed to this sales training and need to learn it somewhere. Yea, there are tons of online sales training products out there, but each generation of internet users needs something new and fresh. Introducing “Old Dog Sales Training.” Paul has developed an offline sales training course and turned it in to 10 different modules to be sold separately on the Warrior Forum through WSOs (Warrior Special Offers). Each module will be a low end information product and will launch about 3-4 weeks apart from each other. After they have all launched separately, he will put together a WSO for the entire package. Remember how I said he has all of the software and resources under the sun, but he didn’t have a great grasp on how to utilize them? And Remember how I said by the end of this year I will be providing SEO services for close to 700 companies (AKA I will have proven systems in place)? Well, Paul wants to do a Joint Venture with me where I market his products through the Warrior Forum and elsewhere and we do a percentage split on all of the profits. More on this to come as we continue to develop our plan.

So the other day my friend Meg calls me and asks me to come to a business presentation at her house. I haven’t seen her in a while so I decide to go over. The presentation was for a company called ACN and everyone at the house was given the chance to start their own ACN home business.  You would think I had too much going on and would refuse, but I considered my options and decided to join. The only setback I could see was that the model was based on network marketing, which I am not very fond of. But with the connections I made thus far and those that were about to come, I decided what the hell, I can just talk about it and people will want in instead of me being salesy to my friends. The concept for the company is that they take away the marketing acquisition costs for all of your major companies like Verizon, Sprint, Comcast, Peco, etc. In short, I basically have my own franchise of each of these companies and can sell service plans at a rate cheaper than any introductory rate you could possibly get anywhere else. I haven’t gotten started full fledge with this company yet, but I plan to use these abilities to approach all of the business owners I am going to meet as a way to lower their electricity, gas, cable, phone, etc. bills. As long as they keep paying their bills, I make a small residual percentage each month. So I guess this is my long term strategy. However, I’m still not satisfied with using their network marketing business model, so I have something much bigger in the mix that I am meeting with Justin about in San Diego to discuss. I need to read over the ACN bylaws to make sure I can legally do this, but basically I want to create a national lead generation website for ACN home businesses across the country and charge a flat membership fee for as many referrals as I can give them per month. Basically, I would partner with Justin to get the membership site up and running and then utilize my SEO company to siphon traffic to a video page with a sign up form at the bottom. We would be targeting people who are looking to save money on their bills. This still hasn’t even been developed yet, so I will talk about this at a later date as things move forward.

Moving down to some of the littler stuff I am doing. I wanted to start running some experiments with channel SEO and Amazon was the top channel I wanted to utilize. So I bought the private label rights to a book called “101 ways to get started scrapbooking.”  Yea, I know scrapbooking is girl shit but I just picked a category at random because it doesn’t really matter. I did the research and found a niche keyword to target and I created my own graphic for the book. Now all I need to do is rewrite parts of the book so Amazon can’t target it as a PLR copy and I need to buy an ISBN number for the book before I can start selling it. The pain in the ass is that it’s a couple 100 bucks to get an ISBN number and I also need to pay a monthly fee to sell on Amazon. I’m just too busy right now and cash flows aren’t the best in the world for me to run this test at the moment when it is the only product I am going to be selling on Amazon. Going to revisit this after EIN Summit and will probably also try selling a physical product at the same time on Amazon.

This last little project came to me the other night at the dinner table. My mom lost her camera so my dad bought her a brand new one for the trip. Before she opened it, I told them I wanted to run a quick test. I did some keyword research and found that the term Samsung SH100 Review only had about moderate competition to it on Google. I decided that I was going to shoot an “Open the Box” video review of the camera and use video SEO to try and achieve a first page ranking. Then, I signed up for an affiliate account with Amazon so whenever anyone saw my video and then bought anything from Amazon, I would make a few bucks. Just made the video live yesterday so we will see how things go with this test. Hoping to make a couple 100 bucks or something for the 3 hours of work I put in.

Whelp, I’m exhausted from all of this writing. At least I have all of my thoughts down on paper now so I can’t forget anything. Time to eat some dinner and then I am playing Lacrosse tonight for the first time in over 11 months. Pretty excited, even though I will probably suck from being out of practice. Then of course, next stop is Punta Cana.

The Calm Before The Storm by Michael O’Donnell

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