Setting a Plan on Business Development and Personal Growth
I’ve been learning a TON lately. It’s a whole lot to take in and to start the new year with. I’m completely excited about 2014. It’s the year I’m going to get married and the year that SEO Hacker will hopefully reach its tipping point. Here’s what’s been happening and what’s been inspiring me recently.
Webmaster’s Note: This is not a post about SEO. SEO Hacker is still my personal blog and I want to be as transparent with you with what I’m learning about as well as what I’m going through in business and personal growth.
I think that, in order to inspire people with your life, you have to continually grow and be inspired yourself. I took on a fine list of mentors recently (some of whom may not even know I consider them one). They have been a huge help to my personal growth and they have given me a huge boost in setting the direction for SEO Hacker next year.
Here’s the list of my personal growth this year as well as my inspirators / mentors for the field:
It’s been an awesome year for talks and seminars I’ve done. This year, I’ve had the opportunity to do 9 talks.That’s the most I’ve ever had since I started way back 2010. I’ve had the huge, God-given opportunity to be mentored by Jayson Lo – one of the premier speaking coaches of the Philippines today.
His insight on how I did my talks was staggering and humbling. I have a long way to go to be one of the sought-after speakers in the digital marketing and motivational speaking industry. Thank God that I can get there faster and better with Jayson’s help.
Here’s the short-list of the talks and seminars I’ve given.
Note: Clicking on the seminar title will take you to the Powerpoint slides done by our foremost Powerpoint deck content and design specialist, Angie Reyes.
(Prism: First Thomasian Student Food and Hospitality Marketing Convention, UST, Le Pavillon, February 11, 2013)
(DLSU Economics Leaders Congress 2013, Henry Sy Sr. Hall, February 26, 2013)
(Travel Facilitators Market, Crowne Plaza Hotel, July 5, 2013)
(Digital Media Marketing Forum, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, September 26, 2013)
(Mastering Online Rankings Conference, Tanza Oasis Hotel, October 26-27, 2013)
(Marketing and Adviertising Ethics, Far Eastern University, December 11, 2013)
(December Networking Night, Microsoft Office, December 12, 2013)
(“iClick”, Polytechnic University of the Philippines Taguig, December 14, 2013)
(“BangonVisayas eCommerce Evolution Seminar – Social & Technological Advances for DOT Accredited Travel & Tour Operators” Bohol, December 19, 2013)
If you want to check out the full list, go to my personal speaking portfolio here.
I’ve always been interested about finance management. Always asked myself questions like: “Where do I put my money so that it can earn more money?”, “How much should I put in an investment?”, “How much risk is one type of investment compared to another?”
All these questions and more has been answered by Randell. I asked him if he could teach me a thing or two about investments – stocks, mutual funds, bonds, money market, insurance, etc. because I had completely no idea where to start!
Randell was kind enough to give me a quick head-start to personal finance management. He also had me read his book (which is an awesome book by the way) “No Nonsense Personal Finance“. You should read it too if you want to know where you should tell your money to go.
The money I earn from SEO Hacker goes to a lot of places – business development, salaries, business expenses, utilities, wedding day budget, personal expenses, and so and and so forth. After learning about personal finance, it went to even more places. Places that I never thought existed or was important. Places like emergency fund, stocks, forex, equity fund, etc. Places that help my money earn more money. Because letting your money sleep in the bank is a financial loss to begin with.
I never really tried to aggressively pursue business development until late this year. I thought I was doing fine and my business was going the right way – until I met and talked with pastor Joby and Grant. The insights they gave me was just packed with value and full of wisdom.
Pastor Joby is our local church senior pastor (CCF Alabang) and Grant is a friend I met at Morcon 2013. What they taught me can be broken down to this:
Set goals for the year – make sure they are measurable, time-bound, and realistic. These are actionable purposes that would set the direction for you and your business. It can be something like “SEO Hacker should be able to hire 20 more people by June” or “SEO Hacker should have a monthly gross income of $20,000 by April”. It should stretch you and consequently, stretch your business and your team as a whole.
Put down KPIs for yourself and your team – again, this has to be measurable, time-bound and realistic. This will be your checkpoints if you are moving towards your goal. Your teammates have to have KPIs that would support your own KPI and your business goals. Finally, it has to be broken down in quantity or else it will not be measurable and you’ll be grasping on straws as you try to review your team’s KPIs. A good breakdown of a KPI would be something like this:
“My KPI is to ensure our rankings for Client A remain on top spot” -> “This means every X weeks I have to monitor their site and build diverse links and check their on-site configuration and site performance” -> “This means I need to build X amount of X type of links per X days, etc…”
KPIs are most useful for end of the year reviews for individual players in your team. It tells you and it tells them whether they have done enough to deserve an X% of increase in their salary or get that X amount of bonus they are looking forward to.
Process Documentation – This entails tons and tons and tons of work for me and my whole team. But it virtually eliminates the time and effort it takes for a new hire to be on-boarded and trained and developed. It can even be used to develop your existing team! You just need slug it out with yourself to do this and set an X amount of hours daily to move a process forward until you ship it out to your team.
Seeing as I’ll be physically relocating next year after my wedding day, process documentation is vital. I can’t be in the office often since most of my days are also spent meeting clients – prospective and existing. This will be one of our main goals next year. Grant is a huge, huge inspiration to finally help me decide to move my ass and just do it.
People Management – This is simply one of the toughest pieces of puzzle to unlock. People are unpredictable. Thank God I have an awesome, awesome team. Even then, there are rough edges to smoothen out with my team. We are imperfect people working to grow an imperfect company. Pastor Joby helped me out in giving me powerful ideas on how to motivate people and persuade them even if you are technically their team leader.
SaaS (Software as a Service) development and strategies – Grant Merriel and Alex Turnbull
SEO Hacker School has yet to see it’s take-off year. I think next year is ‘it’. It has been a tough, long battle to get SEO Hacker School to what it is today. The design has seen changes and changes of themes. The system behind it has also had its set of changes. We’ve had pro signups come and go. We know that it has tons of value inside. We just haven’t marketed it powerfully enough because we’re continuously improving the navigation, content, overall layout, etc.
Hearing about Crazyegg’s years of battle before it has seen the success it’s experiencing today has inspired me and the SEO School team to keep on moving forward. Hearing how Alex Turnbull turn his SaaS into a $33,000+ / month income generating system is a deep treasure I’ve drawn wisdom from. Hearing Grant Merriel’s take and tips on how SEO School can make it big next year – now that’s colossal.
Grant Merriel is a 26 year old Australian who, for me, is already a huge success. He’s living an exciting life going to places he wants to visit (even spending a year here in the Philippines). He’s got tons of ideas and has given me tons and tons of value about my business and about SEO School.
The clutter and noise about setting up your SaaS can be mind-boggling. There are multiple ways to go to promote your business. Email marketing, SEO, drip-feed content, PR, etc. Sometimes it can paralyze you on where to start and you keep yourself from getting your feet wet because of all the options.
Grant has helped me streamline it. And I’m completely excited on checking off my “Grant Merriel to-do list” next year.
Client Retention and Value Proposition – Personal Project
SEO is an awesome business. Search engine results page only shows 10 results. If there’s a website that will climb the ranks, the one supposedly on top of it, will rank down. It’s a zero-sum game. And that game has changed, improved, and shown promise and surprises this year.
Client retention is not difficult if you put in your heart and soul into it. We have retained clients since I started practicing SEO (3 years now) and we have a very high client retention rate. The thing is, I want to keep improving that. And one very important thing to retain clients is through communication. Next year is the year where we will be improving our communication to all our clients. It should improve our relationship by a huge margin.
And the best thing about it is, the better your relationship, the more packages clients are bound to get. Building that trust as a service provider means that you have a huge leverage when you are going to sell them more ways to make more money over the internet.
Those are just some of the very, very exciting things I’ve learned and I’ll be going through next year. I hope you’ve also learned a thing or two from this post. I’d love to take you with me in the awesome journey of growing a business and of personal growth and the pursuit of wisdom in these areas.
Through all these, I know that there is only one person to thank for an exciting, fulfilling and completely content life. And His name is Jesus Christ.
Thank you Lord! I look forward to an awesome next year!