Troy News – Money Talks

Hey folks.

I know I haven’t written anything in a while. Basically, creating content for you folks took a back seat to doing what I came to China to do in the first place: make money. Everything I had been doing was definitely valuable, but it didn’t satisfy a major goal of mine: making money. I love working on products that can help other people, but I don’t know how big of a success or flop it would be until investing 150+ hours into writing, editing, producing and marketing it. And what I really needed to know was: will it make me money?

I recall sitting in a disgustingly hot loft in downtown Stockholm in front of some of the brightest people I have ever met. There’s something slightly off-balancing about that, which was ideal because the reason I was on a stool with everyone facing me was simple: we wanted to find out what was wrong with me. Not in the usual sense of the word – I wasn’t sick, I wasn’t depressed, and for all intents and purposes I was a pretty upstanding guy. Rather, we were trying to figure out why I didn’t think I could live the life I dreamed about.

What part of my dream? To work for myself. To work from anywhere in the world. To work on things that made me crave the next project, the next client, the next new skill to learn.

After intense scrutiny and much badgering, it finally came out: I didn’t feel qualified. I was an English major. What kind of English major runs their own company? I didn’t have a degree or a certification. I didn’t have any friends who were even remotely interested in entrepreneurship. In my heart I didn’t think it was even possible. It was a pipe dream to live the life I wanted. It could never happen.

I’ll let you figure out for yourselves how we changed my mind (hint: NLP), but let’s get back to the present subject. In October 2010 I started a performance marketing business over reading week. A week later I felt like I was printing money. Over the next months I made back all of the money I spent on Rockstar and then some, going from the closest I’ve come in my life to being in debt to getting phone calls from my AM offering me the chance to race Lamborghinis in Las Vegas (unfortunately it was during exams).

I learned a lot of lessons during this period. But by far the biggest lesson went back to that day on the stool, staring back at a dozen guys who expected me to succeed. Every time I take a small step forward, I remember when I felt that I couldn’t accomplish anything.

The small steps I’ve been taking recently are in SEO and web design. I’ve succeeded at ranking various websites and learning the methodology behind it all. I take from the best as I go. I started by creating sites that trickle in traffic and whose income pays for my VPS in California. From there I realized that I need to be consistently in the black (making money) to feel happy and motivated. So instead of just working on new websites and improving current ones (which I’m doing anyway), I started selling good quality SEO services.

The SEO consulting world right now is filled with people living in the 1990s – basically, keyword stuffing and cloaking are de jours. Most of these SEOs also have zero interpersonal skills, and many of them are shady. The niche I fill is pretty simple: I’m not shady, I have solid interpersonal skills, and I have a good grasp of SEO and programming. I get a customer, do good work, get good results, make the customer happy, get a good review and get more customers. While this won’t scale to thousands of dollars per month, it will easily scale to a thousand dollars per month, which is about three times as much as I need to be in the black. I also get to learn more and more every project I do for a customer. Oh, and no, this blog has nothing to do with SEO. I think I rank for two things, and that’s unintentional.

So that’s why I’ve been locked in my room and away from you guys, missing emails and all of that good stuff. Next step is amateur web development,* revamping my old sites, and building some new ones. Wish me luck!

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