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A little about myself...
In high school, nothing was more important to me than skateboarding. I dreamed, drew, watched, wore, talked and did skateboarding. Unlike traditional sports the only person you are competing with is yourself. Other skateboarders can inspire you but "winning" was about reaching your personal goals. It's a lot like business in that sense. Sure you have your competitors but winning at business is about working on reaching milestones.
It was this love for skateboarding and my entrepreneurial spirit that sparked my first career path; I wanted to go to college for business and start a skateboard shop.
Halfway through high school I got my hands on my first windows computer. It was a hand me down from my uncle and since it wasn't the best it forced me to figure out how to get more power out of it so I could play the games I wanted to play. It was during this time I got into a video game called Quake. It was a competitive online shooter where players battle it out in an arena with guns a blazing. Much like skateboarding it required me to spend time alone honing my skills, it even had movement system where you could learn tricks that gave you an advantage.
It was this passion I formed for online gaming and computers that caused me to switch my career plans to computers and specifically I wanted to learn computer programming. Shortly after this realization a tech school visited my homeroom, and they said all the right things. The next thing I knew I was heading to Pittsburgh, PA to go to college for computer programming.
It was during my first few years at college that I formed a competitive gaming clan. I had to get a website built, find members that worked well together, hold practices and lead our team through online leagues. I spent so much time gaming I often wondered if I was wasting my time. Ten years later would I look back and think it was a waste of time? Now over ten years later I can look back and realize how much it taught me about the business world. Through leading the team and forming tournaments taught me skills that would then make me a better leader and business professional.
After college, I found myself working at an IT help desk for national clothing and apparel chain. When a store had a problem with their computer systems, they'd call us. It wasn't the most existing work but it paid the bills, and the people were great. One day a coworker, who I am still friends with now, approached me with an idea. He wanted to create a website and make money from promoting coupon codes for Dell Computers, and he wanted to know if I'd help out with content. It sounded cool, and I said yes.
As the months went on, the site was growing, but it wasn't making much money. I started researching how to increase a website's traffic, and it was during this research I stumbled upon SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I realized that with enough know how we could get his website ranking for significant keywords. We even got a different domain name as a result (keywords in your domain name weighed heavily at the time).
Through my research and applying these SEO tactics his site did get more traffic... so much so that Dell told him he had to take the site down.
During the Consumer Cowboy project, I realized I had a genuine interest in SEO and found out you could get paid to do it. I knew this would be my next career path, and I took the first web job I could get.
I took the role as web design project manager of a brand new web department at an agency that provided on-hold music services. I spent a year gaining web design and optimization experience and in the late hours, I was worked to get my personal website ranking on the first page for "Pittsburgh SEO". Once it ranked third, I knew it was time to take the next step and find an SEO agency.
I did my research, emailed the number one ranked company, and got an interview. Luckily they had an opening for what I'll call a web monkey ( a person who did whatever website stuff that needed to be done). I came in with so much interest and passion in SEO that within three months, I became the lead project manager and within another six months, I became Director of Operations. OK, it was a small team (6 people), so the titles were a bit glamorized but hey, I was excited, and I was learning so much from working on dozens of SEO projects at a time.
We later produced SEO software, added a web design branch, became one of the top growing companies in the city, and I got to work with businesses of all sizes from small businesses to Fortune 500s.
Nearly eight years later I was still Director of Operations at the SEO agency, but it was no longer enough. I conquered that goal and by this time, it started to feel the same day-in-day-out. It was at this point I knew I had to follow the dream I had way back in high school and became my own boss.
The idea from Blog Hands came from a simple observation: Ever since my first SEO project, Consumer Cowboy, blog content still plays a role in a successful digital marketing campaign. Whether your focus is on SEO, email marketing, social media or online advertising, blog content is extremely valuable. Virtually any company that wants to do business online could benefit from blog content.
I also realized that it was hard to find a good content company for outsourcing blog posts. Most of the services in the space were established at a time when content was being churned and burned. The focus was on quantity instead of quality. Search engines weren't thrilled with this content.
I set out to create the blog writing service I would want to hire.
Since I was starting Blog Hands, from the ground up, I knew I had to show expertise quickly. Who would want to buy blog content from "blog experts" who hardly have any content themselves?
I quickly put together a list of virtually everything people would research around creating and optimizing a blog for personal and business use. The result was not only enough content to get BlogHands.com off the ground it was also sufficient to fill a book.