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From Bank Manager To Freedom (Linkbuilding and Influencer Marketing)

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sdbrownlie

Building Links for SEO Peeps
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Oct 26, 2017
20
41
Royal Leamington Spa
Hi everyone,

Just about to finish up the last few pages of TMF so thought I'd introduce myself properly after some brief lurking while I read through the book.

I definitely started out in the slowlane. Ran up college debts, got a job at a bank... didn't earn a whole lot in the early years.

One thing that always confused me at the bank, after I moved to commercial banking as a Portfolio Manager, looking after $1-10m turnover businesses, was one of my mentors and senior managers there. He was one of the most talented people I'd ever met, but was satisfied with working at the bank. I always looked at him vs our customers and wondered what he could achieve 'out in the real world'.

That was my 'aha' moment and I left the bank about 6 months later to start my own commercial finance brokerage.

I think there's a lot to be said for starting something in an industry you're an expert in. My years of experience at the bank meant I knew more about how things really worked than a vast majority of the competing brokers who just sold 'off the shelf stuff' from the main broker-focused commercial lender. Yeah there was just one that tons packaged/sold for....

It was cool to read TMF and see a similar journey - from limo driver to limo booking entrepreneur as it's always something I've believed in - being at least highly familiar with an industry before you go piling into trying to make something to solve industry problems.

During this time I had my 'best luck' and 'worst luck' in the space of a year. The break was getting a contract at a residential mortgage agency that looked to outsource their commercial. I got to see them making a fortune from leads sold by LeadBay and all generated online. Everyone in the industry talked shit about bought leads/how you couldn't make money.

The brokers at this place were doing £250k+ and the owners were doing millions.

As a former banker who thought all business and sales were ground out manually through networking and connections, this was somewhat of a revelation (though I realize not to any of you who'd already read TMF).

Now LeadBay didn't do commercial leads which gave me my next break - I had to figure out how they got their residential leads (turns out it was just a pile of leadgen sites/'mortgage magazines' and such owned by independent entrepreneurs) and reverse engineer how I could do that for commercial.

With no skills I knocked up a landing page and send PPC traffic to it from Google. And so my journey in online marketing started... It went well, to say the least.

Unfortunately the death of my business partner, shortly after the credit crunch which also massacred our business, led to me closing up shop and taking a break. We'd lost everything and I wasn't a productive human being for a little while.

So I did what anyone would do back then during the poker boom when work/doing real stuff wasn't something I felt like... I played poker for a living for 18 months.

But as you can probably imagine from my story so far, clicking buttons and staring at the screen trading my time for $ wasn't what I wanted to do so I started playing around with affiliate marketing in the poker space, selling poker coaching packages, building a community etc.

That never led to riches (though it did lead to lots of fun, easy money, Vegas trips and other fun stuff) but it did lead to contracts to work with a couple of agencies - one general, then later one that specialised in outreach.

As one would expect, agencies want to keep all their easy outreach/linkbuilding in house where it's cheap and only tend to outsource the stuff they 'are struggling with' or 'can't do'. That's why I cut my teeth doing linkbuilding for sites in the:

V**gra space
Payday loans
Gambling/poker

I later realised that what I was doing for those agencies was something that was in high demand and eminently scalable to service dozens of agencies, and hundreds of in-house SEO leads who needed their tough work handling.

But unlike the competition, who struggled to do things properly (and therefore mostly cheat/buy links/use their own sites/fake networks) in the very niches agencies were struggling with and trying to outsource - we had the skills and experience to handle that effectively.

With expertise in outreach it made sense to broaden our product portfolio to include Public Relations, Influencer Marketing, and Reputation Management, and that innovation/expanding our range based on a core skill has allowed us to continue to grow nicely throughout last year.

I read TMF because I wanted to make smart decisions going forward and planning for the next steps in the road ahead.

Looking forward to interacting with all the other positive voices on the forum!

Cheers,
Steve
 
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