Ryan Levesque is the author of the best-selling book Ask, and creator of the Ask Formula, one of the most important paradigm shifts to influence online marketing in the last decade. That’s impressive in and of itself, but Ryan is also a truly self-made man. He has found himself starting from nothing more than once in his life, and has ingeniously reimagined himself and his circumstances to rise to the top time and time again.
From paying his own way through Brown, to Scrabble tile jewelry, the great success of Ask, and everything in between, Ryan is truly an inspiration.
Working closely with small businesses has given us great insight into the day-to-day challenges small business owners face. One of them is staying competitive in an increasingly online-dominated world where unless you are one of the top Google search results, you are doomed.
So why is it that even today so many small companies feel daunted by the thought of SEO? Why are small businesses still struggling to find their feet when it comes to online marketing?
On the one hand you have SEO specialists who struggle to explain complex terminology such as no-follow links, editorial appropriateness, and link building strategies in an understandable manner.
On the other hand you have small business owners worrying about making payroll and potentially losing focus and time from the more immediate issues in their businesses.
Many SMB owners and solopreneurs feel like they can’t compete with the ‘big guys’ out there simply because they don’t have the money or the manpower to achieve real SEO success. These technologies seem somehow reserved for the big multinational corporations with deep pockets and whole departments dedicated to online marketing.
But the truth is, you are scared. And I’m scared, too.
I am paranoid when it comes to SEO. When you read news sites like Search Engine Land and Mashable, and log into SEM Rush, it’s scary to see the penalties handed out left, right and center to what you thought were reputable websites, for things that seemed generally white hat just a few years ago.
You become overly-suspicious of the negative impacts the lack of SEO can have on your business as well keep thinking ‘what if I try and get it wrong?’
But these feelings are something we all have to face.
So before we tackle how small business owners can approach the issue of online marketing with confidence, here are the top 3 reasons we have found businesses struggle. And you just might see a little of your own concerns in these struggles.
Back in January at our annual company retreat, the Editorial team decided that, in order to stay true to one of our core values, “Openness and Transparency”, we wanted to open the curtain on the company to give you a chance to see how things really work behind the scenes – hence the “Inside Firepole” series.
When we were trying to decide what to feature this time around, we bounced a few ideas back and forth… and then it hit us. Why not ask our audience exactly what they wanted to know?
So we did… and you did not disappoint!
When first envisioned this post, we imagined that it would be a single post answering all the questions that people asked, but we ended up getting so many great questions that we’re breaking the answers into multiple posts.
So what was the most pressing question that came up?
The two questions we’re answering today are:
Our audience didn’t pull any punches, and so today we’re laying bare the stories and side hustles of some of the people behind the scenes here at Firepole. From freelancers to small business owners to bloggers and everything in between, we run the spectrum of online business types.
Truth is, there are quite a few of us who are working on building our ABM (Audience Business Masterclass) and CBL (Course Builder’s Laboratory) businesses behind the scenes. You just don’t hear about it because as a full-time job, Firepole is our main priority.
We’re just like any of you who are working a full time job and doing your best to build your side hustle. Luckily, we have a boss who understands, and who has created a company culture where it’s not only understood, but supported!
Charles H. Green is the co-author of the well known book, The Trusted Advisor, and founder and CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates. He’s taught for Kellogg and Columbia business schools and written for the Harvard Business Review, American Laywer, and the CPA Journal. He also write the blog, TrustMatters.
Charles is bringing a revolutionary idea to business, a sense of trust that extends not only to customers, but also to employees. In today’s podcast, Danny and Charles talk reciprocity, how being trustworthy isn’t enough, staying personal while scaling, and much more.