Today’s guest on the Niche Pursuit podcast is the CEO of Nav 43, Ben Dankiw. Ben is a trained search engine marketing specialist and has built up a successful PPC and SEO agency over the past six years. He’s worked with many clients from all walks of life, including Porsche and Ceridian.
The longtime listener of the podcast is here today to talk about his journey. He certainly has a lot to share, including his expertise in almost every area of digital marketing, so whatever part of marketing piques your interest, Ben has you covered with helpful insights.
Ben started at a PPC agency and then moved on to freelancing. He talks about the strategies and skills he learned during that time and how they ultimately led him to start his own agency, which is now a thriving business.
Ben talks about the differences between freelancing, working for an agency, and ultimately running your own agency. It’s fascinating to hear from someone who has actually done all three. In addition, the conversation focuses on building systems and, in particular, the value and opportunities you can get from having them in place.
One of these opportunities was building content sites, which is what Ben Dankiw and his team are now doing for clients. You get to hear about the process involved from beginning to end, including the tools they use and a whole lot more.
Other Things Discussed By Ben Dankiw Include:
- The Niche Agency He Started In The Beginning
- Transitioning From Paid Search To SEO
- Planning & Roadmapping Websites
- Keyword Research
- The Pandemic
- Networking & Word of Mouth Marketing
- How To Grow & Scale Your Projects
- Accepting A Challenge To Double A Websites Traffic For $20k
- Mistakes Made Along The Way
- Tools Used For The Agency
- Intersecting Niches
- Plus Much More!
Ben is a successful entrepreneur with expertise in multiple digital marketing and business areas. He offers a ton of helpful advice and tips during the interview, so taking notes, as always, is recommended — enjoy the episode.
Links & Resources Mentioned During The Podcast Interview:
This Episode is Sponsored by: RankIQ and One Little Web
Watch the full interview here:
read the full transcription:
Jared: Welcome back to Niche Pursuits podcast. My name is Jared Bowman. Today. We’re joined by Ben Dankiw from nav 43. Welcome Ben . I’m very excited for today’s conversation. We are going to thread, obviously the concept of website building in that’s what a lot of this podcast is, but perhaps not from a typical perspective that we start with.
So many times our interviews come at it from, uh, people kind of starting a website or to on the side. Yours is a, a very different story. So without burying the lead, bring us up to speed. Give us a little bit of an intro and a little bit of background on you. And then we’ll dive into where you’re at and what you’re doing.
And what’s working in your journey along the.
Ben: Absolutely. So I have been a longtime listener of, uh, niche pursuits, first of all. So for everyone listening, I was right here in the first two episodes, listened to Spencer and, and have been follow along with Jared in the journey too. So, uh, I definitely know what it feels like to be a, a, a user tuning in for the first time maybe or whatnot, but myself.
Um, I built that’s awesome. Yeah. I built an agency, um, over the last six years, we’ve scaled an agency up. Um, I started out kind of in the paid search side of things, which is kind of funny, which the transition from paid search to SEO is. It’s not one that happens a whole lot, but, uh, started out. No, it’s not, you know, they’re very different worlds.
I find, uh, Uhhuh. Um, but I started out in paid search, uh, early days, agency life. I was a math major, doubled major with business and kind of didn’t know where I was going and found the whole lead generation thing. I actually paid for a seminar, uh, myself to go find out what this whole Google AdWords thing was in 2010 or 2009.
Um, some of the early days, uh, anyone who knows PPC world back then, it was much different.
Jared: wild, wild west in comparison to now, right? Oh yeah,
Ben: exactly. The, you know, 2 cent clicks and all that good stuff. Oh man. Those are the good old days. Yeah, exactly. So, uh, kind of climbed my way up the corporate ladder a little bit and then decided to, to branch out, started, uh, what was an agency at the time?
And I was the VP of marketing of. Two person partnership yep. Uh, and started that way. And we actually, it was interesting at the time we, we found a niche, uh, like I was managing brands like Canadian tire and anyone in Canada would know that, but, um, FedEx and a lot of these other brands. Um, so I had a lot of big agency experience in the first year and a half of my career, but, uh, I found a niche in the restaurant marketing space.
Um, none of them were doing Google ads, right? None of them knew what a GMB was. None of them knew local degeneration. They didn’t have marketing managers in place. So I actually started my journey as a restaurant marketing agency, very early on. We, we focused on nightclubs restaurants and a little bit of real estate, but we got outta real estate real fast.
Jared: That’s a tougher game.
Ben: I imagine. Yeah, it was just, you know what, when you’re dealing one to one with real agents, it was a little bit tricky and, uh, we weren’t real estate agents, anything at the time. So the game was a little different than restaurants. We knew restaurants. We, we had like a, a, this basically local gen, um, we to stand out.
So it was easier for us to zone in on that. And we focused in, on groups of restaurants. So instead of just like one single restaurant, it’d be, um, a, you know, a corporation that manages 10 to 15. So they would have the budget to like wanna invest into corporate marketing. But not really an infrastructure of a team that have like one marketing manager.
So started the first like freelance agency I had or freelance agency freelancing for about 1520 restaurants. And, uh, I mean that, that kind of blossomed from there, but that’s kinda where I got the start and said, you know what? I quit everything like spur of the moment cashed in my RSPs, which was like I was 22 and a lot younger and a lot more risk.
Well, I was okay with a lot more risk at the time. Um, but left the corporate job and started this first restaurant marketing agency.
Jared: So when did you start the, when did you I’ll I’ll I’ll, I’ll use ear quotes as well with you, but it is, I mean, it’s in agency, it’s, it’s a freelance agency, but so when did you start your agency pursuing the restaurant side of things?
What year was that?
Ben: That would’ve been. The end of 2012. Um, and the beginning of 2013, I had two other partners in the space. Um, and the three of us, one of them was another PPC manager, just like myself. And the third one, uh, was a re was actually a director of marketing at restaurants. And he actually was like, guys, this is a completely untapped space, was the one who was like, we should do this.
And the three of us, we, we got a few clients and, uh, we were all like, Hey, we’re all gonna quit. We’re all gonna do this together. And it just shows like, you know, until bigs happened, the paths of life or so unknown, like the three of us were all going to do this together. Mm-hmm and one person got promoted and the other person felt like for them, the, the, you know, the path of a, of a safer job was the right path.
And I’m still friends with, um, partners with one of them still actually, and friends with the other, uh, quite closely. And they just chose to stay at their agency. So I quit and I
Jared: went solo. Is that one of those ones? You’re like, okay, we’re all jumping on three, right. 1, 2, 3. And. Wait, wait, wait guys, you’re supposed to jump with me.
Wait, wait. I’m all. Oh, shoot. I’m all on.
Ben: I’ll admit my current partner, he, to this day, he’s my business partner in now 43, which we’ll get to, uh, he’ll he’ll still talk about the fact he’s like, yeah, we kind of let you go, just go rogue there and feel really bad that you, he quit your job. And we all decided not to, so it all worked out, honestly.
Like it worked out. I out, I didn’t take that risk. I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Jared: Yeah. To some degree sometimes that’s really what it, what it is. I mean, I mean, so you had a background a bit, it sounds like a couple years worth of working at a larger, I guess. Is it an agency you were working at and you were doing PPC, not on your own, but at an agency.
I mean, how, how vital or influential do you think that was for you to then lead off in your own? You know, did it have an impact? Did you get to cut your teeth? Did you get to learn about managing budgets, uh, in ways that maybe you, you know, you would’ve had to learn on your own and maybe more costly on your own
Honestly, I think it was, uh, it was necessary. Uh, and I would, if I, in like hindsight, I probably should have stayed a little bit longer. Hmm. Um, and I, I’ve always kind of been a little bit an entrepreneurial spirit myself, but at the same time, I was there for about two ye almost two years. and I made the jump and I had the, and I had a lot of like good things going for me in that’s in, in that agency.
Like I was identified as a top performer in this, in the department. They, you know, here’s your path to become a director and et cetera. So, um, I definitely had things going well in terms of progression, but I decided that I, you know, this, this with peel was a little bit more, but I can’t there’s the first year, uh, Manfred was my, was one of my, uh, bosses and mentors.
And he was just essential in like me learning client management, me learning organizational skills, like just, um, validation on all that self learning that you can find online. Like everything we found online, there’s you wanna learn how to do a specific tactic, but to see it put together in a team, um, even my colleagues, us learning together and having four or five other people being like, I tried this how’d that work.
And you, when you’re just starting out and testing, um, it’s hard to get you. You’re basically accelerating your learning. So I felt like that year and a half helped me like, and you know, one time I spent $10,000, I wasn’t supposed to spend somewhere. How do you figure that out? And one time I, you know, stuff like that, where you, you learn how, um, Real the marketing results.
You’re, you’re, you’re, you’re doing are. And, uh, I was there for about a year and a half, but I probably in like, in hindsight, like I said, I probably think two and a half, three years gives you a really good baseline. Cause then you get that progression of, you know, being more charged with project development.
Whereas when you’re a junior, you’re kind of really tactical, like you’re, this is your job. This is, this is what you gotta do. Uh, I definitely could use a little bit more baking, but no, it, it helped me get where I
Jared: was for sure. That’s good. Yeah. I think, um, you, you kind of echo what a lot of maybe people who.
Live on in the online world, right? Whether it’s website, building SEO, freelancing, like it can be pretty lonely and it’s, um, it’s difficult to bounce ideas off of people. We all kind of keep our projects a little bit, uh, private for obvious reasons, but it also means sometimes it’s hard to, to, to learn and grow with colleagues when you have to, um, to, to work in silo as a freelancer, uh, or on your projects on the side.
So I thought that might be something you might, um, you might, you might say or bring
Ben: out. No, absolutely. And it actually kind of led to like a lot of my entrepreneurial space, uh, time in the last 10 years has been with partners. Some good, some bad some in between, but it’s, uh, the solo printer space is exactly that.
Um, I, I would definitely recommend people who are, who are in their early days, especially, um, as you’re more experienced, you can kind of find your. You know what works for you and you can bring in either, uh, strategic investors or partners to, to, to help grow what you’re doing. Um, but in the early days when you don’t have much money and you’re kind of learning it with people, having a partner actually was, it helped me a lot in the, like we failed together.
Like I went own that first business, the re um, kind of, we ended, I ended up selling it off to another agency. So, um, You see, you go through the struggles together with someone, it can bring out the best and the worst.
Jared: So 2012 or 13, you’re, you’re doing a restaurant agency for lack of a better terms. Yeah.
Uh, let’s keep, let’s keep, uh, threading this, uh, this journey out. Uh, I’m guessing that wasn’t nav 43 that you, that, that we’re talking about right now.
Ben: No, no, that was, that was another agency called Creo and, and, uh, you know, the next few years I spent freelancing subcontracting to other agencies. So I did get a lot more agency experience and, you know, that helped build out my network.
So from 2012 to about 2015, um, or 2013, I should say actually, cause that’s when I really was away from my previous agency, 2013 to 2015, those, you know, two and a half years or so. Um, that’s when I was. Still running my own clients. Like, you know, I kept some of the there’s probably, you know, eight to 10 clients I was managing when I was working for other agencies working as their director, as their, you know, strategic lead on this project, et cetera.
So I got a little bit more experience across, in like a subcontracting role
Jared: when, um, what was different maybe from a high level, like what was different for you during that first foray into doing restaurants, agency freelancing versus maybe what you’re doing now. Mm-hmm and I, I think the big reason I’m asking the question is to just maybe highlight a bit of the journey you’ve been on the progression, you’ve done, maybe some of the mistakes that you’ve made in those earlier years of freelancing and starting your own agency, that you’ve kind of learned.
Ben: Yeah. So in those early days it was a lot of just get it done. There was not much planning and forward thinking and seeing where I’m going next. And, you know, it was just that sale in front of me. And also it was, you know, a lot of it was just, you sell, you do the work, you manage the client. Like there wasn’t large teams around, you built up that way.
So it was a lot more running done. Um, you know, processes weren’t in place templates were we built some templates, but like, you know, even essentially it was, you know, Excel documents and, and whatnot. Right? So, uh, a lot of the things that helped, but like, like laid the foundation for a team to operate just weren’t there.
So like, you know, to scale that kind of operation would just be. I mean, you come to that crossroad of like, okay, I’m at this point, like, I can’t really do more work myself and you don’t have processes in place. You don’t have training built out. You don’t have a, a brand, um, image of where you’re gonna go, like a vision to where you’re taking it.
Like we were where we ever gonna be like the restaurant agency of Canada or, or the us or whatnot. Right. So we didn’t have that kind of forward thinking. So back then it was a lot more just what’s today. What’s tomorrow. Yeah.
Jared: You know? Yeah. Yeah. It reminds me of the book, uh, uh, Michael Gerber, the emo, right.
He talks about how, you know, a lot of people end up with a business and they are the business owner, but really all they own is their own job. And they work for the business and the business is really just their job of employment that they have rather than being the owner with processes and brand and all the other things you touched on in place.
Yeah. That actually operate as a business.
Ben: That’s exactly it. And I, and at the time I never really considered myself a business owner. I, I never thought of myself as a bitch owner. It was only until now 43. And even, even in the first year now 43, it wasn’t quite that, but it was only until 2016, 17 that I started actually thinking, no, I, I own this.
And it goes where I’m taking it. right.
Jared: You know? Well, let’s talk about now 43, because that is an interesting story that I wanna, I wanna get more into. Obviously we chatted a little bit off air about the build up here, but, um, when did nav 43 come about how’d that transition
Ben: happen? So nav 43 started in 2016.
It was interesting, uh, uh, a story because we actually circled back into the restaurant space. Um, I move that, you know, right. It, cause I had such a network in that space and, and that’s kind of, that’s part of, of something I would, I would always recommend. And this is my second foray, but, um, we had a list of people who wanted to work with us before we have at nav 43, at least like we didn’t walk in with no revenue.
Like when I did the first jump, uh, it was like, okay, here’s some clients who are all interested and we just let’s, let’s do this. And we made the jump very quickly, but now I’m 43. I built up about 40,000 in like pot, like my potential in, in contract work of like a month and being like, Hey, like, that’s, this is, we can start with this and we can scale that up a certain way.
Um, so I had four, three other partners and, uh, one person was the finance person. And I brought in, he, he, he lent in a, a few hundred thousand dollars of working capital. Okay. Um, and then there was a strategic partner and two execution partners and myself, I was on the paid side and the other partner was on the SEO side.
So I had four people. We all came together and started this. Now, in addition to the 40,000 in revenue at the time that we had in the business from that was really just from the other SEO partner and myself. Um, the two of us were running that and the other two strategic partner and the financial partner.
um, they were the ones like, Hey, let, let’s make this a team. Let’s make this a business and let’s scale this. And it really changed the dynamic. Um, even though over the years, um, some partners are gone outta that group. Uh, it cha it, it gave us working capital to actually dip into and higher senior level staff, which is something we could never really do before without taking a very major jump, um, out of our, you know, smaller revenues as well as, um, infrastructure for an office.
And at the time, you know, now we’re not really working much in an office, but at the time that was a, that was a big thing. Agency appeal, downtown Toronto, um, you know, come in, uh, have fun, you know, have your, your workspaces all set up open concept office. Um, you know, we had clients coming in and out. It was, it was, it, it was, we were able to have a fun atmosphere that kind of agency atmosphere.
Um, in addition to hiring some of the right people to help us grow together. So it could turn in that, like, you know, two person, three person, like everyone kind of running gun to five, six very quickly. And, and at five, six, we kind of went entered into that, like, uh, that wild west kinda like, okay, let’s, let’s start growing.
Let’s do this together. What
Jared: do you think was the big driver of growth for the business? Were you guys doing a lot of outbound marketing? Um, you have all this marketing experience. So did you put it to use for the business or was it just more organic growth that happened faster because you had more momentum at that point?
Ben: Uh, no, we, so we had, I I’d say the base, the sorry, the, it all came down to the fact that we. Had quick results with some pretty high profile clients. We were able to, um, show like with, with our background of who we’d worked before and the results we got in the restaurants, and you could see like ranking first in Toronto for this ranking first in Canada for this.
And it came it that word of mouth kind of marketing was really the base, like the base of that early growth. We didn’t actually do much marketing. It was all networking and word of mouth. Uh, the two, those, those two things together because I brought on these partners and they each had their respective networks that gave us a base, like a kind of background of, of leads that we could lean on to, to like at least feed some early growth.
And then we had some really high profile marketing clients, like, you know, things where we go. We we’d be at a, I remember one night at a bar and, and someone who’s well known in marketing space, you know, challenged us that we couldn’t double his site traffic in a month. And he went, he sent us 20 grand and we.
So like, you know, as it, it is definitely that was on, uh, my business partner, mostly for that, that one feat, but things like that, where, okay, like here’s a goal, let’s do it. And then let’s talk about it. So we really didn’t do much like marketing, but we did like at least, you know, have our case studies and, and spread that when we had our, when we, you know, when air our sales materials and whatnot.
So it was mostly word of mouth and, uh, referral.
Jared: So you’re telling me there’s a lot of $20,000 clients hanging out at bars these days.
Ben: that was a wild one. I, I, I wish those happened more often,
Jared: uh, man, I’ve been hanging out all the wrong spots. Yeah. Totally. Okay. Okay. That’s good. I mean, that’s the best kind of growth, right?
The kind where it’s people, it’s word of mouth. It’s cuz sometimes it’s hard to create, but um, clearly if you’re getting, you know, rapid results, how did you guys go about, you talked about how you have a paid side of your agency and a, a SEO side of your agency. How’s that dynamic been? Do you find most clients hire both?
Do you package both together? Do most clients come in and go with one or the other? Like how, how does that, uh, how does that workload balance with
Ben: clients? Uh, you know, what they, they operate so differently. I can tell you the hundreds of people who’ve come across our doorsteps over the last few years.
Very few of them say we need both. But we, we have worked with some, um, very early stage companies in the beginning when they’re say they raise funds and they’re, and they’re doing their seed raising or whatever. And, uh, they come to, we need to do like a go to market plan. Like here’s our overall plan. And usually we’re doing a planning thing.
We can integrate both SEL and PPC. Um, but typically for, for us, at least a lot of the times they come in for one service and then they realize they like working with us and we can upsell and work on the other service together. Um, though, because a lot of our work comes from word of mouth and referrals.
It’s now 43 did a great job on our SEO. Okay. I’m gonna, I’m gonna go reach out to them from I say, oh, you also do PPC. Well, let’s hire you for SEO first. Yep. And then if we like working with you, then we’ll hire you for PPC. That’s like a and vice versa, uh, on the PPC side, um, We actually keep the departments pretty separate, like not, not separate in terms of, um, not collaborating, but we have an S SCM or PPC department.
We have an SEO department and our account managers and project managers bring them together. Um, but at the same time, they just operate very differently. SEO operates more of a, almost like a dev sprint where, you know, we have bigger, we have bigger milestones we’re working week to week. And we that’s how we, like every Monday we meet together and we, and we, and we break down our week and we have that fits into our month school, which fits into our quarter goal.
Um, but you know, PPC, you have so many campaign changes, tweaks and, and whatnot that are much more immediate that happen. So a client comes with a new marketing strategy or new marketing plan and it operates a lot differently. So we still operate it in sprints as well, but they they’re usually on separate.
Kind of separate workflows.
Jared: That’s interesting. That’s very interesting. Okay. Well let’s, uh, so how’s the growth been? Um, you know, uh, obviously we’re, you know, that that’s still six years ago. I mean, where is the company at, uh, now, you know, looking back six years from now?
Ben: Yeah. So we, early on, we, we made some, I would say mistakes in spreading our focus too far.
Like we were an agency, but then we wanted to build a tech product and the agency wa didn’t have a strong enough foundation. So we tried RA, we raised some money and we built a WordPress plugin, which I still think is a great idea. And it’s one of those things where it’s like, you know, like you see a, uh, something, a business fail, and you’re like this.
The potential to be great. Mm-hmm but we burned through too much money. We didn’t have the right leadership because no one was really running the project, um, from and owning the project from the kind of ground up there. So, uh, we were like putting like a dev was leading it at one point a marketing person leading another point.
And you know, it was just a, oh no. And I walked away from that product. Um, years ago I was back in like 2018, I think. Um, so, you know, we, we had our focus split across so many things and we were trying at the time, when we built nav 43, we built another company called navigate technologies. And that’s where we had dev companies.
We had a marketing agency and a development agency. Hmm. Um, and we were trying to, um, kind of pair the two together, uh, across. And there was also another agency that I had, I didn’t have any ownership with, which was a design agency. Um, and the three of them were kind of always meant to bridge this gap of digital technology and creative.
Um, but. Things just keep, you know, things, evolve, things, change the, we realize that they’re very different spaces. Like you’re not raising to build a augmented reality carpet app when you’re in the marketing world. Like we were going to the wrong places for money. We were letting a, a dev team kind of run, run shop and, uh, without, you know, getting users on board to the plugin and lots of, lots of different things.
So, um, in those first couple years from like 2016, so 2016 to thousand 17, we spent a year really focusing on the agency and had some good growth. We grew it to, I think we did about 700,000 that first year, um, which was great for the first year of a company. And, you know, gave us some good hope that we could keep scaling it.
Um, but then the next year, We still grew, but there wasn’t much profit. We were constantly putting out fires because we were trying to run this tech company and we were trying to consult across this design company. And there was a lot of, a lot of that. So, uh, the first couple years, uh, we, we hit a lot of roadblocks and realized that like, you know, we, our focus spread too thin.
We weren’t to be, we had to be the best search agency and to be the best search agency you have to focus on, on continuously evolving and, and getting, getting better at it. Right. So, um, nowadays where we have, I, again, have some more different splits, we made sure the foundation in the agency was there first.
Jared: Um, I don’t wanna overstep the analogy. Yeah. But all I keep hearing, uh, is so many comparisons or similarities for maybe people who are starting a website and they get success with. And they go start three more websites. Yep. And then a year later they have their focus that split way too, uh, spread too thin and, and focus is split too many ways and they’re not really getting success on maybe any of the projects anymore or their original success isn’t growing anymore.
And it’s almost funding these other projects that aren’t growing because their concentration and their efforts are just spread too thin. Yeah. There is a time and place to start a second and a third website, if you have a successful first one, but it almost sounds like a very mirrored journey to what you took now.
Ben: No, absolutely. Um, it, you know, and here’s the thing is you’ll hear a success story, um, of someone who did 10 websites and their process will, you will, , you’ll hear about that. And, and, and you’ll hear many of those, like in terms of like, maybe they do 20 sites, fifth 30 sites, and they have a process in place to do that.
That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for your situation. Mm-hmm like even, even recently, and I’m sure we’ll get to this soon, like with us launching some more of these brands, I originally had a plan to, to go to 10 to 10 websites. Well, I recently in the last couple months said, you know what, let’s stop at five.
I’m just gonna stop at five. And let’s, I want, I wanna focus on the monetization side of it. I wanna focus on, um, getting better in the content and, and, you know, like I said, we’ll probably get to expand on this more, but, um, I recently shifted from saying, you know what, maybe we’re, we’re not there. You know, that that 10 website portfolio where your risk is a little more diversified is super appealing and then we might get there.
But right now I decided, you know what, let’s stop at five. Let’s make sure let’s, let’s build these the best we can. And then expand on those five. Once we have these learnings and best practices, like let’s, let’s build the custom word plus template from scratch rate now with all of our SEO techniques built into it.
And then when we build number six, we have a good template.
Jared: yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, that’s great. So, so learning curve in the first couple of, of years with nav 43, um, is spreading yourself too thin, but it sounds like you guys buckled down and really, really kind of nailed the processes, uh, going forward.
Ben: Uh, we ended up there, there was four partners in the beginning. We ended up buying out a partner, the three of us mm-hmm . Um, and that was just us not being aligned in a lot of things. And it just shows that like some, like, you know, not to speak against the first year where, you know, having a finance partner was a good thing for us.
And then in year three, when we need to where, where, you know, we’re, we’re not hitting our profit margins and we wanna be more agile move around and you have an investor who wants to take it to, like, I wanna make this much money and we need to do this, this, this, and they’re not willing to work with you on like where the agency needs to go, not where they wanted to go.
Right. Um, so we, we kind of came together and bought out that partner. Um, so that was a big shift cuz then, you know, that took a lot more. Okay. Now the, the money first is gone um, you know, and at the end of the day, uh, and so the money person’s gone. So a little more risk, but, and we ended up being fine, except for that was in 2020 February, which ah, there we go.
Uh, when you take out a high interest, six figure loan to, uh, to a bio and a pandemic hits the next month, um, costs it, it, it could, you can lose some sleep and you get a couple good hairs.
Jared: Yeah. Well, I don’t wanna, I’ve said this many times the last couple months, but obviously you figured out because, because I can’t tell you how many people we’ve been interviewing on the podcast where a story was born out of the.
Out of COVID hitting, uh, in 2020. Right. And I mean, we’re now two plus years past that. And so we have maturation to some of these stories they’re starting to mature and I think we have another one coming. We absolutely do. I think we’re about to hear another one.
Ben: It was, it was February, 2020. Uh, we that’s, February 28th was when the bio show my goodness.
Um, we had office space together that beautiful. You. $30,000 plus a month office that we were all sharing. We ended that lease in February and we were at least shopping me and my other, the two other partners at the time, um, in March and decided at the time I was actually living in Panama too. So I was doing all this living abroad they, the, they were least shopping while I was living in the jungle um, but not to detract too much from the story.
Uh, we were basically moving our agency, um, had to completely like, you know, tell our team that we, you know, had bought out the partner and, um, because we had a misalignment of vision, but that doesn’t change where we think we can bring this. Um, and in that month of March, our revenues cut in half . So, um, that was tricky.
So it was interesting cuz like, you know, you think now that you, like you said, you get to see in hindsight from March to July or August, there was some, we were coming to a, a crossroads cuz I had a lot of travel clients. Had a lot of restaurant clients still. Yeah. And
Jared: PPC also, probably wasn’t getting in just no matter what type of client you had there probably wasn’t a lot of budgets going to that as businesses were uncertain about where to deploy their
That’s exactly it. So for those first four months, and like, I was like, no, I would pause if I was YouTube. like, you know what I mean? Like you, you try, you try to get, you know, let’s, let’s, let’s, you know, let’s market in a digital marketing, it’s important at a time. And you’re like, no, I get it. We don’t really know where it’s going.
Um, so those first four months were really difficult, but it actually, you know, I don’t say blast disguise, but it, it made us lean out our operation in terms of, we didn’t, we didn’t get an office again, we went full remote. Um, you know, a lot of the things that we weren’t, maybe we just didn’t need, we weren’t spending on, we, there was no meals, entertainment, budget being spent that was like on networking and, and going to like conferences and events that like were expensive at the time.
Um, you know, so it cut down our spending. It made us like, think about things a little bit more on a budget wise. And then in September, like. I, you know, what, what’s more important in a remote, you know, where people are staying at home in eCommerce and generation. So budgets came back. Yeah. And, you know, last year was our best year yet.
And we’ve been growing ever since. So, um, it, it actually was like a kickstart to something that was very scary and don’t me wrong. I know in the grand scheme of things, marketing budget, isn’t the number one thing. But you know, those first four months when you’re all your revenues are cut and you’re trying to start a new, you know, you’ve bought out a, a major majority partner in an aggressive play.
It was, it was quite some time
Jared: I run an agency as well. And I remember the, those, those first months were really scary just because you just, there were too many variables. Yeah. And you just didn’t know how, you know, you realize that your, your business is really in the hands. All the other businesses that are kind of interconnected in all of this, and you just don’t know which way it’s gonna end up going.
You might have a solid business plan with great referrals and good processes and all these things, but there’s certain events that kind of come in and, and can overtake that. It’s really,
Ben: and, and some things like I had one, I had one employee who, every single one of his clients pause. Every single one.
Wow. Like, so, you know, and when it’s, it sounds like, okay, whatever is easy, you know, cuz there were benefits. Uh, there were government like, um, benefits for keeping people employed. So when I didn’t wanna lay off, I tried everything I could to not have to lay off staff. I was like good staff, but I wanna be here.
I don’t wanna lay anyone off. Like I just, I really don’t. So like we made projects and we, we were doing like, he built a watch site and we were doing things like these niches on his own. And I think he still has a couple of these, but the funny part was we like tried all this work into like, you know, things he and busy until August then September when things were about to come back, he quit cuz he was like, I’m bored.
And I, I don’t feel like my career is progressing enough. And I was like, ah, after all that yeah. So I mean, I wish him the best. He was a great guy. He just wanted, you know, he has his own way to go. But uh, it was, there was just so many things like that and he just didn’t know, he just couldn’t
Jared: play. Yeah.
It’s just, who knew that the business was turning around the, the next month, who knew that was around the corner. Exactly. You mentioned a couple times now websites, so. Uh, catch us up on, apparently you, I mean, you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, so certainly you’re no secret to the concept of building, you know, content sites, monetize sites, whatnot, but, um, where did those enter into, uh, what you’re doing?
Ben: Yeah, so we, you know, a few years back when we started like putting together our team, uh, one of the thing we, all, one of the things we always really pushed was an entrepreneurial spirit. And we, and this is really from my business partner at the time, Tyler, uh, who, who was a very big fan of testing. EO sites on your own.
Like he, you know, if you can’t rank your own sites, like how are you working on client sites? Like you, you, you kind of need that testing ability and be able to move FA and break stuff and lose rankings. And like, you obviously don’t wanna be doing that with a brand that you’re working on. Right? Yeah. So, um, you learn a lot more when it’s something you have full control over.
So from the beginning, from interns to juniors and, and nowadays we actually, aren’t doing in internship programs, junior programs anymore. We’re hiring senior and training into our processes. But when we were a younger company, um, to afford growing at an easier, as you know, we brought in interns and try to train them cause we had more time to do that ourselves.
Right. Mm-hmm um, and what we would always say. You’re starting a site and find your niche. Like, you know, what, find it, something, sign something you’re interested in. And like we had, you know, one person do an electrician, uh, site and he was making money off, like, you know, testers and boots and, and they were, they grew these sites, a few of them to about like 500 to a thousand dollars a month.
But it one, like I said, helped them like really accelerate their testing and two, um, they were just super interested. Like, I’d find my, my staff would be sitting there at 6 37 being like, you know, when this time we were still in office being like, let’s talk about your watch site and your electrician site.
And like, I just, I always loved that like, um, excitement into the true SEO. So seeing that kind of blossom at like a, you know, a learning phase, um, you know, over the last couple years I was like, you know what? This has legs. We can do it for fun on the side. right. and like these little sites are making a thousand bucks a month who like, we’re not putting like real resources behind.
So, um, Two, well, a year and a half ago, uh, we, I said, you know, what’s, let’s launch our first company site, like, and let’s pick a niche. Um, let’s launch it. That’s that security picks.com it’s it was just a test site. We, you know, we spun up, we, we got some cheap content made and we, we just spent like some money on some creative and over the last.
And I, you know, I think it costs us 5,000 with like time and resources and it built it up to 5,000 people a month. Just like, like just launching it and letting it sit. Like we did nothing for this site. Mm-hmm , that’s people not money. So that site never really generated a lot of money. Just kind of sitting there right now, but at least like, It was this, this like evolution over the last year and a half where I’ve been like, Hey, well, we can do that.
Why can’t we focus on the affiliate side? Let’s let’s get, share sale going. Let’s let’s actually on this next site, um, get away. Well, which is the travel, uh, wellness site we’re doing let’s, let’s focus more on the brand this time because security picks was just like a, Hey, let’s build a logo and do our own thing.
Right. So grow it up, you know? Exactly. So, um, I, you know, I’m, I’m part of, uh, part of Roadium and do a lot of, and have, have my groups there and, and, and I see the power in a lot of these content sites and I, and I, it’s so fascinating to me, just truly focusing on content. So over the last year and a half, just, um, taking this, like throw up a test security pick site and going, okay, where can I take this?
Um, I want a niche I’m interested in. I want to put some time and resource into it. So the last year, um, we’re, we’ve been focusing on not only. You know, uh, learning about running a content site, but also building up a culture within the agency to, to think about niches. Um, so everyone is kind of encouraged to have their own.
And then there’s the company once as well.
Jared: How do you divvy out responsibilities when you have like clients and, uh, you know, work to be done for clients and team members that have responsibilities for clients, and then you have these websites that are company based. And so obviously, you know, uh, company time is spent on them.
Like how have you come up with processes and workflow around that? And kind of fascinated by the ability to balance a client load while also, uh, you know, routinely and continuously building websites.
Ben: Yeah. So this all comes down to that, building the processes and, and infrastructure in place of the agency.
Like we use click up as a project management tool. We use, um, practice ignition order now, which is called ignition app to work on like scope. Um, you know, aligning budgets to scope, which we can align into our pro project management tool. Um, so we know the hours that our clients need and we are able to manage that.
And I, and I know what each of my, my staff can handle in terms of like time. And they actually like, that’s the funny thing is they love working on the niche. So it’s really, it’s not hard to be like, it’s more like, Hey, which one do you wanna work on? Like, they, they, they actually really appreciate it and volunteer that side.
And like, you know, we get to do things like, Hey net, this month we’re actually testing out keyword clustering, or this month we’re testing out brief, you know, automation. We wanna create 50 briefs and do it with automated, you know, all these different tools and like, like the kind of things where you’re like, no, we have a process with the clients.
The fun, interesting is we get to learn what the niche is. And then we just apply what we, what, what works to the clients. Right? So, um, the clients, you know, as long as they’re, you know, they’re getting the right attention, uh, from their scope of work and what we’re, we’re being paid to do, and they’re seeing results.
Like all of my staff knows that like, Okay. What are your goals? What are your priorities? Here’s our project management system. Like you can’t just, you know, mess off to work on niches all week. And it’s because we have sprints in place. We have training and documentation and we have a whole team that keeps each other accountable.
Like a project manager works with my SEO specialist, with my PPC specialist. And if one, person’s not holding up their ended of bargain among the client delivery, it shows pretty quickly because we have the process in place. But at the same time, like that just means if you do that all well and you know, definitely works smart, not hard.
This is a something I definitely stand behind. Um, it gives you more time and I think that time could be spent on like, I never discourage, um, just research and learning and testing and breaking so they can do that on these niche sites. I bet your
Jared: clients like it too. Do you let them know? Do they find out?
I mean, because it it’s always interesting. Um, if you are an agency and like, where do you test? You don’t wanna mess up on one of your client’s sites and where do you learn or where are you given the freedom to. I don’t wanna call it risks, but you know, try something a little bit different. Well, you have these sites that it does sound like you’re willing to be a little bit more risk, um, riskful with, I guess, is that word risky.
Uh, and then you can take what works and apply it to the clients. So I can imagine it’s a good thing for clients to hear about and understand as well. You know
Ben: what, I guess there’s two parts to that one. I often do tell my clients that we build and rank our own sites. There’s something about that, that they go, you got some skin in the game in here and you’re and like, wait, you, you’re trying to build and monetize sites as well.
Like, that’s great. Like we know like you’re, we’re doing that together. So I hope you’re doing it on your own. There’s something comforting they get from knowing that. Um, so I never shy away from telling them, uh, but it’s never come. On the, how did you learn that this didn’t doesn’t work? It’s just, you know, it, it becomes this like, yo, we’ve been doing this six years.
like, it’s, it’s, I’ve seen a lot of things work. I’ve seen a lot of things, not, I’ve seen a lot of algorithms come out that we had to like scramble to figure out what’s going on. And you have to figure, you know, you have all these different sites in your portfolio, either niches or clients who like it or not, like it’s not even being risky, you’re not risky.
You don’t know what Google’s gonna do. So in the SDO game, there’s nothing like completely safe. Right. So, uh, they’ve, it’s never come up about like, how do you test that something breaks. It’s usually, how do you know this works? And the unspoken thing behind it is, well, I broke it on this site that you don’t know about.
Jared: Well, they, they, they, you know, it’s a long, it’s a long adage in marketing. Like no one really wants to know how the sausage is made. So that’s it right when it comes to SEO, probably, probably some of those similar, uh, things apply there. Um,
Ben: and, and that’s it. Like, we, we do all like white hat, white hat, I know it’s kind of cliche, white hat, gray, your hand, black hat, but we are doing all the right tactics for our clients in our, in our niches.
It’s not like we’re doing like PBNs and that kind of stuff. So we’re not doing like the full black, but we’re a little more like, uh, let’s like, let’s spin it up, but we have to spin it up. Like, unless we’re selling it, if we’re trying to sell it, that’s one thing, like building something to have value and long term, um, growth versus a test site.
Like, so I would, that would kind of Def differentiate. Literal test sites were like, who cares about this? Val? Like, you know, we are just playing around like ranking, uh, our names and ranking our like little sites here that are just like pure test those. We can just do whatever we want with, and then there’s the niches that we’re like, like I want getaway well, to be a brand that grows into a community.
And I’m not going to risk that for some quick, like black, black links.
Jared: Talk, talk about how you were able to, to kind of pull this off. Like what, what was the difference this time around, you know, earlier on in your story, you talked about spreading yourself too thin and you know, you just weren’t able to get the right traction on the projects because you were spread too thin.
Now you’re at a totally different place. And I’m asking more for people who are listening that can kind of hear what separates moving on the new projects and then being successful versus taking on new projects and then spreading themselves too thin and not getting that success.
Ben: Don’t rush. It don’t rush into the, the new thing, like built, like part of what’s making this happen now is the fact that I have a team I can trust.
Um, who’ve been there for years or, you know, at least a year, some of them, um, where process is in place, where we go, like, what’s your escalation plan? I still am the CEO of now 43. I still have responsibilities, but now I can spend more of my time on sales and BizDev and an agency like strategy and guidance.
Mm. As opposed to like, this is happening, Ben, we need you in the room today. It doesn’t happen quite so much. So having like the right people in place that can allow me to do that. So when, whenever you’re doing, if you have a freelance, you know, if you have a freelance, um, going on, do you have, like, do you have processes in play?
Do you have a VA that you’re working with? Like, there’s lots of different variations and it’s been years since I’ve, I’ve done that freelance play. And I, I kind of didn’t do it successfully the first time, but this time around, I would say, uh, making sure the team is in place trained and not like assumed.
I’ve hired a lot of people in the past who like showed me a lot of worth in their SEO and their smart SEO or smart PPC and whatnot. And I assume that they’re gonna do it the now 43 way. And it’s like, no, no, like we built now we have built a process and this is how we do it. And my project manager knows to say like, Hey, I know you’re the SEO person, but typically after migration, we’re monitoring the site to make sure for the next three to four weeks, like we have checklists, we have processes.
So now that when there’s that built out, it gives you a little more flexibility to be like, I’m gonna spend a day doing this before. I wouldn’t be able to block off time properly to, to really focus on something. And you could say you can, but then when you’re trying to block that time off and being pulled in a bunch of directions, it’s difficult.
Uh, so one setting up that foundation two is, I guess, honestly, there’s a little bit more patience and flexibility. Um, you know, some weeks I, you know, I’ll launch a whole new niche other weeks I’ll. Feels like nothing really gets done and being like, you know what? That’s okay. like, not every week has to be a rockstar at week.
And like not trying to overextend myself and burn out on that week where like this isn’t happening. Like, I, I wanted to go to the gym, I wanted to do this and, and you know what this, you know, some team member got sick and yeah, we could do all hands on deck to hit that launch day for this niche. Or we can do it next week.
And I’m not saying don’t push, like, don’t get it done, but like, we can do it next week. , you
Jared: know, the benefits of solving some of the scale problems there. Mm-hmm , um, talk back, um, to people who might be in a freelance position and wondering how to. You know, all the projects in the air, wondering about the transition to hiring out a team, you know, um, there’s always that debate, right?
Like, is it better to stay freelancing and keep handling everything yourself versus building out a team? And, uh, even if it’s just a couple people on the team so that you can kind of focus on different tasks, what advice do you have for people trying to consider that? Which way to go on that, on that, uh, on that journey?
Ben: I guess my, my biggest piece of advice is, is really think introspectively on what you like to do. I can tell you one, you’re not the only person facing this. I know people who’ve been doing this 10 years, 20 years, five years, two years, all around the map. Uh, people who are incredibly talented, who just can’t say no to enough work and, and, you know, they don’t have a problem getting people, requests them for work, but they are having problems with this moment of like, do I build a team.
Do I outsource or do I change what I’m doing? cause, or do I stay the course? Guess that another thing, just, you know what, I can, you know, make this much money and I’m happy with that. Like sometimes people think like, you know, it’s like you can build up a practice to just on your own making like $300,000 a year or four, who knows, like, I’m just saying like random numbers, but like the step from 300 to 500 where you have to hire four people might not be for you.
It’s like, that’s something that I would say is like, do you like manage people? Okay. So if you, if you choose to build your own team, do you have a good eye for picking people who you can trust? Are you good at interviewing and identifying skill sets, training, um, you know, delegating, uh, all these different skill sets that are important for someone managing people and building a team and you go, no, I wouldn’t be good at that.
Okay. So then look at maybe outsourcing and it has its own challenges. Like you’re, you are definitely when you’re hiring outsources, you have a whole set of, uh, you, you have to still run the ship. You just have a, in a different process. Are you good at building processes? Are you good at having, um, you know, escalation things in place are, do you like to, to kind of be on an island and.
You know, you’re not gonna really collaborate as much when you’re working in a, in an outsource situation. So you, you kind of need that self, um, discipline and guidance, whereas being in a team, you kind of get people to build off of and, and grow from. Right. So, um, for all those feelings out there, like, I wouldn’t say there’s one specific way, but think on what you like before you make that next step.
And at the end of the day, like I also know people who’ve said, you know what, I’m actually gonna go back in house because I feel like I wanna hone this skillset of people management before I do it and blow up my own freelancing. So there’s no, I mean, there’s so many different routes. Like I wouldn’t be afraid of any which one, but I think the most important part would just be understanding what, where your skillsets lie.
Because I mean, managing people is a whole new thing. It’s just, it’s different. There’s emotions. There’s, um, you have, there’s a lot of training and guidance and, and one to ones and all that good stuff that you can appreciate or. It can scare you and that’s, I mean, that’s not for you or not scare you, but maybe it’s just something, you know, you don’t want, I
Jared: realize you, you really bring the full circle here.
You have worked at an agency as an employee. You have freelanced doing, um, you know, PBC SEO skills, um, for, for clients you’ve run your, you know, you run your own agency at this point now. With a whole team of people. And you also build websites inside of that agency. I mean, you know, you really have tackled almost every side of the, uh, the proverbial coin here.
Ben: I feel like I’m just getting started.
Jared: you? You are, it sounds like it’s you are, it sounds like, uh, that’s a good transition. So with your websites, like, what are the goals here? What are you seeing working? I mean, I’d love to hear, um, we interview a lot of people who are working on a single or a single, you know, website, or maybe a couple of websites, but you have a different angle and I’d, I’d like to maybe spend the last part of the interview talking about it because you’re able to kind of deploy ideas quickly.
You’re able to rally, uh, teams around maybe a concept that you go after. So you might, you know, have some different insights for people that we’re not used to hearing what what’s working. What are you seeing succeed right now in the websites you guys are working.
Ben: Yeah. So right now I’d say a couple things stand out.
Um, so one, I am focusing on intersecting niches, um, where one meets another, like I mentioned getaway, well, it’s like this travel meets a, a wellness mindset. Um, you know, own mornings would be like, you know, once again, like be, you know, personal productivity development versus, you know, personal health in the mornings and just understanding routines and whatnot.
So finding things that kind of intersect and, and find my niches there, I’m, I, I really like trying to find that, like, where can we kind of stand out and find two groups of audiences together? Um, but on like the, the actual, we like tactical side, we’re really following this whole hub and spoke methodology right now.
We’re really focusing on building out, um, a, a very large upfront. And then because we have those processes in place, it can, it’s not on autopilot. You know, people are still having to just think strategically during it, but you have a 400 page keyword map built out with, um, all intertwining interlinking planned out for how you want to, how you want that to happen with the spoke mentality into the hub.
You have, um, you know, A way to do keyword clustering and use all these really great tools to help that bringing together more keyword opportunity and one piece of content. So you build it all up into upfront structure. So right now in these early phases, some of these websites, um, we’re spending more time up front, building out our, you know, here’s our pillar pieces, here’s our, you know, subcategories and, and here’s our 300 blog articles over a year.
Um, and then, you know, we’re still using writers and still, um, focus right now. We’re trying to really spend a lot of time working on our content structuring. But when you’re, if you’re a, so entrepreneur, if you’re just doing this on your own, it opens up the doors. When you have this plan to, to give, Hey, here’s 20 here’s 20 briefs, and you can give that to a writer and you can do it a little more, uh, uh, you know, at scale as a small operation.
So we’re, we’re using our resources to like go into the content strategy, but it kind of get, if you do all that planning up front right now is, is what we’re experimenting on. Um, And then like, just kind of, you kind of have your marching orders, like we’re gonna do 25 blog posts a month. We’re gonna do, I want three main pillar posts and we’re just gonna keep pushing this out.
And then, uh, then you can focus on how you’re gonna monetize it after cuz right now we’re, we’re really trying to get sites launched in that first three months, trying to get like a hundred pieces up there, get it all live, get it baking. Then you got like that whole six month period where things are indexing ranking and you know, whatnot.
So, uh, or not, or not indexing. And you’re like, where is this? But nowadays with how long Google takes to really understand content sometimes. And I’m seeing people have awesome techniques for escalating it, but as a rule of thumb, it takes, uh, correct. Takes some time. Right. So, um, make sure you have like a diverse thing of diverse places you can put your time while you’re waiting on Google to do things you’re not sitting there.
Right. So that’s where that process comes into play.
Jared: What type of tools are you using if you don’t mind sharing maybe a few favorites, like a lot of that planning and infrastructure would take. Like I can imagine either a very gnarly Google doc or Excel spreadsheet, or maybe some tools that you’re harnessing to help out there.
Ben: no, we’re so we’re using click up mixed with Google docs, but we’re also using Zappier a to automate everything. So our writers can, um, you know, you can update a status and it automate goes across a board. So we’re doing that. I’ve seen a lot of people who just really focus in on the editorial calendar and really perfecting that template air, you know, air table or whatnot.
Um, there’s lots of different ways to, of course do it, but I I’ve found since click up, um, click up really fits in with the Google sheets that we’ve built out for our content creation process. And it fits into our agency model, cuz it is a robust PM tool. Right. So we’re kind, we’re kind of a little. That’s one, maybe, you know, an advantage to being just focused on the content site is you can just work within the site and you can say like, does air table and this et cetera process work, work for my content calendar.
We, we, you trying to bridge the gap with Zapier and click up, um, and then SEO tools, uh, right now, to be honest, SOFs is still our staple. Like we just that’s keyword seating and just building out those keywords, a traps really appreciate that. Um, you know, Working on like keyword clustering tools. Um, I think it’s, uh, one one’s content distribution.com and the other one is keyword AI.
Uh, I can’t remember the exact word off the top of my head, but, um, clustering tools that we’re like are focusing on using NLP and using, um, you know, tactics to bringing together, uh, keywords that can give us a little more value into our briefs and then leveraging something like there’s right now, we’re actually testing a lot of this like phrase out ranking surfer, SEO, P O P.
Um, those four tools are, are something we’re playing around with testing. And, uh, you know, people in my rodeo group are, are, are testing their own as well.
Jared: Yeah, for, for con for briefs and that sort of thing for playing out the con. So basically in a nutshell, you’re kind of taking a website, a concept, um, you’re taking niches that intersect each other, which I love because a lot of people will tackle a niche from like, ah, let’s do one on mountain biking, but maybe you’re gonna be, you know, I don’t know, mountain biking, uh, in national parks or something.
I’m yeah. Making something up, but you’re kind of going after a subset of a broader niche to get more buying and intent, to get more personalization, to get more strategic insights into that group of people. You’re taking the whole roadmap ahead of time. Plan out. All the big topics, all the subtopics you’re, you’re chucking keywords that you research into clustering tools to try to really break it out.
And then you’re using tools to create briefs. And then you basically kinda have the roadmap all in front of you, and then you can harness your team, um, uh, to plug in those gaps throughout the year, throughout the month throughout as time goes on.
Ben: Exactly. And like, you know, we’re, we’re getting better as we go.
So like sometimes it’s, it, it, it happens in these blocks where we get, we, we find a new problem. We’re like, Hey, we need to get good at this problem. And, and that’s where we kind of went to, like, from the, what templates are we we’re using for WordPress and you know, what tools are we using for these keywords and how are we clustering?
And now content brief automation and creation, uh, next up, get better at the affiliate marketing selection, like, you know, actual what, like what, uh, what offers we’re putting in there, how we’re implementing it. So it’s, it’s a journey still.
Jared: I love that. You’re clearly carving out time. You’ve said a bunch you’re carving out time for like focus.
Focus efforts on specific areas. Um, instead of maybe going after, like, you know, what do they say? Like a screaming baby in the room, right. Um, and actually working with purpose on different areas of your websites to improve the processes and improve, um, how you guys are approaching things. Um, that’s something that I think a lot of people could learn from, uh, so many times, again, just doing this, uh, uh, without as much of a plan, you don’t plan for the improvements and the optimizations you wanna make.
Ben: Yeah. There’s something to be said about, like, you know, kind of doing it all together at once and seeing things work and not work, and always continues to working on an overall, you know, uh, project. Um, but I mean, SEO’s a zero sum game. Like you’re, you’re, you’re trying to rank and like, you’re, you’re trying to, at the end of the day, like if do we have the best content automation process, do we have the best this process?
Do we, are we, you know, so. When we come to that kind of, you know, next step, we want to feel confident in that we’ve done the research that I can say, like, this might change, like everything, you know, maybe new tools come out and it’s better than surfer SEO or better than this, or whatever, or, you know, keyword, clustering, and, and how Google identifies LSI and all those keywords and whatnot is it develops as new algorithms come out.
So things are always gonna come back to you, but if you set up that base mm-hmm and you can feel confident in that, moving into the next one. So, I mean, Time, blocking and properly look like diving into these and something. We can worm hold with the best of them. Right. Just like I’m sure other people would know.
And you can just, you hear like, no, I need to move on to the next thing. Don’t be wrong. I know that feeling too, but trying
Jared: the right time though, we should do a whole episode on, on, on efficiency. I hate to say hacks, cuz they’re not hacks. They’re just best practices, but that’s it. Yeah. Trying to, trying to actually organize a day and stick to it.
Right. I think we all suffer from a little shiny object syndrome. Oh.
Ben: And I’ve read most of the books. Not most of the books, I’ve read a lot of books that are, talk about that, all that. And it’s like, yes, but do I do all of them? No, no I don’t. I need to do better. You can always do better.
Jared: well, like you said, not every week has to be a home run.
Yeah. You know? Absolutely. You can, you can, you can get by with, with doing a lot of ’em and still, you know, really improving the amount of, uh, productivity you have. So anyways, anyways, um, okay. Final thoughts. Anything I didn’t ask you about? I, we, we really touched on a lot of different things. Anything that you think is really important that we didn’t, we didn’t dive into deep enough.
Ben: No, I think, I think we, uh, hit quite the conversation. I feel like we hit the journey from freelance all the way to the agency and marketing and all that good stuff. So
Jared: yeah, we covered like 12 years worth of your life there
Ben: yeah. Yeah. It was a little bit of a journey.
Jared: no kidding. Well, congratulations on the success.
I, uh, I, I, you know, I think some of these, these sites that you’re building right now will be really interesting to hear where they develop and grow into. Um, and again, to me, one of the most fascinating things about having you on is the approach you’re taking with building those sites. Obviously you have quite the success with your agency, and then you’re able to share so many of the things you learned along the way, that’ll be helpful for people to glean from.
But so much of that plays into how you’re building sites now. And I’m, I’m just curious to see what kinda growth you get with those with, with that sort of focus and that sort of
Ben: planning. Yeah, absolutely. Uh, one, one of the sites that we actually are in the midst of launching right now, we did took a different approach and we’re we’re, uh, I wouldn’t say acquiring, but we’re, we’re, we’re partnering with a site and, you know, going 50 50 on it and they already have a bunch of content and they have content creators.
So, uh, we’re, we’re trying different things. But right now, I, I, you know, I wanna see each of these different, these five sites, these first five, I wanna grow with ’em all to at least that kind of like $10,000 a month range. And we’re in the early phases of it. Absolutely. But, um, you know, of course grow further, but once we get to that kind of stage, we can really see where we can take these brands.
Um, because at the end of the day, a couple of the brands, like I, I, you know, was get away well and whatnot, where I actually like can see myself traveling and growing this and building community and whatnot to hopefully some of them turn into more than niches and the other ones will just flip and sell.
They aren’t just like, maybe it’s not the brand for me. It’s still a good website. We can just sell it. That’s
Jared: great. That’s a great thing, beauty about this space, right? Yeah. Uh, well see, where can people follow along with, uh, with you in your journey? Where can people keep up with you?
Ben: Uh, best place would probably be on LinkedIn.
Um, that’s where I, that’s where I share a lot of my own, like, you know what, we’re working on projects, little updates and that, so you can find me, uh, Ben danke right on LinkedIn and, uh, or on the agency nav 40 three.com. We got a blog there. So that one at nav 43 dot com’s blog is more tactical stuff. Like we’re what we talk about.
Like, you know, certain things were doing, um, in terms of, you know, how we’re leveraging these tools. So tactically is more on that 43 set.
Jared: Okay. Okay. Good. Ben, thanks so much for coming on board. This is a great conversation. The hour
Ben: flew by. Yeah. That did fly by. Thanks for having me. This was great. Yeah. All
Until we talk next time. Thanks again.
Ben: All right. Thanks.