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Your Story Contest – Win a Free Pass to the S&S Spring Summit

If you’re still trying to get a ticket to the 2010 Search & Social Spring Summit, you must act fast! We’ve had contests going on all this week to give you a chance for a free pass: VIP package, Twitter and Youtube. Here’s another contest for you to enter!

We want to know how you got into Internet Marketing. Was it through a friend? Was it a news article that captured your attention?  How about a random opportunity? Make it as interesting as possible. It can be either long or short.

You can check out Dave Snyder’s story here.

Here’s my story:

In 2004, I opened up a Myspace and Facebook account. I pushed FB to the side when it stopped being a “private reunion club” for college students and I went full swing with MS. I was a Myspace nut — pimpin’ out my profile and trying to get 50,000+ comments. I wanted to beat Tila Tequila. I failed. Well, a few years later, MS became loaded with spammers and I went back to FB.

I played around with FB for a while. I was constantly writing on people’s walls, posting up pictures and giving out “presents.” It started to suck when I found out people were not adding me to their top friends list nor did I see myself in some of their photos. My jealousy took the best of me. It was so childish, I know.

So during my last semester at the University of South Florida, Tampa, I ended ties with FB. I didn’t want it to consume my time anymore nor did I want to feel the abandonment. I was saying goodbye to all social media.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology in the Summer of ’07 and ended up landing a finance job in Corporate America with Wells Fargo Financial. How boring!!! I needed something to keep me alive so I tried singing in a MoTown/Classic Rock band. It never took off so I quit. At the same time I took up a fun part-time job with Creative Loafing, Tampa, a local alternative newspaper. I worked in their marketing department on the Street Team. It was a blast! Check out my coverage on Superbowl XLIII.

Since the economy wasn’t doing so well (and it still isn’t!), things didn’t work out with Wells Fargo. With my successful failure at Monster and YahooHotJobs to find a potential employer, I tried my luck with Craigslist. Lo and behold…Search & Social!

I had a meeting with Loren at a nearby Starbucks. I was told that this was just an intern job doing PR. Even though I had debt racking up from not having a full-time job, I wanted to get into PR so I said yes to it. So guess what, I showed my face to FB again. And then I started a marriage with Twitter. I even started a blog for the Tampa girls at Search & Social called SEOtini.

Dave and Loren have taught me a lot about SEO, linkbuilding, social media and online marketing. I was so against it, but social media is a big part of my life now.

That’s my story. Now go make yours! Leave your internet marketing autobiography in the comments section after this post. Comments may not always be posted immediately due to moderation and our spam filters BUT we will approve them once we see them pending. All stories need to be submitted by April 8, 2010.

The winner of this contest will receive an all-access pass for the eight speaker sessions, networking with experts and businesses from across the country, casino night and calypso night, and breakfast, lunch and dinner on both days of the conference.

78b1c0f1a54e5a4ff399f7a3bb7a08eb 64 Your Story Contest   Win a Free Pass to the S&S Spring Summit
Thao Tran is the PR and SEO analyst for Search & Social. Networking is her forte and she has worked with numerous clients from a wide range of backgrounds including a Fortune 100 company.

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24 thoughts on “Your Story Contest – Win a Free Pass to the S&S Spring Summit

  1. Hey Thao! To get this contest kickin’, I thought I would share my story onhow I got involved in Internet marketing.

    I first got involved with search marketing in 1998 when I was a college student. I had originally majored in film, but made a shift over to marketing & advertising because film was expensive. So instead of following a path that would make me more broke (I worked 3 jobs at a time to pay for school) I decided to get into advertising & PR, where I could still use my creativity and make money.

    While a lot of students were taking jobs at large agencies in downtown Baltimore, and although I was offered a couple intern positions, I didn’t want to spend all of my time making coffee and sending creative files from department to department. I found an opportunity interning for a small online marketing consultant, who was running her consultancy out of her home office and took a chance in a field which was it its infancy at the time.

    I knew web marketing would be a challenge, fun and would ultimately result in a lot of opportunity. I started doing onsite SEO for customers, getting them ranked all over the place in Go.com, Altavista and Yahoo!, and this was before Google even started. Then we started calling people at Yahoo and Dogpile to see if we could place image banners above search results. Yahoo and Dogpile finally said yes, and these were some of the first sponsored search ads on the market at the time. I loved the fact that we could target ads to people when they searched for keywords and products! Not only could we rank websites in the search results, but show targeted ads too :)

    Keep in mind this was before Goto.com launched to bethe first engine with sponsored results and well before Google adapted Goto.com’s model into Google Adwords.

    In search marketing I came to find an industry where I could use my creativity and logical analytical mind. I found great balance in my job, decided it was fun and then to ultimately make a career of it. Now, search marketing is a huge industry and almost all businesses use search to gain customers or sell products. It was a good choice.

    At one time however, I did decide to leave search marketing. In 2001 I had been involved in SEO for 3 years and at the age of 26 I decided to take a hiatus from SEO and took up an English teaching position for a company in Japan. I wanted to travel and experience different cultures, and teaching English was a great way to do so. As much as I loved search, I wanted to have some adventure in my life outside of the office, and this was my chance.

    While in Japan, I was only on the computer about once or twice a week, but at every chance, I would always check rankings of the sites I used to work on, and also check up on search forums. I had always been heavily involved in forums like HighRankings, SitePoint and email lists like I-Search, and continued to check up on the trends.

    In 2003 I moved to Brazil, to continue my adventures, and realized that unlike Japan, teaching English in Brazil would not pay my student loans.

    So, I decided to take on some contracting work and learned that 2001 thru 2003 were very large years for the growth of SEO and search marketing, and I had to play some catchup. I always enjoyed writing, and decided to start tracking down search changes and my SEO research in word documents and my own email newsletter.

    Then, I read how Google had acquired Blogger.com and how blogs & “web journals” were going to become a hot commodity online. I decided to launch my own site to do my own writing on, and did some research to find that SearchEngineBlog.com was taken, as was SearchBlog.com … so I searched for different domain names and stumbled upon SearchEngineJournal.com … I really loved the name and thought that it would be a strong brand because it reflected the trend of web logs (as blogs were called at the time) or web journals while also associating the brand with University Research Journals and the WallStreet Journal, so I decided to transition my newsletter into a new blog, Search Engine Journal.

    SEJ started as a personal project and after a while I noticed that I was getting more and more traffic, incoming links from authority sites and offers from companies to advertise on the SEJ 3 months after I started the project. My first advertiser paid me $35 a month to put a little box on my sidebar. When I first got the check, I was so excited.

    Search Engine Journal was one of 3 or 4 search blogs at the time, and this was before Search Engine Watch became a blog and about 4 years before Search Engine Land launched. So a lot of the success of SEJ has to do with timing, passion and opportunity … I launched the right blog at the right time.

    Gosh, that was long, but in a nutshell, it’s my story.

    What’s yours?

  2. Okay so I don’t need to win the contest I’m already paid in full. But I think this is an awesome contest and Thao, I loved learning about your experience in coming into this industry. Before I proceed, I say that Loren really needs to start paying you – intern or not – this is 2010 for cryin out loud and after all you’ve been through, I say you deserve pay! :-)

    Now – for me, I want to emphasize the “internet marketing” aspect of this, as compared to SEO. Because even though I’ve been providing SEO specific services since around late 2000 or early 2001, I’ve been an internet marketing professional since January 1995.

    Back in 93 I moved to California from New York (that was the FIRST time I moved here – I’ve since moved back and forth coast to coast a few times) and got hired on as the office manager for Thunderbird real estate in Santa Cruz. I loved my job – part of which was bringing the office up to speed with computers, setting up their advertising system in a database, training agents on using the computer to maintain their MLS listings…

    Well at one point in 94, one of the agents came into the office and handed me a shrink-wrapped box of Wildcat BBS software. For those not old enough or tech enough to know, pre-cursors to the Internet as far as business and personal use go were BBS’s / bulletin board services – most popular back then being AOL, Compuserve and Prodigy.

    Well that agent’s husband worked as the Sr editor at Dr. Dobbs Journal, a popular tech magazine and he routinely got software sent from companies wanting him or his team to review it for the magazine. And for whatever reason, he chose not to review this software, but had remembered hearing how much I was into computers and helping people communicate better through them. So he said – “give this to Alan – maybe he can use it”…

    That fall, I broke open that box, and tried to teach myself how to set up a BBS – I figured right away that Thunderbird could get some free PR out of having it. Except I needed guidance on some of the more tech aspects. So I hooked up with a local BBS System Operators group.

    In short order, I had set up Thunderbird Real Estate’s own BBS – a two phone line dial-in bulletin board service. We then took out print ads in various out of town newspapers around the country – on the off chance that some tech-head looking to relocate might find it.

    And within the first month, we were found by a guy in Colorado looking to relocate who found the ad, went onto the BBS, reviewed listings, downloaded photos, and sent an email to an agent. The guy ended up buying a house in Santa Cruz, and I was floored!

    Well, long story longer, January 95 rolls around, and one of my friends from the SysOps group calls and says – “Alan – you’ve got to come over to my place -if you think your BBS is slick, you WON’T believe what I’m about to show you…”

    Well, I owe that guy (his name is Chris but I long ago forgot his last name) a lot. Because that day in January of 95, in his living room, I stood and watched in awe as he surfed the web. He went to the White House web site, the Louvre museum site, and then to the site at the University of Kobe’ in Japan. It was literally just a few days after a big earthquake had hit Kobe’. And students were reporting on the web via stories and photos about the devastation from the quake.

    And right there, in that room, in that moment, I knew that I had to set up a site for Thunderbird, and with THAT realization, I knew what I wanted to do for a career from now on. It’s like I realized that the Internet was going to change everything – a true paradigm shift in the free flow of information. And that businesses were going to want to take advantage of that.

    When I created Thunderbird’s first site back then, there were other Real Estate sites already – so at first I was really upset. I had wanted the glory. Yet I also recognized that those sites had weaknesses – and so Thunderbird’s first site was the FIRST real estate site in the entire state of California to have an agency’s entire property listing database online, and the first to offer true multi-criteria property search.

    The local paper did an article on the site, and of course, the real estate industry being what it is, every other agency in town soon believed they HAD to have a site – because they couldn’t let Thunderbird say “We’re the only ones who pull out all the stops when we market your property”.

    So of course the calls started pouring in to the office – who built your site? What did it cost? How do we get one?

    And that’s how it began for me. :-) It’s been a crazy roller coaster ever since. The biggest factor for me is that every step of my path – from choosing to live in Santa Cruz that first time I moved west (my nearest relative being my sister 2 hours north), to pursuing the job at Thunderbird, to getting the crazy notion that I COULD use that BBS software, to listening to Chris when he said “you HAVE to see this”, to that awareness in that room that day… all of it was based on following my intuition.

    So please – don’t anybody ever say “you’re lucky” or “great coincidences…” because when we follow our intuition, we end up in the right place at the right time often enough. It’s then only a matter of listening.

    And oh – have I said I LOVE my career? :-)

  3. My younger brother had a catastrophic seizure shortly after I got off the boat from commercial fishing in Alaska during the summer of 2006. He required brain surgery in September, so I chose to stay with him at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh over returning to the American University in Cairo that semester.

    Matt’s surgery was successful, and by the following year he was back in school. I, however, was between a rock and a hard place needing money to pay the bills that couldn’t be deferred with future student loan money. So I went back to what I had done before – working as an Intellectual Property paralegal at a law firm, prosecuting patent and trademark applications.

    And *hating* life.

    The first time I heard about SEM (Affiliate Marketing, specifically) was via Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Work Week forum in early 07. I had finally reached a point where I realized that there was no ‘job’ on earth that would ever allow me the lifestyle I wanted (the freedom to travel and do random things like commercially fish for salmon in Bristol Bay Alaska for 6 weeks during the summer) so I needed to start creating multiple streams of passive income. Affiliate Marketing and it’s multiple iterations seemed like it could fit.

    Between 07 and 08 I launched multiple blogs and campaigns, mostly failures, but I learned a lot along the way about search engine optimization- quite peripheral to my original intent. After reading a thread on Wickedfire.com which outlined how to create advertising revenue by building and renting or flipping local business sites (called “The Recipe for a $200k/yr job”) I had a way to create income with very low overhead (unlike PPC, PPV, FB Ads or Media Buying). Working every night after work, I assembled an army of local sites, got them ranked and solicited advertisers. Rinse, repeat.

    It wasn’t an overnight success, but after about 5 months of focusing on local SEO sites (as opposed to 2 years of minimal profit through CPA affiliate marketing) I gave the law firm my notice. My portfolio was large enough to justify leaving the fat paycheck and soul-crushing workload of cubicleland.

    My first day of self-employment was spent flying to Florida for IMSB.

    And by June I was back doing what I love… fishing in Bristol Bay Alaska.

    SEM may not be my bread-and-butter forever, but it has been the best vehicle for enabling me to live the random life of my choosing.

  4. I got hired as an IT Technician for an online retailer about 5 years ago. My boss assigned me all duties that pertained to the computer, from actual IT work to graphic and web design, SEO and Search Engine Advertising (SEA). I had to learn the SEO and SEA aspects on my own and found great resources & SEO communities online. I really began to enjoy the SEO/SEA part of my job.

    Eventually, the growing list and variety of tasks began to overwhelm me and I decided to leave the company. While looking for another job, I was concentrating on IT work, but saw an oppotunity for a PPC Analyst position. I have been working in SEA since. I love that the it isn’t just a mundane, day-to-day task, but that it is an evolving field that forces you to grow with it.

  5. I have been working in SEM for not a very long time(2009-present) but I am so fortunate to get introduced to this versatile industry through one of my college projects.

    One of the required courses during my MS in Marketing program at University of Cincinnati was capstone, which essentially gave students opportunity to work with local firms in resolving their business/marketing needs. I got an opportunity to work with a firm named- The Voice of Your Customer, which was looking for increasing their visibility in search engines through organic optimization.
    I self learned SEO through Books (SEO Bible, SEO Book),attended webcasts hosted by industry veterans, listened to podcasts, read white papers and ofcourse tried to keep updated on Twitter. Essentially we revised the whole website to make it more search engine friendly with on and off page optimization.
    I was pleased to see the results and in the process learnt a lot about the industry. After that took up an internship at a local SEM firm and never looked back.
    This field attracted me because of its dynamic nature and its increasing relevance in every kind of business. This field is great for learners like me who like to come in at work – learn, test and apply. In a very a short time period, I gained experience in varied facets of SEM but I am sure I have long way to go and I am all excited for that.

    Thanks!
    Ankita

  6. For anybody that knows me, they know I have ADD in every aspect of my life. I’ve wanted to be everything from an actress, to a lawyer, to an aerospace engineer, to someone in digital forensics in the FBI….a web designer…. I invented things from the time that I was 5, made silly workout videos and thought I could change the world or be a writer. The list goes on and on. I was starting up mini “businesses” everywhere before the time I was 21.

    I’m a very creative, yet analytical person. I have the best of both worlds. I can jumble numbers and science like nobodies business but I’m also really in touch with writing and looking at the big picture of things. This has always led me to trouble because I never know which side of that I want to pursue for my career. Eventually I found the best of both worlds.

    It’s only natural that when I went to college back home in NY at the age of 17, I decided to pursue Business, as an escape from having to ACTUALLY focus on one major. I started doing business and completed a 2 year degree- feeling unsatisfied. I knew I couldn’t keep going. I ended up meeting my boyfriend while I was finishing up that degree, and we both decided we wanted to go down to Florida to continue with school and try to build our lives down there. He went for his Digital Arts and Design bachelor’s degree and of COURSE that was something that interested me. I started dabbling and piggy backing on his courses- reading his books and doing tutorials. All the while I had enrolled as an engineer major- simply because my dad was an engineer and I thought that if he was in love with it, that I would be.

    WRONG. Once I started getting into Trig I decided I couldn’t get through another 3 years of that for my Bachelor’s. I switched into Marketing because I had the credits from my Business degree and thought it would be easy to accumulate another associate’s while I decided my future. I finished that but (surprise surprise) didn’t want to do it for my Bachelor’s.

    Meanwhile, my on going interest and love (that has stuck with me since I was a wee toddler) was the internet and computers. My dad, like I mentioned before, is an Engineer, so I was gifted with having many MANY computers all the time. I’m 25, but I remember learning MS Dos. I remember Procomm Plus. I remember the rainbow computer. All those good things. I was using aol instant messenger when I was 13 years old. As I got older and the marketing world turned new age, I started noticing trends with social media. I joined Myspace when it first started (before it become weirdo and strange) as well as Friendster. I also joined Twitter when it first came out but left it alone because noone else used it and I wasn’t sure how to utilize it. Every spare second, I was always online researching the new things that started coming out for the internet- watching design code progress from HTML to HTML 5… CSS to CSS3. The Adobe Suite turning into CS5. I watched all those things go by and out of my own accord I was learning. I was doing. I was thinking. I started maintaining my own website in 2007, where I would write about all the interesting trends and technology that came out. It satisfied my need to write and my need to constantly be learning about new things in technology.

    I ended up going to do my Bachelor’s in Finance and graduated in December of 2009. Now, Finance really tested me and made me turn my brain wheels which I liked. I made sure to take all the challenging classes- some of the hardest ones in the Business school. Financial Derivatives rocked my world and I couldn’t get enough of the hypothetical and imaginary rules you had to wrap your brain around. But once I graduated and started working in the Finance world, I realized it’s just not for me. I couldn’t do any kind of fun undercover stuff. I couldn’t write. It was all pretty much “selling”. And if you know me, you’ll know I’m not persuasive or in the least bit talented in selling anything unless I’m talking about my true passion. I was dying to work for a little while, then go back to school for either my MBA, Law School, or a Master’s in Digital Forensics.

    I found myself looking at jobs in internet marketing and writing, feeling like a scorned widow burned by Finance and hoping to satisfy my inner longing with what I’ve been spending my time doing on my own, for so long. I’ve was always keeping up with new social media trends, figure out ways to utilize it so I could market and promote my own website and personal brand. I knew things my friends never even heard of. I think that makes me somewhat of a geek :)

    I happened to come across this ad for “Search & Social” and they were looking to hire someone for SEO/Link Building and Social Media. I got in contact with Loren (see his story a few comments above mine) and we had setup a general week when we would do an interview. Loren and I lost contact when he was moving and I was really sad (Hear that Loren! really sad!) because I pumped myself up about the job so much and then it never materialized. I went back to working as a Finance Professional- studying for an Insurance test when I would rather light myself on fire and throw myself out a 5 story window to avoid reading about ethics and what happens when people die and their life insurance kicks in.

    I then decided to friend Loren on Linkedin, because I wanted to know more about the company if, for whatever reason, we got back in contact. I was actually testing out this new system where I can only check my email once on the hour, and never before 10AM or 6 PM. He sent me an email, around 8 PM, apologizing for never getting back in touch with me- explaining things were hectic and if I was still interested in a job in the future. Of course I responded (with no self discipline because I only lasted a day with my ‘email’ rule) with a resounding “YES!” trying my very best not to badger him into giving me a job right then and there. A few minutes later he wrote back saying a spot literally just opened up, and asked if I wanted to do an interview.

    I was really excited/nervous (because I’m a horrible interviewer and tend to either be really quiet or ramble my little heart out) but he was super awesome and I thought it went well. Towards the end of the interview he decided to offer me the position. I said no. (Just kidding! I said yes of course!!)

    I started working here at Search & Social, and I’m learning new things everyday. I’m getting paid to do all the things that interest me- and there’s nothing better than that. I’m learning SEO but I also get to satisfy my insatiable thirst for writing- by being a writer here on Search Engine Journal. You’ve probably seen my post before. Work is no longer “work”. Before, at other jobs, I would watch the clock go by, thinking of any excuse to leave and never come back. It wasn’t like that here. Sometimes I got so wrapped up in what I was working on that I didn’t go to lunch, and I was all cracked out on caffeine because I’m constantly consuming it here. Search engine optimization and internet marketing has fulfilled my life in so many ways it’s not even funny. It’s been so long since I worked somewhere where I felt like I was constantly learning- and WANTED to learn. My multi-tasking and need to always be doing new things has finally paid off.

    I love my job because SEO, internet marketing and social media is constantly morphing, molding and evolving- I always have a new challenge to face; a new strategy to form. There’s so many interesting things happening RIGHT NOW in the internet world that I want to be a part of. I’m in the best position for that :)

    That’s my story! There’s actually more details involved but I thought I would spare you my life story and just keep the details to a minimum :)

  7. Unfortunatly I don’t have a long story to tell as I am only for 2 months in the industry. And to be honest 6 months ago I didn’t even know that SEO, SEM and SMM even exist and I wasn’t really interrested in all this social media and search engine stuff :-D. But I wanted to live in Brazil (I’m originally from Kazakhstan but grew up and study in Germany) to learn the culture and the language.

    So I searched for an internship in Brazil and the onlyone I found was in a small internet marketing agency in Salvador da Bahia. And now I love it! I just cannot stop searching for informations as I am a beginner and want to learn EVERYTHING about it. I stay longer in the office every day and then keep reading and home. Hope to become a professional in that area!

    Well, my story is sure not as interresting as others but I would really love to go to the Search & Social Spring Summit as it is a great possibility for me to learn! All the informations I find are from the US, seems that sooner or later I will come to the US anyways :-).

    Best regards from beautiful Salvador!

    Alexander

      1. O Brasil é o paraiso rapaz! :-D

        Se eu fico menos que 90 dias eu nao preciso uma vista porque tenho a cidadania alema :-).

        Voce foi na qual cidade no Brasil e quanto tempo?

  8. @Loren Thanks for helping me kick this off. I love hearing about other people’s worldly adventures.

    @Alan Thank you for sharing. What a great story! The real estate market has always needed all the help that it can get. My previous job required me to get real estate loans approved for my customers and my goodness it was tough! I’m glad that you have had such success within both industries. Luckily, I’m in search marketing and I do get paid now. :)

    @Selena You were meant for this position! I loved this the most: “I would rather light myself on fire and throw myself out a 5 story window to avoid reading about ethics and what happens when people die and their life insurance kicks in.” Too funny!

    @Alexander I was in the same boat. Welcome to the industry and I wish you the best of luck. Hopefully it can turn into a career.

  9. @Amanda Family is very important. It takes an exceptional person to put their goals and ambitions aside to take care of a loved one. So if you win this contest, will you be bringing salmon to the summit?

    @James It must have been hard for you to put in that notice to your boss, huh? Well, it seems like it paid off because you are enjoying what you do now.

    @Ankita It’s always great to see positive results from the fruit of your labor. I hope you continue in this industry.

    1. I typically bring home a 50 lb box of sockeye and king salmon filets in August every year… they are gone within a week. Sorry Thao!

  10. @Loren, I never you used to live in Japan and Brazil, that’s amazing!

    This is awesome, it’s pretty cool hearing how people in the industry have gotten where they are. I hope more people are willing to share :) Since I have no chance I winning this since I will be there anyway, working. I would like share my story.

    I was always fascinated with the internet and web design when I was in middle school. I ending up getting a job @ a local deli when in 1999 and they asked me to build a website since I was the only that could work the deli computer. I had done a couple sites for Warez/Pirate hosting sites for freinds in the past but nothing legit. I remember my boss asking me if I could get his site to come up on the “search engines”; he had heard from another local business owner about something called “SEO.” I ended building the site and calling a SEO company I had found online and they quoted some obscene price. I decided to just do it myself. I didn’t know much in those days but I read everything I could on the subject. I was so amazed at what you were able to do with a few changes and I was able to get the site ranked for “Long Island deli” which brought tons of calls, unfortunately people thought we were a chain and local to them. The business was eventually sold before I left for college and my first SEO project was gone.

    I decided web design was an over saturated field and programming is where the money was ( I was young lol). So I decided to give up web design and just learn to code and major in that. That was mistake, I hated coded, it wasn’t fun for me and I ended up hating all 2 years of it in college. I decided after that I would put my pc/network repair skills to use for good and get a job doing IT. So after flip flopping majors and spending a summer getting MSCE certified I thought IT would be it, that’s my future career. I ended getting a job with a local IT startup company in 2004 as a junior tech. I found out they also did web design and “SEO” for local small businesses. I slowly worked my way into that side of the business and away from IT; at first doing photo retouching, then finally web design. I ended doing a lot of site design and organic SEO for their clients. I spent hours every day reading sites like SearchEngineJournal.com trying to learn everything I could. But, as usual the company I worked for was better at sales and promising the moon than actual results. After a while I just couldn’t take it and I left abruptly around Feb 2007.

    This left me unemployed so I decided just to go to school full time and do some small design projects while I looked for a new job. I eventually found my way to another local NY startup SEO company, after applying to some of the better New York internet marketing companies and being turned down or completely ignored. At first I was given full reign over our clients and expanded my skills into paid ads and social media. I had finally found my chance to really learn the business. Within in a few months our organic clients were doing much better and our PPC clients were seeing 200% improvement on return. I had been reading a lot of about Social media and the opportunities it provided for companies in terms of word of mouth marketing. I knew it would only continue to grow, again I spent hours every day reading and testing everything I could. I was able to send a lot of traffic and links to our clients blogs using social. Couple of our clients were in the business of stock promotion (the most shady people you will ever meet in your life) and they asked me if I could use Social Media to drive traffic to their promotions. I ended up spending a year doing this successfully for them and feeling dirty about it every single minute but It was paying for school.

    A big source of traffic for me was SU and I knew I had to build relationships with other social media users to get votes. I eventually made friends with Jordan Kasteler on SU and one day we started talking about how he got into speaking at conferences and told me I should check out this conference him and his partner Dave were doing in Florida called Scary SEO. After a little convincing on Jordan’s part I got my company to buy me the $200 ticket, I scraped together some savings and booked a flight. After meeting Dave and Jordan I was blown away by their knowledge and thoughts on the future of the industry. I remember walking out on the last day of ScarySEO thinking, I have to work for these guys!

    A few months passed by and I was still working for my old company. Jordan I had become pretty good friends via the web. After the stock market crash, a lot of the companies clients started pulling their budgets. This sent my boss in a cost cutting frenzy. After bitching to Jordan how much my company held me back from trying new ideas ( I was once told to build out our social media strategies, then reprimanded for spending too much time on social media sites the same week, true story) he mentioned him and Dave were starting this new company called Search & Social and they just started hiring and if I wanted the a spot it was mind but I would have to move from New York to Utah ( culture shock much?). They invited me to come to IM Spring break and then to Utah to visit our new office (which was Dave’s frigid basement at the time). After returning and a couple days of debating it with my family and girlfriend, I decided to pack it all up and leave everything I knew and move to Utah. The rest is history from there, I have now been working for an amazing company for almost a year, that has provided me with opportunities beyond my wildest imagination. They have introduced me to some of the biggest names in the industry (all very awesome people) and I have to gotten to work with some amazing people. I have probably learned more Jordan, Dave, and Loren in the last year than in my entire career. I took a big risk leaving New York and my friends and family but it is definitely paying off.

    That’s my story in a nutshell :)

    1. I moved down to Florida from NY and THAT was a culture shock… I can only imagine Utah! I think it’s great that you took that big leap and followed what you wanted to do. It certainly paid off!

      1. lol, I am still being shocked on daily basis. I got kicked out of the State owned liquor store for asking an undercover cop for ID before I would show her mine. In New York, you don’t show strangers you ID b/c they asked lol.

      2. That was a very big step and a very big move! Not to mention it's become a big reward. Search & Social is a great company to work for isn't it?

  11. In 2007 I started working for a non-profit in downtown Kansas City, KS. I was hired with the directive to help raise funds, write press releases, and update the website. The more I got involved with the website the more I liked it and the more time I started to give it. After the website was looking better than it did before (I was stuck using Frontpage ’98), a board member complained to me I was spending too much time with it. If they can’t find us what good are you? So I started looking for cheap ways to market NPOs online.

    I came across seomoz and few other sites. I was a little shocked at first, not at the material, but at how quickly I was able to read and understand it. In the past it has taken me hours of reading and homework to comprehend what was in front of me. With the information about SEO I could read it, process it, and use it right away. Pretty soon the website was doing well, patients were finding us easily, their mission teams were getting filled and all from the web.

    After that a board member (a different one from before) asked me to look at his site. I applied the same measures as I took to ours, and the same results took place a few months later. But with all non profits, what is written in the contract is not always what you will do. I was ordered to take a break from the web to focus on facility repair. Pretty soon I was known as the repair man, which I didn’t mind, but I really wanted to do more internet marketing. I ended up leaving that non-profit to get more involved in SEO so I could get a job one day.

    I applied for everything I could. I had two years of limited experience, but I never got a call back until I applied at Chemidex. They called me, and I made it down to the final interview. My boss told me on my first day the deciding factor was so much experience, as it was they wanted someone with a heart for SEO and someone young enough in his/her career that they could get their start with Chemidex.

    I’ll admit, I’m still pretty new in this field. But I love it, and I can’t imagine not working in this industry.

  12. Hey Joshua. Thanks for sharing your story. You seem like you can be a force to be reckoned with in the SEO industry if you keep this up.

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