A background in sales, technology, world travel, and writing makes for the skill set you're looking for in your SEO.
Words, paragraphs, web page content, HTML, and logic. Those, and almost 20 years of experience, are the tools I use most frequently in helping my clients achieve better visibility in Google search. I’m also on the road a lot–as in, on the road backpacking. I’ve explored more than 20 countries–many for weeks or months at a time. Typically, I’m working with clients and exploring at the same time. The satisfaction I get from traveling sustains my client work and my success working with clients helps to sustain my traveling.
I started working in the internet space with a start-up ISP that designed websites and provided 33.6 Kbps dial-up internet connectivity to small business clients. Back then, I was many of those clients’ first exposure to the concepts of email, domain names, and websites. I moved up to bigger and bigger employers and bigger and bigger clients in that arena, eventually working with nationally known enterprise clients for some of the major telecom companies in the country.
Being geekier than your average salesperson and more “salesy” than your average geek, however, the perfect job was elusive, until Google broke onto the scene. It was like a match made in heaven and I was endlessly fascinated with the inner workings of the algorithm. With my unique background in writing, technology problem solving, and sales/marketing, a boss asked me to “see what can be done about our website on Google,” and it turned out I was a natural fit for the task. My results amazed everyone, including myself.
Seeing my window of opportunity, I soon made a break for it and launched my freelance consultancy. I first offered my services for free to web designers, and after they saw results, they immediately began white-labeling my services to their clients–for cheap. But it was enough to make a living and I learned a heck of a lot with a constant supply of new projects. In the early years, it seemed like I was every web designer in Miami’s SEO guy.
Eventually, the clients started seeking me out directly and I was able to pick and chose from even larger, more interesting and more lucrative projects. It was nice to be directly responsible to the client, instead of the agency, and nice to spend more time on fewer projects. I still do occasional work for agencies, though, and I enjoy those opportunities when they come around.
I Know Some Things About Travel, Too
As a freelancer, I work remotely with my clients most of the time. For years I worked from my home office in South Florida, but in 2015, my wife and I sold all our stuff and moved on (we’ve done that 3 times in our 30 years together), and we’ve been expats working from the road ever since.
As of 2022, At some intervals since then, we’ve pushed ourselves hard–like backpacking through a new city every few days for 6-months or more at a time. At times like that, my client work is very light and pretty much in maintenance mode, though it’s rare to go even a day or two without internet access to keep an eye on things.
On one six month stint, for example, we backpacked through a large swath of India at that pace. On another 3-month stint, we bought old Honda Win motorcycles and rode them through Cambodia, Laos, & Vietnam. You can call that the extreme version of “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey,” and boy, what journeys those can be.
Being a digital nomad doesn’t mean I’m always on the move, though. More often than not, I’m working from the same location for many weeks to many months or more at a time. In fact, my wife and I have kept a flat in southern India for more than two years, and from here we take our excursions elsewhere. For example, we’ve left from here, to go back to the States and over to Europe, we’ve spent three months-plus in Thailand a few times, a month in Oman, and on another occasion, we spent a month in New Zealand. You can check out some of my travel journal entries over on whirledtravellers.com.