The following is a letter I received from a dear client, John Douglas, who also happens to be a talented local photographer. Over the past year, John has undergone the rigors of becoming an SEO-savvy entrepreneur. John is a model student; eager to learn, invested in his own success and quick to pick up the strategies required to build success, both online and offline.
I asked John if I could share his letter with you. I feel his experience may resonate and help normalize others who may feel as he did as they attempt to break into their local marketplace.
As I mentioned to John, it is wonderful to see yourself progress toward self-confidence as a business person and professional. Yes, it’s hard to teach such things without the frustrating mechanism of time and the roller-coaster of the success/failure continuum. Take pleasure in recognizing your inner growth. Lessons like these are learned not just intellectually, but also at a cellular level, through life discovery. This means such valuable lessons become truly yours, adding onto the wisdom you already possess. You are richer today–both in the spirit and in the material–as a result.
In support of your efforts,
It’s been close to a year since we started working together. I thought I would share some observations with you. I have been seeing increasing activity and interest in my work as manifest by the number of requests I am getting now. Am I as busy as I’d like to be? Absolutely not, but I’ve learned to be patient. Some random thoughts:
- Success is measured incrementally, and doesn’t happen according to your prescribed schedule. I have learned be comfortable with even modest gains. As you are well aware the last year has seen some frustrations on my part, largely because I was focusing on the success of others and not on my personal successes. I have learned to focus on myself and my abilities and not be concerned with the success or failure of others.
- Don’t evaluate your success on the short term. It has taken me a while to assimilate this, and I’m sure you’ve told me this a number of times. Being an engineer, I plotted a linear regression of where I expected to be in a year with regard to web traffic. Am I going to reach my goal? I don’t know. Do I care? No.
- “P cubed”. Perspiration precipitates performance. Gains are not achieved without some hard work and drudgery. I never imagined it would be so difficult to to get top ranking, and to hold on to decent ranking.
- Web design is fun, but web maintenance is boring and mundane. The website design looks fantastic, and I am still happy with it today after nearly a year.
- Word of mouth is the best advertising. I firmly believe that reputation trumps any search engine rankings or website designs. SEO is a way of getting your foot in the door and establishing yourself as a credible resource.
- Does top ranking mean you are the best? Absolutely not. I have learned that you have to have faith in people and recognize that they will make decisions to hire me based on their criteria, and not my criteria.
- Learn to see the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. Appreciate the constructive, ignore the destructive.
- Has it been worth the time, effort, and money? Absolutely! I would not be seeing the interest I am seeing without decent ranking on keyword searches. Thank you for your efforts.
Lastly, thank you for being patient with me in the last year. You have been my technical advisor, mentor, and (at times) my spiritual and psychological counselor. =)
I am very appreciative of all of your efforts and assistance in the past year.