04
Aug 17

SEO Resellers Australia – Solving the Quality Challenges with Supplying Outsourced SEO

My business Globital provides the fundamentals of SEO and digital marketing support to the digital marketing agencies across the first world. In Australia our core brand is SEO Resellers Australia. We now invoice in 6 different currencies now as our offering has been acclaimed by the industry on a global scale. I was thinking about the “White Label SEO” industry recently when chatting to Dad about what I do. I was trying to explain how the industry has not got the best of reputations, trying to explain to him what makes us different, what makes us successful. I found it quite hard to capture in “layman’s” conversation.

So after this, I thought I’d dig a bit and see if I can get to a more eloquent explanation on how we go about business, how we support our clients, the digital marketing agencies of the world. So to this end, I thought I’d quickly interview one of our clients, get a client’s perspective of what we do. This video is the interview. I hope you enjoy it.

Outsourced White Label SEO and Quality Service Delivery

Damian: Hi everyone! I’ve got Tracie Eaton here from Trove Online. Tracie’s been using us at SEO Resellers Australia for eighteen months and I’ve just got one question for Tracie. Tracie, one of the challenges SEO companies have and digital marketing companies have in outsourcing their fundamental work of their services is quality. Particularly in offshore companies, it’s very challenging to get the level of quality you need to support your clients right.

So, what I wanted to ask you… is your experience with SEO Resellers Australia. What have you thought about the quality of work we do and why do you think that, I mean if you do think that we’ve got the formula right with that, which I hope you do because you’ve been with us for eighteen months. What do you think makes… you know, that standard of quality different compared to what else is available in outsourcing companies?

Tracie: Okay, so there’s a few things I want to mention about that. First one is I think is important to understand that I had very high expectations and one of the reasons I chose you guys in the first place is because I knew that your organisation works on Australian standards and your standards are really in line with mine. And I think that’s really important to understand because that means that I still have an ability to control the outcome that I wanted for my clients.

One of the concerns, I feel that people have with outsourcing is that lack of control, means that they were no longer able to see what was happening with the organisation or see what work was going on, let alone trying to be able to change it.

Damian: Great, so transparency is important too?

Tracie: Absolutely! So, yes, so the first thing for me was that I still had to the ability to go, “No, I’m not happy with that or lets adjust that…” so, the second component that I like about your organisation and why I continue to use you is that your team is very open to advice, discussions… just say, “Hey, why is this working? Why is that not working? Can we adjust this here?” And really it’s just more than transparency is very much about an open level of communication. So that there is an ability to shift the product or the offering in line with what the objectives need to be. Even when it comes down to reporting for example. If there was things that I weren’t happy with or if I felt things were missing, the team was very open to hearing that and making adjustment so that I was comfortable and then I could be comfortable that my client was getting what they needed.

Damian: Great…so, would recommend us to other digital marketing agencies?

Tracie: Without a doubt! I mean at the end of the day, outsourcing also minimises your bottom line cost structure, so that helps your revenue and getting some profit going on in the company. And I would not hesitate in any way to recommend you.

Damian: Yeah and obviously one of our goals with that is not to take away your role as the agency. It’s more to help you by taking away a lot of the time-consuming fundamental work; it’s to let you better concentrate on the value add that you want to offer your client.

Tracie: Absolutely, and I think it allows you to make a strategic decision as I did to say, “I no longer want to have an in-house team.” I wanted to have something that was outsourced or subcontracted because its exactly what you just said, it allowed me to focus on developing additional business, focusing on creating more value and up-selling I guess to my existing client base. So why would I not do that – a bit of a no-brainer for?

Damian: Yeah great. Thanks for your time.

Tracie: Anytime.

Damian: Thanks.


06
Jul 17

Business Owners – How To Keep Your Energy High on those Long Hours Days

As business owners, we never really do a standard 8 hour day, 40 hour week do we. Its not really what we signed up for, and lets face it, counting hours is not the way we achieve our business and life goals. So sometimes we need to really dig deep and put in the hard yards. During these times though, its important to be mindful of our personal energy. We need to keep it high for personal performance sake. We also need to keep it high so we are leading our teams energetically as well as verbally.

Its not always easy. In my 15 years in business, I’ve hit some peaks and also some desperate lows. I’ve learned from both these times to put together this short video on keeping your energy high in business – even when you are pushing the envelope. I hope you enjoy it.

Business and Leadership Energy Hacks

“I think as business owners we all have challenges that are really specific to our business. So I thought today I’d share one of my challenges. And it’s directly related to the fact that being in nine countries sometimes I have long long days, just because of the different timezones I speak to people in.

Today is a great example because I had to start my day well before 8 o’clock to have a Skype call with New Zealand and then I’m going to end my day well past 8 p.m. as I have some late night Skype calls in my time to fit in with Pakistan and South Africa time zones.

 

So here’s my business owner tips for maintaining energy levels on those long long days which we all have:

  1. Always start with a #coffee. To your taste and specification. Don’t take-away. Sit down. Enjoy. Gather your thoughts.
  2. Add some time for #inspiration. Thanks @entrepreneur for the current subscription deal. [I’ll read an article in a magazine like this for inspiration]
  3. Okay, the next tip is to not neglect your exercise regime even when you’re super busy. Getting your exercise right will keep your baseline energy level high. So I am going for a swim [lunch time].
  4. Eat foods that don’t leave you feeling bloated and heavy. Even if you need to clench your teeth as it’s salad again.
  5. Have a meaningful mind break between meetings. Ensure you start each next appointment fresh. If you don’t understand how to do this, read this amazing book – The Third Space by Adam Fraser.
  6. Well, getting through the day, one thing that’s really helped me keep my energy high today is to just try to have a bit more fun with what I’m doing. So I won’t be so serious in meetings. Crack a joke here and there, get a laugh, enjoy laughs. It really works. Have fun.
  7. Make time for family and loved ones – no matter how big the day, we always have dinner together – instant recharge.
  8. Make sure everyone is smiling right through till the end of the last meeting.
  9. So, the last thing I try to do especially if I’ve got a couple long days in a row is I try to switch off an hour before I go to bed. I’m just finishing up now, so I switch off electronics and let’s make sure I get proper rest and and my brain switches off before I go to sleep.”

They are my tips for high energy even through those 12 – 16 hour days. Let me know if you have tips too that I can use. Energy is everything


11
Jan 17

My Top Savings and Investment Finance App for 2017 – Australia

Savings and Micro Investing Made Simple

Click through to see how this app puts your savings efforts on auto-pilot

I’ve recently been using the Acorns saving and micro investing app and I have to say, I love it. I think if you get on board now, it will be one of those decisions you really thank yourself for in the future. If you want to have a look at it, you can click this link: Acorns Savings and Micro Investing App or through the image. It should take you to the app store of your phone.

So why am I enjoying it so much? There are a number of reasons which I’ll document here.

Automated – No Effort Savings

Firstly, I hate trying to save money. Despite years of effort, I just don’t have the discipline. What I have tended to do myself in the past instead of saving, is to borrow money to invest, then try and pay off the debt. That’s the only way I can force myself to build wealth. Obviously though there are costs and risks involved with such a strategy like this that are over and above just saving.

What this app does really well is help every day people like me save some money. It does this by looking at the daily purchases I make on my credit card. It then automatically rounds up these purchases to the nearest dollar, takes the change and saves it on my behalf. So for example, if I purchased a coffee using paywave on my credit card and this cost me $4.75. This app once set up to do so, would round up that purchase to $5.00, take the $0.25 change and put it in a savings account. It does this with all authorised purchases. So the cents quickly start to add up.

The thing I really love about this method of automatic savings is that I don’t have to go and find the money to save. It just happens. I don’t see the money at all. The system works really well for me as it just saves for me without my ability to disturb the system, dip in and go and spend the savings.

Investment – Micro Investment – Portfolio Direction

The next thing I really enjoy is that the app uses micro investments. You don’t have to save thousands, or even hundreds of dollars to invest in anything. The app itself invests your money every time $5.00 or more is saved from your round-ups. This is really cool as it means you are investing every month. And again, you don’t have to do anything yourself to make this happen.

There are a bunch of benefits with this type of investing such as dollar cost averaging, the point of this post though is not about investment strategies, its about the app. So I’ll leave that discussion for a different time.

The app does offer a number of different risk exposures in the investment strategies too – you can set your own risk tolerance based on your expectations for portfolio growth and the risks you are prepared to take. Myself, I enjoy a portfolio that is slightly riskier than an average portfolio, but not too wild.So this is how I set mine up.

Other App Features and Savings Ideas

The app has a number of other features also that can help you get better results. The main one is a thing they call “Found Money”. What the guys at Acorn have done is developed partnerships with a bunch of retail businesses so that when you shop with these businesses, they rebate some of your spending back into your savings and investment account. That is super cool hey. It means not only are you getting discounts over the prices you’d usually pay, but these savings are actually re-invested back into your savings plans.

Oh yeah – before I forget, like any other savings or investment product, you can lump sum invest and set up deliberate regular savings plans.

All together, I think Acorn and this app is extremely innovative and has the potential to help so many Australian’s to really improve their financial positions. I’m really looking forward to seeing how my savings and investment portfolio grows with them. Obviously these are my opinions and this blog post is not intended at all as investment advice. Its simply a positive review of an app I’ve been really enjoying this year.

Here is the link again if you’d like a closer look: Acorns Saving and Micro Investment App


09
Oct 16

Failure to Learnings, Learnings to Success, A Practice

This is probably only consciously, but recently one of the things I have been hearing a lot of are messages around the idea there is no failure, only winning or lessons to learn. Fail your way to success. Fail faster so you move quicker to succeeding etc etc etc. Its all perception, just change the way you look at failure, so you embrace it rather than fear it. I thought I’d write this post in reflection of this, a practical guide to failing your way to success, as I don’t think its that simple.

To start with, failure hurts. There is that ego thing there. Something we committed to, or were invested in isn’t working, we need to let it go both emotionally and also let go of any other investment we’ve put in. This is often difficult. The other challenge with embracing failure is that it costs. There is always a time cost involved with failure, more often than not there are other cost too. Money, love, relationship, confidence, reputation etc etc etc. This all makes failure hard to admit, hard to accept and hard to move on from.

That being said, if done well failure can provide real value building blocks on the road to success, if recognised and integrated. I’ve made a conscious habit to build this into my life and there are three parts to my process that I’ll explore in this post. These are:

  1. Balance the ledger
  2. Stepping back
  3. Crystalising your gains

Here they are:

Balancing The Ledger – Making Good on Failure

So how do we go from fear of failure, to the concept of failing our way to success? I think a big part to understand first is to look at integrity. I always look at answering the question: “Are my failures only costing me, or is there a cost to others that, in all reasonableness, I am responsible for?” If the answer to this is that I am the only one suffering a cost, thats a big bogey off my back. I can go back to failing till my heart is content. If other people are involved though, it becomes a weight to carry. It gets in the way of the next move as its a responsibilty you need to carry.

Once in my life this went wrong for me in quite a big way. I wasn’t the cause for the failure. It was actually caused by others who were dishonest, unethical and ruthless in their dirty business dealings. Nevertheless, it was my descisions that ultimately put me and a few investors in this position. I felt and took responsibility for the failure. What I did is make sure I made good on the cost others suffered, bringing these people with me, honestly and with integrity, on the next step of my journey which was a big success. In failure, if you feel you let people down, you need to make good on it. Not for their sakes, but for yours. You need to lift that weight off your shoulders so you can continue to learn and make better decisions. Note, this isn’t always financial too. Sometimes the impact on others is emotional, or other than financial. We all know when our actions cost people. We all feel it. The question isn’t whether its there, its whether we block out that little voice or make good on it.

In my internal language – I call this “Balancing the Ledger”. Its a good practise I find as it ensures I can always look people in the eye. It ensures I don’t walk away from a transaction with a karmic debt.

Stepping Back – Finding Creative Space

The next part in the equation for me is stepping back from everything, giving myself the space to see what is actually going on, removing the chatter of my own ego, and that of everyone else’s opinions and all those voices filling in those moments of silence. People hate silence don’t they!

You need to find a way to remove yourself from the noise and distractions and constant movement of what is going on around you. For me, it was actually at my lowest point in my life where I found this point. I found myself at the end of a big failure, about $3000 away from bankrupcy (which I avoided thankfully), and then my best friend died of bowel cancer. I found myself basically with nothing, losing 10 years worth of work, and was then given a decent dose of perspective in the same days.

When I hit this point, I just stopped struggling, I stopped struggling against the current. I stopped proving myself to the world, I stopped listening to everyone else’s opinions, I stopped clutching oh so tightly to obsessions around success, riches and reputation… and in letting go of all that I found the quiet, the breathing space and the room to look at things properly and also re-find my creative spark. In retrospect it was quite an amazing moment. Only in losing everything did I get back to the real me that could look at everything properly, through my eyes, with my wisdom and from there apply my courage to finding and activating solutions.

Since that time, some years ago now, I continually and deliberately give myself the time, the silence and the space to access this creative space, where I can learn, understand, create and apply solutions. Without giving ourselves this space, it is so easy to find ourselves in a cycle of repeating, repeating and repeating the same failures, never learning anything, never growing and losing large chunks of our lives, which is more expensive and irreplacabe than anything else I can imagine.

So the second step in my pratical guide to finding success from failure, is to create the space to truly understand the lessons from things that didn’t work, and the space where I am creative and courageous enough to let go and move forward from that point.

Crystalising Your Gains

Its quite easy to not bring the things we learn into our lives. Even when we recognise the lessons, improving ourselves or our situations requires change. And not just any change, but deliberate, conscious change. Not only is this difficult because change is scary, its also difficut because often we operate in “auto-pilot” mode, rather than consciously. This means that even when we have the best intentions, we are ruled by habits and reactions and never really get anywhere. So how can we crystalise the learnings from incidents of failure, to ensure we move towards habits more closely aligned with success?

In business, I have found this easier than in personal life. In business the answer is simple. Create proper, robust processes to manage your business. This is what I did. In doing this, I have immediately found that my business runs much better and the level of quality I deliver is much more consistent and of a higher level than before. I use an online service to do this called Sweet Process and have now processized my entire business. Product delivery. Human resources. Accounts and administration. Everything is driven by process. We even have a process to create and change processes.

What this means is that when something in my business fails, it points to one of two things. Either a process has failed or someone didn’t follow a process. In both cases it is very easy to pinpoint the reason and place of failure. When it occurs due to someone not following process (which can be an employee, contractor or even a client) we have the choice to train the person, or move them on if the situation is untrainable. If it is a case of a failure in a process though, we can pinpoint where this happened and then take a step back and brainstorm the best way to make a better process, so the incidence of the previous failure doesn’t happen again. Over time our processes and deliberate method of improving when things go wrong have built success into the business. Its almost impossible for our business to fail now due to this approach.

Dealing with so callled “personal” failure is a bit more difficult though as we can’t really processize ourselves, and because we often do operate in an auto-pilot mode, reacting rather than proacting to different stimuli that triggers emotion in us. In recognising this, this is where I start. When I do something that I perceive as a personal failure, it is usually because I was not happy with the way I reacted and then dealt with a situation. I know I could have made better decisions, but I didn’t. I just ran along headstrong down a path of destructve consequence as I’d always had. It reminds me of a poem I once heard – no idea who wrote it…

Here lies the body of William Jay

He died maintaining his right of way

He was right, dead right, as he sped along

But he’s just as dead as if he were wrong

So with the understanding that often it is “auto-pilot” reactions creating this failure in what I am doing, I try to start with the triggers. When I am on auto-pilot, what was the trigger that started me down that path? How can I recognise when that trigger is happening early, before I react or take ill-considered action. By bringing awareness to the trigger, I find I have given myself a chance.

From there though, it still probably takes me two or three “failures” before I catch it in advance. Each time I miss though I have an opportunity to explore it again. “Oh, there it is again. I should have seen it that time. I should have pulled up and done this better.” I even sometimes get into the stage of seeing it but heading down the failure path in an “non-caring” but conscious way. “I know I’m triggered but I don’t care as I feel aggrieved and angry”. Re-explore. Re-examine myself. Learn.

At some point I just end up catching myself, getting it right. When I do this, I am also conscious of getting it right. And boy doesn’t that feel good. Then I get it right a few more times, congratulating myself along the way. Then at some point its a new habit. The journey of failure, learning to success is complete. I’m a better person, the world is a better place.

So that is how it works for me. A practical guide to success through failure. Here are the three steps again.

  1. Balance the Ledger
  2. Take a step back
  3. Crystalise the gains

I hope you found these ideas useful. Failure only leads to success if you take the time to examine the pearls of learning there, then make real change to bring those learnings into your life. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and your ideas around the journey to success, from failure.


26
Sep 16

Keeping True To Your Business Value Model

Things don’t always go perfectly in business do they? Lets face it, its basically impossible to have a perfect run. Someone is always going to require something different, misunderstand what you do, devalue what you actualy offer, complain, demand, blame, deflect or defend. It could be from a supplier one time, a customer another. It could be an employee, or even a partner. No matter where it comes from, there is always a cost and the biggest cost is typically a diversion of resources from our businesses.  Sometimes the resources will be money, almost always time will be lost, and at times it will be even worse, impacting the morale and energy of your whole team.

When these types of thing have happened to me in the past, I always try and reflect on where things went off track. One of the reasons I do this is because when working through these challenges, it is very rarely a situation of deception or sinister behaviour. Rather they are always cases where the other party fully believes they are 100% within their rights to hold their position. “How can this be, can’t they see how damaging they have been to my business right from the start?” I ask myself. And that is the problem, typically they can’t. And typically they can’t because at some point I have given tacit permission to persist with the very things that are the underlying cause of the issue.

I’ll try and paint a picture to explain this better.

More often than not, business challenges seed way earlier than they explode. For me they also tend to seed when I try to be extra helpful, generous or giving to the other party in the dispute. IE. I try to do them a favor, help them out, try to solve their issues even when my business model is not a perfect fit, or when their offering isn’t a perfect fit for my business. Particularly “bending over backwards” to win or maintain business when the client’s need doesn’t perfectly match my real value proposition is always a big one. I mean, we all want to win and maintain more clients don’t we. And we all sincerely want to help people. So saying “no” in these situations is often hard.

What happens in these situations though is in “helping” people, we often forget about the real value in what we are doing in our business. So we are breaking out of our business value model and rather doing something different. More often than not our business is not set up to service this favor at all, at best not set up to do so effectively. So in these situations we make the decision to shift away from our business value model and do something different, something which makes the business less productive, less profitable and deliver something of lesser value. Its a set up for disappointment for the recipient and also for resentment for ourselves, given the effort we made to “help” this person out.

Similarly too, when we bring external consultants into our business to assist us with things we either have no time or expertise in. Coaches, consultants, assistants etc. Often these consultants will have their own agenda, process or system. When they come in to support, we think its going to be perfect and their services probably are, in the context of their business model. Often challenge points are hit though when their pre-defined process is not a perfect fit for our business. Without being clear with this perspective, its easy to blame the supplier for lack of something. I let go of blame a long time ago though, rather focusing on realigning things that don’t work, for a more satisfactory outcome.

So what is the answer? I think the first part of the answer is getting down to the roots of what your real Business Value Model is. What in your business is the core of the value you supply your clients. What is it, how is it delivered and what is the underlying process that works for you and your business so your perfect engagement achieves maximum benefit for all parties. Once you understand this, you can have a proper look at all the engagements and challenges through your business and see which issues are caused from departure from your model.

Once you have a clear understanding of this, you can start making informed decisions. There is no hard and fast rule for making these decisions, but at least you will be making them consciously. Some solutions may be:

  • Through effective communication, redirect and refocus the problematic engagements where there is still real or potential value to be had (in a win:win scenario). Bring them more in line with your business model.
  • Let things continue as they are, but in conscious awareness of the cost of the departure of the business model. This could be in the case of a more important strategic alliance, where there is value over and above the immediate engagement. In these circumstances, it is often helpful to be open with the other party of the challenges you are facing as they may be able to shift their approach somewhat to be a closer fit to what you need.
  • Sometmes we just need to move people on. In my experience, the only real occasions when this is necesary is when the other party refuses to look at and own their contribution to the issue and just blame, blame, blame. Often there is dishonesty involved too in these situations, little white lies and manipulations that help them maintain their position. The problem here is that while I can go back and address the symptoms and fallout of the engagement to this point, its a one way street. Moving forward, nothing changes in the engagement and relationship and therefore, with future transactions the same problems reoccur and you end up spending more resources dealing with the same things over and over again. In a healthy business relationship, like any relationship, it only works when both parties take full ownership and responsibility for what goes on. Despite this, when its not working we often fear taking the step of finalising the relationship due to a sense of loyalty, the perceived threat of recriminations or just the desire to make everything work. Taking the step to finalise an engagement and move while difficult, is usually the best solution for both parties. While it is difficult at the point of execution, you should have the perspective you are helping the other party find a solution for them that is more closely aligned to what they need.

There is no magic solution to any of this. And these scenarios are often tricky. They are tricky due to our own egos. They are tricky as there is often conflict involved. They are tricky as there is often the fear of recriminations. Not to mention senses of loyalty, relationships, letting people down etc. The real trick with it all I think is to crystalise your awareness of what is going on and take responsibility for your business with integrity and honesty. Letting bad engagements continue is bad for both parties, not just you. They don’t go away. So be 100% clear about what is happening. Do your risk analysis. (this can be helpful) Make the best decision you can. Then take responsibility for what happens next.