With the amount of data and technology available to an entrepreneur these days, it becomes extremely important to customize and personalize the buying experience for your customers.
Adam White is the founder of SEOJet, backlink strategy software that makes building backlinks stupid easy, and Jasper Holland Co, a t-shirt brand for grown men. He has been an SEO professional since 2002 and in his spare time he wrote and directed a feature film. He lives in Arizona with his wife and 6 children.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I was working as an SEO consultant to Marcus Lemonis (from the television show The Profit). I recognized that as I was building backlinks for his websites that I was simply guessing every time I built a link. I worried that if I was too aggressive they would get penalized so I erred on the side of caution. Then I sat back and just hoped that the links I was building would make a difference but never really knew if the backlinks would do anything to move his rankings. Eventually, when they didn’t see enough movement they stopped doing SEO altogether and dropped me as a result.
I hated that I didn’t have a proven plan that I could use to build backlinks confidently and effectively. So I made it my mission to figure out exactly what Google wanted to see in a #1 ranked backlink profile. After analyzing thousands of backlinks in all niches I realized that almost all of the #1 ranked pages in every niche had a very similar backlink profile. It was something I could actually duplicate. So I built SEOJet to help me easily create backlink plans using that data for each page I was optimizing. Now I could build backlinks with confidence and know exactly what to do for every backlink I created.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start every day the same way. I try to put God first in my life so I wake up around 6am and start out by spending time reading in the scriptures. Then I either go run 4-6 miles or go to the gym to lift weights. Then I head into the office to work. The way I make my workday productive is I make sure I spend time every single day doing something that will grow my business. In other words I spend time working on things that will either help me get more customers, or get the customers I already have spend be more loyal to me. I also try to schedule 1 or 2 demos of SEOJet with potential customers. This helps me keep my pulse on what my target audience needs help solving and helps me network with owners of SEO agencies.
How do you bring ideas to life?
This is a tricky question. I think there are a myriad of ways to bring an idea to life. For example, a few years back I wrote and directed a feature film. When I initially wrote the film that qualified as bringing that idea to life because it was written on paper. But then I shot the film and brought it to life in a new medium. I think the biggest thing for me is when I have an idea I want to pursue, I just start working on it. Even if I don’t have the full idea fleshed out in my head, I just start. I am not the type of guy that sits around and talks about ideas.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Personalization. With the amount of data and technology available to an entrepreneur these days, it becomes extremely important to customize and personalize the buying experience for your customers. I get really excited about what is possible to be able to sell to every single person in a unique way that is personalized to them.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m sure there are many things I could do to be more productive. For me it’s more about if I am happy doing the things I am doing each day. Sometimes that means I am less productive other times it means I get stuff done like mad.
I love the creation process so if I can be creating something each day I consider that to be productive. Being a filmmaker myself I really like to listen to film scores on Pandora while I work. I find it to be extremely inspiring.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would try to instill a confidence in my younger self to think bigger and to not let my age stop me from doing great things. I always assumed that when I was younger I didn’t deserve massive success because of my age. I think it stopped my good ventures from being great and my great ones from being truly life-changing.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Thai food is disgusting. I don’t understand how people can put that garbage in their mouths. I’ve tried multiple dishes and they are all equally gag-worthy. What is wrong with everyone?
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I try to keep learning. The world changes too quickly to assume I know it all so I spend time listening to business audiobooks, reading case studies and other articles that teach what is working now. This allows me to test new strategies in my business to see what will truly drive the most growth.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Doing personal demos of my software has been a great driver of growth. As the founder, most people are really surprised to find out I am going to give them the demo but building the relationship with my customers creates amazing loyalty.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I was running an internet business back in 2010 and had successfully negotiated the sale of the business for $500k. Two days before the money was going to be transferred into my bank account Google penalized our website and we lost all of our rankings. Obviously, the deal fell through. We scrambled to figure out what caused the penalty but the business never recovered and we eventually shut it down.
I knew that to recover from the loss I just needed to move on to another business. Luckily, because I get bored easily, I had already started another internet business so it wasn’t too difficult to recover. Using my SEO skills and being much more careful, I was able to focus on the other business which I successfully sold a couple of years later.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
If someone could figure out how to accurately attribute Google searches to the actual key phrase someone searched that would be amazing. Because Google refuses to show you the key phrase searched when someone visits your site it is really hard to know which key phrases are converting. Using Google analytics and Google search console you should be able to get pretty close. I would pay for software if it could do that.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I don’t know if I spent $100 on this but for the amount of joy and satisfaction I got out of it I would have. My brother and I were recently at a marketing conference in San Diego. In order to get around the city we decided to rent a Lime scooter for the first time. I think a combination of the beautiful weather, the fact that the city doesn’t have much traffic and because I was sitting for hours in the conference but riding around on those scooters was one of the funnest things I have done in a long time. We used them everywhere we went (sometimes less than a block) but never considered price because of the happiness they gave me.
Another one is the Star Wars VR experience from the Void at Downtown Disney. I highly recommend that as well.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I’m sure many people answer with this same tool but I love using Evernote. Because I have new ideas it helps me organize my ideas, thoughts and to do items. It’s really easy to use and I have access through my phone or laptop so its always available to me.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I just finished the book Play Bigger. It’s a great book if you want to learn how to own a category. It will teach you to think differently about business and about new ideas for businesses.
What is your favorite quote?
“Quotes are for nerds.” – That’s a quote from a Hallmark movie my wife made me watch when I guy asked his girlfriend to give him her favorite quote. It’s the only time a Hallmark movie made me laugh.
But seriously, the quote “If I would have asked the people what they wanted they would have told me faster horses,” from Henry Ford has really resonated with me lately.
- Don’t just guess when you are building backlinks for SEO. Have a plan based on real data in place and you can succeed much more quickly.
- Get to know your customers on a personal level. The more you talk with them the more you will be able to solve their problems.
- Don’t forget that being an entrepreneur can bring you a ton of satisfaction and happiness. If you are spending the majority of your time doing things that don’t make you happy, change your routine.
- Go ride around the city on a Lime or Bird scooter when the weather is nice. You won’t be sorry.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.