A Rocky Path to Freelance SEO Work, The Inner Interview

by John Kline on October 2, 2013

John Kline at SearchBliss SEO Services

The explanation of this title is quite simple, yet complicated to say the least. Still confused? Well so was I until recently. I will be explaining what led me to my path to offer clients SEO services which I have been successfully doing for my own websites since 2001. As a result of my inner conflict along the way (the rocky path), I’ve decided that the best way to get what happened across to you, the reader, was to write it in as an interview with myself. After all, it was the “inner voice” in my head that questioned me the entire time.

First a little background information. Aside from running my internet businesses on currently two separate domains (one webmaster related, one art related), I have what is referred to often as a “real job”. I have heard this term most of my 41 years of life being an artist. Yes, and artist. Oil painter to be exact. After 4 years of art school and selling paintings here and there in various museum and gallery settings, I had to get a “real job”, which led me to teaching art. We all have to pay the bills, and getting married 18 years ago and having 2 kids along the way, making enough money became a full time priority. Here’s where things get cloudy, sticky and rocky. To explain without being too wordy, I’ll begin the interview with myself.

Q: With a background in fine art, what qualifies you to offer freelance SEO services to anyone?

A: For better or worse, I get bored focusing on one thing at a time. I always have. So as far back as 1996, a friend, my wife and I decided to create a website offering virtual piano and drawing lessons online. My friend/partner purchased Flash 4, then later Flash 5 so I could animate the lessons. This is where the art skills came in and I read many a book about Flash, HTML and JavaScript to build the site. With that, I learned about SEO which was a lot simpler then, so the site could be found in that simple search engine (at the time), called Google.

Q: So you’re teaching, painting and exhibiting work, and have some paying customers learning piano and drawing online. Why aren’t you happy with it?

A: I was happy, but not really satisfied. This led my to creating other domains to earn income. Remember, my wife an I have two additional mouths to feed, and we wanted to buy a home, not rent anymore.

Q: So what happened with the other domains?

A: One in particular, I ranked well in Google doing SEO, but it was a “local business” website. An animated paid directory for local businesses. This was way before Google Places for Business, so sign ups went well, but the work was heavy. I had to animate virtual street views so users could view the business locations. A hand made, animated “Google street view” in a way. Regardless, the domain was shut down 3 years later.

Q: What made you embrace SEO?

A: The domain that led to this was SearchBliss.com. It started as a search engine where I added other aspects to it after teaching myself various scripting languages. I decided to create a site to help website owners create custom scripts for menus, buttons, etc., and the “search” part of the site disappeared. I optimized SearchBliss with every step, and rankings have been great since 2001.

Q: There are many SEO companies and SEO experts offering optimization services, so what makes pursuing this a good idea? What is different about your SEO service that makes it stand out?

A: I know from all I’ve read over the years about SEO online, from articles to forum posts, that SEO isn’t an exact science because Google’s ranking algorithm is a mystery. Everyone has there methods that work, used to work, or never worked at all, and some even claim to be “SEO gurus” or “SEO experts” which I feel is nonsense. This opens up a lot of room for scams. What makes my work different from the others is I cut away the BS. I DON’T offer “SEO packages” and charge clients every month for little to no results. I DON’T hijack clients websites into paying more and more for the work that was already paid for. I’m truly honest and believe “what goes around, comes around”. What I DO for my clients is what I DO for my own sites, and it works. I charge on a per page basis so my clients can see the results per page after re-indexing. This way they see my abilities first hand without committing to paying a fortune, keeping their costs down. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Q: SEO has changed a lot with Google’s various algorithm changes over the years. How did you adapt?

A: I adapted because I had to! SearchBliss started earning a little income when I decided to sell more advanced scripts. SEO kept us afloat, and when rankings dropped, I adapted, then they rose again. For quite some time my SEO tools were a big hit. Now they are a dime a dozen, so when sales dropped off dramatically in 2010, I was again scrambling for income.

Q: When did you decide to offer your SEO services to others?

A: Teaching in a private school does not pay well. After 13 years of part time teaching with no hope of moving to full time, I decided to look for a new “real job”. After a year of submitting countless resumes and no call backs, I had to brainstorm. It was too easy to blame the poor economy. I felt sorry for myself and completely stressed about where the money to buy food or pay the next bill would come from. Then my wife said one evening that “things have got to change”. She’d said this many a times before, but what was different was the next statement. Why don’t you offer SEO services on SearchBliss to others? Then the light bulb went on! Women are certainly wiser than men and It was completely unfair that she is working full time and has a part time job as well. I had become mainly a “stay at home, work at home” dad with the kids, not fulfilling my part. So here I am starting another venture doing freelance SEO for other businesses. I worked every day all summer chasing potential clients and leads to build the business. I’ve had five former clients that parted happily after the work was completed, and now have one current client who, so far, is happy as well.

In conclusion without the internal Q and A, the problem with freelance SEO services is the income is up and down, but it’s a start. As long as every client is pleased with my work and the results, the business will build and succeed. I know this because I’m good at what I do, It just took my loving wife to point this out to me. Now I will do my best SEO work for others and make her proud.

For more information, please visit my Freelance SEO Services page on SearchBliss.

The author, John Kline, is the owner of SearchBliss SEO Services

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