This is a long overdue update, to say the least.
There are a number of reasons I haven’t posted for so long—some personal and some practical. I’ll touch on some of them briefly below, but I’ll save most of the personal reflection for a future post if anyone’s interested.
For now I mainly just want to break the ice and share some exciting news about my latest plans for Clickseed and what you can expect to see here in 2021 and beyond.
If you’ve visited this site before, the first thing you’ll notice is the new look. I had the opportunity to work with the talented Lisa Gorham to develop a new brand identity for Clickseed, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I’ve worked with Lisa on a couple of projects during the past year or so and I think she’s the bees knees, both as a graphic designer and as a person.
I also moved the site over to GeneratePress, which is a WordPress theme that focuses on speed and usability. I really like using it, and this is the third website I’ve built on it. GeneratePress dramatically increased my page load speed from my previous theme, and DIY design changes are much easier for me now. It’s made me really enjoy working with WordPress again.
If you poke around you’ll probably see some odd quirks and things that don’t look completely finished or up to date. I’ll get to them soon. This is version 3.0 of this website (and the business for that matter), and I’ll be ironing things out during the first half of next year.
New Company Structure
When I started Clickseed as a solo operator at the end of 2012, I had every intention of growing into a full-fledged digital agency. And I suppose I can reasonably say I succeeded, depending on how you define it. My small team—at its peak consisting of two full-time employees and three contractors—generated outstanding results for a number of clients, and I’m proud of the work we did.
But somewhere along the way, I began to question whether the path I was on was leading me to a place I actually wanted to go. I couldn’t find my “why” for wanting to build an agency, other than a long-held assumption that I needed to continually expand in order to feel successful.
I learned that growing an SEO agency is much less about being an SEO expert and more about sales, processes, and people. It turned out there was an ever-growing disconnect between the things I enjoyed working on and the things I was spending my time doing. This gets into the personal reflection I alluded to above, which I’ll save for another day.
For now, I’ll just share my conclusion: I feel I can best serve my clients by working as a freelance consultant rather than as a general manager of a full-service agency. And I’ve gotta tell you, I’m feeling so much happier and more productive these days as a result.
This won’t be news to my current clients because I’ve been operating this way for a while now, but since I never formally acknowledged it or updated this website to reflect it, I’m making it official.
I continue to hire a lot of freelance writers, and I still bring in my go-to Google Ads expert, Heather Whittington, when the need arises. But in terms of how I present Clickseed to prospective clients from here on…it’s just me.
New Business Experiments
One of the benefits of being a freelance consultant is that it affords me the opportunity to take on more or less work, depending on what I have going on in my life.
For example, during the pandemic, it’s been a lifesaver to be able to jointly manage my kids’ remote learning with my wife. It’s not always easy, but I’m thankful we’ve been able to make it work.
I’ve also been able to allocate time to catch up on my professional reading, brush up on some coding and analytics skills, and do some hands-on experimentation with my own websites. Some of that experimentation has even resulted in substantial new revenue streams.
As we move into the new year, my existing consulting clients will continue to be my top priority, and I look forward to helping them achieve fantastic results.
But I’m also going to be mixing things up a little bit. Here are a few ideas I’m currently exploring:
- Publishing more content on Clickseed, potentially under an ad/affiliate model
- Developing video courses for publishers, writers, and bloggers
- Building (or actually extending) my portfolio of niche content websites and sharing the results in the form of case studies and insights here
I don’t expect everything to work (I am calling them “experiments,” after all). But I think there might be tremendous value in sharing what I learn—successes and failures alike—to the benefit of my clients and anyone who follows Clickseed.
Let me know what you think of the ideas above or feel free to share your own in the comments. I’d love to hear your feedback.
This year has been challenging to say the least, and frankly, I’m ready to wrap it up. My heart goes out to all those who have suffered during this pandemic, and I count my lucky stars that I’ve been able to stay healthy and gainfully employed. Thankfully it seems like there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m looking forward to beginning 2021 with fresh plans and a more positive outlook.
I sincerely appreciate all of the clients, employees, contractors, vendors, industry peeps, friends, and family who have supported Clickseed directly and indirectly over the years. I hope you’ll continue to stay connected and keep in touch.