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How Learning SEO and Online Marketing Launched a Business

In 2013 I had been working with my cousin assisting him with his various online marketing and SEO clients. He had this nasty habit of getting them ranked #1 on Google, and he had a lot of over-flow clients. I took some of the over-flow to help out. I’m also one of those types of people who like to have the skin hanging on the wall that says I’m certified or have a degree in knowing what I’m doing. Since I didn’t have one of those for Online Marketing, I proceeded to take a course and get my “certificate.”

…when I arrived home, there was another order in queue. WOW. I had made over $100 on a stupid joke.

This led me to contact the local community college where I found a continuing education class for small businesses. The particular topic was “Search Engine Marketing Bootcamp.” It was a 3 Saturday, 8 hours each day class of immersion search engine marketing. Since I was already doing SEO and the like for my cousin’s clients, I assumed one of two things will happen: I will know it all and have only gotten the certificate for my efforts, or I will learn something totally contrary to what I assumed to be true.

The classes started the last Saturday of February, 2013. After that first full day, I realized that I knew most of what was being taught, I just didn’t have access to all of the resources. The next Saturday was the game changer. During the introduction, the instructor, Kash Mughal, stated that he had a customer for whom he was doing SEO work. This customer of his sold flasks online. This sparked my attention because I had a family member who was married to the CFO of a substantial gift and awards import distributor. One of the jokes around my family was that every Christmas you might expect to get something from them. We all had seller accounts there. I knew they imported flasks, and so during class, I looked at their flask selection, did some competitor research, and the joke was on.

best man gift flask box included.Around 9 AM, Kash turned the class over to one of the students who is a pro at social media marketing. She was giving her presentation and I was looking for domain names. I already had hosting accounts, and I found a nice domain name: I bought the domain name, setup WordPress, installed the shopping cart, and uploaded the inventory from the distributor’s site. By 11 AM I had a fully functional eCommerce website selling flasks. I asked Kash, who had returned to the lectern by then, “Can you go to” He did, on the big screen for the whole class to see, and then he shook his head and said rather forlornly, “Don’t tell my customer.” We all had a laugh and that was the end of the joke; or so I thought.

A few weeks later, I was desperate to get my Adwords Certificate. I quickly checked the community college schedule and saw that much to my dismay, the next class wasn’t until September. Now I was rather bummed until I realized something: I had a perfectly good eCommerce website sitting dormant, doing nothing. I calculated that I could run some Adwords on it as I went through the online course. It would be somewhat of a laboratory for me. I estimated that it would cost in Adwords clicks about the same amount as I would have paid for the class, and I knew there would be no problem getting stock since I had the connection at the distributor. I gave myself the go-ahead and dove into learning and testing Adwords.

I did the lessons, I tweaked the ads, and then I basically smiled and gave myself the “Attaboy” for doing such a good job. I felt confident in my work, although I never truly expected what happened next. was setup up initially with PayPal as the sole payment processor. Since I was often getting a variety of marketing and support emails from PayPal, it was common for me to “ignore” the emails. Until Friday, April 12, I hadn’t paid much attention to the emails. I had also created a phone number that forwarded to Google Voice for the support line. Around 10 PM on that Friday, I got a phone call coming in from Wisconsin. I answered and heard a Google Voice female voice saying, “Call from…’Paulette’… press 1 to answer or 2 to send to voicemail.” I wanted to know what ‘Paulette’ was calling about, so as I drove on that Friday night near DFW airport, I talked to Paulette from Wisconsin.

“Hello?” I said.
“Is this MyFlasks?” she said, since I didn’t give a ‘professional’ greeting.
“Why, yes it is. How can I help you?”
“I’m just wondering when my order will arrive. I need it by next Friday.”
“I’m not at my computer right now, but what did you order?”

She started naming off an extensive list of flasks she had ordered. Now, mind you, I did not have any stock, but I knew I could get them and since my day job was with FedEx, I knew I could get them shipped out. I confirmed that she would get them by next Friday and after we disconnected, I gave a “YAHOO!” for my first order. Funny thing, though, as I sped the 30 miles to my house, I didn’t realize that she was not my first order. Upon checking the order log when I arrived home, there was another order in queue. WOW. I had made over $100 on a stupid joke.

The following weekend yielded much of the same results. Most of my site visitors come on Thursday through Monday. I’ve learn a lot since that first weekend in April, 2013. I’ve come to appreciate my customers and realize that this internet thing is going to be around for quite a while. I’ve also become quite a stellar online marketing guru. I don’t say that to brag, but I’ve joined with my cousin and others to form Total Online Marketing LLC. To be honest, we are one of the best agencies ranking customer websites, providing superb Adwords and Facebook ad management, website design and reputation management.

If you are interested in learning more about online marketing, please feel free to drop me a line anytime. You can also visit the marketing company Facebook page here.

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