All right. Matt, thank you so much for coming on. Obviously I appreciate you taking the time. We connected just in DMs over a year back at the start of all this, and my family was actually running away from China to Thailand where you are. And I wish I had the opportunity to meet you then, not knowing what I know now like the community you guys have built where you live is pretty awesome.
To anyone who is just hearing your name today I mean you’ve got your Facebook group, your websites, which we’re going to list below this video. I could do my best at explaining who you are.
I love the knowledge you share. That’s what this whole podcast series is about and what we’re going to get into. I just want to hear from yourself, if you don’t mind, like who are you and how did you get your start in SEO and affiliate marketing in particular?
So first off, thanks for the opportunity. It’s good to chat, and it’s good to catch up and see you face to face I’ll by it across the internet.
So my name is Matt and I run a few businesses, one is Diggity Marketing which is basically my umbrella brand which houses my blog and some other projects I work on.
I have an affiliate SEO agency called LeadSpring which is doing a lot of affiliate, doing a lot of JVs as well. We have an agency called the Search Initiative. It’s run out of London.
I have a backlink service called Authority Builders, and I have a course called the Affiliate Lab. And when conferences were a thing I used to run the Chiang Mai SEO conference. So I guess that kind of sums up the ventures that I’m involved in.
I mean the conference is something Morgan and I, my partner in Jolly, talk about like how cool would that be? Of course, you work in SEO. You imagine you romanticize.
I don’t know reality versus fiction. What was it like for you in the start how you got into this the early solo days? Now you’ve got seven-plus ventures it sounds like.
So yes. I’m an electrical engineer by trade, so I went to UC San Diego to study electrical engineering, and I was dumb enough to go master’s degree.
Basically back then it was when you’re a naïve kid and you’ve gone through the education system you see these paths laid out for you. So I saw a path that was okay if I have a master’s degree I’m going to cap out at this salary rate.
So if I get a master’s degree I’ll cap out up here. So I got a master’s degree and ended up working for a Silicon Valley startup company that was producing software that helps people make microchips.
So what my job role was it’s called an application engineer. It’s someone who’s very verse with the software that we’re selling, someone that is very versed in the physics and chemistry and the electronics of what we’re trying to do, and they basically put people onsite at the customers’ sites that’s almost like a glorified support.
So basically like Qualcomm was a client for example, so we positioned at Qualcomm in Silicon Valley – or in the Sorrento Valley.
And when they’re paying our company like $4 million a year, they’re going to rinse you with the amount of support that they need. Basically you have to run the projects for them using your software. So at the time it was me and a guy Rob Roth.
Rob Roth ended up buying a business of mine called Diggity Links. He now calls it Rank Club. It’s an awesome service by the way.
And basically me and Rob, someone gave one of us “The 4-Hour Workweek”. Then it was over. Then it was just like okay we can’t – how can we do this shit anymore? We have to pivot. We have to do something else.
And I guess the themes of the book, a lot of themes that we picked up is we want to have an online business. We want to have a website. We want to have some kind of business to make money while you’re sleeping and traveling and doing whatever you want to do.
So we decided to make a blog about what we knew about and we were like 25 at the time, so we were just like okay let’s make a blog about partying and getting hungover and whatever.
So like we made this funny humor blog called caveday.com. It was just about funny, stupid shit. And we monetized it with we’d have hangover pills in the sidebar or a breathalyzer, Mad Sense (ph) and stuff like that.
You can imagine how much money that made. So eventually I kept going down the rabbit hole of integrating to like 4-hour Workweek circles, so I started going to Meetup.com.
They were all reviewing “The 4-Hour Workweek” and working on their muses. And it turned out everyone at the time was doing what we were already doing making websites and trying to monetize them through a course called “The 30-Day Challenge”.
Quite simple, they send you a new training video every day. At the end of the 30 days you hopefully have made a dollar online and the modality was again affiliate SEO and ranking websites, getting traffic and then monetizing it.
So I stuck with that, had a couple of misses, and then finally went after – just got the insight to go after keyword stuff for monetizable and high buyer intent and then it started ranking in ergonomic charities (ph).
Made enough money to feel like, okay, I’m not replacing my engineering income. Engineering you make a lot of money. But it’s enough for me to say, you know what, I’m done with this.
I’m going to sell all my stuff, start traveling all the time, live in a place like Thailand which has a great digital nomad community, and then double down on this where my expenses are low and just see where this life takes me.
I was not planning on talking about moving abroad, but similar to you I’m lucky enough to spend some amount of time every year in another country. And it sounds glamorous.
People think it’s like wow you must be really making it, but my living expenses are half what they are here in the Bay Area when I’m in China. So it’s very practical as you said.
Like you don’t have to make it big time to make that call and actually shrink your expenses and invest in yourself and your company, so.
I would say it’s one of the most underrated hacks, right. For example, I mean I’m just kind of assigning some nebulous numbers to things, but I would say you double the risk you’re able to take.
You double the amount you’re able to go in on something by reducing your monthly expense by half or whatever.
I mean in Chiang Mai you can get by on $1,000 a month. So let’s say you’re bringing in $5,000 a month with your expenditures. You’d probably be spending all of that in California.
Oh and more. I mean if you’re in my life situation with young children and thinking about buying a home, once I get a mortgage do you know how far leveraged I’ll be. I’ll have zero wiggle room to do any of this investment.
Hundred percent. So instead of spending that $5,000 a month, you now have $4,000 a month to reinvest and experiment around with. Having wiggle room like that enables you to take risks. So let’s try a different ranking technique. Let’s try hiring people so we can scale faster. It’s just night and day.
Well that’s one thing I admire about what you do. You’re very scientific in the sense that you’re always exploring, testing. I mean obviously, with your academic background it’s another indicator.
I guess what I want to dive into first then is how does – and maybe this is too far monetizing or let’s say the strategy of a website look when you are new to affiliate marketing versus pro, if you’re starting up a new domain versus established.
And honestly, I think you touched on a point I wasn’t planning to ask is how much budget you’ve got obviously, but I don’t know if you want to go into that.
That’s a multifaceted question. I’ll give you the range. I’ll give you like the tiered list, the newbie list all the way up to the S rank, right.
So as a newbie, you’re probably just reading about what’s the easiest way to monetize this affiliate marketing when you’re doing Amazon Associates, which is a terrible affiliate program by the way.
They’re only good because they cover every product. They’re bad because of everything else, because they don’t care about their affiliates. They cut commissions.
They’re terrible to work with. So you start out with Amazon and then at the next phase you realize that Amazon sucks, so let’s start looking for private affiliate programs, your own chair sale. You’re working one-on-one with manufacturers.
You’re making deals and stuff. So that’s a level up, right. After that you probably hear somewhere or another that it’s good to put display ads on the site, so just having banners on sidebars and inline display ads is just another way to very in a very automated fashion just make a little bit more with your website.
I’ve done tests, and I’ve found that adding display ads to a site doesn’t affect the clicks that you’re getting on affiliate products at all. In fact in my tests – I mean take this with a grain of salt – it actually increases clicks, and why that might be maybe just because normal people see display ads everywhere.
They see display ads on New York Times. People trust New York Times, maybe they trust your website more. Who knows?
Maybe it’s like if you have an aversion to the ad, you’re driven to the center where the content is, and you’re trying to hone it. I mean me personally I’m not like I don’t want to look at you, ad. I want to look at what I came for.
Yeah, that could be it too. So after display ads, then you’re getting into some creative stuff, and I would say almost everything I’m about to list right now don’t bother with until you have traffic. First off, it just won’t work until you have traffic.
Let me explain what these things are. So the first thing I’d probably recommend is renting your pixel. That could be one thing. So if you’re in a specific niche and you’re collecting data on your site, install a Facebook pixel and you can rent out an audience to someone.
This is something that I talked about like maybe in 2018 or something, and I didn’t see it done before. I think it’s fairly popular now. I have no idea how legal it is and with like GDPR and all that stuff, so play at your own risk.
But it’s an easy way to just make $1,000 a month in renting out your Facebook audience to someone who wants to retarget that. And obviously, that doesn’t work until you have traffic, so you need the traffic first.
When you say you think it’s pretty well known now, I mean this is the first I’ve heard of it. It’s mid-2021. So that goes to show I mean I’m still pretty – I would think I would have heard it if it was common knowledge but maybe not. I am showing myself here.
I’m just in this really nerdy affiliate SEO bubble, so maybe like all the ten people I hang out with all know it so maybe it’s my blindside. Another thing would be you know funnels, so you know marketing, you’re collecting emails.
That’s a huge one. So again, don’t bother until you have traffic because it’s not worth paying for the Mailchimp, the AWeber account if you’re only getting one opt-in per week or per month, right. There’s just no point.
But once you started getting a decent amount of traffic, I would slap on some lead magnets into your site. So I always use fitness niche as an example. So you can have a lead magnet for losing weight, so here’s our guide for losing weight. Here’s our guide to in-home, at-home workouts which is popular during Covid times, right.
So then we made these lead magnets, and we started to collect emails through lists. Those emails itself can be monetized because you have an automated follow-up series, so as soon as they opt in they’re getting an email every day or something like that and a lot of these emails are getting people back to the sites, back to the best articles which are monetized with affiliate links.
So there’s a good chance to monetize that way, but also at the end of the series I like to pitch people directly to my best products. So I’ll give them a coupon code and say this is our best protein powder.
It’s on sale right now just for you, etcetera. Once you have a list, you also open up a new world of doing other things like email blasts. So if I had 10,000 people on an email list and I just produced a new piece of content on the best pre-workout for example, well guess what.
That article is getting blasted out to 10,000 people, 10,000 eyes on that article, some will convert. And no matter what, it’s getting a lot of people to that article which is a boost for Google and kickoff user metrics and stuff like that.
So that’s a super important one. Also with an email list like now you open up a world of being able to launch products. So if you want to launch a physical product, let’s say you’re sending people to Amazon.
On Amazon there’s a product that’s $8. Let’s make a premium version of that and sell it for $80 and keep most of the profit because we’re making it ourselves. So that’s an option too. And you really want to have a list before you launch something like that.
When you’re investing in inventory, you don’t want to just okay we made this thing and just put it up on the site and then it will slowly start getting bought over time.
You want to launch it. So when you invest in that big inventory it gets eaten up right away so you can buy some more. That’s super important. And info courses too, like once you have a list it’s easier to launch an info course.
Other things we’ve tried. So we’ve done merch. So when we’re in like a super nichy niche where people can get behind it and be like I’m one of these type people, like tee-shirts are great and merch and stuff like that, keychains.
We’ve done coaching. So here’s an interesting one. We use this tactic called the influencer pitch. If you want to learn what that is, you can go to my YouTube channel and look for influencer pitch. Basically what it is is we reach out to influencers and we say, yo, would you like to get some exposure for being a writer and contributor to our website?
We’ll add you to the about page. We get EAT signals, and they get some exposure as well. And sometimes we’ll get them to make YouTube videos for us. That’s another monetization tactic making YouTube.
But in exchange sometimes what we’ve done is if these influencers have a coaching program or want to set up a coaching program, we’ll set that up for them. We’ll add it to the nav bar.
We’ll put it in the email follow-up series. And then they sell $300-an-hour coaching, we’re going to make 50% of it. So as you can see, we’ve gone a long way from just Amazon Associates, (inaudible – 00:14:30) and different things that you can do. You’ll start thinking of these things natively when you start to max out your income.
See, I’ve been flat at $15k a month. What else can we do? So you’ll think of these things yourselves, but write down this list and this can be useful for you if you’re at that stage already.
And in terms of planning, we were redisant to build an email list. We have been for years. And we’re paying for it now because we have ideas and things we want to offer people, and you’re absolutely right, you better have that list of people interested before you try and launch products.
You can do it but you’re fighting an uphill battle there at that point. You’re just waiting and waiting and waiting until you’ve got enough interest. So I think some of those are really creative.
I’ll let them stand alone. The influencer pitch is something I personally would never have thought of. That’s a really cool idea to involve the community you’re already trying to be a part of.
The craziest thing about the influencer pitch, we’ve never been turned down once. Every time we pitch it it’s just such a no-brainer. Sure. Add me to your about page and then I look more awesome. What do I have to do for you? Oh, you’re just going to put my name in the articles. Great. That’s what I wanted anyways.
I mean you’re doing free labor for them. You guys are creating content that – I mean it depends on your quality of content, right. I’ve been approached by a site that I turned down because I thought I don’t want my name on that content, but you don’t create that kind of content.
So it’s just an amazing play I think. It’s a win-win. And their audience I would imagine to some extent migrates to you as well just by association.
When they’re an influencer and let’s say they’re big on Instagram. They want to get big on some other platform, it helps us build cred, but it also works – like we’re in the medical niche, we’re in the health niche, and we have doctors on our website. So it works for them too.
We see a lot of that with Jolly’s clients, right. If you’re a solo and non-credentialed person going at it in a niche where people rely on expert advice, you better find a partnership fast.
Aside from people now, let’s talk about tools. I had the good fortune to interview Bernard Huang of Clearscope, and not to start a rivalry, but I know that you and your teams are a big fan of Surfer. And so I’m also hopefully sending over a written interview to Bhanu Ahluwalia of Rank Math.
What are a few tools you’d advise a site owner – let’s say they’re still operating solo, what kind of core tools would they want? Someone like me would need something where there’s analytics distilled for the layperson. But let’s say someone who’s maybe more technically savvy too like yourself.
So first of all, shout out to Bernard. He’s awesome, a really smart guy. I’m sure you had an awesome interview. I had the pleasure of meeting him at a conference in Sydney and I really liked the guy.
Bernard, if you’re ever in Thailand or if I’m ever in the States, I’m going to hit you up. So the three tools I’d recommend, the first is no coincidence – I’m not trying to counterattack against Clearscope versus Surfer – but the tool that we use most is Surfer, and it’s not just because I’m an investor in Surfer.
I’m an early-round investor in case anyone doesn’t know. I just want to be 100 percent clear. But it’s a tool we use guaranteed every day. So between all my businesses and agencies, we probably produce between 12 to 20 pieces of content per day, and the only way to scale that is to get our writers writing within Surfer so they can do their job writing but they write an optimized article.
They’re not SEOs and Surfer will create – I like to look at it as like you know when you’re bowling and they play with the bumpers on the sides for the kids. It’s kind of like that. Like you’re going to roll the ball and you’re going to hit the pins no matter what.
So Surfer is really good for creating optimized content, also reverse engineering existing content that might have fell in rankings, and what could we do to improve that. So Surfer is number one. Number two would be Ahrefs.
Ahrefs is just like the Swiss army knife for SEOs. I would say its strength is with reverse engineering. So toss in your competitors in there, dump out what keywords are ranking fore, and you just did keyword research. Plus in your competitors look at what backlinks they have.
You just identified the links that you need to get in order to compete in your niche. They’re literally becoming the Swiss army knife. Their site audit tool is like awesome. And I know a lot of the SEO peers are just like I only use Screaming Frog for site audits. Screaming Frog’s audit capabilities is just Ahrefs without a buoy.
I get why it’s more classic, but I just prefer Ahrefs. It just kind of gives you a nice little interface to do it. Then lastly it would be probably Hunter.
Hunter, you don’t need it unless you’re doing your own outreach, but Hunter will give you your link – your email findings. So you identify the websites you want your links on, so it will find out the contact information of all these people and then it also has an outreach tool itself.
So the outreach tool is pretty good, good enough for sure. It’s definitely not as good as Pitch Fox but pretty solid. So I would stick with those three.
So my follow-up, how would you rate it to Pitch Fox but that makes sense. I mean it’s got a lot of capabilities. And what you said about having those bumper rails, we actually had a failed content agency before we have our current like signature service as HARO service.
And I can just speak to that. I mean we didn’t have the strategy component. That’s why we failed. Had we had software at the time that could at least help us out understand what’s going on in the space that we’re trying to create content for oh gosh what a different story.
Instead, we had humans who kind of, sort of knew what was going on, creating briefs for writers who didn’t know what was going on, and that’s a recipe for disaster, right. So those tools are integral I think. I have to ask you about link building, right.
You’ve got Authority Building, and you mentioned Hunter. You aren’t shy at all about talking about link building in your group. Your community isn’t. And I’m curious, if you don’t mind if you engage in this at all, thinking about the near future of link building, what’s that look like to you. And specifically, do you think paid link building is going to not fly under the radar, not necessarily avoid the target sites but Google is always dancing around this idea of what can they even say about link building.
Let’s take the first part of that question which is like what’s going to happen with link building? Will it still remain in the algorithm for the near-far future?
And I truly think that it’s going to be around forever. Let’s say right now link building is 47 percent the algorithm. That will shrink over time, but I think it will never diminish completely. We have to remember that Google is Google because they put faith into their page rank algorithm which is completely relied on that.
So Larry Page, PageRank, they’re married to this concept that a link from one site to another is a positive ranking signal. It’s a vote on the internet say on one piece of content. Good. Now eventually –
It’s a social cue, right?
It’s a social cue so to speak.
Exactly. It’s just one of the best ranking signals possible. They blew away Yahoo search engine. They blew away everyone else when they integrated that or when they launched because it was there from the beginning. So if we have backlinks as part of the algorithm, the only way it can really go away is if the other parts of the algorithm get stronger.
So let’s say Google just hits a home run, and they invent a general AI that can look at every single piece of content on the internet and just decide which one is the best because it read them all and it just knows. It’s a general AI that can just figure that out.
Think about this situation. Let’s say if someone is searching for the best meatball recipe and let’s say the best meatball recipe hands down, like all the major websites believe that this one old lady in Italy is the best meatball recipe and so everyone has the same one. It’s like this much parsley and this much, whatever goes into the meatball.
So if everyone is using the same recipe, how do you decide which one ranks number one? You still have to look at external signals. Which one has the most links, which one has the best website speed? You still have to look at other stuff. So I don’t think it will ever go away. And your second part of the question was that about paid links.
Yeah. I was just curious. Some people are gun shy about them when they’re new to the space entirely even just because of the bad rep that sometimes circulates. You know how social groups can be. It’s almost like gossip or old wives’ tales. I personally am unsure because of that alone. I listened. I watched. We don’t do paid links, but that’s not because I know what the future holds. We don’t have that service.
Where’s the line drawn because someone pays you to build them? So does that make it illegal? Are the cops going to raid your house?
For some people, yes. Our service is certainly immoral or unethical, however you’d like to term it because it’s paid for. We do work for other people. I agree.
What are you paying for it with? Is it your time, is it money or is it content in your case, right? So this is the bait that’s been around since the beginning.
I’ve been doing SEO for a while, and I’ve seen the rise and fall of different link building tactics. It’s also been about what is Google able to detect unnatural. So whether it’s paid or not, just unnatural is not good.
A PBN for example isn’t necessarily a paid link. I mean you bought the domain that’s been purchased before. You build the links later. You didn’t pay for it. But it’s just whether or not Google can catch it and determine it was unnatural. So even looking at the example of PBN, so PBNs still work now because it’s just a normal thing that happens on the internet.
People buy and sell domains, domains drop, someone buys a domain name, and guess what, they link out from its home page. And they can’t penalize the entire internet that does that.
That’s why PBNs still work. So I think the name of the game is just build links that Google can’t detect as unnatural, whether that’s paid or not. So if you’re doing something like guest posting or doing any kind of link building, just don’t make it obvious you’re getting a link that’s paid for whether it’s in the form of content, whatever. This is beyond all the ethical questions.
The ethical questions are about like Google says all links should happen naturally. We all know that that never happens in the real world. If you’re building your own links, just don’t get your links on like obvious guest post blogs or don’t get your link in an author box which that’s a sign I wrote this content for this person.
Here’s my link right here. So just avoid that. You can dabble in it if you want to, but for the most part avoid that and get the links that there’s no way impossible hell that Google would be able to figure out that you built this. It just looks like the webmaster wrote content and wrote a link to your site.
How would Google ever figure that out?
For a lot of the reasons you just mentioned, we have kind of sat on a high horse if I’m being honest over here. We’re like oh surely our links we’re building are impervious to future algorithm changes.
I would like your honest opinion on what we’re up to at Jolly and Sourcery because when we talked a year ago you and your partner actually said no thanks for now being quite frank, right. You guys weren’t as interested as we would have hoped to be able to serve you and your clients.
So I’m curious what you think about the tactic. I think I already know your answer based on what you just said, but is there a difference between earned media and –
So okay. Let’s rewind it back a little bit. So obviously you can tell on ROI focused or anyone that’s watching this I’m ROI focused. I don’t really care about like terms of service or whatever. I just want to be able to rank my websites fast so they can make money faster, flip them or whatever. I don’t think that there’s any ethical situation going on here. I think this is a terms of service consideration.
And also part of my philosophy is I think you should get every single link type you can possibly get your hands on. I think the hard-to-get ones on high authority domains are the best. And your approach you’re using like HARO method. What do you call it? Like earned media. I like that.
Well like we have to work for it I guess.
I think that your methodology by using HARO or that and digital PR are really the only mainstream and capable and efficient ways of getting these types of links.
And I think that most people won’t have access to run digital PR campaigns and create viral stories and pitch them to journalists and get like exposed in that sense. So I think HARO is a great way to start off getting on these almost “impossible” links, your DR 90’s and above.
I think it’s a great way to start and it’s relatively free if you consider time to be free. If we go back to why I turned you down, I think it was just your price point. So we did this analysis ourselves and we did an analysis cheaper.
I mean it’s so accessible if you’ve got a writer basically, someone open to learning a new subskill really of what they are doing now. I really appreciate you sharing that you actually think you should get as much diversity – well that’s putting words in your mouth. You didn’t say that exactly. You should get all types of links which makes so much sense to me. It applies to a lot of different areas of life, right. Too much of one thing is not necessarily what you want.
I really appreciate that. I wanted to pivot into I think what draws a lot of people into affiliate marketing today is they imagine the flip. I know that you have, I assume by now, sold and bought properties, but I know you also manage some long term. I believe the valuation used to be something like 30X. Has that fluctuated since you entered affiliate marketing at all and do you see that going up or down in the near future?
Well so I’m constantly hounding the marketplaces for websites to purchase. I saw a website two weeks ago at a 51X multiple. It’s crazy. So I wouldn’t even say it’s fluctuating. It’s just going like that. It’s just going up, up, up at the time. I think the reason for that is just like the state of economy, printing money, stock market is going like this, housing market is going like this.
Where else are people going to put their money? So it’s driving multiples. It’s making online businesses look more attractive to the private equity almost everywhere. I mean we just sold a big website of ours to an equity group. They have experience running businesses but no experience running websites. They just out flipped it. So here’s a new company that’s going to do the work for me.
That makes a ton of sense where I sit as a small business owner. I see a lot of interest in digital businesses, and as a hopeful homebuyer, your comment about housing hit home as well. So that makes a ton of sense. Wow. I didn’t know we’re approaching 50X. I mean that obviously was an extreme, but it’s there.
We’re there, man. And there was nothing special about this site. It didn’t have like multiple traffic channels. I don’t even think it had multiple monetization channels. That’s just what the market wants and that’s what they’re willing to pay for it. It’s crazy, man.
Wow. I mean good for you for entering when you did. And I mean my last question for you really is about what drew me of course to you in the first place is the content you put out. You put out an incredible mix of free and then obviously you have the Affiliate Lab of paid information.
Most recently it’s almost mid-2021 now. I was looking earlier this year in your group, and I admired the way that you handle – we can call them whatever you want – haters or critics.
From where I sit, you have this mix of like ignore a lot because who wants to get into that, but occasionally you’ll whip out like a testimonial or you’ll come in with compassion and you’ll explain like this is business. You don’t want one stream of revenue in business. You want to diversify. So yes, the selfish reason is it’s another revenue stream.
So I’m just curious. How does it feel, one – I’m going to hit you with yet another multipart question – how does it feel to be hit in the guru status, and two, like anything you would edit, undo about this whole journey or bypass now that you know what you know?
Sure. Okay. So I think the question that you’re talking about is this is the question anyone who’s teaching anyone anything gets. If you’re so good at what you’re doing, you make so much money with affiliate marketing, why would you teach?
Why would you tell other people how to do it? Why would you spend your time doing this kind of stuff? And the answers you’ve probably seen me say are just like well maybe it’s not all about money sometimes or maybe it’s about income diversification or maybe who knows.
But it’s a really big fallacy for someone to just interpret that any knowledge I’m getting from someone is suspect because if they were really good at it, they wouldn’t be teaching it. That’s a very scarcity mindset and there’s a lot of smart people in this world to learn from definitely. I’m not saying that I’m one of them, but I mean I would probably never read a book or never seek a mentor or never ask anyone for help if I took that mindset on.
So I don’t want people to have it, but I don’t mind it’s thrown at me. I think it’s a natural suspicion that people might have. As far as being a guru, that’s such a cringey word. It doesn’t have a good connotation, and I never call myself that. Yeah.
But I’m very, very grateful for the opportunities a personal brand has given me in terms of launching new businesses or putting me in touch or expanding my network.
So I’m super grateful for that. Mostly I’m really grateful for the ability to help people and teach people. I didn’t really touch upon how terrible of a time I had as an engineer, but like I was mad depressed, 60-hour weeks, just seeing this life that just looked like shit in front of me.
So I’m super grateful for the life that affiliate marketing and SEO give me, so I want to give that back and a personal brand helps that. That said, I’m very, very aware of the pitfalls that go along with a personal brand. I mean as humans we all have an ego, right, like me, Matt, have this ego that I’ve built around myself, but putting a personal brand online, okay, now it’s too late.
Now there’s this Matt Diggity guy who has this certain persona. So I’m very aware of the addictiveness that praise could get or likes and follows. Social media is just a complete mess. So I’m aware of that and that part of it I definitely don’t like at all. Would I take it back? I would have to say no. There’s been more pros than cons. And I think if we’re completely unconscious of these types of aspects of having your personal brand could have on you and I started becoming a douchebag like definitely I would take it back.
But I think because I’m aware of it and I can see myself like why did you just check to see how many likes were on your YouTube video? You shouldn’t care about that. The real you doesn’t care about that. I think it’s kind of protecting me a little bit. But one thing I will take back is early in my journey when things were starting to take off I was pretty intense, and I would expect the people around me to really, really go above and beyond and work crazy – have crazy expectations of them too.
I have rubbed friends the wrong way. I’ve pushed people too hard. I really wish I could go back in time and take that back, leave some of the relationships I was able to salvage and stuff like that.
But I definitely could have done better, and I encourage anyone who is doing well or growing like the friendships comes first and company culture comes first and learn that upfront rather than I did in the rearview mirror.
Man, I appreciate you sharing a personal effects really of business, right. I’m very, very fortunate to co-run a business with a very good friend since high school, and we’re not at the end of the story so one never knows how it plays out. But we always hope that we’ll prioritize friendship over business.
But to your point, company culture is extremely important, and as a business owner, I’m sure I’ve leaned too hard. It’s something that I’m prone to as a person, and I appreciate you sharing that so candidly.
I think we just get blind because everyone looks at their own business as the most important thing in the world besides your family, right. It’s hard to tell that other people don’t see it that way. Some people just view it as a job. There’s going to be different gradients on how much people care about it, and we just have to be open to that.
I think a primary example of like who has completely lost that is Elon Musk. Obviously it gets results, right. But I just read one of his books and I guess working for him is a complete nightmare.
So it’s just like are you dedicated to the division and the goals and do you want to get to Mars or do you want people around you to be happy and stuff like that? There’s probably a middle ground, but I definitely didn’t have that before.
It’s something to keep in mind with developing your business no matter what side is right. What kind of growth do you need and at what cost?
That’s for sure.
It’s great insight. Well Matt, this has been insight for me personally, but I’m sure the people following you appreciate yet again you taking the time to share your knowledge. So thank you very much. I appreciate it.
My pleasure. Thank you. I really appreciate it.
Okay. Well thank you.