How I Started A $5K/Month SEO Consulting And Blogging Business
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Noah Riggs and I decided to embark on the journey to become a full-time blogger in 2018. My business is a lot of things and evolves constantly. All of my current projects are all housed under the Busy Living Better umbrella entity (aside from my work as the CEO and stakeholder of a media company based out of Austin).
For example, my personal site busylivingbetter.com is a website focused on teaching others how to take themselves from having nothing to waking up to meaningful life every day. I teach this by sharing the same strategies I used to go from broke and stressed, to a CEO and multiple business owner in just one year.
Busy Living Better also includes my newest project with my longtime girlfriend, a site focused on creating helpful printables for every need, as well as the SEO consulting work I do for other multi-million dollar blogs.
The majority of my income from this business comes from SEO consulting. This wasn’t exactly what I expected the case to be when I began freelancing and offering services to businesses, but after finding some success for my first client the word spread to his other business partners and suddenly I had a full client list.
This led me to push harder in creating my income from my businesses as well as push my limits in what I could offer to my clients. After a year of working on both, my income now bounces between the $5,500 to $6,500 per month range. While the journey here has been difficult and unexpected, it is one I will forever be grateful for.
My business has allowed me to travel and have experiences I never thought I would have. I have been able to enjoy more time with my family, more moments with my friends, and been able to grow as a person more than I could ever imagine. I have been able to travel across the country on days notice for Halloween (pictured below in San Jose) with my nephews, take spontaneous trips with my girlfriend, help my best friend move states away with almost no notice, and so much more. My job flexibility makes me so excited for my future as a husband and father and I feel comfortable knowing I won’t have to miss anything important to me.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
For me, growing up came with a lot of things that at the time I hated, but am now grateful for it. The house my family lived in when I was born was nothing to brag about. It wasn’t in the best of neighborhoods or the best condition, but it was a home. While living here, we went without a lot of things.
While living like this wasn’t ideal or exactly what I would have asked for if I had a choice, it did make me appreciate the next home we moved into more. It wasn’t the nicest place either, but when you don’t have a lot, every little thing you gain from there means the world. This childhood lesson taught me gratitude and grit, which pushed me to pursue everything I wanted in life.
Never become complacent doing your job, learn more, provide value, and make your skills undeniable.
I wasn’t held back from the lack of money my parents had or lack of resources around me. I made it work in everything I did, no matter the cost. I didn’t have frequent access to the internet or even a computer at home growing up, so I was unaware of everything that existed out in the online business world and that you could make real money with it.
During high school, I just focused on what I had seen work for others. Get good grades, go to college, graduate, and land a good job. So that’s what I did. I ended up attending college at my local community college, became an EMT, and began what I thought would be the start of a long happy career in public service.
But, as Robert Burns once wrote, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
Making enough money to survive and pay for college was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I knew I had to find a way to bring in extra money to pay off debt and save, and this led me to donate plasma for money. A donation would take around 2-3 hours (including waiting and donating) and would net me around $70. During this time, I realized that I could be working on something else as well while at the donation center. So I searched online for how to make money online and discovered that people were making quite a bit with their blogs and other online businesses.
After seeing this, I knew I had to give it a go. I ended up saving the money I was making on the side from donations to buy a blogging course so that I could learn exactly how to start my own.
After launching my blog, I began surrounding myself with people in the blogging space that had a lot of success or were extremely motivated to succeed. It began to open my eyes to what was possible with an online business. I was completely blown away by the amount of opportunity that existed.
After learning all about SEO while learning to blog and being a virtual assistant for another blogger, I realized that it was something a lot of my fellow bloggers struggled with. I knew it was a skill I could capitalize on and so I decided to spread the word about offering SEO services. It wasn’t that there was ever a specific moment that I knew SEO or blogging was the perfect match for me, but I did know that working online was, so I did whatever I needed to do to pursue it. I loved the freedom and income control is presented. With online business, your income can grow so quickly based on the level of effort you put in.
I had months where I was pulling in $15,000 and I have had months where I pulled in $800, but it was all based on the effort I put in. I decided after doubling my current income it was time to go full time and see if I could have a career online. I figured, I’m young, and don’t have much to lose, so why not? Luckily for me, my business only continued to grow after going all in and it has provided me with endless opportunities.
With how much I have invested now into my businesses, I make very predictable income, some passive, and some not. While I’m currently not earning the most I have ever made, I am happy with the direction my business is going.
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
While I don’t have a product that I sell, the process of setting up my services and blogs as simple and relatively inexpensive and I had it set up in less than a week.
But, I do create content on my website that is geared towards people who are struggling to live the life they want. This is also a way to diversify my income outside of just SEO Consulting.
I feel as though, many people aren't fairly equipped with what they need to live life exactly the way they hope to. Whether they didn’t have it taught to them in school, or their parents didn’t teach them, they just weren’t exposed to the real-life knowledge they need. They are lost on how to stay motivated, how to develop themselves into the best version of themselves, manage their money, and start their own business.
So after learning how to do those things for me, I decided to try my best to share the things I learned with as many people as I can in the world. Because they deserve to live the life they have always dreamed of.
Describe the process of launching the business.
I went all-in by purchasing the domain names, the best courses I could, and began building my blog as quickly as possible. This led me to learn an array of skills like web development, graphic design, marketing, content creation and optimization, and so much more.
By learning these things for myself and helping others as well in different Facebook groups, my name eventually got passed around to some huge companies looking for employees. I found these Facebook groups through courses and mutual friends who were also taking courses and they proved to be the ultimate secret to my success.
Before I knew it, I was now working with multi-million dollar companies on things I had no idea existed 6 months ago. It wasn’t that I did any special type of marketing or anything to get myself out there. All I did was help others the best I could for free, and it led me to opportunities to work with clients way outside of my level of expertise. By doing so, I quickly became up to par. My skills developed quickly and I spent my days and nights making sure I could provide as much value as possible to my clients.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
There are quite a few things I could contribute to the success I have had retaining clients and attracting more of them. But if I had to narrow it down I would say it boils down to -
Master your job.
You have to master your job, and master yourself. Never become complacent doing your job, learn more, provide value, and make your skills undeniable.
Find a way to measure the value you bring and how much money your job creates for your clients.
This was fortunately pretty easy for me because traffic was a direct result of my work, and organic sales and conversions were income produced by my work, so I knew exactly how much my services were making my clients, which gave me a bargaining chip in determining my pay.
Understand whether your services will be a good fit and don’t force it.
What I mean by this is, a lot of freelancers will try and take on tasks outside of their skillset because they think it will help business, but a lot of times it can hurt your business. If you aren’t good at website design, don’t promise your client that you can build them an awesome website. Offer the services you know you can do well, and if they don’t need them, move on to the next client.
For me, the number one way of attracting new clients is my reputation and by word of mouth. By making sure I provide the most value possible to each client, my work gets naturally mentioned and seen by thousands of people!
Many empires have been built strictly from word of mouth. So do not underestimate this as a marketing tool. This also means not taking clients you KNOW you can’t help or who don’t need you just do you can earn some extra money. If you can’t provide what a client needs, then that isn’t the right client for you. You don’t want them telling other companies you didn’t provide much value and killing your future chances to earn money.
Becoming successful by any measure requires a lot of commitment and sacrifice. If you don’t have a meaningful reason for why you are trying to accomplish something, then you aren’t very likely to stick with it when things get hard.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Well, as I have already seen from my past, the future is extremely unpredictable. But, as odd as it sounds, I hope that my future looks completely different. Not because I have any problem with my current life or business, but because I need the change. I love that online business is something that constantly evolves and constantly requires you to learn new skills and do different things or else I would get bored.
One thing I hope comes in the future is the focused growth of my site. While the Busy Living Better site has a lot of potentials and is something I am passionate about, I haven’t been able to give it the full attention it deserves. I hope that the sale of a previous project in the smart home industry thesmartestlife.com, as well as me cutting down on the number of clients I have, I will be able to devote the attention needed to make Busy Living Better the success I know it can be.
I hope that in doing so I can teach people the things that resonate the most with me. I hope to motivate others to become the best version of themselves financially, and in all other aspects of life, as well as pursue the life and business that makes them the happiest.
I do enjoy all the work I do for my clients and will continue to keep the ones I have now for hopefully many years to come, but it is time to pursue my purpose more intently.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I have learned quite a bit along my journey, but the number one thing is that we are limitless. Growing up in the environment I did lead me to believe there wasn’t enough opportunity in the world. That someone like me couldn’t live their dream life.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. I am a living breathing example, that with dedication, perseverance, and belief, we are truly limitless in what we can accomplish.
I believe it was Will Smith that said it best, “Believing in yourself is the first step to accomplishing any goal.” I hold this to be true and continuously believe in myself and all that I will accomplish in my lifetime and this has made all the difference in my business and my life.
The other most important thing I have learned is it is never too late to start and there is never going to be a perfect time to start. Everything I have found great success within life, I started at an inopportune time. I started investing with only 20 dollars to my name, started my side business while working two jobs and being a full-time student, and started my newest venture during the coronavirus pandemic! There is never a perfect time to do anything, and if that’s what you are waiting on, you are wasting precious time.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
The main tools for my business include but are not limited to:
My favorite tool of all is Ahref’s though. This tool has allowed me to perform SEO miracles for clients and myself. For anyone looking to take their SEO skills to the next level, I recommend becoming extremely familiar with Ahref’s and all it has to offer.
While some of these tools can be expensive, a lot of them are free or come with free trials, and at best sometimes you can even include the cost of them in the rates you give your clients.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
There are a lot of resources out there to thank for motivating me to accomplish more and shoot for more in my life. But some of my favorite include;
Podcast - Thank God It’s Monday by Eric Thomas
Book - Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Francesc Miralles
Influencer - Andrei Jikh a Personal Finance YouTuber
I am heavily motivated by mottos and quotes as well by people I look up to like The Rock, Will Smith, Warren Buffet, and more.
These things have helped to motivate me and encourage me in different ways throughout my life and I am extremely thankful for the role all of them have played.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
Find your why and never forget it. Becoming successful by any measure requires a lot of commitment, sacrifice, and is often a bumpy and difficult journey. If you don’t have a meaningful reason for why you are trying to accomplish something, then you aren’t very likely to stick with it when things get hard.
My Why - My longtime girlfriend, Caroline as well as my best friends, my current and future family.
I think that everyone is motivated by different things just as everyone is called to different things in life. Some people are financially motivated, purpose-driven, etc.
For me, I am motivated to be the best boyfriend, (future husband and father), friend, and family member I can be. I also want to encourage those around the world to accomplish the things they never thought possible and live a life that makes them happy and fulfilled.
No matter what it is you are trying to achieve in your life, do not quit, and do not forget your own why.
Where can we go to learn more?
While I am not typically heavily involved with social media, feel free to follow me on Tik-Tok or Instagram or subscribe to my email list on the website.
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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