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Chris started Rankings.io in 2013. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Rankings.io?
I graduated college with a History degree, fully intending to become a high school teacher and coach. I landed a job shortly after graduation as a detention room supervisor, of all things.
Find someone whose work you admire and apply both their mistakes and successes to your own trajectory. Most any mistake that can be made has been, so take advantage of the availability of the stories of others to sidestep the pitfalls that caught them.
You can imagine what my daily routine was like: sitting in the same small room, managing the same recurring cast of misguided youth and assorted screw-ups. One day, bored out of my skull, I Googled “how to make money online” (not joking: that’s literally the query I used). This led me to a few digital marketing courses...and I was instantly hooked.
I’m competitive by nature, so when I entered the world of affiliate marketing, I really enjoyed the process of taking a site from nothing to something. In short order, I had sites ranking #1 for “double chin,” “stained concrete,” “Acai fruit,” and a host of other terms. By the end of my second year in affiliate marketing, I was making more money from my side job than I was from my primary. Naturally, I did everything that my parents didn’t want me to do: I quit my job, moved to Florida, cashed out my teachers’ retirement account, and threw an enormous party at my new place.
The party was so successful that I received an eviction notice shortly afterwards (Mom, Dad, if you’re reading this: I’m sorry).
In 2012, the Penguin algorithm update came along and basically nuked my income from orbit (taking my 100+ affiliate sites and making them basically useless), but I found a job with a full-service digital agency that specialized in marketing for attorneys. While that company is no longer in operation, I did learn the ropes of legal marketing, and this further seated my passion for the field/niche.
One of the main reasons that I loved working in the legal marketing field was (again) the competition: ranking affiliate sites was relatively easy and had long since ceased to pose a challenge to me, but SEO for lawyers was hyper-competitive and required me to bring my A-game at all times. I loved it so much that in less than two years, I opened my own agency.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater