3 Years of Trading in 2021
About Nina Payne the SEO Lady
How you came up with your business idea and when? I had been employed as an SEO since 2008 and joined a freelancing website to take in odd jobs as a second job in the evenings and weekends. I launched my own website in 2009 which was www.1weekseo.co.uk. Later down the line in 2016 I went through a company rebrand to www.seolady.co.uk.
I found that working for one website and to get them to Google page 1 was relatively straightforwards e.g. www.funkypigeon.com the personalised greetings cards company based in Bristol got to Google page 1 position 1 for “personalised cards” UK Nationwide – now what do I do? I’m bored at work, I need several companies.
I’d love to work from home so I SEO’d my own website for “SEO Training Somerset” and “SEO Weston-super-Mare” to attract local clients whilst expanding my portfolio of remote clients online via the Freelancing website www.peopleperhour.com
Career Background – 22 Years in Sales, Marketing and Print Advertising
What did you do before? I’ve got 21 years Sales/Marketing experience. I worked in Sales and Marketing for a local newspaper, then sold 12″ DJ Vinyl records on eBay which as it turns out is the same as optimising sales on Google. I combined elements of SEO together with sales call to action and enticing item content to encourage people to buy. Following this I worked for companies as the sole SEO / Digital Marketing Manager.
What or whom inspired you to set up your own business and why? I was frustrated with just working for one website as an employee – only because when you rank a website to Google page 1 position 1, what happens next? How do you fill 40 hours a week? In 2013 I thought “This is it” and used the freelancing website People Per Hour to build a client base, my profile is now one of the the highest at Level 5 since I joined back in 2009 working 2 jobs.
The attraction of working from home in my pyjamas without having the daily train commute to Bristol and Bath was overpowering. I hated commuting and swapping jobs once I had got to Google page 1. I have to be kept busy and managing my client portfolio certainly gives me variety on a daily basis. I’m very environmentally friendly, I aim to be paper free and can’t recall the last time I printed something for my business. My website hosting is certified by the Green Web Foundation.
How did you get started? I asked at the local Jobcentre for advice on going self employed, registering a business and finding an accountant and that’s when I got in touch with the local North Somerset Enterprise Agency (NSEA) who helped me out immediately. The NSEA team provided me with the telephone numbers I needed to setup appointments with the correct local government departments, even securing me a 6 month grant to help me face the first year of being self employed.
Where are you at with your business now and in what ways do you feel you have been successful? I celebrate 5 years working from home in October 2017, I’ve grown my client portfolio both locally, Nationally and Internationally by teaching SEO and also working as a freelancer. I speak to clients all over the world in America, Lanzarote and even Thailand on Skype, I’m also freelancing weekly for a client in Dublin. I attend networking events and have present SEO Q&A talks for the NSEA, Barclay’s Networking, The Federation of Small Businesses and for an online Woman In Business magazine via Google Hangout.
What are you most proud of? Having my articles published online by People Per Hour and the Woman in Business online magazine. Paying my mortgage on time, not having to commute every day, and collecting hundreds of 5-star reviews online. I’m in the red cardigan below at the local Weston-super-Mare #BossIT event at the Tropicana where I was a guest speaker.
What obstacles/hurdles did you have to overcome along the way? Don’t be afraid of asking for money up front as I have been burned for 4 figures. In the SEO industry you can’t un-SEO a website, so don’t work on “Pay by Results”, similarly don’t build a website (or even start) before the money clears in the bank.
Also, one challenge being a sole trader is that people who want to succeed in Google want to talk for 40-60 minutes before parting with their money. Working a 40 hour week and 10 potential new clients a week wanting free SEO advice over the phone is tricky for me to make time . This is why I try to conduct initial consultations by email – I can post links and articles in an email and save 10 hours a week to work for my current clients!
What lessons have you learned along the way? Don’t trust your friends without payment upfront.
In what ways has running your own business changed your life? I can eat much more healthily as I’m not buying food at lunchtime, I have sold my car so don’t need to pay for upkeep, insurance or petrol working from home. The laundry gets done regularly.
What do you love about it and why would you recommend being your own boss? In the summer I can take the afternoon off it the weather is nice and treat myself to lunch on the seafront. I can nip into town to run errands / go to the dentist / doctor’s rather than cramming everything into the weekends.
What “top tip” would you have for someone who is considering the option of being self-employed/running their own business? Create a business plan of the costs involved in launch including promotional materials and a website cost. When you have a website don’t assume the day it goes live it’s going to be the top of Google. It won’t .. you need to invest in an SEO. Your competitors have been a long time online before your new website so you need to set aside a marketing budget to beat them to Google page 1 and make money online, either by attracting business enquiries, or selling items in a store.
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