Starting over at the age of 46. This seemed terrifying, and it was. My now ex-wife said she wanted a divorce. We had grown apart, and I agreed. We had spent almost 12 years building a building maintenance business to a workforce that was at one time 49 strong. At the time of the divorce, we had a workforce of 23 and it was still a very profitable business. I had suggested that she take the business so she could support our son without having to work an outside job.
So, here I am- 46 with no idea of what to do. I had learned how to do websites in the early 2000's, and I was good at it, so this was my starting point. Do you have any idea how many web designers and SEO agencies there are? It seemed like everyone was doing it. On top of that, I was battling feelings of not being worthy of success again. If you haven't experienced this, or don't know what I'm talking about, this can be a devastating feeling. My depression grew, and I started to withdraw.
The savings I had was dwindling down, and new clients were not to be found. A client had asked me if I could help them get Google reviews. They had tried, but it wasn't working. This started a completely new journey into Online Reputation Management.
As I kept researching, I began to see one thing that kept coming up. Businesses that had more than 30 Google Reviews, and had some activity on social media were getting clients. They were moving ahead in Google as well. Even better than companies that had more backlinks and SEO work done. This led to a big A-ha moment for me. If there was a way to get authentic Google reviews and generate chatter on social media, I could help businesses get more customers.
Now all I needed was a system to make these things happen. Just like the History Channel show Man, Moment, Machine; everything started falling in place. I found an existing SaaS platform that was willing to work with me to get this happening for small businesses.
It sounds like everything was moving great and it was. There was a problem. It was a big problem. Most businesses don't care about their online reputation- that or they don't understand, or see the importance of it. This created a new hurdle for me. How can I approach a prospective client?
I spoke with my clients that had been in the system, and I found one thing to be consistent- they saw a 15% increase in new business in the first 30 days. This was without running any Groupon or discounts. Three of these clients only had a website and minimal social media exposure. This is a ground breaking result. More local buyers coming to your business from an effective online reputation management strategy.
What about after the first 30 days? My clients continued to see increased foot traffic, and they also began to notice something else- better clients were coming in. In many cases, they were able to raise their prices. This has led to these businesses becoming the obvious choice in their respective niches.
My greatest reward is when one of my clients tells me that because of working with me, they have seen new life breathed into their business. They are now serving the clients they have always wanted to serve.