For the generation coming into the workforce today, it’s common to opt for starting a business or freelancing setup of one’s own instead of falling into traditional employment. Not too long ago, however, this was quite out of the ordinary for a young person. Eighteen years ago, at just 23 years old, Craig Campbell of Craig Campbell SEO
started the process of turning his intrigue and passion for the budding SEO industry into a viable livelihood, now a thriving business with global prestige and upcoming speaking engagements across Europe.
Craig Campbell shares his hard-earned experience-based advice to those looking to make it in the SEO and digital marketing industry.
“There was always something inside me that went against the grain of working for someone and I never liked having my growth hampered by another person,” says Craig, whose business, Craig Campbell SEO
specializes in link building, online reputation management, and PPC management, as well as offering several levels of SEO and digital marketing training courses
, including social media and Google AdWords training. Because he started from a place of being passionate about his career choice, Craig has been able to persevere through the ups and downs that come with owning your own business. “The choice to jump into this industry was because I was hungry and enthusiastic about it, not because I was in a dead end job or anything like that.”
“In the early days, it was a struggle, hardship comes into play working with paying clients who don't always pay on time, and it takes a bit of getting used to. Times were tough at the start, but it was a great learning experience,” he notes, and especially now, given the current state of the economy, it may be tricky for new businesses to find their footing. However, in the SEO and digital marketing industry, “startup costs are low; if you have a laptop and wifi you really are up and running,” so even if clients aren’t flowing for a new business immediately, there are still steps you can take to set yourself apart from the crowd.
One of the keys to setting yourself apart from the vast ocean of other brands out there, according to Campbell, is to continually invest in your skillset. In the field of SEO, this is especially crucial: the nature of this discipline requires staying ahead of the game and fine-tuning operations according to Google’s ongoing updates, as well as the vast landscape of shifting digital trends. “I’ve spent the last 18 years continually investing in my own development,” he notes, “I aim to keep ahead of the competition, and I think that’s really what sets the good SEOs apart.”
Craig Campbell SEO is now a brand of its own, with a steady client base and a prestigious reputation, and Craig is able to outsource elements of his work that he isn’t passionate about or doesn’t have a strong desire to do. In the beginning, however, he started as a freelancer, working out of a spare bedroom he had set up as an office. He learned on the job, not only about SEO, but also about the ins and outs of running a business on his own, including hiring an accountant and drawing up business leases.
“At the beginning was all new to me. I’ve learnt a lot of things through mistakes I’ve made too, I’ve had businesses go bankrupt, so it has been a steep learning curve and pretty much all I know was learned while in business,” he advises, “But you get through it and many other business owners are the same, there is no rule book you just have to feel your way around and find your feet and do what you think is right.”
After spending ten years running an agency, Craig became even more certain that SEO is his passion. “Managing teams and clients wasn't my thing, I enjoy SEO and automation and all of that stuff and I felt that an agency was not the right fit for me.”
During pandemic closures, Craig Campbell SEO launched several free online SEO courses, which gained over 40,000 subscribers. While the sentiment may seem altruistic, Craig reminds that it's also in your best interests to provide free resources because in return, you receive networking and reputation-building opportunities. “It got me a lot of traffic and exposure alongside some affiliate sales and that has also led onto other business deals and consultancy,” he explains.
Though his business hasn’t been heavily affected by pandemic closures, since his Glasgow-based team were partially working from home anyways, Craig is reconsidering whether or not his company actually needs a physical office space once his lease is up.
In the future, Craig plans to take each day as it comes and help other people and businesses through their own growth journeys. “I’m investing in digital assets and hopefully investing in some businesses and help coach and grow businesses using the skills and experience I have whilst making my money work for me. I think that is really the kind of route I want to go down, more investments and also helping people grow.”
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