Transition from Digital Freelancer to Agency, with Gareth Daine

Welcome to today’s podcast, where I’m joined by … I was going to say fellow Liverpudlian but I’m not Liverpudlian. But, no, I’m joined by Gareth Daine today, who I’m sure many of you will know from Facebook or somewhere online. He’s probably either trolled you or helped you with something. He’s got his group, Niche Affiliate Empires, and he’s normally the guy that hangs around conferences at the bar at like 11 in the morning. So, welcome Gareth.

Thank you very much Craig. Thanks for having me on mate, I really appreciate it. And my trolling days are well and truly over. I’m too busy for trolling, but maybe one day I’ll get back to it.

Come back to it? Just do it. Just do a couple of one-off appearances. Just a day out and just come on and … yeah, I think one of the … I don’t know. I wouldn’t say first memory I’ve got of you but it’s just something every time someone mentions your name, I always just … I’m not going to mention the guy’s name who wrote it but you know what message I’m talking about. You had a message on LinkedIn that said, “This is war, you cunt.”

Yes, indeed.

Every time I think about that, it was just, that whole scenario where you’d wound the guy up to the point where he probably had a nervous breakdown and yeah, this is war, you cunt.

And threatened to be beaten up at Brighton this year which didn’t happen, thankfully.

Yeah, I think I’ve had a few of that myself. People try to beat me up, I’m just still too fast for them when I’m drunk.

Like Muhammad Ali, mate

But aye, good to hear the trolling days are over. So if you’re busy, what is it you’re busy doing?

Getting started with a Digital Agency

Well, mainly now mate, it’s agency stuff which is a bit of a turn of events, isn’t it? Considering that maybe just over a year ago I started up Niche Affiliate Empires. The idea was to completely move away from client work, just concentrate solely on affiliate and sort of downsize the client-side of things. But since starting it, and obviously it getting more popular, the client work exploded. So I’ve now got a fully-fledged digital agency with 8 staff members.

Wait. Wait, wait, wait. Did you just say you were popular? No, I’m only kidding.

Not me necessarily but the group itself. It’s got some really top-notch guys in there including yourself as you well know. Some of the most well-respected industry experts are in that group, thankfully and luckily. So the group got really popular. But I think from that … and that’s obviously a small part of it because there are also other sides which I’m sure we’ll talk about as we progress, such as obviously the networking side of things. Actually meeting people face to face and stuff. Since all of that’s occurred, obviously client work has exploded, I’ve built the digital agency with my brother who’s my business partner and we’ve got eight staff now. So, it’s going really, really well. We’re growing fast, we’re scaling fast, we’re learning a huge amount. Because I’ve never had a digital agency, unlike yourself. You started in that game and then moved away from it and went into your own stuff. Whereas I sort of went the bloody opposite way.

I’m sure we’ll dig deeper into the agency life as we progress through this but it’s great, I love it. I love the fact we’re growing but it’s stressful as hell, as I’m sure you can attest to Craig.

Yeah. What I would say to someone in your position or anyone that finds themselves in a similar position is, what I did was use the agency model, or the money that comes from that, to then slowly invest and work my way out. I didn’t just one day stop agency and the next day just start doing affiliate marketing indefinitely. Obviously, when you tell stories and stuff like that, it may come across like that. There is no magic switch. I had to do client work to fund the new ventures and other stuff that I had to do. So, I think it’s probably the right model to go down because unless you’re sitting there … and obviously I don’t know your financial stuff but going by your lack of shaving and stuff, you don’t have a big pot of money where you can piss about with affiliate and hope that it comes good. You have to earn money. You’ve got to get cashflow. As I say, unless you are fortunate enough to be sitting on a few million quid where you can maybe just invest in some affiliate sites and go on, which sadly not everyone’s got. And I certainly didn’t come from a money background.

One day maybe, one day. Yeah, I mean Craig, couldn’t agree with you more and that’s the big thing about this agency this, is that it has allowed us, as a team, as a company, and as directors to go down that route. Which is like a godsend because when you first start out in affiliate and you have all these grand plans like I did, got to hit this amount of money in X amount of time, I’ve got the experience in marketing and SEO, it shouldn’t be an issue, you pretty soon start to realize that you do need to invest. I’m sure people have and can if they just work at it eight hours a day and just live on the dole

for a year, and just smash out an affiliate site, I’m sure they can be successful with no investment. But for anyone who doesn’t want to live like that and work like that, you do have to have that investment.

Using a Digital Agency to invest in other business ventures

So, the agency side of things has really allowed us to re-inject the money back into the business. So we’ve essentially got three wings of our business. It’s the agency stuff, client work and we specialize in specific different things, but then we’ve also got our own internal affiliate sites, which the money from the agency is used to re-invest, and obviously some of the resources from the team, to re-invest into growing those sites. Then we also have like a software wing, where we’re building our own internal systems and tools, and stuff.

Getting Staff for a Digital Agency

No, that’s interesting and as I say, you seem to have turned to the agency thing, from the outside looking in, very, very quickly. How many staff are you at just now? So we’ve got eight. So there’s 10 of us in total but we’ve got eight staff and you’re right, it has, it’s grown absolutely rapidly and massively in a really short space of time. Because obviously I was freelance before this and I initially took my brother, Jack, on and we were just working from the home office. Then we went limited in March and then since March it’s just exploded. So we’re now in our own offices here with eight members of staff and obviously me and Terry as the directors of the company.

Sorting out your processes

So yeah it’s flying, it’s absolutely flying. It’s one of those things with agency though. I mean, because it’s new, there’s a lot of learning that we’ve had to do. Even in just SOPs, processes, training new staff that come on, adapting to different things, going from being reactive to situations to try and be more proactive, and sort of building, for want of a better word, a proper business rather than just sort of winging it. Because in the beginning you are sort of winging it but it’s getting there now and we’re more structured, and things are just working a lot better.

Daine Media Team

Initially, when we first started, when it was just me and Jack, and then me, Jack and Roy, we were building our own affiliate site and also working on client stuff and we were outsourcing a huge … well, all of out content production. No I know this is a model that works really well for a lot of people, outsourcing content production. I know you do it, I know many, many people in the industry do it and do it quite successfully. But, it was causing us huge amounts of problems. Specifically, because we were working with clients and producing content for clients, the quality wasn’t there, the deadlines weren’t being met, people kept letting us down. But then it all comes back to us and reflects on us as an agency.

So we’ve gone the opposite way from the outsourcing model, and we’re totally convinced on in-house, and it’s working tremendously well for us because all of our writers, our content team in-house, they’re all English graduates or journalism graduates. They’re all really good at producing content and doing research, and just pumping out quality. Which is what we lacked previously with the outsource model. And I’m not talking about even in terms of pricing because we had a range of pricing from fairly cheap to upwards of top tiered stuff, where you would have a specialist writing for you. They seemed to do a bit better but overall, generally across the whole spectrum, the quality and production output just wasn’t there. But in-house, you’ve got that direct back and forth with people. If there’s issues you can address them immediately rather than waiting for time zones, dealing with emails back and forth, and it’s just a better model I feel, particularly for an agency. I mean, I don’t know what your thoughts are on that.

Finding Content Writers for Client Work

Yeah, I think, when I was doing the client work, I had a team of content writers in-house and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I certainly wouldn’t be outsourcing because when you outsource you don’t have the control that you need in terms of when the content comes back it’s a pain in the arse to try and then get your head around what content’s going where. It’s just a whole bunch of problems that are never-ending. Plus, the quality’s not great.

Obviously for me, when I’m doing affiliate websites or whatever I choose to do just now, the quality doesn’t have to be as good as you would do for a client. Absolutely not and I know a lot of affiliate guys, it’s not that they don’t give a shit about the quality, but it’s not as important. They just care about 3000 words or whatever the KPI is for the content writer.

So I think, if I was going back to doing agency life, I certainly would not be relying on someone out there doing the content because I think you would just pull the hair out your head going through. I know guys that outsource a lot of content, whether they’re … young Gary who does guest posts and all that kind of stuff, when it’s shit stuff like guest posts he still Burns through a huge amount of people and the quality’s shit, and people are unreliable. I think that is unreliability and stuff when you’re trying to meet client deadlines and try and show the client that you’re actually doing something, you can’t afford to outsource to some person, wherever they may be.

Amazon Affiliate Content Writers

So I think it’s different things for different business models and obviously agency life, most agency owners I know do have in-house people doing the content. I think, if you’re trying to do what an affiliate does, as an agency, you are going to run into the quality issues and various other aspects. So, yeah.

100% yeah totally, totally agree with that model. If it’s just affiliate stuff you’re doing and the quality doesn’t have to be there to that respect, and it can always be changed later on if the site kicks off and becomes an authority. You can always retrospectively go back and improve things. But yeah, definitely different business models without a shadow of a doubt. So, how are you finding the whole … I know most of your staff are all your brothers.

Not far off the truth.

The transition from Freelancer to Agency Owner?

But how are you finding the transition from sitting in your pants working as a freelancer and only having yourself to answer to, to then potentially going into an office and you’ve got 10 … I’m not saying all 10 people will be chapping your door at the one time but you’re maybe going to have someone not feeling good or they don’t understand something.

No I don’t. Here’s the thing, at the beginning it was difficult. Sorry, I’ll step back a bit. In the beginning, when it was just a couple of us, it was sound. As it grew a bit more it got a bit more difficult. But as we’ve progressed and we’ve systematized, and we’ve got more organized, and got our shit together more, and know our direction and productized our services, and we got the team trained, we have our SOPs, it’s got easier, and easier and easier. And, it’s nice, particularly with my business partner Terry, who indeed is my brother, it’s nice to have another person to shoulder that weight and to deal with the operational side of things. Because Terry very much has taken on that role in the agency.

He’s ex-military. He was ex Royal Marines Commando and then he was in the health and safety game for a long while, and then a few years ago we started working together on SEO stuff and content and stuff for another business we own, and he fell in love with it. But he takes on a lot of the operational side of things and has really got things organized. Even down to just like client calls and how we organize our day to day sort of diaries and things. Because I’ll be the first one to admit, the admin side of stuff is not my strong suit. It really isn’t.

So, having that opposite skill set in a business partner really, really works tremendously well. And I’ve been really lucky, in fact, growing this agency and a lot of people aren’t as lucky as me. Which is probably why I’ve been able to grow it as fast as I have done because I’ve been able to get my family members, particularly my brothers, on board with the vision, what we’re going to do, train them up before they came on, and then get them on and now they’re totally committed to the cause and to what we do. So it’s allowed us to grow quite rapidly. I know quite recently from trying to recruit a full staff developer outside of our close network and family, how difficult it is, the recruiting process, and how sort of soul destroying it can be, and expensive.

So, having to build an agency when you haven’t got that family support network and people to bring on who are close to you, I can imagine is a difficult process. So been really, really lucky in that respect

Delegation within your Agency

Yeah, no I think it’s, as you say, you touched on the shouldering the responsibility and obviously identifying areas that you’re crap at or you don’t like. Like admin, it’s one area that I don’t like either and that’s why I’m laughing. I’m a disorganized mess and that’s why I have to have other people around me that are a bit more organized.

Exactly.

And keep that kind of side of the business in check because I’ll never, and I’m never going to like it. I don’t like invoicing people, I do not like talking to accountants, and paying tax bills and VAT bills, and paying the bloody rent, and all the other shit that goes with it. It’s-

To be honest I don’t even really look at it. I have a quick look when I’m due some money and that’s the only thing about that side that interests me, and if that’s not paid on time then-Heads roll.

Yeah big Colin’s head rolls. The one job that he’s got is to make sure I get something at the end of the month and as I say, he takes the rest of that shit away, like your brother does for you. I think it’s a good healthy thing to do because so many people get bogged in that stuff. I’ve seen it on people’s faces as well, when I’ve met them at events and stuff and you can see they’re proper physically stressed out.

Yeah it can be depressing that whole thing. Especially when you’re dealing with accounts and tax. Oh God it’s an absolute nightmare and I gt stressed with stuff like that, you know what I mean? So, having someone there who can just shoulder some of that or even take some of that responsibility is really good. We’re not there, don’t get me wrong, we’re not there yet. We’re not perfect but we’re working towards it.

Growing your Internal Digital Assets

I mean, the end goal of course, is to grow the internal assets that we own and control. At least bring them up to the level of client revenue and have that sort of extra revenue stream and stability there within the company. Because as we know, regardless of contracts, regardless of relationships, clients can drop off at a whim, at the drop of a hat and can leave you in some pretty precarious situations. And I suppose the same thing can happen in affiliate as well. Amazon could shut down their program, you could be booted out, Google could change their algorithm. There are all these risks across the board, but it’s about mitigating those risks as best you can and spreading the risk across different revenue streams, I feel is the key. Which is why we’ve got three key things we’re working on.

The affiliate stuff, it’s doing well. It’s not there yet by any means but we’re working hard towards getting that to a point. In fact, we’ve just taken on a new content marketing resource, who’s solely going to be their job … I mean, they’ll help pick up the slack where needs be in the agency side of things but their sole job will literally be working on the internal affiliate assets seven hours a day, five days a week.

Yeah, I think you’ve got to allocate. The key, I think, if I were advising anyone with a view to building up their assets is, you can obviously fall into the trap of being dragged down by the agency side and the client stuff.

Put enough time into building your Affiliate Empire

And not put enough time into building those assets. If the long term goal is to get the affiliate revenue, or whatever revenue it is, up to the level where you don’t have to worry about paying everyone’s wages because at least you’ve got X amount of money that covers the costs of your business, then I think that … as you say, it’s about mitigating the risk and making sure that you’re not left high and dry because again, I’ve been in those positions where regardless of contracts or regardless of how good you do, or even how bad you do, I’ve been actually kicked out of doing client work for doing a really good job in a lot of cases. I’m sitting there going, “I cannot fucking believe that client left.” One example was a guy who gave us about, I think it was about £1200 per month over a four or five month period and it was an online butcher. They turned over a quarter of a million pound in that period of time, which was all trackable through analytics and everything else, and somehow got canned, told we were shit. It wasn’t enough and all that kind of stuff.

And you’re like, “Fuck’s sake.” That’s a massive, massive return on investment. Obviously I don’t know the guy’s costs and all that kind of stuff but to build someone’s business up from that to that in a short period of time … Now granted, this was seven years ago, an online butcher and it’s still not a competitive market. Online butcher, if you look at Scottish meat and stuff like that, there’s a lot of search for it and not a lot of people offer it as a service. There’s lots of Scottish people who stay in England or even Spain, who like their own kind of meat.

I know you guys might not understand that but Scottish meat is different from the stuff that you get down south. Once you’re used to a taste …

Oh yeah, definitely. It’s like that across cities even sometimes isn’t it? Drinking water’s one of them.

Yeah but even like personally, in Scotland we’re really good at fish and chip shops, which is probably why I’m a fat bastard.

From fried Mars bars.

Yeah. I’ve never actually tried a fried Mars bar but trying to find a good chip shop in England, they don’t take it the same way. Whereas, a chip shop in Scotland, proper take their food serious and treat it with precision in the same way of doing it, it’s not sloppy. Whereas you go into a chip down in England, then you can taste all sorts off your chips. Kebab meat and everything. Aye, so as I say, lots of people in Scotland like their meat but as I say, non-competitive market but we done very well and got canned for no real reason other than the guy’s expectations were ludicrous.

Crazy Client Expectations

It’s insane isn’t it? It’s absolutely insane and that’s another thing as well, what you just mentioned there. Managing expectations. Sometimes no matter how hard you try to get things in place as best you can, the expectations are still widely out of the scope of anything you can provide. So, yeah it’s a difficult one with client work. Which is why obviously I think, and I think it’s the sensible decision we’re going down building the internal assets but you were right in what you said before, and this is exactly what we’ve come across since starting the agency. The client side of things takes up so much of your time that the internal assets, the internal affiliate sites or even software projects we’re working on sort of get very little work done on them, if at all. We’ve had several meetings over the lat couple of months and we said, “Look, if this is going to make any headway, we’ve really got to concentrate and provide a dedicated resource to it.” Which is what we’ve now done. So you’re absolutely spot on there.

Yeah, but out with obviously client work and bashing clients all the time, because I don’t want to be seen to be doing that because there’s some very good ones out there.

Daine Links

But I’ve seen recently you offer a link service for your work. You’re doing something in your group. You opened it up to 20 people or something like that. Indeed, yeah.

So what was that exactly? I’ve been away a lot so I’m not 100% sure what went on or how successful that was. By all accounts, from the outside, it went well, did it not?

Yeah it’s went well. We’ve had a few hiccups along the way as we kicked it off and we’ve had to do some restructuring, sort of work out some better ways of doing things. The services have changed somewhat since we first launched and they’re going to change again. So, essentially we are providing or have been providing sort of productized, packaged link building services and it’s purely outreach based stuff. So it’s not like paid placements, it’s not guest posts like what some of the guys we know do, and it’s not anything dodgy like I’m sure you know what I mean, like hack links or anything like that. I mean, whatever you want is available out there. There’s many, many vendors who do really good work in that respect and can get you niche placements, and paid links and guest posts. Gary’s excellent at doing that sort of stuff. Gary Wilson. But what we’re focusing on is the outreach based side of it because there’s a gap in the market there, we feel, for that sort of link building service.

Daine Links Packages

So, essentially we’ve got several different packages that we’re sort of working on and developing at the minute. So we’ve named them various different names But we’ve got the shotgun link building package, which is literally sort of mass outreach to targeted prospects where we promote a single content asset that you’ve already got on your site. What we found with that, is that some campaigns do really, really well and some campaigns don’t do well at all. The big differentiator between that is the quality of the content asset that we’ve got to promote. So for example we’ve got a client there who’ come on board who’s in the hosting arena. Excellent data driven post. Really, really high quality infographic. That campaign done really, really well, excellently. And then you’ve got other clients who have come on, where they’ve got a few hundred words and one image. And that’s really, really difficult to get any decent quality placements when the content assets aren’t very good.

So we’ve decided to switch it up now a bit and going forward, we’re probably going to be looking at getting rid of that service in the future where we just provide the outreach to already created content assets. And we’re only going to be providing link building services where we actually develop the content in-house with our content team because we know, if we do that, we can get exponentially better results. So, in the future when we’re promoting, we’re only going to be promoting the shotgun premium, which is the mass targeted outreach with content, or the sniper premium, which is essentially sniper outreach where everything is manual. All the outreach emails are highly personalized and specific to the outreach target. The link building just on it’s own without content, we’re looking at sort of phasing that out.

Yeah, I think it makes perfect sense to phase it out of if it’s not working that effectively.

And obviously the content’s got to have an impact and if you’ve got no control over it, then you are literally pissing in the wind.

Indeed and obviously, as an agency, we’re not here to scan people like some people might be in this industry. We get a bad name in this ins because there is a lot of scam artists out there. So, if we feel that we can’t actually provide any ROI for people, or we’re feeling that it’s not doing as well as we think it is, then we’ll either re-work it, scrap it or do something else. Try and get that ROI for people because that’s what we’re focused on at the end of the day. We don’t really care, as an agency, about traffic, about rankings, about vanity metrics. What we focus on is, does what we’re doing bring people a tangible return in terms of leads and sales? Because that’s all people are really interested in at the end of the day, as business owners. They want to see money going in the bank. So that’s what we try to focus on as best as possible.

Yeah, I think it’s difficult when you’re starting out with clients and stuff. At the end the day I think if you can overcome that initial hurdle, show them some results, then it’s a no brainer really from there on in.

Why Daine Links?

People stick with it and stuff like that. Now on the link building side, you’ll hear people saying … and this is not to quiz you it’s obviously to help anyone listening to understand what you’re like, why they would use your links over maybe someone else’s. As you said, there’s so many link vendors out there. Is everyone else not doing what you’re doing? Why is yours so unique? Why is yours better than Joe Bloggs along the road there?

Well, there is people doing what we do. The people who provide outreach services, Jason Morris is probably one of the more well known ones in the industry who provides outreach services. Our angle is that we don’t provide paid links, we don’t provide obviously hack links or anything like that, and we don’t do guest posting. A lot of the guest post vendors that you’ll get, whether it does drive juice and whether it increases rankings or not, a lot of the stuff is low quality that’s out there. But, that’s what we’re trying to differentiate ourselves between. We’re an outreach service for people who don’t want to buy links.

Now, as part of having an outreach service and conducting outreach for people in multiple different industries, you’re going to come across, without a shadow of a doubt, replies back where they say, “We don’t do links for free but you can get a sponsored post for X amount.” Or you might get people saying, “You can provide a guest post if you wish or what about a link exchange?” Part of our services is, the goal of our services, you’re paying for our time to perform quality outreach. The opportunities that come through in terms of free acquired links, even though it’s not free because you’re obviously paying us, organic links let’s say, is what we’re trying to achieve. But as part of that process, you are going to get guest posts, paid placements and link exchanges, and we give them to you freely ina link sheet that’s provided at the outset of the campaign with all the details, the contact details, the site, the metrics and the cost if it’s a paid link or whether it’s a guest post. So we actually provide those details and just give them to you as part of the campaign.

Paid Links Options

You can decide then, do you want to pay for that link? Is it good enough or do you want to go ahead and create a guest post? Which obviously we can help with our content team if that’s what you want to do. Or do you want to go ahead and get a link exchange because it’s a relevant site and it’s got much better metric than you? So yeah, so I’ll go ahead and do a link exchange.

So that’s our differentiator, and going forward, as I said, we’re going to phase out these sole link building outreach campaigns because of the high dependency on quality content. So going forward, our packages will be literally outreach, two different types of outreach with an emphasis on our content team producing triple A, high quality, data driven content and custom visuals. So that’s where we’re going to be pushing it, going forward.

So no, I mean I think that sounds good, that potentially someone would get a sheet back saying, “Right, I’ve got you 12 links here, which were as a result of the outreach campaign that we’ve done.” But there’s another 15 potential opportunities here and someone can cherry pick those links. They can check the metrics out and make sure that the websites are not saturated, full of links and stuff like that, and anything else that people use. So I think that’s obviously a very good angle that you’re going in at there, and it’s great for the customers as well. Where they can get a bit more value and let’s be serious, I think everyone has an element of some form of paid links one way or another.

Of course. Of course, definitely, 100%.

I think yeah, it’s a great angle you’re going in at. But what I would say to anyone … and I’m again going to play devil’s advocate here. So I had an email from a guy yesterday. So I’ve got an article out there. I can’t remember exactly what one it was but it ranks relatively well and someone just out the blue messaged me saying, “Listen, can you stick my link in there? Blah, blah, blah, blah. I think it would be good for your subscribers.” Now I’m sitting there going, “Why in the world would I do that?” Without payment, without an affiliate deal. Do you not face that from everyone? Because that’s my own personal perspective. I’m going, “Why the hell would I link to this guy?”

Why would someone accept payment for a link?

Indeed and this is why … that’s one of the reasons as well why we’re phasing out just the outreach side of it because if we’re hitting a site where indeed, they have got a post that ranks fairly well, it’s a quality post like all the posts on your site, top notch. And say we reached out to you and we said, “Link to this.” And it was like a mediocre piece of content. Didn’t really play well with your audience or the piece that you’d written or didn’t give you any sort of value of why you’d want to add it into your piece, then yeah, no-ones let you. You’re either going to get ignored, you’re going to get a horrible reply, or you’re just going to get someone come back and say obviously, “Yeah I’ll do it if it’s a paid link.” And that’s generally only if the quality’s decent anyway, which again is one of the issues with this type of outreach.

Now that’s not to say that it doesn’t work , because it does work and we do get, for want of a better word. Organic links. But as I say, it’s highly dependent on the content assets. Now if you look at this mass outreach that you can do, we try and … when we do our outreach, we try our best to get as many, on the shotgun package, as many relevant link prospects as possible and that’s a key thing for us, relevancy. As many relevant link prospects as possible. A vastly reduced bounce rate. Which we’ve been working on over the last few weeks and we’ve got down to a T now, so we’re getting virtually no bounces at all, so you’re hitting that inbox good or great et cetera. So the targets we’re hitting are relevant but if your content asset that you’re promoting isn’t any good, you’re going to struggle to get any organic links, in quotation marks. You may get some but it’s going to be very difficult.

Linkable Content Assets

But, on the campaigns where you have got a good content asset, you can … 15, 20 decent links that have been acquired via outreach, but then a shit load of other opportunities in terms of paid placements, link exchanges or guest post opportunities. So then, it becomes valuable because we’re not charging a huge amount for this service compared to the time we spend on it. So it’s $499 and it is quite time intensive. I’m sure you know Craig, just from conducting outreach, doing all the research, making sure the lists are clean, verifying the emails, managing the campaigns, doing all the replies. It can be quite time intensive. Obviously depending on how many replies you’re getting back et cetera

So for $499, it can be worth it if your content is quality. So, this again is one of the … this was a new service and this is one of the hurdles we’ve been coming across, so as I say, one of the reasons we’re phasing it out. But when we get to produce the content, we get to do all of the research, we get to collate all of the data, we get to create all of the shit hot looking visuals that visualize that data and then, we can then do a better campaign and get better results

That’s interesting. I think the reason I wanted to dig deeper was so that you could explain that so that people can tell the difference because as I say, there’s just so many shit vendors out there.

And you’ve got to differentiate yourself. So I appreciate you taking the time to share why you’re different and all the other stuff. I think it’s a smart move and a good angle for people.

And certainly pricing wise as well. I know some people might go, “Oh fuck, that’s a lot of money.” But the grand scheme of things for the time that goes in and not even the time but you’ve got costs for the kind of software that you’re using to do the outreach and stuff

So people often ignore that and think just sending an email is just as quick as going into my Gmail and pinging them out, you know it not. There’s software that does stuff and follows up, and does things to prompt a response from people and I think that’s something that lots of clients … and I get it, they don’t understand SEO. They don’t understand how it works but there also is a cost for that.

Indeed. Well we use Mail Shake and I know a lot of people use Pitch Box as well. Mail Shake alone, just with the clients we’ve got on, is costing us over $300 a month, just for the software. You know what I mean? So all these things add up. But the main thing for us, is doing what we’re doing provide results? And there are two reasons for that. One is, we obviously want to provide results for people and help grow their business and their sites because it only helps us I turn of them coming back again, and again, and again. We don’t want people dropping off at all, or slagging us off online, or saying we’re crap. Absolutely no way because it affects our reputation and if you do a good job … well, I know we’ve had that story before from you where even though you’ve done a good job they still dropped off and that does happen. But overall, you’re going to build great relationships and both businesses are going to grow.

So, if there’s something that’s not working, or we can improve on or get better at, we will without a shadow of a doubt do it, and we’re always open and honest, and transparent with that stuff.

Niche Affiliate Empires

Good stuff. Good stuff and finally, before I let you go, how is the Niche Affiliate Empires group going? What’s the plans with that? Obviously you have been bogged down with client work and growing the agency, which I’m sure every man and their dog would focus on if that opportunity was to come. Is the plan still to continue with the group?

Yes. Yes, yes, yes, 100%. What we’re trying to do now is free up my time internally which is one of the reasons we’re hiring for a full staff developer. Because any development work essentially falls to me and as the CEO of the company, I shouldn’t be doing that stuff. We should have staff to do it. So once we have a full time developer on board and we’ve ironed out all these little sort of structural things, which we’re nearly done with, my time drastically frees up then. And now we’ve got this dedicated content resource in-house, who’s working on the internal affiliate sites, which means I will be able to get back to Niche Affiliate Empires, start interviewing people again, doing the podcast again. Because you were supposed to be my next guest and Once again I’ve had to cancel two podcasts because of the time constraints and stuff.

So I want to definitely get back to it. Start interviewing people in the group again, experts in the industry. And very, very soon we’re going to be launching the … I’m hoping within the next week or so, maybe a bit longer, we’re going to be launching the case study site into Niche Affiliate Empires. It’s about time. It’s been a long bloody time since we started this group but we’re going to be launching the case study site and actually properly documenting and revealing everything that’s going on. What we’re doing and how we’re getting there with that site. So, that’s going to be exciting and I can’t wait to actually release that.

The reason I asked that is, I had someone and I can’t remember exactly who it was, and they were asking me … I think it might have been at Brighton actually and they were saying, “Where’s Gareth?” And I said, “Oh he can’t make it. He’s busy.” And they said, “How’s his Niche Affiliate Empires going?” And as always, I like to throw people under the bus and I was like, “Yeah, he showed me last week that he made his first £3.” So I think you’ve got people waiting.

It’s not far off the truth. Yeah definitely mate, definitely yeah. And I’m well aware of that. A couple of people have messaged me about it as well and so, for all those waiting and interested in what’s going on with it, please do bare with. It’s still a passion project of mine and it’s still something we want to do. And now we’ve got this internal resource, Ellie, we’re going to be smashing it out the park. We’ve just literally developed a structured road map and plan for all the internal sites, including the case study site, and hopefully over the next couple of months you’ll start to see some good content going back in there. Because I really enjoyed doing that group, you know what I mean, and interviewing people, and getting the top guys on, like yourself and Matt Diggity, and Kurt Philip, and the guys from Authority Hacker, and Tim [Sulu 00:44:19]. We had a lot of top people in there, Ryan Stuart. We’ve done some good interviews and stuff, which I really enjoyed and people were getting a lot of value out of it, a lot of insight and obviously I want to launch the case study site so people can start following along. But we’ll get there Craig, we’ll get there mate.

Cool. Well, that is us sadly out of time. That went on for nearly an hour. Fucking hell. You can talk lad.It’s because I just gab, gab, gab mate.

But I do appreciate you taking the time to come on and sharing what’s going on.

Gareth Daine:
It’s my pleasure.

Craig:
And some of the problems you’ve faced. As I say, I like to do podcasts when it’s not all, I’m earning 100 grand a month or whatever. It’s good to see people talking about their pain points if you like and some of the struggles that you struggle to overcome when you’re doing all this shit. So, no I appreciate the time mate.

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Transition from Freelancer to Agency, with Gareth Daine
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Transition from Freelancer to Agency, with Gareth Daine
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Craig Campbell SEO
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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 17 years.

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