In the summer of 2009, I founded Web Savvy Marketing. I’ve often joked about being the accidental entrepreneur, because I didn’t plan on ever working for myself, running an agency, or doing anything I’ve done over the last ten years.
I grew up as the ward of the state of Michigan, very poor, and in a small rural town. As I was graduating high school, I knew I needed to figure out my life, because post-graduation I didn’t really have a place to live. I never had career aspirations or any lofty goals for that matter. The 18-year-old me simply needed to find a source of income so I could provide myself with food and shelter. At a loss of available opportunities, I grabbed some grants and loans so I could send myself off to college. I graduated five years later with a degree in accounting and limited job prospects due to a recession being in full gear. But honestly, that didn’t stop me. I jumped in and made the best of the situation.
Flash forward many years to the year 2009. I’m was in a long-term position for a company I loved but found myself working in a very unpleasant environment. During my summer vacation, I attended my high school reunion and a funeral for my younger cousin. Life was starting to have the perspective I didn’t see before. I returned to work after vacation only to find the situation had escalated. Without seeing it coming, I found myself in the ER a week later. It took eight hours for the ED staff to stabilize me. I headed home to my two young children and with a very heavy heart. And at that point, I realized my work life almost put an end to my everything life.
For the next week, I was on my couch recovering with lots of time to think. I knew I needed some changes and I could not go on the way I had. Unfortunately, we were in the heart of the recession, living in Michigan, and my husband had a job in the automotive industry. There were no marketing jobs to be found and not a lot of options for me. So my husband and I took a leap of faith. I quit my job and I started Web Savvy Marketing. I had faith in SEO and inbound marketing and my husband had faith in me.
Flash forward another ten years and I now look back at this last decade with amazement. It’s been an adventure and a crazy ride I never would have expected. I’ve learned a lot along the way and I’ve been fortunate enough to help a lot of people. For me, helping people is what it’s all really about. The day I cannot help people is the day I leave digital marketing.
The Last 10 Years
Looking at the numbers, I’m a bit surprised. I originally planned to focus on SEO consulting, but quickly found myself deep within the WordPress community, website design, and WordPress products. This eventually moved over to a lot of SEO education. I soon realized I liked teaching SEO as much as I like doing SEO.
In ten years we served more clients and I built more products than I ever thought possible. We’ve worked with startups and small businesses along with credit unions, major universities, and enterprise-level corporations. It’s been pretty darn spectacular.
Products and Services:
- 5,000+ customers
- 175+ countries
- 150+ custom WordPress websites
- 42 stock WordPress themes (the store was sold to 9seeds in 2017)
- 5 SEO courses
- 2 SEO masterminds
- 2 onsite SEO bootcamps
- 2 virtual SEO summits
- 43 podcast episodes
- 31 educational webinars
The products and services are great, but I’m also pretty darn proud of the things we could do within the community. Our charitable contributions are close to my heart and an important part of why I do what I do.
- Sponsored local sporting teams (including my son’s baseball team)
- Given multiple years of scholarships to my high school’s graduating seniors
- Donated medical supplies and other tangible items to an orphanage in Bihar, India
- Sponsored WordCamps and other WordPress related events
- Created and maintained the web presence for the Michigan Council of Women in Technology’s annual web design contest
At the end of the day, it’s not the brand list that makes me happy, it’s the people. Whether it’s a client who stated we greatly helped them or an SEO consultant who stated I made an impact for their career, that is what matters to me. It’s not about the ranking, website traffic, or revenue – it’s all about the people.
The Next 10 Years
I can’t wait to see where the next ten years takes me and the Web Savvy Marketing brand. I can tell you it will be focused on all the things that are close to my heart. These include:
- Digital marketing strategy
- SEO services
- SEO education for marketers, developers, and agencies
Those three areas are where I’m the happiest and where I see myself providing the most value to others. And, what’s more important, these are the areas where I know I can have the greatest impact.
Thank You for Sharing the Journey With Me
If you’ve been part of my journey through entrepreneurship, I’d like to thank you. If you knew where I came from, you’d know where I am today has been a very long journey in the making. It’s one I’ve cherished and one that makes me feel incredibly blessed.
I’ve loved meeting people at conferences and interacting on social media. I’ve loved working with clients on projects and helping grow the digital marketing presence. I’ve loved every bit of this amazing journey.
I’ll be speaking at WordCamp Ann Arbor this weekend and I’ll be presenting a two hour SEO workshop at WordCamp US this fall. If you are coming to either event, grab a hold of me and let’s talk. I’d love you to be part of my journey forward.