I’ve been really looking forward to this post for quite some time now. I’ve followed CCarter since I first started my IM journey, back when he used to share those epic tutorials of his on the Wicked Fire forums back in it’s heyday. He’s still out there in the trenches sharing knowledge, building his empire and destroying his competition.
We’ve proudly displayed his company SERPWoo’s banner here on SerpLogic since we first launched, because we know a good thing when we see it! It’s a pleasure to have him answer a few questions for us on SerpLogic.
Let’s get down to it..
1. You’ve been around for a long time man, I remember reading in awe your posts back in the day on WickedFire. What do you feel has kept you around this long? So many don’t make it.
I’m a marketer first and foremost – SEO is a single tool in the toolkit. These gurus that come and go usually are one or two trick ponies – they aren’t actual marketers. And I’m not trying to insult or throw mud but there is a distinct difference.
Marketing is about using a medium of communication to get your message out there. First and foremost you have to understand the audience, the lingo, and WHY they would listen to you. Meanwhile SEO is a waiting game for the most part. You are waiting for someone to look for a solution and hopefully your website will be in the top 3 so you’ll get traffic. It’s not pro-active – and it’s getting tougher each day since Google will continue tightening it’s belt. The Google traffic is lucrative, but at the same time there are barriers like the 1 year mark filter that stumps website owners ability to generate traffic until they hit that mark. Most SEOs don’t have that type of patience and they leave the industry.
What I try to do with marketing is teach people that there are millions of websites on the internet and thousands of them have your potential audience on there – you don’t need to wait to generate traffic today, you just have to come at it with a marketer/hacker mentality. Become a hunter, study your prey, understand their habits and patterns, understand their “WHY”, and then after weeks and months of studying a platform – only then do you attack. In this day and age there is no patience or focus – everyone wants a step by step guide – a quick 1, 2, 3, and BAM instant traffic.
The reality is like ANYTHING worth pursuing in life you’ll need to put in sweat. At one point I was teaching a free traffic leaking bootcamp for people that wanted to generate massive traffic – EVERYONE learned how to generate up to 1,000 visitors in a single day. There were several super-stars that got IT, and were able to get up to 100,000 visitors in a single day – targeted.
You know what it’s like to have that type of power? That type of freedom? Push a button and 100,000+ visitors come to your site in a day?
2. I know you’re a jack of all trades. But how did you originally get started in IM?
Hustling was my addiction. Ever since I was about 11 or 12 I read and studied marketing strategies and business strategies DAILY. I also began programming at the same time in C++ and perl. This was pre-Google, so putting in over 15+ years of understanding marketing concepts – cause I was addicted to it, and coding daily for 15+ years made me into what I am today. When Google came around I was entering high school and by then I was doing traffic leaks to get visitors to my Angelfire sites and at the same time selling candy at school to generate actual income for myself.
The thing about it is I was never 100% SEO – I knew a ton cause I sat there studying different techniques, absorbing BlueHatSEO and trying the different methods from there. Eli taught me to think outside the box more than any other marketer – he was digital like I was becoming. But the one thing I learned early on from my days of selling candy at school was diversity. For example most other candy sellers sold just Airheads candy cause it was easy to transport, didn’t need any special equipment. I sold Airheads, Oreo cookies, snickers, Capri Suns – they were always ice cold till lunch time cause I figured out you can freeze the Capri Suns the night before and then use ice packs to keep things cold throughout the day. I bought a “Giants” Duffel bag to carry all the food in.
I walked around with this bag 95% full of food, 5% school materials.
I was one of the early people to buy dropped domains that had traffic. At one point on Wickedfire I had a case study where I bought a dropped domain for $800 that I resurrected and then generated over 100K visitors in a single month – without me doing ANYTHING ELSE. But those days are long gone. People got hip to the buying websites for traffic and now sites like that go for $5K+, but there are still gems with traffic, but you are looking at 1-2K+. I never bought website for SEO benefits – just traffic. I cut to the chase. Marketing is about getting traffic – all this other shit with “Mito tags” and whatever doesn’t mean anything if you are sitting around waiting 1+ years to generate a single dollar – might as well go get a day job.
3. Were you coding before getting into IM or did you learn this later to help with your IM projects?
I was coding in C++, C, VB, and Perl since about 1995 – way before I got access to the “FULL” internet (Fun fact: 98% of SERPWoo’s members area is coded in Perl). Back then I was limited to AOL and creating Visual Basics programs. I always felt coding was an art form more than a mundane activity. It’s creating something out of nothing – creativity and functionality meshed into a singular unit. Functional and purposeful art. It’s definitely one of those things that’s about the journey more so than the end result of what you create.
In coding you are trying to solve a very complex problem, and there are times you can sit there and work on creating a solution one way for days, then another way for weeks – and then bam the perfect solution presents itself. It’s a form of zen meditation – to completely blank out and try to solve a problem and be completely immersed in that problem.
4. What drove you guys to originally build SERPWoo? Where did the inspiration come from?
I had just quit the Marketing Agency I owned with another business partner and was just “retired” for the most part. Had enough coming in that I was comfortable. Then eliquid (Jason Brown), showed our Daily Hustle group a screenshot of a bunch of lines that were SERP positions. I didn’t think nothing of it at the time except, “that could be cool”. Then he showed the group again some months later and started talking about why he needed it. You see he was running various “services” – I’ll say it: spamming services, and selling it on BST at Wickedfire and other forums. His services were infamous for getting results. What he used these line charts for was to monitor spammy niches like “Garcinia Cambogia” or “Replica Gucci” and find out what the latest spammers are doing. Example:
He figured out that by knowing WHO to look up the backlink profile for was more important for SEO – and that can only be done through historical data and monitoring things going forward – THAT is why all his BST SEO/spamming services always worked crazy good. To the point others waited for him to bring out a new service and then order his service and try to duplicate his spam service’s backlink profile – they didn’t want to be in the trenches – eliquid was deep in the trenches.
When I saw that I KNEW this was huge – however I didn’t know how big it was until we launched. People say if you can get a single paying customer within 72 hours of a business you’ve struck something. We went live, buggy and all, on Jun 26, 2014 and within the first 5 days we had over 100 paying customers with thousands of free users. We were blown away, cause they saw what we thought a fraction of people would see. Since then it’s just been still growing by word of mouth.
In summary I needed and wanted a new project and eliquid had this project on the backburner for 2+ years before I came along. We got together – and the rest is history. He thought like I thought, we were on the same wavelength for a ton of things and that’s when I knew this was a perfect matching partnership. THAT IS RARE. My last partnership ended up in a disaster, so when you do find someone that’s a great fit cherish it!
5. If you could give newbies some pieces of solid advice, what would they be?
Focus on the few not the many. Do something you can be proud of and are willing to toil on late at midnight on a Saturday night. If you provide true value to users they’ll happily pay for it. It doesn’t matter if you are creating a MFA (Made For Adsense) website, an affiliate marketing website to push some health idea, or a SAAS – provide true value to end users, the money will flow.
Regarding marketing – don’t just waste your time with SEO and waiting for Google – hustle. When we launched SERPWoo we launched at multiple places within the industry, and that helped spread the word faster. If we were to have waited for “Google SEO Traffic” we’d be dead – even 3+ years into this over 90% of our traffic comes from referring traffic, affiliates, and other sources – I’d be shocked if we ranked for anything serious regarding rank tracking – yet every month or other month we break new MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) records. If you have the hustle and have a product/service that provides REAL value you’ve got a winning formula.
However none of that matters if your customer service is garbage. I’ve seen great tools and services get dismantled by public opinion simply because they took weeks to reply back to customers. At SERPWoo you’ll have a response within 24 hours at the very least, our average wait time is 33 minutes – cause I’m a fanatic when it comes to customer service.
And don’t be scared to talk to your customers, they have been the #1 source for 90% of our newest and latest features, a conversation here and there next thing you know an idea that changes the game pops up.
Another piece of advice – always act out of your mind aka crazy – cause when it’s time to pivot there will be less resistance 😉
6. What has been some of your most memorable moments over the years?
The most memorable moment was when we hit the 100th paying customer on the 5th day, and then looked up what average SAASes do to hit 100 paying customers – usually that takes 3-6 months, we were thinking and planning for a year to get to 100 paying customers. I just remember thinking – WTF! We probably got something here…
We never planned or set out to “conquer” anything – we were mostly just “let see what happens” maybe we’ll generate some beer money until the next project or something. But it blew up – quickly, and at times the momentum overwhelmed me, but what I’ve been taught is when the iron is hot keep striking! – cause everything comes to an end…
Another favorite moment – constantly happens is when we see competitors signing up for accounts within our service and then testing out different features they want to copy and mimic. It’s crazy cause they use their @sem****.com email accounts without a care in the world. Don’t they think we have alerts?
7. How do you stay motivated? What makes those gears turn?
I’ll admit there are days, weeks, and months that feel like a forever loop – over and over and over.
Ever since I was little I wanted to create something that created value while doing business around the world. It’s why I studied marketing for hours at a time for years. It’s why I became a programmer. When I went into the corporate workforce I felt my skills weren’t being fully utilized, it was always 1% of what I was capable of and lacked creativity and challenges – with SERPWoo and the new SAAS coming out I’m constantly challenged and pushing my limits of coding, design, and trying to crack that perfect formula so users are happy.
I love all the frustration and every moment of it. The challenge of being the best is what drives me the most. Right now I’m lacking in a heavy marketing push but we plan on overcoming that in the next several months. There is a “peace” about being in the code and pushing your mind to create something to fix a problem or find a solution that keeps me focused. There are times that days go by and I’ve only left the computer maybe 1-2 times cause I love the challenge.
I’ll tell you one thing about motivation though that everyone reading should really sit down and contemplate. Motivation cannot come from an external source. No amount of motivational videos, seminars, books or courses are going to create lasting external motivation without the internal adjustment – all you have to do is take a look at people at the gym and the state of obesity in the world. If something is not important to you internally – if there is no drive, then you’ll find yourself washing dishes or cleaning your house versus writing that blogpost that can take your business to the next level (or getting to the gym).
I’m going to talk about this in a future “CCarter Weekly” at Builder Society – I have a gauge on how you can tell if you are serious about your business or the project you are in: 3,000 phone calls. If you are willing to make 3,000 phone calls in a single month, 100 a day for that project – whether it’s to get investment or gain new customers, or create partnerships that can generate you more money, if you are willing to do that without quitting then you have the passion for that business you are in.
If the back of your mind is now coming up with excuses and you think you can cut corners then the reality is the project you are working on is not that important to you and you’ll soon burn out from lack of inner desire to win within that business. It will come out as a self-sabotaging manifestation or you skipping off to do something more exciting when you could have put in 1 or 2 hours more work into the current venture. All you have to do is figure out your gut reaction to hearing “3,000 phone calls”. And here is the kicker I hate talking to people on the phone, but when I’m talking about my business I’ll talk to anyone that’s willing to listen and can spend hours talking about it.
“Oh but we’re in the ‘Digital Age’ CCarter – we can just rank with SEO and wait for the millions to come in right?” – No. You can try and fail like the millions of SEOs that just wait for Google to send them traffic but nothing beats direct human interaction where you can hear the tone of the person and can determine whether they are serious or just stringing you along. Gary Vee had a great video about this (click to view):
He states if he had a beer website he would go to Google and type in “Beer” and then go down the list and call every single one asking them who he would need to contact about advertising on his website. You see that direct interaction is critical – maybe 90% of those beer owners didn’t know they could directly advertise on websites without having to go through Google Adwords or other operations. BAM you just cut out the middleman and now have a direct relationship with potential sponsors in your industry. Human interaction leads to networking opportunities that are lost within the digital age.
You have to hustle for anything you think is worth spending your time on – or you could wait and see what happens? One road takes destiny into your own hands, the other puts your destiny in other people’s hands – who do you think wins in such a battle – the passive or the aggressive? You cannot deny reality, look at the world – who wins in this realm where power is the motivating factor – the passive or the aggressive?
8. What do a lot of people lack when attempting success?
Patience and the will to work hard and long hours at something BEFORE there is a reward. The problem with the digital age is when you post an image on Instagram, Facebook, or any other social media you get people to “like” it giving you instant gratification/euphoria – it becomes addicting. The problem is it’s instant and quells desires for “long term” feeling of gratification. Social media is designed and engineer to suck you in and rewards you for becoming a zombie. The more likes you get the more the chemicals in your brain trigger that euphoric state of “I belong, I’m liked” – bla bla bla.
Without cutting a lot of the waste of time and nonsense off you’ll never get away from the distraction that are engineered to suck you in. And here is really what’s interesting – since there are more zombies today now than ever you can easily win by simply staying focused and not distracted at your task.
Think about all the super successful people in history – whether it’s Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Lebron James, Michael Jordan, or Alexander The Great. These people have dedicated their lives to fulfilling their dreams and goals – they’ve worked thousands up on thousands of hours that YOU WILL NEVER SEE OR HEAR ABOUT towards their dream. They’ve practice the jump shot or sat at computer monitors decoding error bugs or practiced sword fighting to conquer their enemies for HOURS at a time. You think Mark Zuckerberg really gives a shit if you like him or not? You think Bill Gates does? They are on a mission meanwhile everyone else is just passively observing life. Getting more likes isn’t going to put more money in your bank account or give you more opportunities to do what you want in this life WITH YOUR LIFE.
As a society we are going to get clobbered with another culture/society is taking development and technology seriously while our masses are getting “likes” to feel that instant gratification. But I digress – now a days putting 10,000 hours doesn’t seem appealing unless you really want it.
Another dude came in when I challenged the BuSo community to write what the hardest part of online marketing is and dropped a bullet-point step by step of the traffic leak tactics and did 7,000 visits in less than 24 hours THAT DAY RIGHT THEN AND THERE to prove it was easy: Hardest Part of Online Marketing post #29892
People have to learn how to master patience and focus – you can attain anything you truly desire with those two skills.
Public Service Announcement: I recommend checking out the FREE 30 days Digital Strategy Crash Course at Builder Society. We wrote long and lengthy crash course topics on strategies, marketing tactics, and what you can do to dominate your competition – and it’s completely free. Anything and everything you ever wanted to learn about digital marketing is answered, whether you are a newbie or expert that could use a new perspective within the digital realm. We welcome all – except spammers.
9. What type of businesses, industries, or business models do you prefer to work in?
Anything that has long term potential and doesn’t look like a fad. For example “fidget spinners” – that’s the current fad at the moment, if someone were to come to me and try to get me in on a project related to that I would decline since it’s clear as day it’s not going to be here for the long term.
I prefer to be on the B2B (business to business) side of the equation versus the B2C (business to consumer) side. Business have solid needs and requirements that you can fulfill. They are more predictable in nature, consumers’ needs change more rapidly and you can be on top tomorrow and be gone the next day. It’s almost the same with business but there are more “whispers” of potential problems within your business model if you are heading towards a cliff – it’s easier to pivot if you are constantly asking yourself whether you have your head in the sand on an issue within your business or are really reading the pulse of the environment.
10. What traits do you look for in a business partner?
Grind and hustle. There is nothing like sitting there in a Red Alert moment and trying to get 3-4 critical servers that crashed back online to let you know whether you’re in business with the right partner. In the past some business partners would just have me in the fire by myself and check in to see if things were fixed. If someone isn’t willing to work through the night and work through sleep to fix a major problem with your business – you’re in a bad partnership.
You need someone you can rely on to be in the trenches with you. The only way to really tell you this is how they conduct themselves during a red alert aka emergency moment. If they are willing to grind and hustle I’ll go to hell and back with them no matter what. However if they are flakey in the beginning nothing will change, might as well move on to the next project, you’ll save a ton of time and energy – and potentially years of unnecessary work.
11. Do you recommend any books to switch mental focuses and become a winner?
There isn’t going to be any serious book that’s going to tell you how to run YOUR business better. Think about it, if it’s published then it’s outdated. I will however recommend several things to switch how you think about life, they are in order of importance:
- Thick Black Theory by Li Zongwu (Good luck trying to find this along with “Thick Black Scripture”)
- Thick Face, Black Heart by Chin Ning Chu
- As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
- The 50th Law by 50 cents and Robert Greene
- The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
- The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene
- Mastery by Robert Greene
I’m not going to summarize them cause if you are that lazy – this life is not for you.
12. You’re constantly updating and adding to it. What have you guys got planned for SERPWoo over the next 6 – 12 months?
In the next 6-12 months SERPWoo is going to transform the way SEOs see their data. It’s currently the ONLY ORM (online reputation management) tool that allows you to visually see your positive and negative URLs, tags URLs red for negative, green for positive, and then show your clients improvements. What we plan on doing next is going deeper into the SEO data we’ve collected for users and allowing them to find patterns by surfacing more critical data. For example in eliquid’s original concept, if SERPWoo notices a website URL is starting to rank for multiple keywords in your niche you would want to be alerted without having to hunt for this new dangerous competitor correct?
RankBrain might focus on title tags and description for dentists for example but for plumbers it’ll focus on data from Google reviews and hours of operation versus “links” – it’s so crazy with so much data – no one wants to shift through all of that – a tool that helps you find new opportunities and highlight competitors that you need to look up and monitor is needed – that’s the future of SERPWoo.
13. Who are your biggest influences in the business world? Are there any marketers/businesses that you follow?
Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jay-Z, Alexander The Great, and Genghis khan are my influencers – everyone else falls terribly short of what’s possible. As well I only follow people that I know personally are in the trenches. If they aren’t in the trenches they are just blogging about something from a forum they read – and if it’s on a forum then the technique is already too late. That’s what’s going to happen with PBNs – they’ll get dismantled like all the other techniques and you’ll see all these gurus that teach “PBNs” as their one and only trick of the trade disappear like the people that were peddling “link wheels”.
14. Where do you see IM in the next 1 – 2 years? Anything you feel is going to be big?
SEO is going to be dead in 1-2 years. No one serious is going to talk about SEO as a standalone option for generating money on the internet. It’s going to be 3rd world spammers and gurus selling you $37.97 packages or their latest PBNs – if it already isn’t.
What will rise up are more mature marketers that focus on end user satisfaction – at least those are the ones that will be making actual money. A newbie at SEO with no connections, no idea, and just a word processor program is going to have to get to writing and even then it’ll take a year for actual serious results – in this day and age who has time for that?
Social Media is becoming just a convoluted soup of fake and half news. I’d love to see what happens if the internet just shuts down for a week and people reset their brains… and get off my lawn.
Right now we are in an increasingly spinning cycle where worlds are colliding and information is so overwhelming it cripples your productivity if you get caught up in it. Look at the USA political cycle – people normally would have exited “politics mode” after the election, but this time it’s different, people are still going on and on 8 months later – I don’t know what that means, but a collision course of mega forces is the only foreseeable outcome – massive chaos. And within chaos brings massive opportunities.
I’m also Co-Founder of SERPWoo which has become the #1 contender for the best SEO rank tracking and ORM monitoring software in the history of ever.
15. One last thing, what’s your biggest regret?
Not taking the leap sooner in taking full control of my destiny.
Now if you are scared of fully controlling your destiny then you’ll constantly look for safety nets that don’t really exist – and you know it deep down. You can lose your job, your employer or managers can make bad decisions and the company goes under – a ton of other things can go wrong and when you aren’t in control you have no power to course correct. More people would be happier if they just took more risk and leaps of faith in themselves and their dreams versus working to make someone else’s dreams become a reality.
If you only have one life and you know it’ll come to an end one day, you might as well spend it on exhausting yourself towards your own dreams and goals.
Latest posts by Tommy McDonald (see all)
- Forget Organic Social Media in 2018 – You Need to Pay to Play to Reap the Benefits - February 5, 2018
- 8 Ways to Drive LEADS, SALES and REVENUE by Blogging - January 29, 2018
- The 7 Wonders of SEO in 2018: What You Simply Can’t Ignore This Year - January 23, 2018