Phil Singleton Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
To subscribe to the podcast, please use the links below:
Introducing Phil Singleton SEO Expert
The thing that makes him bounce out of bed with excitement and enthusiasm.
He is the CEO of Kansas City Website Design, who work with clients across the world building websites that not only look great, but also operate brilliantly too.
Alongside his team, they work hard to make sure that the SEO element which is so important to gain Google rankings is built into the design to ensure visibility.
As he says “Internet marketing is a lot like NASCAR racing. You need a fast car and a talented driver to compete and win – you can’t have one without the other. I build high performance websites and drive them to the top of the major search engines for my clients with organic search engine optimization and pay per click advertising management services.
My approach to web development is laser focused on return on investment. I have a Contrarian view of website design which many of our competitors find distasteful, perhaps even blasphemous:
Great web design is a commodity.”
As is his passion for the task.
How The Dots Joined Up For Phil
And that is one side of what makes this guy perfect for Join Up Dots, as although he is now performing in a way that looks like it was a master plan right from the beginning, im sure we will find that just wasn’t the case.
As his journey has taken him all over the world,
He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and has lived and travelled extensively in Asia for over ten years, based in Taipei, Taiwan, with stints in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong and now lives in Overland Park, Kansas with his wife Vivian and twin sons, Ely and Ostyn.
And my favourite fact that in a way shows so much about how the guy operates, but he may be the world’s most successful SEO Internet marketer that has never had an active Facebook account.
Love that fact, as it proves that there are many different ways to go about building success, and more often than not the best way is to simply do your own thing and create your own path.
So what is about the online world that makes him scream out “No No No, that is never going to work…come and speak to me!”
And what is it about web design that excites him the most, the creative element or the behind the scenes mechanics of it all?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr Phil Singleton
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Phil Singleton such as:
Phil shares his story how it took a real miserable job for him to truly assess what he wanted to do in life. But now he considers it a true blessing to have that experience.
Why the ability to control your own life and hours is so vitally important to Phil, and why he could never go back to working for someone else.
Why so many people create scatter gun approach to SEO and marketing. However everything you do must find it’s way back to the central hub otherwise it dies for ever.
Why Phil has to spend a lot of time focusing his clients time-frames and expectations re: SEO. It’s not a quick fix, takes time to come to fruition, and takes money to achieve.
How To Connect With Phil Singleton
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Full Transcription Of Phil Singleton Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:23]
Yes, hello, everybody. Welcome to Join Up Dots. There’s only one thing I can do on this episode to kick it all off. Here comes the sun, here comes the sun. If you’ve been listening to Join Up Dots up to this point, you will know that he’s been freezing in the United Kingdom today is getting there. It’s getting there. I’ve just been sitting out in the garden having a bit of lunch ready to record this show. And it’s perfect. It’s perfect. And I bet my guest has a life that is perfect as well, because I tell you what, from my introduction, I think he is someone who’s found his footing in life, the thing that makes him bounce out of bed of excitement and enthusiasm. He’s the CA of Kansas. website designers who work with clients across the world building websites that not only look great, but also operate brilliantly too alongside his team, they work hard to make sure that the SEO element which is so important to gain Google rankings is built into the design to ensure visibility. As he says, internet marketing is a lot like NASCAR racing, you need a fast car and a talented driver to compete and win. You can’t have one without the other. Now I build high performance websites and drive them to the top of the major search engines for my clients with organic search engine optimization and pay per click advertising management services. My approach to web development is laser focused on return on investment. I have a contrarian view of website design, which many of our competitors find distasteful, perhaps even blasphemous, great web design is a commodity as is his passion for the task. And that is one side of what makes this guy perfect for Join Up Dots is although he’s now performing in a way that looks like it was a master plan right from the beginning. I’m sure we’ll find out that just wasn’t the case. As used to He has taken him all over the world. He’s fluent in Mandarin Chinese and has lived and travelled extensively in Asia for over 10 years, based in Taipei, Taiwan, Taiwan. Yeah, that’s how you say we’ve stints in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong and now lives in Overland Park, Kansas with his wife, Vivian, and twin sons, Eli and Austin. And my favourite fact but in a way show so much about how the guy operates, but he may be the world’s most successful SEO internet marketer, but it’s never had an active Facebook account. Love that fact, as it proves that there are many different ways to go about building success. And more often than not, the best way is to simply do your own thing and create your own path. So what is it about the online world that makes him scream now? He’s never gonna work camera speak to me. And what is it about web design that excites him the most creative element or the behind the scenes mechanics of it? Oh, well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Phil Singleton. Good morning, Phil. How are you?
Phil Singleton [3:00]
Great Wow, that was an amazing it.
David Ralph [3:05]
You deserve it You deserve it is Taiwan. No, it’s Taiwan, isn’t it? That’s why it didn’t sound right in my head Taiwan Of course it is. So I’m based in Taipei, Taiwan. You’re now in Kansas City, which is the most exotic for you, sir.
Phil Singleton [3:20]
I’m gonna have to go with Taiwan. I mean, it’s, this is Kansas City’s an awesome place to raise a family and that’s kind of why we ended up coming back here but man lifestyle sure do miss the hustle and bustle and in some ways, I guess the overtime work ethic I guess I would call it a maybe Asia in general, but certainly the business environment in Taiwan.
David Ralph [3:41]
And do you think you need overtime work ethic? Or is it you’re not doing the right things because I speak to people in the early days of Join Up Dots. It was all about hustle muscle flexing the hustle muscle getting out there. But now I’m finding a kind of vibe where people are going well actually, if you do the right things in the right order. You don’t need that sort of over Work What do you think?
Phil Singleton [4:02]
I hit the nail on the head. I mean, I had a job. My first job out of school was one that kind of fell out of my lap and it was, you know, nine to five and the cubicle base building, you know, base carpet base cubicle. Yeah, I think I’m pretty sure I had beige pants on. And it was a struggle, you know, just being in there from nine to five now I think I work probably five to nine and I’m having the time my life, right because it doesn’t feel like work. So I guess that’s what I mean more if you’re really doing stuff and kind of live in making your life your work kind of almost like To me it feels like a lifestyle, right? I’ve got it. I’m motivated. I’m really happy to work, uh, get up in the morning and kind of dive into it because I found my life’s passion. It’s really not work anymore. But it’s still you know, since I’ve kind of aligned those two up. I probably work a lot harder than I did when the insurance company was working for us trying to get some productivity out of me in a miserable in a cubicle. nine to five.
David Ralph [4:56]
Now, obviously there’s gonna be listeners out there going Yeah. All right. He’s saying that He’s saying that but he’s just because he’s on a podcast is that’s not how life is. Would you have said the same thing maybe 1520 years ago, were you in that sort of mindset that actually is boring work, you have to just go there and get through it so that you can go out on a Friday night, have a beer and enjoy your weekend.
Phil Singleton [5:18]
I guess that when you’re looking back on, I’m all myself, you just don’t. Because you’re coming out of school or wherever you’re coming out of to try and enter the workforce. I guess you don’t think that work can be that fulfilling? Because you haven’t had it yet. And maybe in some cases, you just haven’t haven’t had the experience so they can be like that. So in my case, I think it took a little bit of life experience bouncing around trying to figure out what I wanted to do and really, I think probably being miserable in my first job, and almost kind of forcing me to make a big change because I was in a path. Back then where I felt like I was doing really well and a job that I didn’t like and it was almost like you start to feel those little golden handcuffs. Yeah, come on to your wrist and you kind of start seeing yourself being forced down a career path almost that really you didn’t have any just kind of fell in your lap. And all of a sudden, it’s like you can’t, you would might not be able to break out of it. And I’m looking around seeing guys that have been around in that company for 20 or 30 years. I was like, I just that’s not me, I gotta make a big change type of a thing. So yeah, I think, but it’s still scary to kind of know that you wouldn’t when you see something you don’t really like, but and you’d bet you know, it’s not for you, and then having to kind of jump out and make a big change, really to almost force the change of the trajectory of your career path, right? You just don’t know. But I can say looking back now that I mean, certainly that was a good choice to make. And if you if you look around and try and find something that really makes you happy, it almost doesn’t feel like work anymore. Although I don’t know how many people can jump out super early in their careers and get that kind of peace or enthusiasm or passion right out of the gate. But I’m sure it does happen to some people.
David Ralph [6:56]
Yeah, I was gonna jump in and say exactly the same thing, bear. I think that you You’ve got to try stuff, you’ve got to break a few eggs, because it’s almost impossible isn’t it to come out of the education system going, I know what I want to do with my life. And one or two people in my life, I know that when they were like five, they were saying, I want to be a vet. And when they sort of grow up, they’re a vet, you know, but very few people, you’ve got to try the things that you don’t like, so that you can chip away and chip away. And it’s like doing a sculpture, you get a big block of what you don’t like, and you keep on taking things off it until you go, Ah, I think I can see what I need to do now. That’s, that’s my path.
Phil Singleton [7:34]
Exactly. And one of the things I see today that I think is super awesome that I didn’t have, you know, 15 or 20 years ago, was you can you can kind of come in and have a job, maybe bounce around on something that you know, is probably not gonna be like your lag lifespan or some you’re gonna be passionate for the rest of your working life. There’s this whole like gig economy that’s out there where you can kind of hustle on the side and figure out a few things and maybe find a few customers. Try a few things. You know build a website on the side try a service and kind of do these things and test things for not a whole lot of money until maybe you do find something that ignites that passion that says hey, because when you know that to me I mean when I had my first kind of glimpse of helping a small business I mean it was like instant I was like this is kind of what I want to do forever because it just I just knew it at the time and I don’t know if that’s something that happened to happens to everybody your but I do feel like when something lights you up like that a lot of people are gonna know once they’ve tried a few things around and not not feel like XIAFLEX they looking back I kind of felt like is like is this the way life is gonna be Am I gonna be stuck and just try watching the clock and doing something you know that I don’t want to do for the rest of my life and it’s not like it’s miserable all the time but it’s nice getting the paycheck to pay the bills and and I guess in some ways it makes things sweeter when you’re able to get off and like you say on the weekends or on a happy hour and go out with your with your friends because you’re looking to get away but I don’t think work or life you know has to be like that type of a deal. But But I do think today in today’s world, the way we work, it’s it, it would have been awesome for me to be in have a job from nine to five and then be able to kind of try out these little gig type things because I would have been motivated to do so. And that might have gotten me on a path to where I am quicker than then how then how I kind of stumbled, you know, through it.
David Ralph [9:20]
Yeah, now I agree with you. Yeah, this shows not about me, but hey, it’s my show. It’s my microphone. So I’m gonna talk about myself. But this morning, I got up at five o’clock, I recorded three shows. Nine o’clock to about one I just kind of just wandered around, as we say in the United Kingdom. I sat in the garden a bit, I did a bit of this and a bit of a and then I realised that I’ve got the next boss shows to record us afternoon. And so I’ve come up to my recording studio, and you just can’t do that in corporate life. Can you can’t say to your boss, actually, there’s not a lot to do at the moment. I think I’m gonna go and sit in the park. You’ve just got to kind of stay there. It seems to be sort of boredom by attrition somehow.
Phil Singleton [9:58]
Exactly. I look back at like, my dad really worked his butt off for one company wasn’t able to spend a whole lot of time I think with us in the early years because he was working so hard. So one of the things I love about the job that I have now, especially when we first got started is I was able to kind of work from home, I was able to spend some time with the kids while before they went to school full time. And I was really with them every day went to every doctor’s appointment, I mean, kind of doing everything that I could just to spend every minute that I could, you know, be a part of this kind of early part of their life in a way that I think a lot of nine to five folks or corporate work, you can’t do it. So exactly what you said, I mean, I could work my butt off, I could get up early, I could work a little bit at home, play with the kids when I gotta jump back and do things that are just basically would be impossible for kind of that traditional career path.
David Ralph [10:47]
So let’s talk about your business obviously, because that’s what we’ve got you here but in Join Up Dots fashion, we will be jumping back and forth connecting the dots as they say. So you are an SEO internet marketer. Now SEO Used to be something that would frighten everyone. And then there was a kind of vibe that you just write for the individual you write for the reader, is that a simplistic way of talking is, is there so much more to it? Are you ever going to be a true master of SEO?
Phil Singleton [11:16]
I think it’s a really exciting time for SEO because since I’ve been involved with it, it was really kind of more of a backroom, under the hood tactic, where people would really split focus a lot of time on trying to tweak the websites in a way that would maybe game or trick the system a little bit. And certainly for a long, long time. One of the big focuses on at least SEO companies in general was to do volume based link building, right, trying to go out there and find as many links as possible to get back to your website. And that really kind of moved the needle for a long, long time. But about five, six years ago, Google came out and because it was getting so rampant in terms of people trying to work the system that you had mainstream companies, even large, you know, publicly listed companies really trying to get in and use some of the These shady tactics to try and get ranking. So Google came out. And for the first time again, this is about five or six years ago, they started to make their algorithms a little bit more punitive in nature. So it wasn’t just about rewarding you for the good things you were doing and forgetting about the things that maybe were a little bit tricky. They actually went out and started to penalise websites for going out and doing some of these shady SEO tactics. Well, that really changed the game, okay, because for a long time, those of us who are focused on SEO, we did the things that actually got results, right. And even though they said content was king, they really didn’t mean it. Because we knew we could see in the background, what things were actually working. Well, when these new kind of this new age of algorithms came out. It really changed the whole game. I mean, people when they said content is king, they meant at this time, they really were able to go out and I think men start to measure things. More more types of diverse marketing signals, such as things were going on social media reputation management, really got a good handle on trying to determine what good call quality content. And so the exciting thing about SEO today is it’s become a lot more holistic, it’s become a lot more of I think what digital marketing looks like if you’re doing all the good things that you should be doing market marketing wise for for your users, and in terms of generating great content and participating in social media. And the key to all this really is to having a good website and making it the referral source for all of your best content. It’s really almost become a consultative or consulting based service. Now, instead of just one of these kind of, Hey, I’ll write a check and hope for the best as a kind of was the first 10 or 15 years of how SEO Services kind of worked.
David Ralph [13:39]
Well, you’re talking of course of Panda and Penguin, the black and white creatures that come wandering into our world and I was hit by them big but in a positive way. One of the first things that I ever did, and you can go over to Join Up Dots and see it was I built a website on the Florida Keys and it was my first kind of affiliate business. I was trying to get going and it was doing all Right. But when Panda and Penguin came in, wow, it soared. And it’s been soaring ever since it does very, very well for me, and I don’t do anything with it. It just chips in with money. So Panda and Penguin were a good thing. But there were so many people out there that were were frightened of the black and white creatures, weren’t they?
Phil Singleton [14:18]
Oh, that was really one of the most seismic shifts, I think in in SEO history. I mean, it really put a lot of SEO companies out of business, they got hurt a lot of SEO, just a lot of legitimate companies that had hired companies that were doing some of these things that Google eventually punished. So certainly, for the few folks that were doing everything, maybe the right way, like yourself, huge, huge, you know, benefits. But for people that were actually paying a lot for SEO Services, a lot of those ended up getting really burned. And the one good thing about those is it it totally changed behaviour. You know, in terms of like how a lot of internet marketers and SEO folks we’re approaching digital marketing services in general and I think although hurt really bad at the time for a lot of folks, it ended up I think making SEO services and probably the internet in general better because they basically got us all focused on, you know, generating good content and thinking about the user first and doing all the things that we probably should have been doing, instead of, you know, building links and trying to figure out ways to create pages on the website to get more traffic.
David Ralph [15:25]
So so when you started your business before because this is a stumbling block, and so many people, obviously you are extremely experienced now. But where would you score yourself when you started? How far ahead of the client was you on based on SEO?
Phil Singleton [15:40]
I had a little bit I mean, at first of all, let me explain myself as I’m a complete web design and SEO imposter in this sense that I learned this from the outside in, right a lot of these guys that are coming into it are coming in because they’ve there was a passion early on. Are there graphic designer, the developers or their marketers on the early I mean, I think I have a MBA, you know, in a degree in finance, my first job out of school was a financial analyst. And, and really, this fell into me while I was actually in another financial related job where I had a company software company, like fall into my lap, right. And what ended up happening is when this company, again kind of fell into my lap, a lot of our sales at the time were coming from affiliate marketers. This is going back more than 1515 years ago. Yeah. So I had a software company with 25 employees that I was running, and we were paying our top affiliates. Half of the sale basically, is this consumer software product. And we were writing checks for 30 4050 $70,000 a month to guys that were had running forums and maybe had blogs or different types online communities, right. So they click through the ad or whatever, come through, and we pay him so I was like, holy cow. How is this happening? How are they doing? Even back then Google was driving a lot of the traffic to these sites. And I was like, how is this happening? So I had a, you know, I had my team of graphic designers in house I had my team of developers are working on customer support, nobody could really give me an answer of how Google is ranking stuff. And so I kind of had to learn and figure it out. Because the graphic guy, his explanation didn’t make a lot of sense. And then developers, they didn’t really know. But that’s how we had back then there were SEO people, like, you know, 15 years ago, you had a little bit of AdWords coming out. And Google was was, of course, really, really kind of hitting its stride. So that’s kind of how I got into it. I saw that a lot of our revenues were coming in through through through Google through the affiliate sales, and I was like, basically, essentially follow the ROI trail back through Google. Now. We ended up selling that company for a variety different reasons. And then we moved back to Kansas City kind of back then, but that was kind of at that time where I was like, Okay, I get what’s going on. I’m going to try and figure out and dedicate myself to figure out how you know how Google’s ranking things and that that’s kind of how I started it was just basically self study experiments, building some small business websites. And this really kind of following what’s going on day to day and seeing what things worked. And that’s kind of how I got my start.
David Ralph [18:08]
And then that’s what most people can do, isn’t it, you know, you find something that you are moderately interested in, but you start to upskill yourself, and you can either go over to YouTube or whatever. But more often than not, the best way of doing it is actually sort of deconstructing other people’s work and looking at the top guys and thinking, Well, why is that happening and clicking on their website and looking about, I spend a lot of time being a podcaster, looking at iTunes, and clicking and working out why that does vs. And why that does that because the more knowledge you get, the more power to really and you can take that in any direction. So upskilling is a key start, but for the listeners out there, don’t be frightened about it. Just be aware of it. It’s going to take a bit of time. You can sit in your study, you can sit at work if you’re quiet, but stance or breaking things and seeing how it works.
Phil Singleton [18:58]
I mean, so well. So I mean, I just my personal opinion is I think everybody should have in the back of their mind as a side project at some time to try and see if they can put together some kind of a website project, whether it’s a personal blog or something and just kind of see how all the pieces work, try and figure out a little bit about how Google ranks things, how to put a blog post how to integrate social media into one of these things, because it’s just one of those skills. I mean, the more you understand how the internet works, and how I think Google works in particular, you can apply that to so many different things in your probably in your current job, but certainly, if you ever wanted to try and launch a business later, I mean, we are all website companies now. It’s just the way the internet works. The two most valuable companies in the world right now. I think today, I gotta check kind of how the stock market is, is our Apple and Google right by market capitalization. So I mean, that should tell you a lot of where, where the world is, in general, right? Apple represents kind of the form factors and the devices and the thing that we all consume content. And Google’s the way we get and, you know, try and get information to to consume content on those devices. So I totally agree. I think if you get it, you can learn self study some stuff, but I think everybody out there should be able to try and figure out, you know how to put a website together and just try and understand how it all works a great starting point. And again, I think that that’s a skill that just applies to basically any business, every business out there.
David Ralph [20:22]
There’s probably some words now and then we’re gonna delve back into your story. He’s Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [20:27]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [20:53]
Now, you’ve already mentioned your dad a couple of times in this episode, he was a big influence due to the east persistence in going to a company because in those days, there wasn’t an option. It was a job for life, I suppose.
Phil Singleton [21:06]
Yeah, I think pretty much I don’t really see that you don’t see it happening as much anymore. He was a Vietnam vet came back after the military eight years, got a job as an assistant manager at a movie theatre, ran through it for over 30 years and then retired as the president and CEO of that operation. I just don’t really see that kind of happen as much anymore. But But yeah, and I will say I could see the one thing that my dad is even though he went through it, I mean, he definitely you could see the passion and the motivation in his work. So I guess to some extent, you know, he was he was lucky to have something that really, he seemed to be excited to get up, you know, and go out and do that kind of stuff. And that’s always do you think, dude,
David Ralph [21:46]
are you when you when you saw him get up? You say he seemed to see the anxiety. Do you think he actually was or do you think he was just covering it? Well,
Phil Singleton [21:57]
could I it’s Ty. I would, I would I like Be able to guarantee and I think towards the end he was it was what was it is it here’s an interesting point too, that when he retired, I think we were probably all a little bit worried like, gosh, this has been such a big part of his life and who he was and seemed to be such a motivating thing. But when he retired, he did really, really enjoy retirement from right out of the gate. So that’s an int. I never really thought about it that way. But as you just asked me that question, I was like, well, geez, if somebody was really, you think it would be the opposite? Right? Yeah, I’ve been to some kind of depression, or you would be like, constantly trying to figure out how to get back into the game and hasn’t been like that. He’s been retired for four years now. So
David Ralph [22:42]
as my dad was was 74 when he retired, he had his own business. And now he says, I love retirement. I just love retirement. And I’ve never actually asked that question. I’ve never actually said to him, did you actually like running the business? And I bet he would say well, no, it was all right. It paid the bills or whatever, you know, But now he’s become younger. He’s like Benjamin Button. He’s nearly 80. And he’s getting younger and younger every day. And I think to myself, God, what would life have been like, if you could have done this five or six years earlier? You know, 10 years earlier, 20 years earlier. It’s just, I need to sit down with him one day and actually ask him because I think it’s clues to how to leave live your life going forward. Exactly.
Phil Singleton [23:23]
Exactly. You know, but I mean, I look back when I started, when I left and we sold this software company, it was a nice payday. It wasn’t a Grand Slam by herself, an island diver retirement type thing, but it certainly helped out a lot early on, and it enabled me to basically fumble around for almost a year I did a couple you know, websites and things, but I was I got bored. So that means, you know, we don’t have anything you really have to I was I really wanted to find something to do because you know, at that point I don’t know. So I guess it depends on where you are in life at some point but I can’t imagine not doing something that’s business related. But I mean, who knows? I mean, they get to a certain point where it makes a lot of sense.
David Ralph [24:11]
So with your business, obviously you love it. But did you love the creative aspect of it? Or do you love the running of the business?
Phil Singleton [24:20]
My passion is going to be SEO or the competitive thing of Google because it’s a zero sum game to some extent, you know, there’s only one first page and there’s only one top rank, so to speak. So being able to kind of work on that and and see, the objective results of your work is extremely rewarding. And then what comes from that? I mean, helping small businesses grow is also really I think, for me, what’s what’s done there? Are there parts of this business that I don’t that I don’t enjoy as others. I’m not crazy about, you know, going through the full web design process. One is because there’s not a whole lot of money in it, really. I mean, even if you charge for custom websites, it’s one thing but if you do it Right, it’s it’s kind of a grind to do that. And, of course, but when they’re they’re launched and the clients happy and they start generating revenues. It’s a great piece of it now, I more enjoy, obviously kind of the ongoing work the consulting base working with the clients kind of managing that aspect of it. But yeah, there’s certain parts, I guess of the business that are less glamorous and less fun than other parts.
Unknown Speaker [25:23]
David Ralph [25:24]
good in Facebook land, when you listen to people talking. It’s like, every aspect of their life is amazing. And I sit here and as a podcaster. I love it. And my show is doing extremely well. And it’s fun. It’s exciting. But there’s an awful lot of it, which is grind, it is absolutely grind. And I’m always interested why people don’t want to share the grind. Because I think that shows professionalism that shows commitment that they’re the kind of people that I want to actually work with the ones who actually say no, I get up on the Monday morning and it’s not just me swirling around in my piece. I use all the time, it’s me actually doing what needs to be done.
Phil Singleton [26:03]
Exactly. So I’m, I’m coming, you know, laying on the table that I do think there’s parts of the business for us. And web design does tend to be, you know, the grind part of the business. But it’s weird though, because even if I didn’t have the parts that I thought were kind of the cream parts that we really liked and enjoyed more than the other parts, it still would really beat out lots of other things that I’ve done in my life, you know, to make money. So to that extent, I’m kind of like, this is bad, but you’re right. I mean, at some point, you can’t love everything that you do in every business, no matter what it’s, you know, somebody’s gotta gotta do part of it that’s less glamorous and less fun than some of the other pieces but, but that’s just part of the game.
David Ralph [26:46]
And could you sort of delegate the bits that you don’t like out or do you need to know how the engine is operating to be able to sort of actually make it work?
Phil Singleton [26:55]
Great question. I mean, it’s from us. It’s, it’s real as a micromanager. And as I feel every client that we take on, I feel like it ends up being my company, my business, my website, which is a little bit, I guess that sounds a little bit psychotic at some point, but it really does. So I tend to, like, want to micromanage that piece of it, because I want to try and bat 1000, right, I’m not just trying to bring in as many clients as we can, I want to actually have these guys be our clients for years and years and years. And it’s, it just feels too scary to delegate some pieces of at least getting, you know, being the architect or the engineer getting the plans, right. And even to some degree, managing the execution of that part of it. So it’s kind of one of these things, I guess it’s a Jekyll and Hyde. It’s like, I guess I probably could, but I’m so fearful of, of delegating out that crucial piece of it that I, you know, I probably should let go and find somebody do it, but I don’t know that, that I ever would in that might that might prevent us from scaling. I’m really happy to where my agency is right. Now, but I just it just seems like I see a lot of folks that that that end up kind of sacrificing quality or results, you know, by losing that piece of it. And I think that’s why at least in my this business that I’m in, you know, it’s a talent based business, I feel so you get a lot of agencies to get out there and go for scale and kind of end up being kind of these churn and burn shops, you get other ones that kind of stay smaller and end up I think, probably doing better work and working with clients. So that’s my narrow focus of this one little segment of business, but But yeah, so is that is that kind of a weird answer is I it’s like, I want to hang on to the grind piece, because I think it’s a core piece of how why we get good results. So that could be one thing that I just kind of have to either figure out down the road or just accept that that’s part of part of the business.
David Ralph [28:50]
No, I don’t think that’s way to tell when I think that comes down to professionalism. Again, I totally do. You know, I used to be a manager up in the City of London and one of the things that I used to do But used to wind the directors up big time the directors were always saying you shouldn’t be so hands on David, you shouldn’t be, you should be managing the team. So they do the job. But I always used to like to know the jobs of everyone. So if they were saying, oh, I’ve got so much work to do, I could go well, now that’s only two hours work, go and you can get that done. I didn’t like to have the wool pulled over my eyes on anything. So I used to really sort of get in, get in and dirty. And I think that’s what you’re doing as well. You’re knowing how the business can change because you are taking the plugs out, and you’re looking at them and you’re thinking, no, they’re fine. And I’m going to put those back in or you’re gonna take the leads or a business is just like an engine and using the NASCAR analogy, right in the introduction, you need a fast car and a talented driver, but you need engineers as well, don’t you?
Phil Singleton [29:49]
Exactly. I mean, that’s got what it boils down to. And again, I think there’s different ways to run businesses. And certainly I think that, you know, scaling up and delegation is just part of the way that part of it. Goes do it. But you know, we’re in. Actually, I’m in a place in my life where I’m really happy I make a really good living, I feel. And I wouldn’t I don’t, it’s too risky to sacrifice that by trying to chase, you know, more revenues by risking, I think the thing that makes us the best, you know, one of the best at what we do at least here, you know, my market. So it’s tough though, because you get a lot of people that want to see, I mean, you could, I mean, a lot of if you get something really good and get in demand, I mean, it’s pretty easy to scale it up and get more clients on the hook if you double your revenues, but all of a sudden, it starts to, you know, you start to risk some of your reputation or results and what’s about what’s what, what do you just do? Oh, did you end up
David Ralph [30:41]
being a therapist for your clients because this is one of the things with what you’re doing and what like Facebook ads guys are doing. A lot of it is about data, and a lot of it is gonna take a while before you find out the right ways of doing it. It’s not an instant fix. But imagine a lot of clients come along and being okay, I’m playing You Why is nothing happening at the moment, but it takes time to sort of actually come to fruition? Do you find that you’re, you’ve got to be a therapist for your clients to actually get them to sort of stay with you for the long term to see the rewards.
Phil Singleton [31:13]
To some extent, I mean, I definitely think that we try and tell people at a time, at least in my world, unless you’re going after Pay Per Click type stuff, which you can turn on and off, if you’re going after a holistic marketing thing. And specific, specifically, if you’re trying to, you know, show results on an SEO campaign. I mean, Google will tell you four to 12 months, you know, to start seeing results and things like that. So a lot of times you’ll talk to clients and you’ll say that and they’ll nod their head but for some reason, they’re still thinking four to six weeks, right or four to 12 weeks. So you do get this I call it kind of like the SEO fatigue where they’ve been in that six to 12 month period where that does seem like a long time to be paying, say monthly retainers and only seeing minimal results are not the results that they had hoped for. Generally after like 12 months they get they see the whole picture and all of the things that you’re doing, but that’s only a smaller segment of clients. But what ends up happening for SEO anyways is that you get a lot of folks companies out there that are looking for that one, Hail Mary tactic, right to maybe bail them out or get the phone ringing, because something whatever happened is not happening. So whatever you tell them, they’re still hoping that they can, you know, take this sum of money, their budget that they have, and give it to somebody and kind of wish for the best type of thing. So you never know if that’s, you’re going to get one of those clients, even though they might be nodding their heads in the meetings and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, sometimes you kind of have to do a little bit of, I guess, therapy and thing ahead of time, but you always gotta look for people that understand, you know, the long term nature of what you’re trying to do. And also just the fact that there’s so many pieces that you got to get together and really marketing in general right now to get to get the strategy, right, right. And you got to have the tactics and you got to have the discipline and some time to make sure that thing rolls out to get the return on it because, you know, a lot of this stuff just doesn’t doesn’t happen overnight.
David Ralph [33:00]
So is it eggs in one basket time is is it better now to have a structured approach to building a business or that scattergun approach? maybe five or 10 years ago, when I started doing the affiliate programme that I was talking about earlier? What’s that Florida Keys? It was very much a case of building micro sites and micro niches and direct traffic to it. That’s not working SEO. Now, did you need to actually have your social media, your forums? Does it all have to be the eggs in one basket?
Phil Singleton [33:31]
I don’t think so. It’s not my you know, the way what works I think for SEO in terms of the way that actually generates return and this sustainable is to one have your website be the marketing hub, because essentially is anyway right? And then actually doing all the things in a way that integrate back to the website. But when you start talking about web design, you start talking about content marketing, and by content marketing, I’m gonna throw in, you know, blogging and videos and even things like you know, getting on podcasts and stuff like that isn’t a part of anything about social media participation, and again, Doing it in the right way. Because one of the big things that we see with all of our clients is they’ll go out and put some, they won’t do much on their website at all, they treat it like a digital brochure. And if they do anything, they’ll put some of their best content up on a social media channel, in and of itself where it dies. Well, the correct way to do this is to put that your best content on your website and then share that link and then bring people back so you can retarget them, you can pixel them, you can give them an offer that kind of stuff, right? Instead of putting all your best stuff. So a lot of it’s just realigning and getting that kind of stuff, reputation management, I think that’s probably one of the biggest things out there is trying to figure out what kind of personal connections, customer connections you make, and then maybe, you know, following up and being persistent about getting reviews on people that can you know, vouch for their time for you, that kind of stuff. So, when you start looking at all these little pieces of it, that starts to we start talking about social media, reputation management, content marketing, it starts to just look like the digital marketing, modern digital marketing in general, right. It’s just the problem is and this is where it ties into SEO because I think SEO is the glue that makes everything kind of work and enables you to get five or 10 x instead of one x is a lot of people they go after and they start, they just start trying tactics in general, right? They just say I’m going to hip shoot it, this one thing, I’m gonna hire a social media person, but none of it’s all integrated in a way that one is going to get them the more return on it, but it’s just not tying back to their website and where they’re where they’re gonna get Google credit for. And that’s important because no matter we feed stuff out into social media, social media, really, to me is more of a real time. Our is your content passing through people as the eyeballs are on it right now. Google represents the way that people can find it after it’s kind of pass through the river right there unless you’re reposting all the time. So it’s really important to be participating in social media where you get the folks in real time but also setting it up in a place that’s you know, referral source where people can find it. If it’s really good stuff when they’re looking for things that are related to it. That’s what’s really working today. Not trying to figure out what little you know piece here and the microsites and that’s the some of that does kind of tie in together, but it’s really more about taking In a holistic approach, thinking about your business in terms of a strategy, and not just taking potshots at tactics and that’s really what a lot of businesses do today, right they’re looking for that either a silver bullet on an SEO tactic or they’re looking for a silver bullet on on one of these other vertical tactics like associate Yeah, just like our business is set up right now. I’ve got three websites here in Kansas City that rank really well Marketing Services website and SEO website and a web design website. Well, most of our business on the on the marketing retainers comes in from people that are looking for web design help. But even though they think they need a web design, I think that’s the problem that they have. They really need marketing help. It’s but that’s the pain point that they have. Right. Sometimes they come in for AdWords, the AdWords guys that we are AdWords isn’t performing want to try AdWords, it’s not really the AdWords I have a problem with. It’s the whole marketing approach. So they’re having so we’re always kind of turning that back into like, okay, who’s the ideal customer, let’s do the keyword research and figure out who the audience is, and then try and like getting back to your point earlier days. Which is really trying to like you’re talking about iTunes and how you you’d like to deconstruct things. I think a lot of Modern Marketing right now is figuring out who the ideal customer is figuring out how they search and consume content and reverse engineering based around that activity once you can do that, and lay that into, you know, a, a riff, web centric marketing plan, you can really kill it. She works.
David Ralph [37:25]
As she was talking, I had this image of a body, my head, I’ve never thought of this before, but you put your content in your mouth. Social media is the digestive system that just sort of passes through you and you see it and sometimes you don’t see it. And then everything comes out in one place, which is like the toilet basically. And that’s Google. And that’s that’s sort of how I can see all operating. All the content goes in. It passes through very briefly. Some people see it, some people don’t, but it’s where it ends up which is the key place.
Phil Singleton [37:55]
Exactly. Great. Great. Great way to to Plant love it.
David Ralph [38:01]
I’ve never thought about myself but i’m gonna i’m going to trademark about one of that happy my new business that will be new my business. So what I’m gonna do now, I’m going to take it, I don’t know how I’m going to frame it, but I’m going to take it what I’m going to do now I’m going to play some words from a guy who really didn’t know how to construct a business. And he took it to the tongue,
Steve Jobs [38:18]
Steve Jobs. Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [38:53]
When you listen to those words that I really hit home not just in a sort of business sense but actually personal Feel?
Phil Singleton [39:02]
Yeah, they do. I mean, it’s really one of those things where all sudden you hear it and you’re just like, your mind kind of opens up and you start, you know, a lot of for me, I get I get, I’m looking back and a lot of things are kind of flooding into my head. While I hear that those words,
David Ralph [39:17]
and do you need to have all the answers? I think that’s what Steve’s basically saying is, and we sort of alluded to it at the very beginning about you’ve got to try stuff, you’ve got to just go out there and do stuff, live your life until your path starts to come. where so many people think that they’ve got to almost join up the dots before they start.
Phil Singleton [39:37]
Exactly. I mean, it’s pretty powerful. So
David Ralph [39:41]
So where’s your life come from them. So when you when you look back on it, where were you always destined to be here or is it a complete surprise to you?
Phil Singleton [39:51]
It feels so natural when you find something that to me, it feels so natural when I found it just feels like like it’s always been that way. Almost like Having my kids I mean, it’s just kind of hard to imagine when life was without it because it’s become part of like, you know, the core part of existence, I guess. But I don’t know for whatever I think when I when I hear those Steve Jobs talking, I guess what it reminds me of is is a turning point and I guess it was almost kind of an epiphany because when I use when, you know, when I was in school, and probably when I got out of school, I used to be so consumed I think by two things. One, I worried a lot about what other people thought about me a lot, which I think you know, which which I which has totally changed over the years. And that I guess that’s really and I think I probably also the second thing is, I think I stood too long on failure, okay, of any sort. So anything that I thought was maybe Somebody wronged me or I wasn’t passed over, I think I probably use that more. just wasted energy. And I think what ends up happening over time is failure is just a part of succeeding. And you have for me, what I’ve been able to do is you have to fail, you have to have these failures, and you have to kind of let it sink in. But if you can channel that to motivation, and not use as an excuse, I To me, it’s been it’s been basically a life changer. Because I still see that and younger people today and even people that I know where it seems like something hits them and it’s just an excuse to kind of slow down or get lazy or just thinking about it. Think about something else. Instead of using that to be like Jesus is a kick in the ass. I’m gonna do it better and not stew on it because it’s good to get you know, it’s good to get pinched or kicked in the butt because if you get the blood flowing sometimes right and if you can channel that the right way. I think it makes you a lot better at what you do. So those are the two and then also have worrying about what other people think about you. Right? That was the thing that probably paralyse me the most early on was really just thinking so much and getting so nervous and anxious about what other people thought about every move that I made that I got to a point in my life right now where you, I don’t really care or worry about what anyone thinks about me, I care about what I think about myself, and I do what I think I believe in. And I just don’t think about it like I used to, and I and I don’t have the anxiety that I used to when I was younger, because I don’t give people that kind of control over me, right? If you were if you let other people what they think about you worry you then you’re essentially submitting to their control, and they don’t even want to necessarily want the control. So those are the two things that I think have really kind of changed, you know, I I don’t know if it’s like connecting the dots or it just really kind of has streamlined how I’ve been able to succeed, you know, with the business that I have, but even in the personal connections in my life and that kind of stuff. So really kind of rambling there David’s Jumping. I told you it came flooded when you play the quote. So those are the two things I thought about immediately when I heard those words and it I don’t even know that it relates directly but I kind of felt like it did
David Ralph [43:11]
a sunny day then I woke so it came to me as he was talking was Eli in Austin when they listen to you say those words what they understand and what would that be the kind of bad but I see on a daily basis the the raw and honest dad or you. You go off and do or do and you come back and then you’re there for them? Are you sort of compartmentalise like most dads are?
Phil Singleton [43:34]
Well, I mean, you mentioned that and it’s not so good either Think about that. I’m actually because I wrote this book SEO for growth with john jantz, right of duct tape marketing, and I’m opening on page. I guess it’s page 11, where I’ve got my dedication and you mentioned Eli and Austin and I just gave that kind of because that really came from the heart when I’m talking about and here’s my quote, acknowledgement is to my twin sons, Eli and Austin. Don’t ever worry about what other people think about you and always remember You can do anything you put your mind to. We talked about like trying to tell your younger self, what you would want to say to yourself kind of that’s how I look at my son’s right, the younger version of myself. And that was the actual quote, I figured, hey, if for some reason I get hit by a car, what one sentence or to sentence what I want to tell them that I think have changed my life. And it’s really those words and owning it because it’s one thing to say, Don’t ever worry about what other people think about you. It’s another thing to actually believe it and have it change your life because you know to as you say it, you think it but a lot of people don’t. They still never kind of give up that power that they give to other folks. But that’s that’s what I would, you know, tell them or mentioned to them or trying to like, prove to them or show to them by by by being a kind of dad that they can see that this is this is this is how you can do it because I think it will, you know, help set set people set them free. Absolutely.
David Ralph [44:57]
Well, we are going to find out the words that you would have said to you younger self because this is the part of the show called to stand on the neck. You jumped ahead, but no problem we’re going to bring you back. That’s what we do on Join Up Dots. This is part of the show called a sermon on might when we get to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Phil, what advice would you give in what age would you choose? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme when it fades you up. This is the Sermon on the mic
Unknown Speaker [45:33]
with the best bit of the show.
Phil Singleton [45:49]
Okay, so the first thing I’m going to tell you is to follow your instincts, right? If you don’t feel like you’re in a position right now or in a career path that you want to be in, that feeling is natural. And do not stop finding something in your life that you can work for, and make a difference for. And also make a good living at it until you find something that you know is is going to be something that you really love. So I don’t want you ever to be in a position where you wake up in the morning and dread going to work because it doesn’t have to be like that. And even though it might feel like that, you keep looking it might feel like that in a second job, it might feel like that in the third job. Keep going on because eventually you’re going to find something that you really like that you love and you’re going to be able to also help people and make a positive contribution to society. That’d be the first thing. The second thing is don’t worry about your anxiety. Everybody gets nervous and And maybe fearful of talking to people in public or going out and meeting with folks. But I think at once at some point if you can find that in realise that the only person you really have to impress is yourself and be fully confident and love yourself and love what you do, then you that’s really where the starting point should be. So focus on that piece of it and focus on your friends and family. But don’t do on the mistakes that you make in life. Don’t do on perceived things that you perceive are wrongdoings because if you just focus on on that negativity, it’s going to pull you back. If you can find a way to channel that energy into motivation. It will it will change your life. It will enable you to make a lot more money a lot quicker, and it will make you a lot happier. Right Stuff.
David Ralph [47:54]
What’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you feel
Phil Singleton [47:59]
well You want to see how we’ve done it in terms of web design SEO KC web designer comm is kind of our web design services again, we’re kind of more servicing local and regional folks here in the States but we do have people all around the country and even now in KC SEO Pro is kind of our exclusive SEO internet marketing services. But the big focus right now is on SEO for growth in the book that I wrote with john Janssen duct tape marketing and that’s where you can get the book in fact you can it’s it’s free for Amazon Prime members and if you get the free copy, you can actually go back to SEO for growth calm, and we’ve got an awesome three bundle ebook we’ve got one from Larry came aboard stream they gave us one from used to Bach at Yoast SEO, they gave us one of their highly coveted ebooks. And then we’ve got another one called local SEO that’s in this three book bundle. So get the free, get the free Kindle, prime Kindle up on Amazon, come back to the website, register on and get a free download immediately and you’ve got four pretty nuts Pretty awesome looks to, to read for the rest of 2017.
David Ralph [49:04]
We will have all the links on the show notes. Thank you so much for spending time with us today joining up those dots below. And please come back again when you have more dots to join up, because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our paths is the best way to build our futures. Phil Singleton. Thank you so much.
Phil Singleton [49:21]
David Ralph [49:25]
Mr. Phil Singleton, so he didn’t really know what he wanted to do. And then he kind of found something that was interesting to him, but then he spent time upskilling and as we were talking about on the show, that’s how it’s done. Nobody starts as a finished article. You just have to get better and better. And you don’t have to be that far ahead to start actually charging people for your knowledge. You really don’t and as you get more and more experience, obviously your fees can go up. But I think that’s a big stumbling block that so many people have the fact that they think they’ve got to be absolutely world dominating masters of something before it I can start making a living on it. It’s not true really isn’t. I’m the proof of that. And I’m sure Phil will put his hand up and say exactly the same. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Join Up Dots family. I appreciate you being here. Until next time,
see ya. David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you were wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.