Before you read our 2018 follow-up interview with Matt Diggity, check back on the original conversation we had in April 2016 – it contains some straight-talking business gems we can all learn from. At that time, Matt was running a bunch of projects alongside Diggity Marketing and Diggity Links, which earlier this year in April was acquired by Rank Club, and is now called The Link Service.
April 2016 – WHAT THE F**K MAKES YOU TICK? WITH MATT DIGGITY
The last interview in our series comes from the ultra-versatile Matt Diggity of Diggitymarketing.com and Diggity Links.
Matt is not only an incredible researcher in the marketing/SEO niche – and shares all his findings with no holds barred on his blog – but he also owns one of the most successful link rental businesses I have come across. AND, all of this is in addition to running his Chiang Mai based office that manages his vast portfolio of Affiliate Money Sites.
Unlike the other interviews in this series, my interview with Matt comes in the form of a written correspondence. Our schedules didn’t coincide, but I still really wanted to include his insights in our series. So, instead of writing him off, I was able to get in his input via a written interview. I am thrilled that he was able to discuss so many important things for this series, most notably his take on living the marketers’ dream. Extremely concise and enlightening, this interview will surely captivate all of you!
John: Matt, please tell me a little bit about what motivated you to go into online marketing, and then to go from a sole marketing provider, to end clients, all the way to becoming a services provider with your link rental service.
Matt: My SEO career started around 2009. I used to be an engineer (Master of Science, Electrical Engineering) and I worked for a Silicon Valley startup. The lifestyle was brutal. I was making six-figures, but it simply wasn’t worth it. I knew that I needed an exit plan because that life simply wasn’t sustainable with any measure of freedom or happiness. At nights I would study online marketing and run various affiliate projects powered by SEO.
Eventually I started making good money online, but I didn’t leave my day job quite yet. I was heavily vested in the company’s virtual stocks and stayed around waiting for an acquisition or IPO.
In 2011 my company was acquired, my stock options became real, and I received a quarter million-dollar paycheck. I quit shortly after. It was time to live life the way I wanted. I moved to Chiang Mai, a hotspot for SEOs, and started working in SEO full time.
Looking back, I enslaved myself nearly 4 years for that buyout paycheck. Ironically, I found out later that SEO can create that cash flow in months. Hindsight is always 20/20. Isn’t that what they say?
J: I couldn’t agree more with you Matt, I think that most successful SEOs have at least a few moments of “regret” thinking, I wish I had taken the plunge earlier. Working with clients from all over the world, while being based in Asia, how do you manage the time zones and what does a typical day look like for you?
M: Clients require time and personal attention. I found that I wasn’t able to scale as fast as I wanted to with a client model, so one day I decided to fire all my clients except one.
This freed up a lot of time. Lately, my days revolve around management and testing. I have a team that helps to take care of the actual implementation of my projects: PBN setup, creating money sites, back linking, etc. They rank the sites and I oversee the work. This allows me to focus on testing and thus staying ahead of the SEO knowledge curve. The engineering nerd in me still loves to geek out in the lab. Besides, everything becomes easier when you can rank at will. Other than that, I allocate a few hours per week to SEO consultations. Helping people get to page 1 is definitely the most rewarding part of my work.
J: A lot of people would say that you are “living the marketers’ dream”. What has it meant for you to get to where you are now?
M: To sum it up in one word: efficiency. There’s no way I could be at the level I’m at now if I weren’t constantly optimising my productivity.
Here’s my recipe for success:
- For two weeks every three months, track every minute of your working day and note down how much time you spend doing each task. Then figure out how much money each of those tasks makes for you. Divide earnings by time spent to figure out how much money your time is worth. Finally, outsource all tasks that you can get done for less than your worth per hour.
- Most of the SEO advice you read about on the internet is going to be pure speculation or marketing hype. When you take testing into your own hands, you avoid the B.S. and instead become the cutting-edge yourself.
- Periodically, sell off your bottom 20% money-generating websites. If you’re in client SEO, fire the bottom 20% of your clients. I don’t care if they’re making you thousands per month. Simply clearing out the bottom 20% makes room for more headspace to be applied to bigger projects with bigger returns. (Study Pareto’s Law. Learn it. Live it.)
- Give a high priority to building an incredible team of all-stars.
- This one is the key: Forge partnerships with top performers that excel in the skills that you lack.
- Lastly, gamify your success: Set goals and reward yourself for getting to those milestones. For example, as soon as you hit your first 6-figure year, book yourself a first-class ticket to wherever you want.
J: That’s some pretty inspiring words right there Matt, I think a lot of people will benefit from adapting this kind of methodology.
For someone that would like to enter the online marketing industry on a shoestring budget, what would you suggest they do at the beginning of 2016 to make their dream come true?
M: This is a very interesting question. In general, sticking to a shoestring budget during the beginning phase is simply going to lengthen the time to success. You’re going to have less resources to work with and all your time is going to be spent in the nitty-gritty; doing work that virtual assistants could do.
If you really want to make 2016 your dream year but don’t have the funds, this is my suggestion; intern/partner with someone with money and experience. Position yourself as an apprentice. Someone that they can train to do high-level tasks. You’ll take over what they’re doing now, so they can move on to the next thing. Do all the work for free. Don’t accept a penny. Work in exchange for knowledge and resources (in SEO this would likely be in the form of backlinks). Use the resources for your own projects. With solid mentorship, you’ll be able to learn faster, avoid newbie pitfalls, and avoid an upfront investment. Lastly, believe in yourself. Take action. And, most importantly, be kind to others. You can’t go wrong with this paradigm.