Be happy with what you have. However…
I don’t know. Maybe I should be happy and content, but often I am not. Even though it could always be a lot worse, I am still striving to better myself and the life of my family.
I am not supposed to tell you where or how I live because I am running a business which is supposed to put on a positive face no matter the situation that is actually behind it. You are supposed to see the Lamborghini and the mansion and feel that my success could be yours which is why you would listen to what I have to say about SEO and marketing. But that isn’t the case at all. It would be a lie. The truth is I live in a trailer, in Nine Mile Falls. Well, actually, it’s not even my trailer. I don’t own a Lamborghini; I own a Kia Soul. (I Love that car!)
We moved in here with the idea of helping out my wife’s mother financially. The week after we moved I lost my job. Now the woman that we were supposed to be helping is helping us.
It’s been like that for us ever since we got married. I drove from Coeur d’Alene to Denver to get married. After the ceremony, the next day, we drove back to Idaho. The next day I lost my job.
Soon, I was selling off everything I owned to pay the rent. When the money was all gone we left in the night and drove back to Denver to live with my wife’s sister.
There we had to sell off all of my wife’s belongings too. Yard sale after yard sale we sold everything she collected when she was younger. When all that was gone I finally found a job building websites for a realtor in Florida. I literally worked every waking hour so that we could save the money and move back to Idaho. Things were kind of looking up again. We had hope. The five of us drove back to Idaho. That very night the housing market crashed.
I lost my job again.
We got back to Idaho and had to move in with her mother in Lewiston. After about a year there; living out of a bedroom I found a job in Coeur d’Alene working with an outdated coding language called Classic ASP. I commuted from Coeur d’Alene to Lewiston for a while, a 3-hour drive, until I started falling asleep on the road about a month into it. I couldn’t give up the job so I slept in the car a few times. Which wasn’t really sleep. Soon I found myself sleeping at work and on the road. My wife and family didn’t get to see me much at all because the second I would arrive in Lewiston I had to go to sleep.
I rented a room in CdA while I saved up money to bring the family up. Finally, we were able to rent a place in CdA. That year the boss moved his company to Spokane. So I started commuting to Spokane.
A year into that and we decided it would be best to move to Spokane. Everything was expensive in Spokane, so we decided to move in with her mother to help her out financially and to help us out financially. A month later I lost my job again.
Life is a tease. I keep chasing jobs and the moment it seems I have caught up they move, or I lose my job. Before I got married I was working as a still photographer on movie sets. But then the movie industry in Spokane decided to no longer do movies. I tried selling my photography, but no one seems to want to hire a photographer unless it is for weddings.
I took my learned traits of web design and development and built a few websites to sell my photography, my résumé, and art. I have had a few good ideas, but for one reason or another, I was not able to follow through with them. For instance, humansofspokane.com I love taking photos of interesting people in Spokane. The site has taken off on its own.
The problem is it takes time and money to go to Spokane to shoot pictures, and right now I need to stay here making as much as I can doing subcontract work. As much as I would love to, I can’t drive to Spokane and shoot pictures for free. I feel I have to make a choice between photography, SEO, design and not try to do all of them at once.
One thing I have learned over the years is that marketing a business has two sides to it. One is the side of the business that is always your best side. You never want them to see you sweat. That side. This is probably 99% of how conventional business operates.
Then there is the side of business that is the ‘you get what you give’ side. This is the side of business that the internet is living on right now. You see ads and content on Facebook based on what you share. If you want to see uplifting stories share uplifting stories. If you want news, share news items. If you want to sell something you don’t force it on people. You create something they want or need, and draw them to you.
If you are accustomed to the first model then it will seem counter-intuitive at first. It’s like if you want to reach more people with SEO then narrow your niche and reach only a small target market. Sounds wrong, doesn’t it? Wrong and backward. Why not reach a wider group and reach them all? Why not just target everyone? Instead of just barn photography, why not barns, kids, cars, and everything else?
Sure, it is my fault that my own websites failed to perform. I never put what I know of SEO into them. I guess I was of the mindset that I didn’t want to work on my personal projects doing the same job I am doing for others. It’s a fault of the way my mind was working. Any psychologist out there care to explain that one for me?
I am tired of trying to sell my photography to people. I am tired of trying to sell myself to companies to see if they want to hire me. I am tired of seeing the façade of business and life. I just want to give what I know away.
I feel more at peace when I am not trying to sell you my site. Yes, I want the site to do well, but that is more of a personal thing than business. It is my personal goal for the site to do well and the only way it can do well is if you do well. Like with photography, the actors would get nervous around a camera because a photographer could make or break them. I used to think to myself, if I make you look good then I look good. That is how it is with SEO too. If you do well, then I look good.
My kid’s Jiu Jitsu coach says it this way, “My greatest achievement in my Jiu Jitsu journey is helping my students achieve greatness in their Jiu Jitsu journey” James Weed.
If James does well, and his site does well, then he can reach more kids and train his students for greatness. So I give to James as much as I possibly can. His success reflects on me. You get the point.
So now I am putting my time and effort into sharing what I have learned over the years in SEO. I am not the best writer; that is for sure! I am working to improve. I will still work on humansofspokane.com when I have time, I just want to make sure that it is not taking time away from this site, or my family.
Thanks for listening.
Author: Timothy Eberly
Timothy is a web design and graphic artist that has been working in the business for over 20 years and has designed and built thousands of websites including one for a major ad firm in Spokane. In addition to graphic design and web development he also worked as a photographer on several films made in the Spokane area. You can connect with him on facebook and Google+.