Meet Aden, a Top CERT Level SEO freelancer on PPH. Highly dedicated to his work and extremely passionate about helping business owners increase their website traffic, Aden is working towards offering video tutorials and webinars for business owners to better understand SEO.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get into freelancing?
I’m Aden Clark, a 29 year old entrepreneur and I live in a little village located in Yorkshire, with my fiancée Lisa, my awesome 10 year old son Tyler, and dog Suzy.
I have always been attracted to the thought of generating an income from the internet, and in the early years (around 2005), I found myself dabbling in affiliate marketing, which involves marketing other people’s products for a commission.
Working for someone else is not in my blood, I could not stand the thought of spending my days building someone else’s dream, when I could be spending that time building my own.
As you could imagine, it took several years of trial and error, before I found a strategy that generated results. At every waking moment, I would be honing my craft. My determination was so strong, sometimes I would be awake 2 to 3 days in a row without sleep, trying to generate that first sale, and eventually that time came.
I later realised that the very same method I used successfully to drive traffic to my affiliate websites that resulted in sales, other business owners were desperate for, in order to generate high quality leads for their businesses online. The method I use to drive traffic for affiliate products is search engine optimisation, or SEO, as it’s commonly known.
Often people who used to compete with me in the rankings for similar keywords, would ask me to provide SEO for their secondary websites (ones that did not directly compete with any of mine) and was a good source of extra income for me. Many of my competitors could not understand how I could effortlessly outrank them, which is the same recipe I use today to improve rankings for business owners on PeoplePerHour.
This is how my freelancing career was born.
What was your previous job before deciding to go freelance?
I was previously a bakery operative, operating the machines that sliced and packed the bread. It was a very laborious job with long hours, most of which were 12 hour night shifts! My shifts were 3 weeks rotating, so this meant I would have to work 6 x 12 hour night shifts every 3 weeks. Yes, the pay was pretty good, although on my days off I found myself unable to get out of bed due to exhaustion, and my relationship with my fiancée and son suffered as a result.
With my focus a million miles away from this job and the thought that my potential was been wasted in a job I had no passion for, I had to make the decision to either quit and focus on the internet, or forget the internet and make a career as a bakery operative, otherwise I would have made myself ill.
I remember one shift when it was my turn for a break, so me and a close friend went for a coffee. It was a bad night shift, everything went wrong, the oven broke down and it was just a complete nightmare, up to our eye balls in bread falling all over the floor. That is when I decided that enough was enough.
I also believe I was strongly inspired by my brother-in-law Darren Powell (also a leading freelancer on PPH), who decided to quit his day job several months previous and become a freelance web designer and WordPress developer.
Due to the demand for SEO, I knew that I could find regular clients online, by providing quality SEO services as a freelancer, so I quit my job on the spot, regardless of the consequences and started my journey into the unknown, not knowing when my next pay check would arrive. That was 5 years ago!
How did you come across PPH?
I was a frequent user of other popular freelancing communities before I found PPH. I used to hire freelancers myself to help me create logos and banners for my affiliate websites in the early stages of my career, but as I came to offer SEO services as a freelancer, it was almost impossible to compete with the low pricing offered by freelancers oversees.
The problem with most other freelancing communities is that the people providing the SEO services at such low prices, were not delivering results long-term, due to the techniques used. Often business owners are attracted to the low prices, but don’t realise the results will not last and are left to pick up the pieces when their websites are de-indexed from the major search engines.
I knew that to succeed long-term as a freelancer, I needed to find another freelancing community in the UK, which attracted business owners who found value working with UK freelancers.
I eventually found PPH in around 2009, although at the time I found success advertising my services on UK classified advertising websites, so I did not join straight away.
The quality of PPH was clear to see and it was starting to gain traction in the UK.
What was your first job like on PPH?
It was very exciting. It was a feeling of accomplishment. A feeling that all the decisions I have made up to this point where worth the risk. I finally found a platform on which I could flourish and generate regular work.
Back in 2010, Hourlies did not exist, and the only way to win work was to bid on the listings, so when you won, it was almost like winning the lottery! Not as many people used to bid on the SEO jobs as they do today, so it was far easier to land the job.
With the platform being new to me, it seemed a little strange to do business this way, but as I later realised, it’s far much easier to generate new or recurring clients, as well as being simple to keep track of campaigns and incoming work, due to the workstream.
My first job was a success and I got my first positive feedback. Today, I have generated over 180 positive feedback ratings, working only part-time. I can safely say that joining PPH was one of the best decisions I have made in my career so far!
What is a typical day like for you?
I wake around 8am for my morning coffee and answer any PPH messages, to ensure all requests are taken care of before I do anything else.
I would not say that I have a typical day as I’m always working on something different each day. Some days I may have a Skype meeting with a client in Australia before breakfast, work on an Hourlie for a client in Sweden after lunch and then submit a quote for SEO work for a business in the UK, it really is such a diverse way of working!
This is what I love about this type of work. On a daily basis, I get to work with a passionate business owners across the globe and I don’t have to commute as my office is at home! I also get to spend time with my family more than anyone I know and I’m building my own dream, not the dream of someone else.
I don’t really have a start or finishing point in my work day. Maybe I should think about doing that, as I find myself working late into the night sometimes without noticing everyone has gone to bed already. Old habits die hard.
How does freelancing compare to a 9-5?
It really is like living the dream, and to be honest, that is an understatement. Working a day job is fine for some, but not an option for entrepreneurs like me. Everyday I wake up feeling grateful that I have this opportunity. It’s platforms such as PPH that give us the tools, the confidence and the support to grow as individuals, and most importantly, become better freelancers.
Before quitting my job 5 years ago, I had worked a full-time day or night job since the day I left school, all while knowing I would not work a normal job forever. I knew I would be doing something related to the internet, as I felt this was the future. I could never find the passion or fulfilment working for someone else. I knew my talents were wasted anywhere else.
I never once thought I should go to college or university like my close school friends did, to get a higher paid job, my focus was continuously magnetised to becoming a success online. Any waking moment was spent either earning money in a normal job to advertise myself online, or when I finished working, I would spend the rest of the time delivering the services I advertised.
What benefits have you found by using PPH?
This platform provides massive exposure for freelancers who have value to offer. Not only that, but exposure to the right business owners who find value working with UK freelancers. Almost everyday, I’m asked a question by a potential client who is interested in my Hourlies or additional services I can offer to improve online exposure.
The workstream is one of my favourite features. No matter how many people you work with at the same time (I have sometimes had 10 or more active Workstreams), it’s easy to keep track of multiple requests from multiple clients. You never get lost and always know the progress of each job. Having clear communications between you and your client is an essential aspect of successful service delivery.
Another great benefit is the way the freelancer profile displays key information in a way that is simple to understand and navigate. Attracting new clients is much easier when you can display a portfolio of successful campaigns and positive feedback from hundreds of business owners. Having awards displayed and Top CERT Level also helps to improve my conversion rates.
PPH attracts a lot of business owners due to their own online marketing efforts. This platform has massive coverage in the UK and is the place to build a solid reputation as a UK freelancer.
What does your future hold? Where would you like to take this?
I really do love what I do, so I plan to continue the love and passion I have for helping business owners grow their online exposure. I will also increase my focus on offering additional services that compliment my Hourlie, which are based on a recurring payment model, which will really help to take my income to the next level and deliver even more value to business owners.
I will also create a range of video tutorials and webinars that will educate business owners on SEO and how it can benefit their business. Moving forward, it’s important to me that I brand myself, as in my opinion, people buy people in this business. It’s important I invest in my own ongoing education in this field and share value with as many people as possible to get y name out there, as the “go-to” guy for SEO.
What are your top 5 tips for freelancers who are new to PPH?
1 – It all starts with your profile: You must have a portfolio that highlights your best work. I found that people are more likely to work with someone who can prove they deliver on their promises. If you have not delivered a service to anyone before, then I would recommend approaching business owners who could benefit from your services and offer them something for free, in order to start building out your portfolio.
If I had to start again, I would offer 30 days free SEO services to 5 local business owners and then use these as case studies to fill out my portfolio. Take screenshots of everything you deliver, the more results you can show, the easier it will be to succeed on PPH. Not only will you help these business owners get more online exposure, they will be more likely to become paid clients down the line, that you can bill through PPH and generate your first positive reviews.
2 – Bill any existing clients you have through PPH. The more activity you have on your profile the better. People will have more confidence if they can see you deliver work to other clients on a regular basis, along with constantly filling out your portfolio and generating a steady flow of positive feedback from clients you can generate outside PPH.
3 – Ask for feedback. I always over deliver on the work I do, and ask if the client is happy with the work. Then once I fully deliver the Hourlie, I clearly state that their feedback is much appreciated and will help me grow my profile and reputation. After all, if you have over delivered, people are more than happy to offer positive feedback and also become regular clients.
4 – Build stronger, more meaningful relationships with everyone you come into contact with. If someone asks for your help, don’t just send them a quote, help them out for free first. I’m not saying give away the whole farm here, but offer something of value, something that the potential client would expect to pay for. This goes a long way. It creates goodwill. Build a stronger relationship and then your fees become secondary to the relationship you have with one another.
The amount of times that my clients have introduced me to their friends and colleagues, due to the relationship I built with them, is mind-blowing, to say the least. It’s like planting a seed, if you look after it well, it will grow into a tree.
5 – Invest in the best education & tools of the trade. You might think you know everything about your niche and consider yourself as an expert, but that does not mean there is nothing new to learn. The internet is an ever-changing beast that refuses to slow down. Change is inevitable, so you must continue to educate yourself on the market you are in, to stay on top of new trends.
What are your top 5 SEO tips for small businesses?
1 – Integrate a blog: I know this might seem obvious, but more than 50% of websites I work on, either don’t have a blog OR do have a blog and don’t use it correctly.
I have found that websites with a blog updated regularly, with long tail keyword focused content, not only helps the websites main pages rank better in the major search engines for main target keywords, but also a wide selection of “easy to rank”, long tail keywords which grows with each blog post you submit.
Search engines love finding fresh, valuable content on your website, and reward you for it.
2 – Distribute your content: When you create new content to provide value to existing or potential clients, you should distribute this across your social networks.
The more value you deliver, the more your content will be shared, giving you a wider audience reach each time. This not only provides social signals for each blog post, which are proven to improve rankings, but additional exposure to new potential clients.
It’s also beneficial to include social sharing buttons on your website, to persuade your readers to share content across the most popular social networks.
3 – Re-purpose your content: Create slides for distribution across document sharing websites, or videos to distribute across platforms such as YouTube. These are additional sources of valuable backlinks, and platforms such as YouTube can help generate targeted traffic, due to being part of the second largest search engine in the world.
4 – Improve word count on all pages: No matter what page or post you have on your website, a flimsy 500 word article is just not going to cut it any more.
If you want to outrank your competition, you need to really deliver the most valuable content. I have found that articles of at least 1000 words are more beneficial, although I recommend between 2000 to 3000, as the search engines really love these and reward you for your efforts.
5 – Build quality links, not quantity: 1 quality link per week, will get you better results than 1000 low quality links per day. Period. I’m tired of seeing people selling link blasts and other similar spam link building services.
If you want long-term results and don’t want to worry about every algorithm update, then you need to start building quality links. One of many ways you can achieve this is by building relationships with website owners relevant to your own niche, who accept content in exchange for a link to your website. Website owners need content on a consistent basis, but don’t always have the means of creating it, which is where I come in.
There are a thousand ways you can improve your online exposure using SEO, but if you implement the 5 steps above, you will be almost guaranteed to see an improvement in rankings and traffic.
What web browser do you use?
I use Google Chrome. It’s fast, reliable and simple to use. Plus, whenever I’m on YouTube, it always loads faster than Firefox.
If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
I would be an elephant, as I never want to forget how grateful I am to live the life of a freelancer!
What do you think of Aden’s story? Has it motivated you to get more work and clients here on PPH? Please leave messages of support for Aden in our comments box below!
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