Lessons Learned Growing our Startup to $17,000 in Monthly Revenue

I had nothing but a mere 2,000 pesos in my wallet. I wanted to get rich. I didn’t want to work for money (I wanted money to work for me). And I had a whole ton of ideas. Here’s where I started to try and take SEO Hacker to $50k in monthly revenue.

I wanted to blog.

That’s where it all started.

I took up IT in college but I my heart was set to writing – and what better place to write than in a blog? Where people could immediately see your ideas play out – and even share it out to their peers.

“What do I write about?”

I had the will, but did I have the passion to fuel my writing to last?

So I took a deep look at what I really wanted to do in life – and found it out.

I wanted to write for God.

So with my last 2,000 pesos, I went ahead and bought a 1 gig space of hosting and a domain name: h3sean.com

It would turn out to be God and You – and I would still write there up til today.

Then I realized, a mere 3 people were coming in to visit my blog – me, my mom and my brother.

I needed more traffic

So I searched around and stumbled upon this acronym “SEO.”

What the hell is SEO?

I delved deeper into it. Sooner than later, I was hooked!

I was testing each and everything I could get my hands on to my personal blog – God and You.

But some things I couldn’t test out in my Christian blog, and I needed to document what I was learning anyway – so I started another blog: seo-hacker.com

SEO Hacker was my online journal – where I’d write everything I learned about SEO. At the same time, it was my test bed – I could do any and every test I wanted with it.

But things became more interesting – more and more people started to pay attention to my stuff. SEO Hacker’s traffic grew and grew – and I knew I had something big cooking.

SEO Hacker Early Traffic

The Business Model

I didn’t know any other SEO company during the time – but I knew that SEO is a maintenance thing and not a one-time development. That’s fine because maintenance spells “Security” for me.

So I made my own business model – to charge up on a monthly basis. And sooner than I expected, my first client came along.

It was a $500 per month contract – I was extremely happy about it, especially since I was getting paid less than that for my day job.

My day job entailed 1 and a half hour of commute, paying for lunch and dinner (I was almost always working overtime) for myself, and working 5 days a week.

With my first SEO gig, I could work 3 hours a day, 3 days a week – and all from the comfort of my home.

It just didn’t make sense for me to keep my day job anymore.

The Sales Pitch

Being an employee means you don’t have your own time and you work for a system. Being self-employed means you have your own time and you work for a system. Being a businessman means you own your time and you own a system.

Seeing that my SEO gig could turn into a business, I started to formulate my own system based on the strategies I was using to rank.

It was a measly skeleton system at first – since I was doing the legwork myself.

It wasn’t working as well as I’d hoped with the first client – but it was showing some promise.

So I went ahead and pitched to a second client – I didn’t have any real portfolio, any real professional experience, anything but my blog to show him – but he bit it.

We closed the deal and I made $1,000 per month from the contract.


It was the biggest scuba diving and liveaboard company here in the Philippines.

I applied my system – plus I told him that since I’m the writer too, I’ll need to experience what it’s like to dive.

I got my basic and advanced diver’s license for FREE.

Sean Scuba

I did nothing but dive for weeks! It was a dream job.

And I got paid $1,000 for it.

The system I made is so stupidly simple.

First: Keep writing.

Everyone knows that content is a very important foundation of a website’s SEO. Personally, I think written content is still the best form of content to date. It fattens up your index, it increases your sitemap and it improves your entire website’s keyword density and relevance.

Second: Build Relevant Links.

It doesn’t have to be a guest post! As long as you’re building links consistently – from blogs, directories, forums, heck even social media profiles – it’s going to help! Hell, if you’ve got nothing but just guest post links, it’s still going to be dubious.

Third: Be Real

A real company will have real social media profiles – and use ’em. Make sure the client has a Facebook page, twitter and Google+ page. And make sure that their latest articles are there.

These are some of the strategies I started with. We played with it, tweaked it, and refined it along the way.

I realized I couldn’t handle everything especially when our client base began to grow – so I started hiring people and I imparted this strategy to them.

Up to today, this is still the main three things that our company does for clients – and it works!

Key Takeaway

If you’re starting out your own SEO services company, formulate a system and stick with three stupidly simple strategies – it will make imparting them to the next generation of teammates easier.