I am a #1 Amazon bestselling author, a web designer, and I also have a lucrative business working online full-time.
I am 30 years old, but my online career began at the age of 15 creating logo designs on various obscure websites and forums. I did very well in this arena and my success soared from where when I discovered 99designs, a popular online design contest marketplace.
99designs connects a pool of designers from across the world, like small and medium-sized businesses who need design solutions; and it’s such an endless source of information and income! It’s great for companies who can’t afford to employ full time designers. If you need something designed for your company, 99designs can help you.
Project categories include logos, web design, banner ads, and even merchandise design for items like apparel.
The more I learn and the more I earn, the more I fall in love with this World Wide Web.
99designs – How It Works
Contest holders – the people who need design solutions, pay a listing fee of $39 plus 10% of the prize offered for each listed project. Depending on the project type, there is a minimum set prize.
For the amount you pay as a contest holder, this is what you will get:
100% money back guarantee
Access to a pool of approximately 80,175 designers
Wide variety of designs to choose from for each contest
Option to run a regular or guaranteed contest
Option to run a blind contest where no one gets to see the submissions other than you
Access to tips on every aspect of running a successful contest
How Photoshop and Deke McClelland opened a whole new world to me
At some point in time I discovered, Photoshop and its GOD, Deke McClelland from Lynda.com. His tutorials are pure genius and he is quite an amazing guy. Just by watching his tutorials, everything changed. I became better and started getting higher paying gigs – $100, $300, $800. Which for a 20-year student living in Romania, was a pretty huge deal! It was a great incentive to help me keep doing what I was doing.
It wasn’t just about the money. I was, doing something I loved, and getting paid really well for it! Everyone I knew hated their job so my level of happiness with what I was doing seemed a bit absurd at the time!
I had an epiphany when I designed a logo in five minutes, and was paid $150 for it. That was $30 a minute! It was a T-shirt logo for a lovely lady, who needed it for her parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. It was then when it hit me: I had improved so much, after this course!
Work and Travel – The Ultimate dream
Over the next few years I continued to develop my online skill set. It was more for the thrill of learning more and helping people than making money, though the cash flow did help! I managed to make enough to travel to The States to live out my dream of ‘Work and Travel’.
The first year was great, did a lot of new things. I was constantly learning and pretty much everything I did was something I hadn’t done before. In the second year, I found my way to New York. I lived on Ludlow and Rivington in Manhattan right next to my favorite cocktail bar and work place, VERLAINE. It was one of the best times of my life.
While in New York helped I discovered Craiglist. Craiglist is known as one of the biggest classified ad sites in the world. Craigslist opened a portal for me where I was able to find in-between jobs as a street hustler and repairing wifi networks. I also took on weird web design gigs and Photoshop retouching jobs. It was nice residual income.
After a little while I came back home to Romania and I applied for a job in the UK as a webdesigner/webdeveloper . This is where I met one of the best guys in the SEO industry. In a short period of time I went through a steep learning curve that didn’t stop until I knew everything there was to know about this field. From SEO, to PPC, Email Marketing and Outsourcing to Creating Training Courses as well as complete online solutions, I learnt it all. Today I feel like I understand how the wheels are spinning. I am able to produce high quality sites on ANY topic and get them listed really high in Search Engine results.
Butterflies in my Stomach – My first love
I may have had experience in many different internet-based jobs, but I realised that my first love, my real passion lie in SEO. I really enjoy working to get high ranking websites and it turns out I’m pretty good at it as well! SEO has definitely changed a great deal across the last 18 months. This constant change keeps me hooked, because it means I have to test and experiment as I go. Many people who work online are scared of the possibility of Google updating their algorithm, and a lot of them gave up after the Panda and Penguin updates, but I actually look forward to the new challenges that these algorithm changes bring!
Why Setup This Blog?
When I browse around forums and popular internet marketing blogs, I find that there are a lot of misinformation that is being spread. A lot of people’s advice is entirely fueled by how just much commission they are making from the product they are selling, or reviewing. Most have zero hands-on knowledge. I’ve managed a fleet of websites, across different categories, including emerging markets and designing websites. I’ve taken each and every one of them to the #1 spot in Google and it has definitely has taught me a great deal. But I am not talking about just one website or two; I am talking about hundreds of websites.
I want to share this information, because I have gotten to where I am with the help of others like Deke McClelland, who were generous with sharing their expertise. And where I am is pretty awesome! In 2010 I even won first prize in a prestigious global web development competition. I entered 3 of my websites into the competition. Each of them was created for affiliate marketing long before the competition, and they all won top positions. The CEO even sent me an e-mail telling me how impressed he was with the websites!
The prizes helped me realize that I wasn’t leveraging my most valuable asset, one that I had honed for nearly ten years – my own personal knowledge and experience. It was clear that I needed to setup this blog to share my own learning’s as well as to provide high quality advice, tutorials and answers to those who require it.
This is actually good practice for me too, writing things down somehow releases the bottled energy I have stored up. And it all gets saved for posterity. So hit me with any questions you might have, especially hard ones. I promise you I will provide the correct answer if time permits it. I love a challenge, and who knows, we may both learn something new. But remember – there are no right answers, no magic formula in SEO. There are just educated guesses.