I’ve been in the SEO industry officially for 3 years now. I started as a freelancer when I graduated from college on February 2010. If you’re going to include my freelancing years, that’s a little over 4 years in all.
Still, SEO Hacker has not quite met the 5 year mark of a true blue business.
So the sensible question of any self respecting entrepreneur would be: “What the hell are you doing starting up another company?”
You see, I founded and headed my second start-up, Qeryz around 7 months ago with the help of a good friend of mine who is now the acting CTO. I pitched the idea to him, told him I will fund the entire thing and all I needed was his help in programming and I’ll give him a considerable amount of equity and a lean salary to work with.
Things kicked off from there.
I didn’t leave SEO Hacker. In fact I’m still the sole sales person of the company. I also still do some of the marketing, research, funding, accounting, legal, hiring, etc.
I guess you never do part with your first start-up.
Thanks to the awesome team behind SEO Hacker, I have more extra time to devote to building Qeryz. Doing a lot of research, checking bugs and squishing them with the product development team, improving site speed (Qeryz is loading a lot faster now but certainly not ‘there’ yet) and directing the developments among other things.
The thing is, Qeryz is an entirely different business model altogether. It’s not a purely services-driven company like SEO Hacker.
Qeryz is product centric.
In this case, the product is the software. And what the software does is simply gather customer insights through micro surveys that present itself in specific allotted parameters and behavior.
The parameters in presenting a Qeryz survey include:
The behavior options in presenting a Qeryz survey include:
The product is extremely important to a SaaS business model. It is the bread-and-butter. It is the machine that you oil every once in a while. It is the goose that lays the golden egg.
That said, I had a vague idea how I could just start and run a SaaS business. So the question is: “Why move on?”
SEO Hacker had its best year. SEO Summit is going to be a repeat event. Client inquiries have increased at an unprecedented rate. Things are going quite well.
Here’s the main reason I went ahead and moved to another business : Scalability.
While SEO Hacker, in its core, is a scalable business, it is nowhere near the scalability that Qeryz can achieve. Why? Simply because it takes a lot more variables to scale SEO Hacker such as manpower, demand of corporations for SEO, Google’s ever-changing algorithm, etc.
With a SaaS business like Qeryz things are much more calculated. Your eggs are spread across potential multitudes of clients. You’re able to drill-down things like Cost-per-acquisition, visitor signup conversion rate, free-to-paid conversion rate, churn rate, and so on and so forth.
The thing I love about Qeryz the most is that we don’t really need a huge team to operate. We can stay small. Lean. And very, very agile.
I’m not really the type to just hop around whatever business opportunity comes next. I’ve thought long and hard about going into the SaaS business. You could almost say that Qeryz was 3 years in the making before I jumped in.
Now I’m at the ride of my life and things are only going to get more interesting. We don’t have much financial traction yet – but our numbers are fairly beautiful considering we did it all – (domain name, setting up the server, developing the system, optimizing site speed, marketing, etc.) in 7 months time.
Was it the perfect time to start-up another company?
I don’t really know.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.”
– Steve Jobs