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SEO Agency to Affiliate: How Julie Adams 12x’d Her Income


Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

I’m about to interview one of my favorite SEOs in the world, Julie Adams. I first learned about Julie’s story in The Affiliate Lab, where she shared her experience of quitting the digital marketing agency that she worked at and switching over to affiliate SEO. Now, she’s making more money in one month than she did in an entire year at the agency! Stick around for this interview because we’re going to get into not only her story but her entire process on how she ranks websites — from backlinks to on-site SEO. Basically, everything she does to get her affiliate portfolio ranked today. If you prefer video content, check this interview with Julie Adams.  Transitioning from Client to Affiliate SEO Matt: Hi Julie. Before we get started, why don’t you give everyone a little heads up on who you are and what you do in this world of SEO? Julie: Sure, thanks for having me, Matt. I’ve been in SEO for about seven or eight years. I started at the bottom, not knowing much, and worked in an agency. I began working with content and quickly fell in love with everything that goes into SEO — including the technical aspects, then seeing results and making money. So, I worked at the agency during the day, then I would go home and do affiliate SEO at night. So I just kind of stumbled my way into SEO, and I’ve had pretty good success. Matt: Awesome, we’re very excited to hear more about your SEO story — but why don’t we start at the beginning. First off, how old are you? Where are you from? Where are you living? What’s the full story there? Julie: I’m 27, out of Orlando, Florida. I’ve been here my whole life. I love it. I’m big into the outdoors and all that — when I’m not doing the techie stuff. Matt: Born and raised in the South? Julie: I grew up in the Sarasota/Venice area, so always around the beach. I moved here when I was in fourth or fifth grade, so I was big into Disney, big into everything that Floridians are into — all that good stuff! Matt: Awesome! And what kind of education do you have? Did you go to high school, college? Julie: I’m a college dropout. I was actually a business finance major. I went to Valencia Community College, got my associate’s degree in business administration, and started my bachelor’s degree. Then I almost failed one class — and I’m the type of person that gets really demotivated if I don’t absolutely excel at something. An opportunity came up to work at an SEO agency just as I was about to fail out of that class. I decided to just drop out of school and pursue digital marketing full time. So my bachelor’s degree is still on hold! Matt: Interesting, I have a similar personality type. If I can’t be really good at something, there’s no point in it for me — I’ve quit a million things because of that, so I get that… How did you get into SEO? How did the whole thing start? Julie: I honestly stumbled into it. When I started the agency job, I was working at a movie theater, so I was basically scooping popcorn. That was my first job. I also did some babysitting on the side, which is actually how I met my boss at the agency. He recognized that I was pretty smart, needed an opportunity and just kind of scooped me up like popcorn! I started working at the agency without even knowing what the term SEO stood for. It was a total mystery to me. I thought it was just these three letters. I started as an 18 or 19-year old going into this office setting, and my boss basically just said, “You’re in charge of content. You’re in charge of links.” Initially, I was like, “Great, what does that mean?” And then I just kind of learned on the job from there, in all honesty. I didn’t get any formal training or anything like that. Matt: Interesting, so did they just give you in-house training? Was it mostly based on their SOPs and internal knowledge? Or did you take any courses or learn SEO from any other source? Julie: This was when SEO just stopped being sketchy. People were using spun content and SAPE links and tactics like that. That was my initial idea of what SEO meant. So, when I first started, I was managing spun content, editing it, writing some content myself and managing link orders. When I got there, we had no standard operating procedures — it was just, “Do X, Y, and Z, and don’t lose a client!” Matt: Makes sense… I mean, that’s the basic plan! Let’s talk a little bit more about the agency. First off, I’m curious to know why you decided to leave it? Julie: Money and time. I’m fiercely independent. I love SEO. I stumbled into something that I really enjoy. I felt really lucky because of all that, but I was working 40 some odd hours a week. And as you can probably tell by how I’m describing this agency, it’s small. I was one of three core employees at the time, and I basically hit the ceiling. There was no room to grow, there was no opportunity to make more money, there was no really no room to learn anything else — Every day you go in, you do your work, and you go home… Then I discovered affiliate SEO, probably how everybody else discovers it. I was just hoping to make a little passive income. I was good at SEO, and I wanted the free time and the money! Matt: I get that 100%. And you can throw this question right back at me if you don’t feel comfortable with it, but what was your monthly or annual salary at that agency? Julie: I don’t remember what I started at. It was definitely around minimum wage because I had no experience — so it was probably eight or nine bucks an hour, whatever minimum wage was at the time. And I maxed out at about $40k a year. Matt: And how many clients did you manage for $40k a year? Julie:  The most that I managed at one time was somewhere around 70 or 80. I personally worked with hundreds of accounts when I worked there, but at the peak, I was managing upwards of 80 accounts at once. Matt: That’s insane! I mean, that’s an awesome ROI for the agency, but how about your stress levels? How were you able to handle 80 clients at a time? Julie: It was really stressful! I wasn’t always honest about what I could handle, so I would just do whatever I could. I was basically the brains of the operation. I had people to write content. I had people that would help me put all the pieces into place. So, you could kind of think of me as more of a conductor… I built out the plans, and then somebody else would implement them. That’s the only way it was possible… But it was definitely stressful to be expected to answer questions for 80 different accounts. Like, “Why aren’t they ranking?” You can’t pull up a report in a meeting. You were expected to know the answers off the top of your head. So, that was probably the most stressful part. Matt: Wow, that’s what they call a trial by fire! Julie: I’m grateful for that, though, because the number of websites I manage now is just chump change in comparison. Matt: That brings me to my next question. I’m sure you learned quite a few skills on the job that carried over to your affiliate career. Can you touch upon that a little bit? Julie: I mean, SEO, for sure. I had 80 clients to play with. In the beginning, it wasn’t that many, but I did have clients to play with, and it wasn’t like they were my clients. If I lost them, honestly, I still had a job. So in that sense, I had room to experiment —it was that kind of environment. Matt: Got it. When you were considering making the jump from agency to affiliate SEO, what fears or thought processes were going on in your mind? Julie: Everything that you can think of! I have generalized anxiety — I overthink everything. And jumping ship from a comfortable position in an industry that I love was really scary. Now, I always knew that I would have a job there because, as I said, it was a small company. I actually had to give them six months notice to leave! So I wasn’t worried that I wouldn’t be able to return to the agency… I was just afraid that I’d have to go back with my tail between my legs — having to Read More Read More

The post SEO Agency to Affiliate: How Julie Adams 12x’d Her Income first appeared on Diggity Marketing.


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