“I cut through the clutter of SEO jargon to show bloggers and content marketers what they need to know about search engine optimization.
In my articles, podcasts, and YouTube videos, I give SMBs simple strategies for ranking their articles on Page #1 of the search results.”
– Rob Powell
Rob Powell is among the most focused and result-oriented solopreneurs I have come across. Like many of us solopreneurs, he too wanted to rank high on Google for his blog posts. Yet, unlike the rest of us, who read a lot about how to get there, but don’t bother to put theory to practice hard enough, Rob has shown the persistence and patience to make his own relentless trial-and-error experiments pay off.
Today, very many of his articles hold and sustain the #1 spot of the Google SERPS for the keywords he intended – and he’s beaten some online marketing greats to get to these top rankings consistently. Rob teaches his techniques to his clients via packages that cover Keyword Research, Content Creation & Optimization, and Link Building.
I first came across an article by Rob on how to get your blog posts to #1 rank and I discovered he even had a course to teach his methods. I enrolled in the course and it has helped me understand and appreciate the logic – and the results – of Rob’s approach. I would highly recommend Rob’s teaching and mentoring to anyone wishing to hit it with Google.
Besides, no one teaches like Rob does. I have often picked his brains on several points related to my own site here, and his opinions have not only been instructive theoretically but also extremely practical. Without a doubt, Rob is one of those who can be called a naturally gifted teacher. Very few solopreneurs online, who teach what they know, have the ability to help their students change their mindsets through such clear reasoning.
Rob lives in Australia, and has built his own harmonious work-life balance. His website is at RobPowellBizBlog.com. It’s really worth a visit.
Other places to catch Rob Powell:
- Podcast: https://robpowell.libsyn.com/rss
- YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJYicdl1HY-diSQpSwkJ8Yw/videos
In the interview below, he talks about how and why he became a solopreneur, how he manages his work and life, what makes his work special to him, and what mindset and tactics help him achieve the results he wants.
THE ROB POWELL INTERVIEW
1. What were you doing in your career before you became a solopreneur, and for how long?
I was an anthropologist working in the Australian outback for about 25 years.
2. What was that moment like when you decided to become a solopreneur, and what spurred it?
I first ventured on to the Internet, with an online business, back in the late 1990s. I found myself in Venezuela unable to get a job (my wife is Venezuelan and we had returned to Venezuela for four years). So I started writing business articles.
Back then, it was all about ‘ezine articles’. Websites were basically static and it was still fairly difficult to upload new content (you needed to be able to code in HTML and it was slow and time-consuming). So people were publishing content in newsletters (called ezines).
3. What specific starter steps did you take to launch yourself as a solopreneur and where do you work from?
When I launched my second website (in 2017), I decided to focus on SEO as I could see that there was a lot of information and that suited me because I had learned in my previous career how to analyze and break down information and make it accessible to a lay person. I’ve always had a love of words and word smithing and that’s another reason SEO attracted me.
I work from home in Cairns, in the tropical north of Australia.
4. What is your specific solopreneur business model and why did you particularly choose this?
My principal business model is using content to generate organic search traffic. I monetize that traffic by marketing my online courses to subscribers and by writing ‘how to’ articles around affiliate products which pay me a commission.
5. How long has it been since you became a solopreneur and how has the journey been so far?
With this website that I have now, I’ve been a solopreneur for the last four years. It’s had its ups and downs but the overall trajectory has been upwards. I’m amazed at how much I keep learning.
Running an online business is definitely a journey of trial and error, self-discovery, pushing your boundaries, and good old hard work. But it’s very rewarding. And it’s exciting to be involved in a business world thatâs fast-evolving and barely existed 20 years ago.
6. What is your niche and who are your target audiences? How did you make these decisions?
My niche is predominantly beginning bloggers and solopreneurs who want to learn SEO as a way of building traffic to their websites and establishing an online presence. I developed my sense of who my target audience is mainly from interacting with the people who buy my courses and sign up for my SEO services.
7. What kinds of clients or customers do you look for as a good fit for you, and how do you acquire them?
Because SEO has such a broad market, my target audience is quite wide. I acquire my customers almost entirely from my written content that ranks on Page #1 of Google. I also have a YouTube channel and a podcast, but my text-based content is what drives my traffic.
8. Between creating your own products, servicing client projects, marketing, and admin work how do you divide your time?
I spend about 50% of my time writing new articles and the remainder is divided between creating course content and working on client projects. I don’t do much marketing (apart from writing content that gets found on Google).
9. What stresses you out the most – time management, money management or workload management?
Workload management is the biggest stress factor for me: it’s so easy to get focused on one area of my business and neglect the other areas. The challenge of running an online business is to be able to attend to all aspects of your business at the same time.
10. Do your main workstyle challenges as a solopreneur include loneliness, depression, or burnout?
Discouragement is certainly a factor I’ve had to deal with. Loneliness is also part and parcel of running an online business (compared to being in an office). But having experienced office politics I would always opt for the loneliness of being a solopreneur. I’m lucky to have a very supportive partner, so I’m never really alone.
11. What are the rewards you get from the solopreneurship workstyle? What makes it awesome for you?
I love the opportunity to write in a creative and persuasive manner. I also love the creativity of the business world: creating new products, new offers, new ways of packaging your products, new ways of marketing your products.
The online business world is one of the most creative spaces I’ve ever experienced. I’m amazed at how fast business models and marketing techniques evolve. A big part of the reward of being a solopreneur for me is the challenge of being creative on a daily basis.
12. What is a typical day like in your solopreneur life? How do you achieve work-life balance?
I work on my business about eight hours a day. I also drive my teenage daughter to and from school and I cook the family meals in the evening. Those last two activities provide a welcome contrast to the time I spend in front of a computer screen.
13. How do you maintain motivation, mojo, consistency, discipline and rigor in your solopreneur business?
A big part of my motivation comes from within: I usually know what I need to do next and I’m fairly disciplined in setting goals and reaching them. But if I ever do find myself adrift and lacking direction, I watch YouTube videos by entrepreneurs in my field.
Some of my favourites are: Neil Patel and Eric Siu, The Income School, Graham Cochrane, and Shane Melaugh (of Thrive Themes). I always come away from these kinds of videos with a renewed sense of purpose and plenty of new ideas. That’s how I keep motivated.
14. How do you handle business or personal setbacks? Do you have a support system to fall back on, or a community to share with?
My support system is my wife. I tell her what’s troubling me and we talk it through. That always puts me right.
15. Do you work 100% alone in your business or do you also outsource some work to freelancers?
I do all my own writing plus web design and graphics. In the past I have outsourced work on Fiverr (logo design) and on Freelancer (troubleshooting WordPress) but I find I no longer need to do this.
16. In what areas of your work do you outsource and what are your vendor quality criteria?
I don’t currently outsource any of my work.
17. Since your work is in such an interesting niche, what are some key trends in your space?
One trend that is affecting some niches is declining CTR from organic search, as Google gives searchers the answers to their queries on the search results page itself.
Another big change recently has been website speed and core web vitals. In the world of SEO, things are always changing and that’s part of the fun and the challenge.
18. How do you make time to grow yourself through constant learning and upskilling in your niche? What’s your method?
I spend about 90 minutes a day in the car, and I try to use that time to listen to podcasts about SEO and digital marketing. I take 4 or 5 full-length courses (i.e. 7 to 12 modules) per year, and in the evenings (several times a month) I watch videos from my favourite entrepreneurs.
As far as SEO, which is the core focus of my blog, I’m constantly doing research as I write new articles and that keeps me up-to-date with new developments.
I also subscribe to email updates from key websites in my niche, and that’s another way that I stay up-to-date with what’s happening in my industry.
Thanks, Rob, for this inspiring interview!
So What Are Your Thoughts? Do Share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.