How a Post On John Chow dot Com Saved My Life

How John Chow Helped Me Build A Thriving Business

Hello fellow John Chow readers! My name is Brian and I wanted to share my story about how after reading a post on John Chow’s blog, within 3 weeks I was able to make more money in my spare time then I was at my day job. I am less than 1 month into it and have already made over $1000 “working” only a couple hours a week. This is not from some guru crap ebook either.

Its a very simple process that anyone can do.

I am not making any money from this post. I just wanted to pay it forward for all the great advice I have gotten from John Chow.

It all started when I read this post on John Chow dot Com about this new free service called free SEO report.

I know very little about SEO but I do have my own website. I ran the free report and was really impressed with how well it worked. Like I said above I was barely getting by so I don’t have any money for SEO services for my website. The report told me exactly what I needed to do so I downloaded the PDF, printed it out, and followed the step by step instructions. Within 1 hour I had my website completely SEO’d out for my keywords.

A really neat feature Free SEO Report offers is that it allows you to totally custom brand your reports with your own logo and urls. You can also save your design for future use. It occurred to me that I could basically open my own SEO service and resell the reports. So I played around and made a simple header for my SEO company.

With Free SEO Report you get 1 free report, but then the reports are $10 apiece, or you can pay $19.95 per month for unlimited reports. BUT the great thing is for each person you refer to get a free report you get a credit for 1 free report. So I posted on my Facebook about how great the service was and when I logged in the next day I was excited to see I had 3 credits for free SEO reports.

Placing Ads

Still with no budget I wanted to advertise my service of providing SEO reports. So I posted in Craigslist in the services section. A simple ad that read:

Title: Want to increase your website traffic?

Body: I will run a in-depth report on your website that will give you step by step instructions on what you need to do to improve your ranking in search engines. *No Money Paid Until You Get Your Report*. Only $50.

I threw the no money down in there because:

  1. It was free for me to run these reports. So no risk to lose money.
  2. The reports are fantastic and I can’t imagine someone wanting their money back.
  3. The people who would pay for these reports are pretty high quality and I doubt they would want their money back.

But sadly after posting every day for a week I didn’t get one taker. I guess small business owners don’t go to Craigslist to look for SEO services (or any services for that matter).

So I started thinking where could I reach local businesses who were of quality. I could always take out an ad in a trade journal or newspaper but those cost money. Money that I did not have.

Then while on Facebook it hit me. I could use the Facebook Marketplace to post my listing and also look for local fan pages for businesses or business owners and hit them up.

So I placed the same ad on the Facebook Marketplace that I placed on Craigslist and the first day I had one local business. I was ecstatic! I did their report and went to their location the next day and asked for the gentleman who hit me up on Facebook. He was blown away by the report and wrote me a check for $50.

Long story short within one week I had three other local businesses and two website owners. Yup I made $300 the first week trying this. I had blown through my free credits, and I purchased the $19.95 subscription to run unlimited reports for my new company.

I took that money and parlayed it into buying advertising in the newspaper classifieds and in the local business journal while at the same time I kept posting every Monday in the Facebook marketplace.

The newspaper classified posted right away but I was going to have to wait 7 days until the business trade journal.

I was pretty bummed about the lack of response from the Newspaper but I was still getting 2-3 new customers a week from the FaceBook Marketplace.

The Upsell??

One day I got a call from one of my clients.

“Hey Brian-

This report you gave me is really great and I am excited to get the stuff implemented but I am so busy running my business I just have not had time to implement it. What would you charge me to do this for me on my website?”

Now this was a interesting twist. I don’t even know how to price something like this. So I looked at his report and then at his site. I figured it would take me at most 1 hour to make the changes. What the hell I told him that I normally don’t do it but I would for $100. He responded 5 minutes later and said “Deal!!”.

I realized I should have charged more. But whatever maybe next time. So I got his web hosting information and made the changes.

But then I wondered how many other businesses are having the same problem. Seemed like a no brainer. So I called to “check up” on each person who had purchased a free report from me and asked how they were doing and if they needed any help. Almost all of them said they had not had time to implement the changes so I told them, “Well if you need help I also can do the work for you”. Only this time I quoted $250.00. I think this is a good price. Out of the 7 people I contacted 3 of them hired me to do it. The $250 might seem like its too much but if you do the math if all 7 would have said yes at $100 then it would have been twice the work for less money. This way I only have 3 sites to SEO following exactly what Free SEO Report tells me to do and I make $750.

The business trade journal turned out to be a great investment. The ad was $250 per month and I got 5 people who purchased reports and 2 that had me implement the changes at $250.00.

Fast forward a little bit. I am three weeks into it. I have done 15 reports at $50 apiece and 5 jobs at $250 apiece. I have invested about 800$ into advertising which I refer to as R&D.

As of this morning I quit my “day job” and I finally feel like I am doing something with my business degree.

Things I am thinking about for the future:

Lower point of entry?

Lowering the initial price of the report because the money seems to be in the followup implementing the SEO changes. Thinking about dropping it to $29.95.

Higher point of entry?

On a reverse approach I might raise the initial report to $99.95. It’s possible people who would pay $50 would also pay $99.95 or maybe I will even attract better clients because the perceived value is higher.

Market Penetration

I am going to continue to invest in advertising in new places. I think if I can find a way to do a presentation on SEO to like the local real estate board or the local dental board or the local plastic surgeons association and point out why SEO is important.

Hopefully my story will help some of you guys. There is no reason why any of you guys out there anywhere in the world can’t duplicate my success. It takes ZERO investment to get started and the market is wide open.

Thanks again to John Chow for pointing me to Free SEO Report and also thanks to Free SEO Report for making such a awesome and resell-able service!


71 thoughts on “How a Post On John Chow dot Com Saved My Life”

  1. UD says:

    Nice job Brian! This gave me some good ideas 🙂

    1. d3so says:

      This is very inspiring. I’m glad you found success and now I’m willing to try your strategy. I was skeptical about selling these reports at first. I have some free credits and I’ll try it out!

    2. dotCOMreport says:

      Amazing! A lot of other people read the same report both here and on Shoemoney yet you went out and did something with it. Good for you Brian!

      1. PPC Ian says:

        I agree. Whoever takes action the fastest will win. Brian, well done! 🙂

        1. Hey Brian/John,

          This post is very nice, enticing and inspiring.

          I find it hard to believe that a guest blogger wouldn’t leave a single link to his website.
          I looked and found none. If there asre any please forgive me.

          Otherwise, please, post a link to your site or blog so we can check it out.

          All the links look like John’s links. Are you a saint Brian?

          1. Dan Lew says:

            I agree, I think this post looks a bit phony to be honest, was probably written by Shoemoney..

          2. Kirk Taylor says:

            Might be phony, but is this doable? My answer would be definitely and it’s spelled out right here.

            Secondly, I’ve signed up for a lot of stuff, and this report has proven to be very valuable. I had one of those moments yesterday when I reviewed the data in my report and discovered a huge mistake I was making.

            I haven’t become a paying customer yet, but will be one by the end of the day tomorrow.

  2. April Smith says:

    This inspires me!! Thank you to Brian and John! 🙂

  3. Rank Highest says:

    SEO reports like these are great entry points to approach business owners about what they need to improve on with their site. I’ve also been able to up-sell many other services by offering this simple report.

    Great job!

    Dan
    RankHighest.com

  4. Eric Tan says:

    Great Job putting yourself out there. Thanks for paying it forward!

  5. Hey Brian,

    You are selling yourself short. You should be charging more for SEO work.

    Plus, don’t forget about off site SEO too.

    But good job taking action. You are now in the top 2% of Internet marketers.

    1. Kirk Taylor says:

      Yes, you are selling yourself short. You’ve found something that you believe in, delivers value to both you and the customer and you should charge more for it, not less.

      You’re goal is to find the people quickly that would be willing to pay you to do the contract work right? Lowering the price of the report will only gain you more people that won’t pay for contract, but raising the price for the report will prove that the customer is serious about investing in results and will most likely be the ones to pay you.

      You’re providing the initial report before they pay, so in theory, you may be able to come in as much as $273 or something of the sort, but at least hit your price point at around $97.

      I would be willing to bet that you would actually increase your report sales at $97 versus $50.

  6. Paulie says:

    Awesome! I love reading about good old-fashioned success from buckling-down and applying action behind an idea. Congratulations!

  7. Lakhyajyoti says:

    Great job.Keep it up.

  8. Abhik says:

    Nice story..
    Congratulations on your success

    1. Saying the same as Abhik

  9. Fred Tracy says:

    Wow that’s awesome. I’ve been thinking about doing some more SEO on my site. I typically write fairly long entries, and I make them purely for human eyes. I think I could start putting some more SEO friendly phrases in my articles without reducing the quality of the content in any way though. Thanks. 🙂

  10. Wasim Ismail says:

    Great points here, sometimes it’s the slightest things that change the whole prospective and view of business.
    thanks and congrats

  11. d3so says:

    I have one concern. So, they were willing to pay for the report though it was based on only one keyword?

    1. Kirk Taylor says:

      If it gives a business owner results, they don’t care if it’s only one keyword. Don’t make more work for yourself just because you can, make more money from less work because you can….

    2. Ye, as long as you target people with less knowledge than yourself you can get away easily with just targeting for one keyword. Also if they knew that they could have gotten the report for free they would probaly not be that happy about the service either.

      //Alexander.

  12. Darryl says:

    This was a great and simple idea to implement. Unfortunately it is potentially one time only. The best businesses are build on return visits. Although there was an upsell, this again is not scalable at that value. It would be better to build a monthly chargeable service, this could be outsourced and automated.

    1. I also reads daily only because of getting new and innovative ideas that can really change my life and this article will make some change in my working and thought online.

  13. You just started making all of us think 🙂 ….cheers to your success

  14. JaviEN says:

    Great! it’s a good idea for making money! thanks for sharing with us!

  15. Harsh says:

    I also signed up for this report and It was a great free service…Though in return of sign up…
    You used a good strategy to use this service to make money for you…

  16. Jeff says:

    Well done on taking action. The one stifling attribute of most people reading on these blogs and forums is lethargy.

    You went out and did it. Just goes to show.

    Well done to you.

  17. Fairooz says:

    Thanks for sharing! i’m inspired!

  18. It’s perseverance paying off. Great job!

  19. fas says:

    You should thank shoemoney…

  20. zakton says:

    Do you mean that you can charge people something that they can get by themselves for free? (that is if they know the website). … I guess they don’t have much time browsing or researching to the information themselves. They would rather spend their time focusing on their core business. … Is that the reason why they would pay for the report?

    1. John Chow says:

      Business owners are too busy running their business to do research on the Internet. You’ll be amazed at what they will pay for stuff you can get for free with a bit of searching.

  21. Rob Merlino says:

    Sweet story. I have been doing this sort of thing with local businesses for about a year now. It’s a nice little income. I am going to get into building (or in most cases rebuilding) customer websites too. “They” say local web is the next big thing-I think you found that out!

    As for pricing, lower the lead in (or leave it where it is) and up the back end. In most cases, one or two new customers from your efforts will more than pay for the client’s investment in your services.

    Good luck.

  22. Ingvar says:

    The thing about SEO reports to business people is that they need help to decipher the report results. Most clients I have (personal services people like lawyers) have no clue what all this means. So even if it is free – they wouldn’t know what to do. The value is in interpreting the report to come up with action items and fixing the client’s site.

    I would use the report as an analysis tool and write my own action plan – in plain English – and propose to fix the site. That’s usually how I go about it. I run some reports like this one and create a plain, simple end-user report.

    Great story though – here’s a guy that took a tool and ran with it. Good job.

    I.

  23. Bash Bosh says:

    This is a very inspirational post indeed Brian.

    Some very good suggestions about SEO. I think this is the most important resource for all website owners and a bloggers for sure.

    Waiting to receive Free SEO Report for my website!
    Thanks for sharing.

  24. Harshad says:

    When I wrote about the free seo report on my blog, I mentioned about how people can easily make money with it. Good to see that someone is really doing it.

    Here is my post – http://www.thedotcomblog.com/free-seo-report-tool

  25. Very motivative article you made it publish here because I always looks for the same real life stories online that really motivates to make some improvement in the current status.

  26. Lann LCC says:

    Congratulations, your success … also inspires me …
    My post: Great To See The Millionaire Income, But…

  27. Wow, a true entrepreneur in the making. Keep at it and the next thing you know you will be selling a company for millions. Or at least you will have your own profitable business and won’t ever have to work for someone else again.

    Thanks for sharing.

  28. great post, it will surely inspire many people here including me too 🙂

  29. Jordy says:

    I can’t believe you suckered me in with this title. Just for the record, when a blog post title is deceptive in relation to it’s content, I click off.

    see ya!.

    1. Dan Lew says:

      Agreed, me too 🙂

  30. Wonderful post… Keep up the good work John. It is very interesting to see what effects your work has had on others. I know that there’s more than this story out there about your positive impact.

  31. Yup, if you stay open to new ideas a simple thing like a post on a blog can open up new opportunities for you.

  32. Nik says:

    Wow, that’s very inspiring. Such a simple idea and one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” kind of things. Congrats and I hope it works out.

  33. GTA 5 says:

    Your story is amazing Brian, it will inspire me a lot! Thanks a lot for sharing your awesome post with us 🙂

  34. WTF News says:

    Great post, thanks.. Very inspiring as a few people have already said.

  35. Dialer says:

    Wish I could make money like that. Instead I’m sitting here at work making posts on blogs.

    1. So, you aren’t working for your employer, you’re writing blog posts?

  36. interesting story definitely got me started thinking. I too would like to know if you’ve now left the day job.

  37. Thanks to Brian and John for an inspiring post..

  38. nintendo 3ds says:

    lovely. The best part about this is Brain implemented what he read in the report and got the returns. The sad part is most of the people who want to make money online never really implement anything they learn. Attaboy Brain

  39. So helpful and so useful post. Thanks for such informative post. Good job.

  40. David Ng says:

    Awesome article. Many of the points you cover in the post are very useful indeed. Especially the free seo report website.

  41. Sergio Felix says:

    Inspiring? Yes. New? No.

    We all know that the top businessman don’t perform the easy tasks by themselves so they outsource these tasks. Good thing that an SEO report helped this guy and that he figured a way to take advantage from that knowledge. But still, I honestly can’t see the WOW effect on this anywhere.

    The lesson is always the same: learn how to solve a problem the easiest way possible and then sell it to them, it’s as simple as that. The person with the problem doesn’t minds if the solution is out there already for free or not, he just wants it fixed.

    The internet is bigger than paypal buttons people, come on open your eyes.

  42. Very nice story Brian, pretty inspiring. Not everyone gets the same type of luck as you do, but still you did some good work and concentrated on things.

    1. Yes, you are right. I have tried lot of clients, no one is interested in seo report.

  43. Gabriel says:

    I have to admit that the price is kinda steep. If the customer looks up on Google for “Free SEO Report” you will lose him. A more realistic price would be around $60 for both the report and the changes you make to optimize the customer site, which will only take a couple of hours of work. The customer can even get the same job done at cheaper price if he outsources the job in places such as RentACoder, oDesk or eLance (even $20/$30 if he finds someone from India or Philippines).

    Nice story indeed, but I’d be surprised if it would work for a longer period of time. People are getting smarter nowadays!

  44. Neon SRT4 says:

    Nice Story. So Probably, you are just buying reports at $19.95 unlimited, and selling to clients. That is Nice. It is a good idea to earn money, but why people buy reports?

  45. This is VERRY risky and I would NOT advice anyone to do the following written in the article. Why is this so risky? Well mainly because he is relying on a service that might shut down or go offline at any moment. If however he had learned how SEO works and did his own reviews then it would have been much safer. But who knows, if he makes enough money he might be able to set up his own service and hire someone to do it. However I would never have quit my job so quick.

  46. Interesting, I have had some success with Facebook ads, they work really well it you take the time to research the demographics of your audience. You can get your ad in front of people who have expressed an interest in your product.

  47. This is very risky business. Many People, do not like Reports. They want Results. So, we have to instead learn seo, and make them understand what is eo.

  48. anitha says:

    All business are not same we have to sacrifice something to earn

  49. April Smith says:

    Wonderful!! <3

  50. Jason Caluori says:

    That was a good example of how someone with very little experience can earn a lot more than 90% of Internet marketers out there. Taking action is the most overlooked skill out there…

  51. Pierre Zarokian says:

    You believe this guy??? the guy obviously works for Free SEO report site…that link also has an affiliate ID, so either you or the guy is getting paid for this.

  52. John Chow dot Com says:

    That is my affiliate link, not his. 🙂

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