Blog Post

Fail as cheaply as possible


We interact with SEO resellers every day in our SEO reseller program and now have a fairly detailed understanding of what they are looking for. It seems that people searching for an SEO reseller program to join are at one of a couple phases in their business cycle.

First, there are the brand new people joining the search engine optimization marketplace. These folks sometimes have previous business experience from other areas and are looking to resell SEO as their next business play. Sometimes these folks have tried other online businesses before deciding to become an SEO reseller. To all of these folks I have pretty much the same advice. Fail as inexpensively as possible. These are not my own words. I came by this advice early on in my online career and wish I knew the website to give them credit now. But the words have stuck with me through the years.

Building a business is never a straight line. At least for me. Perhaps those guys who go the VC route have a formula that works for them over and over but my perception is that businesses always take a strange and mysterious path as they grow. And much of the growth comes from failed ideas and attempts to make it big. So if you accept the idea that failure is a natural part of the growth cycle, your objective becomes to fail as cheaply as possible. Gain those valuable lessons that come with bumps in the road without breaking the bank. After all, complete failure is when the cash is all gone and there is no more. So your objective is to get through the difficult times, the bad decisions and the failed initiatives with enough fuel in the tank for another lap around.

So what does this have to do with SEO resellers? Everything. They are likely somewhere on that business journey and this applies as much to them as any other start up. For those seeking an SEO reseller program that are further along the business growth cycle, the take-away is slightly different. But you can still learn something from this. An SEO reseller who has 10 customers is facing a slightly different dilemma. At this point you have an established revenue stream and small customer base. So it will be tempting to think that you have already grown through the "fail cheaply and quickly phase." But the truth is that there is an entirely different business challenge waiting for this SEO reseller. Specifically, they are facing the challenge of scale.

Scaling a business in SEO is just as difficult as any other business. If you fail to achieve true scale you are probably not earning as much as you feel you should. Before having scale, your SEO business is limited by how many hours there are in the day. And more specifically, how many hours there are in your day - as the small business is often tied to the owner. This puts a burden on the business owner and a limit on how much money you can make.

In both cases above - the SEO business that is just starting or the SEO reseller who has 10 clients and is facing the challenge of scale - SEO reseller programs offer a very smart option. In both cases becoming an SEO reseller allows you to avoid the costs of building out a delivery capability while you try out this market. And don't kid yourself: A capable SEO service offering is not one guy in India and a few sites on which to build links. It is much more competitive out there than that. The SEO reseller model allows you to dip your toe into search engine marketing without making that large commitment that really could turn out to be the failure of all failures. As you grow and determine that you have found your niche, you can always bring your SEO delivery back in-house. But if you start building this capability and break the bank in the mean time, you can't go back and collect that money you have spent.