Stacy Caprio has ran successful businesses doing SEO and SEM through Google Adwords as well as buying and selling websites. She now runs an active community of entrepreneurs teaching them how to buy and selling websites. In our first Entrepreneur Interview, we invited Stacy to share some of the lessons she’s learned along the way.
You can learn more about Stacy at www.stacycaprio.com
What’s your core business?
My business started doing freelance SEO and SEM with a focus on Google Adwords in 2014 when I graduated from college. That’s been a core part of my marketing and business model ever since then.
I got my first client from Twitter after I followed a group of several hundred startups in Boston, and that client introduced me to several other paying clients, helping to snowball my business from a one-client operation to having multiple clients at a time.
My business’ first name was Stacy For Startups, based on my own first name, and it has evolved since then to several name variations with my focus now being Her.CEO.
Today my main focus is helping sites SEO rather than paid ads, and I have a community of people who want to buy and sell sites as investments.
I connect people who have a site to sell with my tribe of buyers looking to invest in a site for long term monetary returns.
What motivated you to start your business?
I knew I had an in-demand skill-set, running paid ads and doing online marketing, which is why I decided to start my own business.
I became more motivated after working in the 9-5 world a few years after graduation when I realized I wanted to have more freedom and work for myself long-term.
I think many people, especially in my generation, can relate to wanting more freedom and the ability to work from anywhere in the world.
How did you come across/choose that business idea?
I came across the idea to buy and sell websites when I was reading Spencer Hawe’s Niche Pursuits blog that talked about someone who had bought a website on Flippa.com.
It sparked an interest in me and was the reason I later decided to try buying a few websites on my own.
Before reading that article I had no idea buying websites was even a viable investment opportunity.
Reading blogs and other’s income success journeys has been one of the reasons I’ve become aware of so many more income opportunities that I never would have known about otherwise.
What types of marketing do you do to get traffic to your business?
I use mostly organic marketing techniques and try to play by Google’s rules as much as possible to avoid penalties.
I’ve found writing engaging articles that people actually want to read to be a key driver in my SEO strategy because it makes people want to come back, and it is rewarded by Google.
SEO is my main traffic strategy and I think playing by the rules is important, even though you can get a penalty even if you use white hat techniques, since anything can happen in the online world.
What was the biggest struggle you faced while trying to start it?
It took a while for me to learn the ropes of how to buy a legitimate website that would actually return profit for months or years after buying it.
I was burned the first few times I bought a site, for different reasons, which you can read more in-depth about my website investing journey on several prominent blogs and podcasts.
My biggest struggle starting out was wasting well over $10K on purchases that did not make their initial investment back. However this same struggle is what gave me the experience and knowledge to finally buy a few sites that were successful, so it was worth it in the end.
It also took me years to succeed with my own business, and something most people don’t realize is it can take a long time for a business to become successful.
What is the biggest struggle you’ve faced after you succeeded?
Once you have more it becomes more stressful when you encounter small problems, such as your host shutting down for a few days of maintenance without telling you in advance, or other site or plugin issues that once would’ve been no big deal are now huge stressors that you may have to spend days trying to get fixed.
You also realize there are many pieces involved running a business including choosing tax strategies, trying to find an accountant who knows what they’re doing, running a payroll software, finding health insurance, and all the day to day tasks where you have to do everything in your business instead of just doing your one role as you did when you worked for someone else.
What message do you have for existing business owners who are in the process of growing their business?
Keep going and work on it everyday, because without that it will never have the chance to be successful. At the same time, if something isn’t working and doesn’t have the potential to work, then you need to be smart enough to pivot and start going in a different direction. You need to see some sort of progress over time, or working on it everyday is just a waste of time.
What message do you have for first-time entrepreneurs who are just getting started?
If your heart is telling you to start something then you should. Don’t listen to society, your boss, coworkers, friends or family if they tell you it’s impossible. However, I’d recommend not telling anyone you’re starting anything until after it’s successful.
What is your favorite part about entrepreneurship.
The freedom to set my own hours and goals and to get to see the direct impact of my work in the form of results and not being limited by bureaucracy when I want to try something new.
What motivates you now?
Reaching goals including continuing to build my website buying and selling community. That’s my current focus and what motivates much of my current work.
Stacy Caprio, StacyCaprio.com