Although there are many aspects of my life that I would love to share with all of you, I think some of the more relevant parts started after I was 21. I had just returned home after a two year service mission for my church and I was excited for the prospects that awaited me. Unfortunately, it was October 2008 and nothing could have prepared me for the difficulty of finding a reliable job.
Luckily I had two brothers who each owned reasonably successful companies. My oldest brother, Michael, owned an SEO instruction and service company and my other brother, Chris, owned an HVAC company. Neither could afford to provide me full-time work, but both graciously offered me part-time jobs allowing me to begin gaining some experience.
Eventually, I transitioned into working full-time for Michael doing many things with SEO.
While working for Michael, I did various things from answering SEO related questions from students to managing a team in the Philippines that completed SEO work. I very much enjoyed my work there. The most enjoyable aspect was to work closely with Michael and learn from him.
Michael is a successful entrepreneur and leader. In 2008, he successfully managed his own businesses while also also working his way up to be the COO of OrangeSoda, a large SEM agency. Although I would learn much more about SEO in later years, this time with Michael was the foundation for my career. My methodical thought process and attention to detail was learned under his tutelage.
It was during this time that I met my wife, Brecken. We dated for a year and a half until I finally convinced her to marry me in May 2011. The most important and significant part of my life has been meeting, dating and marrying my beautiful and lovely wife.
Now, where was I? Oh, right. After working with Michael for around a year and a half I decided to move on to a bigger SEO agency as an Account Manager in May 2011.
Boostability was a young, start-up company whose founders had ties from OrangeSoda. I started out as an Account Manager helping setup and manage SEO campaigns for small, local businesses. This was really fun and really stressful.
My favorite part of being an Account Manager was onboarding new businesses. This is where I would call our customers many of whom were business owners and help setup their SEO with Boostability. Every phone call was exciting as I got to learn about new businesses and conduct keyword research…which happens to be one of my favorite things to do.
During this time, I worked extra hours even though I was an hourly employee. We had rules about overtime, so I secretly would work and not log my extra hours. I would come into work thirty minutes early, work during lunch and leave thirty minutes late. With this additional time, I was able to pull ahead and show the company what I was worth. Looking back, I didn’t really have a game plan as to why I was working so long and hard…but it ultimately paid off.
Manager of Partner Accounts
After nine months as an Account Manager I was promoted to be a manager of our partner accounts. This was also very exciting and quite stressful. In this roll I was responsible for our fastest growing department in the company as we took on new, big partners like Dex One, YPG, The Berry Company and many others. With each partner came different expectations, processes, training and hiring. There was not enough time in the day to provide the quality of work I wanted, so what did I do? I came in one hour early, worked during lunch and stayed two hours late each day. This gave me an extra four hours of work a day, or twenty hours a week.
You would think that working sixty hours a week would take a toll on a young couple’s marriage. As I mentioned before, marrying my wife was the most important and significant part of my life. The only reason working sixty hours a week did not take its toll was because of Brecken’s support and understanding. Even though she was a full-time student and working part-time, she motivated me and helped me work through the nights. She would often make dinner and drop it off at night when I was staying late. Brecken was and still is the champion of my career.
My role as Manager of Partner Accounts was one of my favorites. However, the rapid growth of Boostability would send me to other ventures.
Partner Process Manager
After only nine months as the Manager of Partner Accounts, my role was split into two parts: process and management. Although I thoroughly enjoyed management, my skills were in process creation. In this roll, I assisted the Partner Managers with partner relations by creating processes for Account Management, Fulfillment, and even our partners.
My success was quickly noticed and after only four months, Boostability made me Senior Partner Manager over our largest (and most difficult) partner: Dex One.
Senior Partner Manager
Here I was, a 25 year old managing a partner that brought in millions of dollars a year. I felt out of my league! So what did I do? I worked longer and harder. I would come in an hour early, work through lunch and stay two hours after work (as usual) and then I would work two to three more hours at home. The truth is, I was working 70+ hours a week. Again, I cannot overemphasize the importance of my wife through this time. She supported me 110%. She was there to give me encouragement during this stressful time.
The next year and a half would be the hardest of my life. I would have to create QBRs, learn new acronyms (like QBR), take the blame for things that were not my responsibility and on and on. As Senior Partner Manager I was also responsible in creating process and answering customer related concerns or questions from the partner. To make matters more difficult, my partner contacts were much older than I and had a very corporate approach that was difficult for my millennial understanding.
Each day posed new challenges and humbling opportunities. Ultimately, the 70+ hour work week caught up to me. I decided that this job was a stepping stone to further my career, but that it had run its course. I decided to look for another job. This decision was difficult for me to come to. I felt I had failed in some way. One thing that helped me was the book The Dip by Seth Godin. Leaving was a way for me to take a step forward. I took a leap and told my boss that I would like to move on, but that I will give as much notice as needed to find someone to replace me.
Giving my notice was an interesting experience. I figured they would want to keep me in my current position, but I never imagined that they would offer me a 60% raise to stay. 60%! This was more money than my 26 year old mind could handle. Although the offer was quite generous, I had to decline as I had learned from my mentor, Michael, that opportunity is worth more than money. I was promised another position at Boostability but didn’t know where. I fully expected this new position to be less pay.
Director of SEO Strategy
Only days before my last day as Senior Partner Manager I was informed that my new position would be the Director of SEO Strategy. I couldn’t believe it! In an effort to seek new opportunities, I thought I would need to take a step back but Boostability provided an opportunity to move up in the company and increase my circle of influence.
As Director of SEO Strategy I have many different responsibilities:
- I am responsible for updating current SEO strategies for our customers and creating new ones as opportunities arise. I do this by researching current SEO strategies from trusted sources and by leveraging Boostability’s internal data to make adjustments and improvements.
- I also started a video series called The Booster Seat which has been a very fun project for me. I do 3-4 min. clips discussing different aspects of SEO.
- I am very fortunate to attend several SEO conferences each year. I get to meet new people and gain additional insights with each conference I attend.
- I create training material for both employees and partners.
And for those of you that are interested, I still work during lunch and often stay a bit late, but I am no longer working 70+ hours a week. My wife is also still as steady and supportive as she has always been.
Andrew Eagar Consulting
While Director of SEO Strategy, by brother Chris approached me about helping his HVAC business with web design and SEO. I was intrigued about working on someone else’s website, instead of my own, at home and even getting paid for it! Brecken took on the web design, I took on the SEO, and Andrew Eagar Consulting was born.
I now have clients that I do full service SEO for and some that just want to pick my brain and I consult with them over the phone. Since I wasn’t working 70+ hours a week at Boostability anymore, I had to fill my time somehow! It has been very interesting, exciting, challenging, and fulfilling to be helping these small, local businesses with their SEO and seeing their results.
My hopes for the future are very bright. I love my position now and I see myself working for Boostability for many years. If and when I leave Boostability, it will be for greater opportunity and options to affect change.