Welcome to TheGrowthBooth, with Aidan Booth (me) as your podcaster!
I grew up on a farm New Zealand (for my fellow Kiwi’s, I lived about 20 minutes out of Masterton).
I got started online almost by mistake… my wife (Carolina) is from Argentina. I met her in 2003 in Lake Tahoe (stunning place) and shifted to Argentina shortly afterwards.
When I landed in Buenos Aires, I couldn’t speak Spanish, and was on a tourist visa… no sane company was going to give me a job!
As such, I looked to the web for “online work”… and as you can probably imagine, that led me down a deep rabbit hole, opening my eyes (and my imagination) to a world of opportunities…
My First Site…
My first foray into internet marketing came in 2005 when I set up this site. I had no idea what I was doing, but I did it anyway. This website didn’t make me much money, but I was able to eat for free in a number of Buenos Aires’ best steakhouses!
Correction: Even before the Tango website, I got started with this site… it was so bad, but got me one step closer to eventually making my first online sale.
By 2006 I was more ‘savvy’ to the way the Internet world worked and I began setting up simple affiliate websites. I was sending paid traffic to them (using Google Adwords). I didn’t see an avalanche of sales, but I did start to make the occasional $30 commission (which was like gold to me!)
One thing led to another, and I eventually moved my focus from affiliate sites with paid traffic, to a mixture of eCommerce sites and affiliate sites that leveraged Google traffic (via top rankings) and a mixture of different paid traffic sources.
I’ve always been a “numbers guy” and always interested in systematic processes (I have a degree majoring in ‘Engineering and Industrial Management’ which is heavily focused on systems and the sciences) so when I discovered programs like Google Analytics, I was in heaven!
FINALLY I could see exactly what was happening on my websites, and was able to pinpoint the weak spots and exploit the most effective parts of my sites.
I began to test EVERYTHING, and my results went to a whole new level.
My affiliate sites AND my eCommerce stores became more lucrative than ever before – I felt like I’d ‘cracked the code’.
I Created A Factory…
Things were so good that I went into overdrive.
I hired a team in the Philippines who started cranking out websites for me to the tune of 3 new sites PER DAY. I had full time writers, image designers, and website builders working together, I even had a ‘Project Manager’ who put the pieces of the puzzle together for me…
Eventually I had a whopping 1500+ websites online, and although not all of them were monstrously profitable, I could afford the failures because the sites that DID work were printing money.
My “factory” was on a roll, and so was my business.
It was also around this time when I met Brian G. Johnson, one of my early mentors (he remains a good friend to this day). Brian and I released a training program together sharing our systems and processes for systematically leveraging Google search engine traffic by drilling down into specific niches.
This was my first experience with teaching online, and I LOVED it. Through live training and hundreds of videos, I taught a group of 2000 aspiring online marketers how to earn money through simple niche websites.
Life was good.
Looking back, it was too good to be true.
Something had to give… and eventually it did. So much of what I was doing relied on Google rankings, so when Google released a major algorithm change (known as “May Day” to people in the SEO community) in May 2010, about 500 of my websites were slapped into oblivion, they disappeared from Google and have never re-surfaced!
Luckily, only about 1/3rd of my websites were affected, and the ones that did get hit by Google were still doing well in Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines.
A Time To Change
The “May Day” Google slap of 2010 marked a monumental shift in how I ran my business. I closed down ‘The Factory’ and spent time working hard on building websites that’d stand the test of time, sites that Google loved.
I began to diversify much more than I had in the past, and took my eCommerce sites to a new level where they were earning as much (sometimes more) than my trusty affiliate sites.
Fast forward to now, and my business has completely changed to how it was when I started out back in 2005.
I partnered with Steven Clayton in 2013 – that was the first big change. All of a sudden I was working with someone else, and that gave me an added feeling of responsibility. I had other people who relied on me and expected certain things of me (as a side note, partnering has been one of the best decisions I’ve made… so much more is possible when you have good partners!).
I need to give a lot of credit to Steve for his brilliant planning processes and big picture vision. Steve comes from a corporate background, he was previously the CFO of a Fortune 500 company, and had many years of corporate experience prior to starting his own online business. The upside of this experience really shines through in so much of what we do (and it’s an area I clearly lack experience in).
Before merging my business with Steve, I understood the importance of diversifying my business, but never laid out structured plans in how I’d do it… I was kind of ‘flying blind’ using intuition to get me where I wanted to be. This was the first thing that changed in our new company, and MAN did it make a difference!
The planning and the structured approach gave my business a new dimension.
Our Business Has Multiple Pillars
Back in the “good ol’ days” my business consisted almost 100% of niche websites and eCommerce stores.
These days, Steve and I have developed a range of different online businesses that fall into a few different categories, our ‘Pillars’.
Pillar #1. Niche Websites & eCommerce Stores – These continue to be a great source of income for us. Although the web has changed enormously since 2005, the fundamentals of how to set up and run these kinds of websites remains very similar to what it was back then.
Pillar #2. Online Marketing Training & Consulting Services – This is the training and coaching we provide to people who want to replicate our success online. At the core of our training is Online Marketing Classroom, a monthly membership that helps thousands of people build, grow, and run online businesses.
Pillar #3. Small Business Marketing – This is a mixture of marketing, consulting, and services that we offer to small businesses globally. We took this to a whole new level in 2019, by franchising our ‘local marketing agency’ operation, and we now have hundreds of local marketing agency franchises across the USA, UK, Canada, Australia ad New Zealand.
Pillar #4. Physical Product Brands – In 2013 we ventured into the world of creating our own physical brands. This is where you manufacture your own products under your own brand name and sell them online. Since 2013 we’ve developed four main brands, each with it’s own line of products. We sell these on the Amazon marketplace (Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, etc) but also offline in the likes of CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and other large ‘brick and mortar’ shops throughout the USA.
Pillar #5. Software as a Service – We have several software products that we sell on a subscription basis. An example of one of these is NetBlaze, a solution to the marketing conundrum that small business owners face. Others include tools specifically designed for webpage publishers, like conversion optimization tools, page builders, and more.
Pillar #6. Hosting & Domain Registration – Out of necessity (and frustration with mediocre providers), Steve and I built and run our own hosting and domain name registration company, Float Hosting. Although still relatively unknown in the world of mega-companies that provide hosting and name registration (think Host Gator, GoDaddy, etc), Float Hosting serves thousands of customers as well as taking care of our own in-house needs.
The six pillars all contribute significantly to our overall bottom line and are all managed like separate businesses.
We Have An AMAZING Team!
Another way that my business has evolved is the way I get work done. Back ion 2005, as a ‘lone ranger’ I did everything myself. I then started to outsource individual tasks on a project-by-project basis to people I had in the Philippines… this was the first stepping stone into the world of virtual hiring and virtual teams.
Nowadays we have a more permanent system in place.
At the time of writing, my companies hire 61 people spread across the USA, UK, Ireland, Pakistan, China, India, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Venezuela, Chile, Canada, Philippines, Romania and Mexico.
I need to pinch myself sometimes, I’m incredibly proud of the team we’ve built.
This to me is perhaps one of the best examples of the power of an online business. Without doing anything ourselves, thanks to our team we get upwards of 2,400 hours of work done EVERY week.
It would be impossible for Steve and I to manage all of our businesses on our own, which is why we have CEO’s for our companies, along with managers in key positions. While Steve and I are both very much involved in ‘front line’ operations of different parts of our businesses, we also take more of a ‘directors’ role in many other areas. This is a good system for us, it works.
What Do YOU Get Out of This?
This is a show focused on achieving lifestyle freedom through growing your online business. Each episode will focus on how you can grow to be the best you can be… not just in business, but in life fulfillment. I’ll be discussing not only online business growth, but “offline” activities such as yoga, exercise, work/life balance and anything to help you achieve your personal and business goals in life.
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Thanks for visiting!