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Businesses Team with Ghost Blog Writers to Pursue Content Marketing

What is the name of your company?

Ghost Blog Writers (ghostblogwriters.com)

What date did you start Ghost Blog Writers?

July 2010

What is the product or service?

Custom blog content for businesses and website owners is the main service. We’ve recently started to offer guest blogging on behalf of clients due to high demand.

Businesses Team with Ghost Blog Writers to Pursue Content Marketing

Dayne Shuda, Founder

Why did you start Ghost Blog Writers?

The company actually started without a plan. My girlfriend has her own Web design company (Sarah Lynn Design) and one of her clients asked if she knew anyone that would write blog posts for their company. I had been blogging for a few of my own sites for a year or so and figured it would be a good way to earn some extra money.

After a few months I started seeing more demand from businesses and website owners for bloggers. In 2011 things started picking up and in 2012 things have picked up even more.

Now I’m working on Ghost Blog Writers full time and there are a few other freelance writers working for the company too. The company is in the early stages, but we have big plans for the future. We see a lot of demand for the service. Businesses seem to understand that blogging, content marketing or inbound marketing in general are great ways to acquire new customers.

How was Ghost Blog Writers financed?

There was no financing necessary for Ghost Blog Writers. The interesting thing was that when it started I didn’t even setup a website, buy business cards or any of that. I had the first customer just from a connection and doing the actual work.

A few months into the work I realized there was more demand. I used personal cash to purchase a domain and get a website setup on WordPress with a cheap template. I didn’t want to invest much money in a new business without seeing that there was potential.

To get the website started it probably cost about $100 for a year of hosting, the domain and the template. Even at this point – 2+ years – into the business there aren’t many expenses. I pay the other freelancers and occasionally some money for development work on the website, but really there isn’t much. It’s a service-based business so it is just time spent working for the clients.

What free online or offline tools do you use?

The WordPress platform has been the biggest free online tool. It’s amazing how easy they make it to use. I realize that I’ve been using it for about four or five years now and I’m used to it, but it’s really quite advanced for being a free content management system.

For personal and business email I use Gmail. It’s easy to use and it costs nothing. I’m sure Google is using my information for something, but it’s worth it to me to use their services. Gmail is a big one, but I also use Google Docs for sharing documents with a few clients. Working in the cloud seems to be growing in popularity and I’m happy to use those services.

I’m always looking to use new free services. It’s great to use new things to see if they make life easier.

Do you use social media?

Twitter: @DayneShuda

LinknedIn: /in/DayneShuda

Twitter is really the only social media platform I use. Twitter is great for connecting with other marketers. I have gotten one or two clients as a result of using Twitter, but for the most part I use it to get access to content I enjoy reading.

My LinkedIn profile is updated. I haven’t used it much to this point for Ghost Blog Writers, but I keep reading good stuff about the site and there is probably some opportunity worth exploring at least a little bit. I’ll have to make some time to look into LinkedIn.

How many people are working for Ghost Blog Writers?

There are currently three freelance writers along with myself. I’m looking to expand this to more writers because things are getting busy for me. I’m looking to pass off some of the client work so I can focus on general business management, sales and the Ghost Blog Writers blog. I also work on outreach and guest blogging for Ghost Blog Writers.

What is the best advice you never got?

I received some good advice along the way. I went to college for business management, but I was involved in an entrepreneur specific program. As part of the program we worked with business owners in the area and they had some great insight, but the one thing I never really heard was that all it takes to start a company is to find someone willing to pay you for something.

You don’t need a website. You don’t need business cards. You don’t need to advertise. The first thing to work on is getting paying clients. If you can’t do that right away then you should work to find someone that will let you do something for them for free. If things go well then you can look to expand and spend money.

If I had known that lesson it would have saved me tens of thousands of dollars in my early twenties when I was trying to start a few websites that bombed.

What almost killed your business from the start?

Myself. I really wasn’t sure if blogging for other companies was what I wanted to do. I was interested in starting a website that would make money off advertising. I had a couple of hunting websites and I still maintain a website for country music reviews (Country Music Life).

Ghost Blog Writers kept showing the most promise and now I really enjoy doing it full time. There is a lot of reward working for all the different clients. It’s something new all the time and it’s a business I feel can scale and the demand is there for growth.

What is the one thing you did right?

I’m still working to improve, but at this point it’s probably just perseverance. I’ve had some failures in business up to this point, but I just kept my head down and kept trying. I never really worried about what anyone else said along the way because I figured there would be something along the way that would work and right now that appears to be Ghost Blog Writers.

I should note that my girlfriend has been supportive the entire time.

What was the biggest transition you had to make?

I recently quit my full time job to work on Ghost Blog Writers full time. It’s been a big shift to work at home. I think eventually and maybe in the near future I’ll rent some shared office space. I like the idea of having somewhere to go every morning. When there is purpose to life things seem to go well.

Are you currently in the black or red?

Black. Like I said, Ghost Blog Writers doesn’t have many expenses. Since we’re a service business we really just do the work and get paid for it. There aren’t any upfront costs, which is nice. It’s also been good that clients have been great about paying on time.

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

Since we sell blogging as a service I figure we should follow our own advice so we focus probably 80-90% of effort on our own blog and guest blogging. It’s our feeling that blogging is a great way to get interesting from new customers through search and social.

That’s the methodology we sell and it’s what we do for our own business.

What would make your business more successful?

Scale. I’m looking to scale the business past the freelance status. I feel like a successful business needs to scale so I’m looking to add writers and expand the business past my own work. There is some of that right now, but scaling is the next big step.

Would you want to sell in the near future?

I don’t know that anyone would want to invest or purchase GBW. My plan is to run this and grow it as the sole owner for quite a few years. I’m focusing on one step at a time while also looking at the big picture. The vision I have doesn’t involve selling.

What do you think your projected annual revenue will be in the next year?

For 2013 my initial goal is to get over $100,000 in revenue. I would say that’s a very achievable goal for the first fiscal year of full time operation. This goal requires some good growth, but the demand is there and if I can scale the business this should be no problem for 2013.

Final Thoughts

I’m still learning how to run a business. There is a lot to think about and it’s easy to get focused on the daily work without focusing on the big picture. I think as the owner of the business you really need to look past your own work and think about the business instead of yourself. If you want the business to grow then the focus needs to be there. It’s difficult, but it’s something that is required for Ghost Blog Writers to take the next step to becoming more than a freelance business.

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