Growth Hacking Interview Series #102: Danny Dover
Danny Dover is a passionate SEO, influential writer and obsessed Life List completer.
He is the author of the best selling book Search Engine Optimization Secrets and was the co-founder of Making it Click, a marketing training course.
Before starting his own company, Danny was the Senior SEO Manager at AT&T and the Lead SEO at SEOmoz.
How did you start out as a marketer?
Starting around my High School years, I knew I wanted to study and work with the Internet. Unfortunately, by the time I got to University, there was no degree in just the Internet.
To make up for this, I applied as an intern at as many Internet startups as I could.
From there, I stumbled upon Moz (called SEOmoz at the time) when it was still very young. They accepted my offer to be an intern (I offered to work for free and bring my own laptop, I just wanted to learn) and quickly started learning about SEO.
As it turned out, SEO (the way information is crawled and organized by search engines) is an excellent way to study the Internet.
Looking back, what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
The hardest time was most definitely at the beginning. Not only was there not a lot of information on best practices available, but I also had very little knowledge of the field.
Luckily, the team at SEOmoz taught me what they knew and together we delivered great results to our clients.
How did you get your first client back then, and what kind of service did you do for them?
My first independent client was the University of Washington (which I had dropped out of).
They had many departments and that was in need of SEO services and my name (through a couple of free lectures I gave there), started to get passed around.
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advise?
Freelancing is a great first step but it does not scale. This means it has limits.
After you peak as a freelancer, I think it is best to build a very small and low maintenance business (advertising, software, video services, etc.) that helps pay your basic bills so that you can use your time to build up expertise on other areas that you find interesting and passion-worthy.
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again, what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
I would have focused more on math in High School and at University. I had not idea how technical my job ultimately would become and being better at math would have helped me go farther faster.
How is your typical work day structured?
I wake up at around 8:00 AM, have a quick breakfast and tea and then start some low risk/low intensity Life List item practices (depending on my current projects this could be something like practicing the piano or practicing Spanish).
After that, I get to inbox zero and do some client work. I break for lunch and then leave my office to go to a cafe to do my more creative work. After that, I eat, exercise, go for a long walk and then do more client work. I go to bed around 11:00 PM.
You can see a video of my routine here:
Can you tell us about a past situation where you had to juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines?
This is always my situation. At any time, I have six major projects going on. To organize this I use a system based off of Getting Things Done and a program called Omnifocus.
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
I am extremely interested in Artificial Intelligence. It looks like it is going to be as disruptive to mankind as harnessing electricity was. You can see a free webinar I gave about this here:
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
The best and only way to stay up to date on marketing techniques is to do them everyday. I do this through my client work as well as through my personal projects.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?