Hey, I’m Richard Marriott and this is my blog!
clambr is the word “clamber” without the “e”. The dictionary definition of “clamber” describes exactly what this blog is about: to climb (something) awkwardly, especially by using both hands and feet.
Although I rarely use my feet, this blog teaches you how to clambr up Google organically and make money online.
It took me one year of trial and error to “crack the code”, become fully independent, move out to Asia and live like a king – all thanks to the wonderful world of internet marketing!
I began my adventure in July 2013 after quitting my job in Beijing to chase my dreams. When I started out I had NO idea what the hell I was doing and even had to move back to the UK and live with my parents for a year!
I dealt with the constant nagging of friends “why don’t you just get a job”, had absolutely no social life and worked every single day with no holiday in pursuit of the precious freedom my blogging idols enjoyed.
Sure, it’s been tough. I’ve been SO close to giving up more times than I can count, but in November 2014 everything changed after I saw my first 1000USD week. 5 weeks later I spread my wings and flew to Shenzhen, China.
I’m not breaking the bank with what I’m earning currently (I enjoy my freedom and don’t sit behind the computer every damn day), but I’m getting there, and am on the verge of releasing my first product to the wild which I’m confident WILL break the bank.
Now all this sounds great but you must be wondering – “is this guy for real?” – so here’s a screenshot of earnings for one of the MANY digital products I sell online:
Here’s another one of traffic growth to one of my authority sites after just 6 months of going live:
One year on, that particular site is now capturing an average of 3,000 visits a day…
…and banking 12,000 USD per month 😛
This level of traffic was achieved from nothing but clinical onsite SEO, clever content strategy and persistent email outreach.
So how did I get that site to 3,000 visits a day in 1 year?
Well, you see, I like to do things a little differently from everyone else…
I IGNORE social media, I have NEVER built my own blog network, NEVER guest posted, NEVER submitted an article to an article submission site, NEVER left blog comments for the sole purpose of getting traffic, NEVER posted in forums and have NEVER done any tiered link building.
Call me weird, call me bat shit CRAZY! Fact is I just don’t have time for any of the above because out-writing the competition and promoting my content like mad with email outreach is the only thing I need to get all the links, shares and organic traffic I want.
I spend about a month on each blog post, planning my takedown strategy, creating the content and scheduling email outreach. And let me tell you – every single time I hit Google’s first page.
After that’s done, I spend the next month nailing that other important thing:
Turning traffic into cold hard cash.
So if you want to learn how to destroy your competitors on Google and make a killing from organic search then clambr is the blog for you!
I’ll teach you unique and aggressive strategies to create link-bait that even your competitors can’t help themselves but link out to!
Oh and even if you’re in a SUPER competitive industry where NOBODY links out, I’ll tell you how to capture links you’d have never even dreamed you could get, simply by writing your content and promoting it in a way that attracts links from adjacent markets.
That’s right. Powerful, authoritative sites are going to hand you links on a silver platter.
If that sounds good be sure to put this blog on your radar because the BIG “A-Ha’s” I’m going to share with you in 2015 are going to rock your world!
On March 8, 1986 I was born in London UK and moved to Bath three years later.
From an early age I developed a taste for making money. My first ventures involved flogging water colour paintings, fossils and fake wimpy products to passersby on cycle paths.
At 14 after washing my parents’ car for two quid I quickly realised that washing cars could be very lucrative and opened “Richard’s Car Washing Business” down my local street. My best contract was an office that gave me 25 quid to wash and vacuum 5 of their company cars.
As soon as I was of the legal age (16) to get a “real job” I went to work as a microwave cook in Bath’s famous tourist trap Sally Lunn’s.
Many more part time jobs followed including life guarding, pizza delivery, bar tending and waiting, but I’ve never enjoyed anything more than finding entrepreneurial ways to make money by myself.
It was senior year in high school where I had my first flirtation with China.
After becoming good friends with a new student from Shenzhen (Anson), he invited another friend and I for a three week holiday in China. The SARS epidemic was just cooling off at the time so we couldn’t go many places, but it didn’t stop us having an epic time.
Highlights included chasing chickens in the mountains for dinner, making a scene buying saucy DVDs in the local market, weaving through the Shenzhen traffic at 100mph in a souped up BMW and the sudden realisation that Chinese girls are HOT.
A Drastic Change
It may be no surprise that I ended up studying Chinese as my University degree a few years later, but before that, all I wanted to do was be an artist.
In the final year of high school my paintings of the sea sold like hot cakes in a school exhibition and at a local art gallery, with total sales reaching 2,500 pounds.
My dream to become a famous artist was all I ever had right from the early age of selling water colours on the cycle path, but everything changed after I attended art foundation college for one year after high school.
The professors there wouldn’t let me keep painting the sea which puzzled me because sea paintings were a real money maker! They pushed me in a different direction I wasn’t happy about, so I waved a sad goodbye to art and made the drastic decision to study English Literature at university instead.
Fortunately the University of Leeds, (that accepted me for English Literature), also had one the UK’s best East Asian Studies (EAS) departments. In the summer before University began, I sent the head of EAS a lengthy email expressing my interest to study Chinese as an extra module. I didn’t get a reply.
Upon arriving at Leeds I attended the elective fair where you choose extra modules to compliment your studies. I marched straight up to the EAS desk and with a “cheshire cat” grin on my face asked them to sign me up for Chinese classes. The grin was however quickly replaced with a look of sheer heartbreak. They apologised and told me the class was already full up and there were seven people on the waiting list before me. I was mortified and with a heavy heart began to walk away… but then, just as I was almost at the door, someone hollered “are you Richard Marriott?”
It turned out the lady I’d sent the email to over the summer had already signed me up for the course! And the good news didn’t end there. After two weeks of learning Chinese and absolutely loving it I soon discovered that students who do Chinese as their main degree get a year abroad as part of their studies. The opportunity to spend a year in China was simply too tempting so I changed my degree to joint honours English & Chinese. It was fate. I was going to China.
The year abroad in China was even better than expected. I could probably write a novel from all the crazy tales and adventures but in order to keep it short here are just a few of the highlights: hunting chickens (again!) but this time with rifles and shotguns borrowed from a local army base; getting drunk with off duty policeman who upon parting asked me to “drive home carefully”; being pinned down and forcibly stripped by girls in a karaoke bar and dancing with them naked in front of a room full of businessmen (this has happened to me a total of four times now).
Other than the night I made the critical error of dressing up as a Disney fetish for halloween which led me to getting robbed by the taxi driver on the way home, it was the best year of my life and I loved it so much I decided to take another year out.
Desperate for Cash
A second year out counted as a gap year so I had to earn cold hard cash to fund it myself and fast.
After returning from the official year abroad in the summer of 2007 I scrambled for ways to pool enough money to fund six months tuition fees and living expenses in China. I got a full time waiting job at the local bar and grill but not long after the place was shut down due to sewage leaking onto the salad cart and I was out of a job. Even after selling my car I still didn’t have enough money so I decided to reinvigorate the long lost entrepreneur in me and set up an eBay store.
First I bought 150DVDs in bulk to sell off one by one to boost my eBay feedback score. After I had over 50 positive feedbacks and looked legit I bought about two grand’s worth of wholesale polo shirts from a UK supplier to sell on individually. The shirts sold like candy and I was raking in 10 to 17 pounds profit per shirt.
In February 2008, with a more than savvy bank balance I boarded a plane to China and began my six month course in Beijing.
The Good Life
During my gap year in China I became focussed on upgrading my eBay business to wholesale. Being in China made it easy for me to track down wholesale clothing stores.
My first supplier was located on the other side of Beijing, which mean’t each time I had an order on eBay I would make hour and a half trips by motorbike (400cc black Suzuki Bandit) to and from my supplier, picking up the clothes, driving them home, packaging them and then posting them. Although it was a hell of a lot of fun zooming down the side of the gridlocked traffic each day, with the wind in my hair and the occasional red faced policeman shouting at me to pull over, I quickly realised the daily clothes run was not convenient and quite dangerous. Later I sourced the clothes directly from Guangzhou and hired a courier to do all the collecting and postage for me.
Just before the Olympics came to Beijing I achieved Silver Powerseller status on eBay and was making around 800quid profit a week. Having that kind of money as a student back then when 1GBP was around 13.5CNY meant the lifestyle I enjoyed was insane. I was able to get tickets for loads of the Olympic events and take my friends out every night, book the nightclub’s biggest table, fill it with alcohol and party with dozens of gorgeous girls until the sun came up.
Perhaps I’ll tell you more about picking up girls in China in another blog someday, but unfortunately it isn’t suitable for clambr 😉
The Financial Crisis
After six months of living it fairly large in China it was time for me to head home and complete my Chinese degree in the UK (I dropped English Literature).
In the last couple of weeks before I left for Blighty storm clouds were brewing as the financial crisis, which hadn’t really affected my business before, was about to shit all over it. The rate of 1GBP to CNY13.5 we were enjoying in July plummeted to around 1GBP to CNY12.5 in mid August and in the coming months things just kept on getting worse.
Along with money I lost from our pricing being wrong against the unstable currency fluctuations, the guy I left in China to manage the purchasing side of the business started upping the product and postage prices, then began sending out third rate quality clothes. Our customers were not happy and I was issuing refunds left right and centre. Enough was enough. I sent the last remaining money I had to pay off the postage debts in China, pulled the plug on the business and cut all ties.
It was a shock to the system to go from having a nice, regular cash flow to nothing at all. Because I’d rinsed a large chunk of my student loan dishing out refunds and paying the final postage fees in China I needed to get some sort of stable online income going ASAP so I could get back on my feet.
After trawling through possible products to sell on eBay, somehow I ended up choosing mascot costumes. It was a rather odd product to switch to but I liked the fun element and that mascots were unbranded, hand made creations, so I’d never need to worry about customs knocking on my door for selling knockoff goods.
For the final two years of college I made steady sales of mascots on eBay and on my own website Cheap-Mascot-Costumes.com, now FlashmobMascots.com. Although the money I made from it wasn’t anything to brag about, it only required 20 minutes of work a day and allowed me to party hard all through college 🙂
Steel From China
After graduation in July 2010 I went to sell steel for a Beijing based international trading company. I soon discovered steel is a very dog eat dog business and it’s very difficult to convince people to choose you out of hundreds of suppliers if your price is very average.
The sales team’s typical way to get new leads was either from B2B websites or from replies to introduction letters. The B2B leads were 99% trash; the ratio of replies to emails sent was 2:100; and direct inquiries to the website were as rare as a Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat.
Because I was a fresh-out-of-college-newbie I could do nothing but respect my sales manager’s guidance that “this was the way to sell steel” and worked like this for six months, the whole time thinking there must be a more efficient way to get qualified leads.
After reading The Art of SEO in the summer of 2011 I decided it was time to turn the tables and let the customers find us instead. I bought the domain name steelfromchina.com, sat down with the company’s in-house coder and began to make my vision a reality.
I wasn’t talking about just an SEO website, but a website that’d produce high conversion rates by simply being helpful, transparent and refreshing in an industry that is plagued by dishonest suppliers. The goal was to make people want to send us enquiries and want to do business with us as soon as they landed on the site.
Because the steel industry is very stuck in its ways it was actually fairly easy to stand out from the crowd – we built trust by putting shipment photos of our customer’s orders on the home and product pages, along with big bright red unmissable “Quick Quote” buttons on almost every page to encourage enquiries.
After the website launched in January 2012 I hired an SEO who quickly ranked us on Google for some top notch keywords. Although our traffic took a bit of a hit by Google’s panda update in October 2012, by the end of 2012 the site had generated over 700 qualified leads (which isn’t bad for the steel niche) and millions of dollars worth of business.
Following the success of SFC I made two more websites for my previous employer’s laminate flooring side of the business. One of these is an authoritative information site (laminateflooringmanufacturers.com) about laminate flooring that acts as a portal driving traffic to the other – the main site (sunspeedflooring.com), which is equally SEO juiced up and builds trust with a simple blog page documenting weekly container shipments the company makes around the world.
I am no longer involved in managing these sites but from what I hear they’re still sucking in enquiries like an anteater doing coke. The success of the of the sites led me to pursue a career in SEO and it was on that journey where I met Aaron who owns and runs Evergreen SEO, a UK SEO agency, and who mentored me to becoming the SEO “whizz-kid” that I am today!
Pandas in Serious Numbers
It is thanks to SEO that my little mascot costume website, cheap-mascot-costumes.com, got noticed by Ogilvy PR who sent us a rather unusual enquiry in April 2012. Indeed, it’s not everyday you get asked to quote for 120 panda mascots, but that’s exactly what happened. After giving our best sales pitch, my brother (and panda business partner) and I anxiously waited to see if we’d get to be the guys for the job.
A few weeks passed by and just as we’d almost given up hope in winning the deal, Ogilvy suddenly gave us the go ahead.
By then it was the end of May, which meant if we said “yes” it would be on our heads to manufacture, ship and clear 120 panda mascots through UK customs in just one month to arrive in time for the crucial event of Panda Awareness Week – a flash mob in Trafalgar square. The risk was huge. If the tiniest of things went tits up or delayed things by even a day, we’d be totally screwed.
But being the risk takers that we are, we said “by jove YES!” to Ogilvy, and guess what? We pulled it off!
You can read all about the results of the Pandemonium on Ogilvy PR’s Case Study page, Google: “panda awareness week”, or check out this video of one of the pandas performing Gangnam Style with some hot chicks in London! Your choice 😉
Now or Never
When my brother texted me updates from London on the day of the event, I was showing some clients around a steel mill in China. They must have wondered why I was smiling so much because seeing the pandas going viral on the internet was the greatest rush and proudest moment of my life! It made me realise how much I love making the impossible happen and if I don’t continue to follow my dreams I will regret it for the rest of my life.
It’s now or never.
I hope my story inspires you, just as I hope this blog helps you in your own clambr up!