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"Just wanted to let you know that we had 30 online orders last week. I think that is more than double what we used to get in a month, let alone 1 week!"
- #RCS

One Year Down – How Did We Get There?

Kwasi Studios has been in business now for one year & to mark this illustrious anniversary moment, I thought I’d put together a bit of a trip down memory lane and get all TAGFEE, SEOmoz-style.

For those of you who don’t know, prior to moving back home to pursue Adelaide business opportunities I was working in Sydney at a reputable agency. I recall being told at our Christmas party at the Paddo Bowls by our CEO that we were being merged with an even bigger conglomerate. I was flying back to Adelaide that evening to visit family & friends for a couple of weeks over Christmas… so given the news it was very much party time for me over the next 2 weeks. I was set. Given our search marketing branch was quite small it would open doors for greater opportunities & we were moving into a SEO-noob-zone…

Homer - Woo Hoo

What I did not expect to happen was to meet Tash, the girl of my dreams, while I was back home in Adelaide, fall in love & have to work out an exit strategy out of Sydney. I’d set myself up well, established a good bunch of friends & colleagues but there was something about this woman that made me do a complete 180. So I practically threw it all in. Good job. Good friends. Good life. It was Bye Bye Birdie for me.

(just for the record – if this song was made today Ann-Margret would have sung “Skype you faithfully” instead of “write” – which is kind of how the next couple of months went for us)

That all happened around the start of 2011. Fast forward to March & I was back in Adelaide. In fact, I prepared myself for a few months & decided to hit the ground running 1st of July and launch Kwasi Studios on the back of over 14 years’ experience in the web industry.

Tash was quite sick the first few months so we decided to go on holiday where I proposed (and lost the ring in the surf while I was doing it – ask me in person & I’ll tell you all about it lol). We decided to get married on NYE which gave us about 4 ½ months to plan our wedding.

During that time I also really wanted to establish a strong brand & Kwasibot was born thanks to none other than the highly talented cartoonist Anton Emdin.

Kwasi Robot Rough Sheet

Not long after, my step-son’s soccer team “the Megaroos” needed some shirts so I helped sponsor their team for their inaugural year (check out a video of their first game below):

I also became a sponsor of my wife’s café / garden wedding venue as I really believe the place will be a tourist destination in the next couple of years. It’s a secret little oasis nestled in One Tree Hill where Roman concrete grounds are surrounded by massive Australian gum trees.

I helped design their brochures & even added a touch of Roman warrior to Kwasibot (in case you’re wondering why he looks the way he does on my Twitter profiles).

Roman Kwasibot

I also joined the site Media Cause that helps non-profit organisations with online marketing work & I undertook some tasks & even mentored some really nice people like William who ended up making a career out of it. I urge you to sign up as it’s a fantastic place to offer assistance & keep your skills progressing & up-to-date.

By this stage I’d acquired a handful of clients & had only reached out once to a prospect I found via an article in the paper who was selling kicks for kids. I wanted to be in on that – after all how cute are tiny Nikes right??

Image courtesy of kickz.com

I had an idea about creating a post with the top ten robot characters of all time, put up a Facebook poll & started collecting data. I collated it all & started producing a big post & outsourced the main graphic. That took longer than expected.

I ordered a 3D printer produced by Printrbot via Kickstarter because I wanted to make me some Kwasibot toys at low cost.

Amongst this was a whole lotta wedding planning which was quite stressful given the short amount of time we had. Our NYE wedding was fantastic & despite our frantic build up, most things went well. We both went straight back to work after a couple of days.

Woj & Tash NYE Wedding

My website needed content & I was being delayed by some hiccups on the top ten robots posts so I just started blogging. My first article wasn’t really an article but just a review of a video I was watching. I started taking notes & then I thought “well why not write it all down”. I did & created a post with the best products of the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in the US.

I next wrote about Google’s Privacy Policy & consolidation of products, looked at Tout – a video platform allowing you to post short videos instead of text status updates & then I noticed some funny behaviour with Google.com increasing in popularity over Google.com.au in Australia.

I found a nice Mexican company called Graphikslava who do work with Marvel Comics & produce some high quality work. I was very happy with their artwork & so I released the post “Top Ten Cutest Robot Characters“.

I learnt a lot in that process. Audience is key & about where to broadcast in particular. At the same time I’d been preparing my first guest post on Dejan “Common Web Dev Mistakes to Make Any SEO Facepalm” which got published the next day.

Canonical Zebras

There was lots of controversy in the photography community about Pinterest allowing anyone to pin your content so I wrote a post on that using Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi for added measure.

No Pin For You

Then I discovered that there were no real good, simple & concise posts on how to rank PDFs. I also discovered that the META description is not very easily controlled – I will write a follow up on that at some point in the next few months. I also started ranking & appearing in the SERPs for all those banking PDFs I used as examples.

Get PDFs Ranked

Next I made my way over to SMX Sydney / Online Marketer to expand my horizons and meet some new people. I was glad to meet a lot of really nice people from Australia & abroad. I was extremely pleased when I interviewed Mike King – an inbound marketer I’d respected for over a year & really wanted to catch what he was throwing in person. I’m glad it happened & when I go back I wrote a post about some of the insights gained at the conference.

I came back to Adelaide and was in the Adelaide Advertiser the next week in an article about “Cloud Computing”:

I put a post together about Google Website Optimizer ending and A/B Testing being available from within Google Analytics. I was getting more and more frustrated over time at the sheer quantity of emails I was getting via my various websites on a daily basis from offshore companies trying to pitch for work. I even get it blindly via my contact page sometimes. So I wrote a post on it entitled “10 Email Tips for Prospecting SEOs” & coincidentally it got published on my birthday earlier this month. That same day my Printrbot arrived!

Currently as Kwasi Studios stands it has 6 clients (3 in Sydney, 1 in Melbourne & 2 in Adelaide) with a few once off projects here and there. At last check (30-Jun-2012) we rank #5 for “seo adelaide” (was #81 on 12-Oct-2011) and are Adelaide’s 15th best Web Design Firm based on 52 of the highest searched for keywords in Adelaide.

SEO Adelaide - Kwasi Studios

Tomorrow, I’m off to Phuket, Thailand for a well-deserved rejuvenation & belated honeymoon. When I return, I’ll be in Sydney twice over 2 weeks & Melbourne once with 6 meetings booked. I need to look at some rapid growth strategies and have been recommended “The Inside Advantage” by Robert Bloom which should be here when I get back. Any other tips & advice would be most welcome in the comments. I will also be looking to hire some Kwasitizens… umm… Kwasinites… I’ll work on that but if you’re interested, please get in touch!

Some goals (but not all – I want to surprise you) for the next 12 months:

Currently reading:

  • “Steal Like an Artist” – Austin Kleon
  • “The Lean Startup” – Eric Ries
  • “Content Strategy for the Web” – Kristina Halvorson & Melissa Rach – this one’s coming with me to Thailand since I keep seeing positive bumps on Twitter about it
  • “Enchantment” – Guy Kwasaki
  • “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” – Haruki Murakami
  • “The Leaky Funnel” – Hugh Macfarlane
  • “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development” – Brant Cooper & Patrick Vlaskovits

That’s all my ‘nearly-on-holidays’ brain can fathom / remember at the moment. It’s been a great ride so far. Not knowing what the future holds but having built something that works. Letting go of my personal inhibitions of job security and embracing opportunity & endless possibility has been fantastic.

Look forward to the good times ahead.

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