251 Success Redefined…after a Life Altering Shake-up – David Amerland

David Amerland's Career Change Journey and Business Insights:

  • How His Life Changed Dramatically in 10 Months
  • How David Left a Successful Career and Became a Business Writer
  • SEO and Digital Marketing Tips
  • What does it Take to Have a Business Aligned with Your True Self

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More about our featured guest David Amerland

David Amerland’s involvement with the Web goes back to the days when the number of websites in existence could fit in a printed 80-page directory and SEO consisted of keyword stuffing and pixel-wide hidden text.

He writes for Forbes, HP UK, Social Media Today, and blogs on his own website, davidamerland.com. When he is not writing or surfing the Web he spends time giving speeches on how social media is changing everything.


Full Transcript

[00:02] Joel: Welcome to ReLaunch, your daily dose of inspiring stories, fresh ideas, practical steps and solutions. You can think of this show as being your prescription for relaunching into the life and business that you love. And if you are a daily listener, welcome back to the show, thank you for tuning in and thank you for being involved in the before and the after show online conversations. And if you are new to this show, just know that you are among friends. And I just have to say how truly grateful, grateful I am to have you as a listener listening to this show.

[00:46] Joel: And your time is at an all time premium these days, and you chose to spend it with us. And I am so glad that you tuned in today, because we have some exciting news. We are recording this show on Friday, January 16th, and just two days ago, January 14th, they announced the Podcasters' Paradise 2014 Awards. And this is the first year that they've done it. And because of our supporters, and our friends that were able to vote for us, we pretty much took everything home. Are you ready for this, Pei?

[01:21] Pei: I love it.

[01:22] Joel: We got “Most Original Podcast”, “Most Original Show”, that was us, first place. Let's see, “Most Inspirational”.

[01:32] Pei: And all number one, 'cause they have three awards for each category.

[01:36] Joel: Right, third place, second place and then first place. So, “Most Original Show”, that was ReLaunch. Most Inspirational Show, that was ReLaunch. And then the granddaddy, the “Best Overall Podcast” in Podcasters' Paradise for 2014, was ReLaunch. And there were five categories total, and you know what Pei? We walked away with three of them, and that just about floored me.

[02:03] Pei: Thank you so much for supporting us online, offline, sending us emails, we just love to read everything. That continue to inspires us, so keep going.

[02:17] Joel: Absolutely, gosh, thank you so, so much. Wow. Joining us on the show today, it is probably safe to say that this guy, Pei, is a professional surfer, a web surfer, if you will. He has to be, because he has accumulated so much knowledge and insight on how the web, social media and Google operate. And he's got a bookcase full of important reads for the online marketer, for the blogger, for the podcaster and for the entrepreneur.

[02:51] Joel: And here are just a few of them, he has got… Let's see, “The Social Media Mind” is one of them, definitely get a hold of that book. “Google Semantic Search” is another one. “Google+ Hangouts for Business” is another one. “Online Marketing Help”, and we all need that. And then “SEO Help: 20 steps to get your website to Google's #1 page.” And we all need that, regardless of if we're an online business or if we're a brick and mortar business. David Amerland, welcome, welcome to ReLaunch.

[03:27] David Amerland: Thank you so much. And hearing about all those awards, absolutely no pressure on my part whatsoever now, right?


[03:35] Joel: Really, really appreciate you being here. And you've got this Bond accent thing working for you, so I'm thinking you're not from Texas like me, where are you from?

[03:44] David Amerland: I'm not, I've traveled a lot. Well, life started in Brisbane, Australia and then I went and lived for 25 years in the UK, Manchester.

[03:53] Joel: Okay, fantastic.

[03:54] David Amerland: And these days, I have a summer home in Greece, where I am now. And I travel a lot. I travel to Singapore, Shanghai, I was in San Francisco just two days ago, so there you go.

[04:07] Joel: So, you get some travels, so you have a few miles racked up on your credit card, I'm thinking.

[04:12] David Amerland: Yeah, well I did 55,000 miles last year, so I could actually have my own jet.


[04:16] Joel: Wow. Okay, okay.

[04:19] David Amerland: I don't, but I could.


[04:21] David Amerland: Maybe I should, yeah.

[04:23] Joel: Maybe so, maybe so. Maybe that'll be another show. Hey, Dave, as you know, this show is all about the relaunch, and generally, we ask our guests to zero in on the launch or the relaunch that has been the most significant for them, or the most transformational for them. And then we just kind of unfold the story from there, and we'll definitely do that with you in just a few minutes, if that's okay with you. But before we get into that, let's go ahead and get into some quick meat. Now, what is one thing, just start with one thing that people can do immediately to boost their SEO ranking, or to boost their Google, is there something simple that…

[05:02] David Amerland: Absolutely, yes there is, and I'm very glad you asked that.

[05:04] Joel: Yes.

[05:05] David Amerland: The simplest thing you can do is… There are actually two things, and one is simpler than the other. The first one is, make sure that your hosting provider is rock solid. It has to be as close to 100% uptime as you can, with as few timeouts as possible. And if you have that, that's a huge boost in terms of SEO, because it's reliability. And think of hosting as the foundation to the house. And the second thing you can do is make sure your website loads as fast as possible. Critically important for the mobile age, but also important for the web. And if you do those two things, that's a huge boost in terms of potential ranking.

[05:41] Joel: Fantastic, great stuff. Immediate [05:44] ____. So make sure your host is viable, that they are… Go ahead, Pei.

[05:48] Pei: That is so true, and I'm not gonna expand on this, but just lately we went through some…

[05:55] Joel: Uh-oh.

[05:56] Pei: Yeah, we relaunched our website, and there were things we didn't expect. So, maybe in this particular show, we actually can list a few, what we learned and the services that we currently use.

[06:12] Joel: Not to mention that but we've got the man right here. So, let's kind of back up little bit and let's talk about the relaunch. Now, Dave, we've all experienced numerous launches and relaunches in our personal and also in our professional life, but how do we need to get into today's show and story, talking about David's relaunch?

[06:33] David Amerland: Okay, I mean from the outside looking in, it looks like I have had a sort of very smooth trajectory in my career, because I started out in newspapers, went into business journalism, started writing books and here I am. But it's not quite like that, and I've never really discussed it, so you guys are the first to actually get this.

[06:52] Joel: Thank you.

[06:53] Pei: I appreciate that.

[06:55] David Amerland: Well, essentially, I was in business journalism, writing articles for newspapers and magazines but also working in communications for one of the largest UK retailers in the UK, obviously. And everything was going seemingly well. I was married, I had a house, mortgage, two cars, three pets and a fantastic career.

[07:22] Joel: Sure.

[07:22] David Amerland: And then, my dad passed away. And it was one of those things which cause you to self-reflect sometimes. And to cut a long story short, within 10 months of that, I was divorced, without a job, without a house, and trying to redefine myself. So, that was a relaunch moment almost for me, you could say.

[07:48] Joel: Okay, thank you for sharing that, I really appreciate your transparency. Hey, Pei, that's one of the things that I just so admire about our guests, is how they are able to really just understand that they are in a safe place, and then they just share something that they, in Dave's case, something that they've never shared before on the show.

[08:08] Pei: Right. And I think that's the only reason we can deliver hope to you, to our listeners, because if everything is just smooth sailing and if that's all we learn, we really… How are we gonna face our own struggles to day by day?

[08:25] Joel: So, David, let me just kind of ask you this. Now, how did this start to tumble downhill?

[08:34] David Amerland: Well, my job was fantastic. It's one of those jobs where you pretty much write it yourself, which is pretty much what I had done. So, it really suited me. But in any corporate environment, it takes everything you had and then some. So, I was putting in 18-hour days, I had to travel a lot within the UK for the business. I was always on the road sometimes. And you sort of keep your form without thinking a lot about what you're doing. And although it's great and you're enjoying it, you never sort of show what it's doing for you at a personal level, at the psychological level if you like. So, when my dad passed away, it was a moment of deep reflection for me.

[09:23] David Amerland: And although my job was fantastic, it wasn't really going to change very much. Every day was another challenge, every month was another challenge. You met others, and another after and then you met others, and then one after that. And although I had been married about 16 years by that time, that had transformed a little bit, so it wasn't quite where things were going. So, it made me look really hard at what I wanted to do and where I was heading, and that's when sort of things started unraveling a little bit.

[09:58] David Amerland: I decided to leave my job. And then, after a little bit more self-reflection and a lot of conversations with my ex-wife, we decided to call it a day, which was really traumatic for both of us, obviously. I make it sound very glib right now, but it was anything but as you can probably understand.

[10:14] Joel: Well, I can hear it in your voice, Dave, so I really appreciate you sharing that with us. So, let me ask you this. Remember your question, Pei, 'cause I know you got your hand up over there. So, when Pei and I are working with our clients or we are speaking to people, helping them set up their own relaunch, a lot of learning takes place and a lot of relearning.

[10:41] David Amerland: Absolutely.

[10:42] Joel: Right. And you learn or relearn about your potential, your possibilities, your value, and then also your possibilities. So, I'm curious, what were some of the things, in this self-reflection? And it sounds like brutal honesty period with yourself, what were some of those things that you learned about your potential possibilities, value, and worthiness, that would give you the juice to relaunch and rebuild?

[11:15] David Amerland: Well, what started the whole thing is really being very honest with myself, and that's the internal, looking in, part of it. So, although, outward is very successful, inwardly, I was not really as happy as I should be. I wasn't unhappy, but I wasn't really as fulfilled as I should be. And that honesty led to a lot of truths, which led eventually to my divorce and my leaving my job and trying to pick myself up from there.

[11:46] Pei: Yeah, so what was the final straw that made you want to leave your job? Because you said you were successful at it, you were solving challenges when… Yeah, for your company.

[12:05] David Amerland: Well, I wanted to make more of a difference. And although I was making a difference in the commercial sense, if you like, success in life has to be more than just making money. And that was, I think, a defining moment, and again, it sounds sort of cliche, but that's what it was.

[12:22] Joel: Now, let me ask you this, sorry to interrupt you, but that's a big point. So I don't want to gloss over that. Was that a surprise for you when you finally looked at yourself in the mirror and realized that success isn't more about making money, but it's making a difference?

[12:38] David Amerland: Yeah, because the company I was with was fantastic, it was a really good company. It's one of the first social business in the UK. So it does have a social component, but obviously has a very strong commercial component, which is where I was working at. And I was success… I was feeling pretty good about myself, because I was outwardly successful and everything was going smoothly. And then you start to sort of look at this in a very granular way. And then you realize that it's not quite what it should be, because although you are successful, it doesn't make you feel that great.

[13:13] David Amerland: And it was that feeling that actually started everything, I suppose. That became the, both the point at which my old life started crumbing, because I… Like I said, I quit my job and they tried really hard to keep me, and I said no. The divorce itself was very painful, and seeing how I was walking away, I did the right thing. I didn't sort of argue about splitting the house, or splitting the cars, I said, “I'm gonna… Keep that, I'm walking away.” With a fairly sort of ungrounded confidence in my ability to pick myself up very quickly.

[13:59] Pei: So it sounded like right during and after that time, you spent some time trying to figure out who you are, who David really is about, so… And I don't know actually if you even knew at that time what your next step would have been.

[14:20] Joel: Yeah, did you by the way?

[14:22] Pei: Yeah, take us there.

[14:22] Pei: No, I didn't. I mean what I did is I took stock of what I could actually do. And that was, I could write, and I had intimate knowledge about the web, search, and marketing.

[14:33] Joel: Okay.

[14:34] David Amerland: So, based on those tools I thought, “Well, I can find a job.” Which I did relatively quickly working for a studio. And then I'm going to really try and work out what I need to do for myself. And that took a little bit longer obviously.

[14:47] Joel: Sure, okay. Okay. So go ahead, Pei.

[14:49] Pei: Yeah, I thought that's really smart. To find a position that you feel like is more aligned for where you wanna contribute, and slowly building your own business.

[15:02] Joel: Well, at this part what he did is, he took inventory of what…

[15:06] Pei: Yes.

[15:06] Joel: He knew he was good at. And that's one of things that I encourage you to do, Pei, when we're speaking is, what can you do well? Or if that's a stretch. And sometimes it is. What do other people say that you can do well? Because sometimes that triggers a light bulb going off right there. What else did you learn that you could do well?

[15:34] David Amerland: Well what I learned was that I could actually be entirely honest with myself which is really hard. And it became harder as time went on because once you start the process, it's fairly painful.

[15:46] Joel: Of course.

[15:46] David Amerland: And then it becomes… And that, funnily enough, that honesty with myself then began to translate itself in many other parts of my life. Not that there was false before, but having been a corporate animal sometime…

[15:59] Pei: Yeah.

[16:00] David Amerland: You're anything but transparent, right? [chuckle] It's the name of the game. And you sort of play the corporate games, and you form alliances, and you fight with internal power politics, and I was really good at that. So it took a lot of the stripping off of layers of my past…

[16:17] Joel: Layers.

[16:17] David Amerland: To actually get at to what I am today.

[16:20] Joel: Layers of your past, love that.

[16:21] Pei: Right. And like he said, that took some time. And that kind of a journey is a byproduct of our growth almost, because you didn't expect that was gonna happen, right?

[16:35] David Amerland: No. I mean, what happens is when things begin to crumble, everything happens really fast. So you're reacting more than acting. And then as you walk away from that, you always overestimate your own capacity to rebound. So, you're caught between two almost… Between a rock and a hard place, in many ways because you can't go back. You have to move on. Move on and move on fast. And at the same time, the idea of how you're going to move on is always hyperinflated in your own mind.

[17:08] Joel: Absolutely. It always seems like a bigger deal than it actually is.

[17:14] David Amerland: Yeah, yeah.

[17:15] Joel: Yeah. Go ahead.

[17:17] David Amerland: I was gonna say, so it did take a few… A little bit of time for me to actually begin to gain the solidity I needed in order to be where I am today.

[17:26] Joel: Indeed.

[17:27] Pei: Yeah. I can almost sense a feeling of freedom when you can actually see the core of who you are and be okay and celebrate that.

[17:40] David Amerland: Mmm, well, yes, absolutely. But it's also tampered by a lot of fear because the moment you do that, I mean let's face it, there's absolutely nowhere to hide. You can't… Because it's just you now, right? You can't say it's not me anymore…

[17:52] Pei: So true.

[17:53] David Amerland: Because it is.

[17:55] Joel: So how did you get past the fear?

[17:59] David Amerland: Well, it was a gradual thing, I suppose. It started with… When my first book came out in 2010, that's when I left that studio, which I was working for, and I decided to go into full-time writing. And the only way you can do that, really, is if you start actually looking at the things which you do need to now deliver solid volume. And the only way you can do that is by actually addressing the real needs of your audience, which means there has to be a real connect between you and them inside your head.

[18:30] Joel: Wow. That is… Go ahead…

[18:33] David Amerland: And that's how the process really started. And…

[18:37] Joel: I love that.

[18:38] David Amerland: And for me, it really solidified around 2012, which is not that long ago. When I… I was one of the first few people to join Google Plus at the time, and that brought me in very direct contact with a huge part of my audience. And the contact was very immediate, there was no publisher in between to sort of act as a relay point for letters. I wasn't reading press reviews secondhand or anything like that. It was like, “Bang!” Here you are. You post something or say something, they respond immediately. And that accelerated that process for me.

[19:14] Joel: Indeed. We're on Google Plus, too, and it's just another very, very real, relevant platform, where we can create those connections.

[19:23] David Amerland: Absolutely.

[19:26] Joel: So, we've got about eight, nine minutes left here, David, really appreciate your time. And I can just hear the sincerity in your voice. I'm not gonna pretend to know what it was like when you were experiencing those things, I'm just going to admire and respect you for being able to share that with us today. So, thank you again.

[19:48] David Amerland: You're welcome.

[19:50] Joel: Moving right into the practical part of the show, and that's kind of where we come in for a landing on here. There's a lot of books here that you can draw information from. Again, “Google Plus Hangouts for Business,” that's one of them. “SEO Help,” that's another one. That gives you the 20 steps that you need to get your website to Google's number one page. “Online Marketing Help” is another book. If you can just kind of boil it down to a handful of principles that we can take with us today and use in our business without additional training, additional courses, additional books, things of that nature, that would be very, very helpful.

[20:36] David Amerland: Okay. And I'm very glad you brought this up, because in many ways, we're going back to the Golden Age of the past, or the pre-industrial revolution, if you can think of it in that term. And in that world, there was no real glib advertising, everything was very relationship-based, because it's very localized, you went to village square… You went into the village square and people sort of tried to sell you things, but they did it in a very relational way, because they knew you.

[20:58] Pei: Yes.

[20:59] David Amerland: And that personal contact changed everything, because they gave you information to help you make the best decision. You knew that if anything went wrong with your purchase, you could go right back to them. Everything was reputationally-driven and relationship-based. And it took us 100 years to get away from that and get into the faceless marketing of the large corporations and the very slick world. And now we're going back to that because of semantic search and the semantic web, which are defined by individual identity. And the moment you're defined by that, then your reputation begins to count again.

[21:36] David Amerland: Which means that, from a business point of view, there are two things you can do, which you should always try to do. First of all, try to get your personality out there. Try to find your audience, not an audience. Because your audience, arguably, is nobody eles' but yours. They can't be taken away from you; they're linked to you by your personality, by the way you do things, by the way you say things, and how you connect with them. And the second thing you should be doing is, what we should always have been doing and didn't in the past, which is building relationships.

[22:06] David Amerland: For the very same reason that's the only way they can actually connect with people who will then actually become our customers or recommend us to potential customers, and broaden our digital footprint when we're working online. And if you do those two things, irrespective of whatever business you're in, it takes time, it takes effort, it takes a lot of considerate action, but it always delivers a win.

[22:30] Joel: You know, and I really appreciate you sharing that, because one of the mistakes that I've made as an entrepreneur and as a podcaster is I've always thought about, “Create a community. Create a community. Create a community.” And so for years, David, I would try to establish a community on whichever social media platform that I wanted to try. And then I would grab a bunch of people, random people and kind of throw them into a room together.


[23:03] Pei: And he's good at that, too.

[23:06] Joel: And I'm good at it, so, obviously, I kind of always do that. It's one of those things that I cannot not do. But you know what happened when I got a room full of people, they kind of just all sat there, wondered why they were there, and nobody said anything.

[23:21] David Amerland: Yes. Because your thinking is absolutely right, in terms of community, in a traditional sense of marketing. But it was wrong, in terms of, you just had to throw anybody in there. You really have to find your people. And the moment they're your people, they're there for you. They actually… It's going back to the village of the past where, when everybody knew almost everybody.

[23:41] Joel: Indeed.

[23:44] David Amerland: And that created a matrix of relationships where everything simply seemed to be capable of getting done. If you wanted something done, you knew somebody who knew somebody who would do it for you. And that's the way things worked.

[23:57] Pei: I love the word of your choice, “the matrix of communities” 'cause currently, within the last two weeks, a few ladies actually contacted us and we got on the phone and we viewed this ReLaunch Fan Club currently only for ladies. And in two weeks, we actually end up growing to almost a 100, and the conversation there is exactly the kind of conversation we do want.

[24:29] Joel: Okay, David Amerland is our guest today. Davidamerland.com is the place to go but a better place to go or an equal place to go is our broadcast show notes, it's the blog that accompanies this article. And of course, what we'll do for him is what we do for all of our guests, and that is, to include all of the social media hot spots, plus links to his books.

[24:53] Pei: Absolutely. And actually now we have transcripts, if you really like to read some of the golden nuggets David's sharing here.

[25:02] Joel: And one of the reasons that we choose to include transcripts with the lion's share of our shows is because they can also be used by the deaf community.

[25:12] Pei: Yes.

[25:13] Joel: And one of our biggest fans is… She's known as Deaf Mom on Twitter.

[25:17] Pei: Right. She lost her hearing water skiing as a teenager.

[25:22] Joel: One of our biggest fans and she just loves, loves, loves the transcripts. So make yourself available or make those available to you as well. Dave, thank you so much for being on the show today and for sharing with us. You're welcome back here on ReLaunch anytime. Really appreciate your time.

[25:39] David Amerland: Thank you very much for inviting me. I absolutely love the conversation here.

[25:43] Joel: Have a wonderful rest of your day. Bye-bye.

[25:45] David Amerland: Yeah, you too. Bye-bye.

Connect with David on Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and his website.

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Joel Boggess

Keynote Speaker | Corporate Trainer | Award-winning podcaster I help teams ignite their courage, take bolder steps, and get greater results. Together, we create possibilities that bring empowerment, meaning, and financial impact.

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