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Career Day: From janitor to CEO of a $10M/yr global marketing agency

Episode Overview

What does it take to go from being an unemployed grad with no job prospects doing odd jobs and surviving on $12 a day, to running a multimillion dollar global marketing company with over 60 employees? Garrett Mehrguth, CEO at Directive shares the sheer determination and dynamism of his journey from doing janitorial work to growing his $10M/y marketing agency into a success.

  • What’s it like building a consulting business from the ground floor while you’re doing multiple jobs to get by and building up small clients so they can rank at the top of Google?
  • With little money, how do you inspire employees to hold up your values and deliver for your clients?
  • What is Garrett’s approach to personal development, growth, attitude, and consistency?
  • What is Garrett’s concept of “discoverability” in search?
  • How do you unlock explosive growth based on sales data versus marketing data?


Episode Transcript

Ben:                 Welcome to Career Day on the voices of search podcast. Today we’re going to learn about the skills accumulated and lessons learned from a great SEO throughout the various stops on his career. Joining us for Career Day is the owner of a quickly expanding search consultancy. Garrett Mehrguth is the CEO at Directive, which is a B2B and enterprise search marketing agency that companies trust to scale their business. Direct of supports, customers with SEO, PPC, content marketing and social media, driven by powerful analytics and a dedicated team of specialists. But before we hear from Garrett, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics. We are an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise scale businesses monitor their online presence and make data driven decisions and we’d like to invite you our loyal podcast listeners to our upcoming webinar where we’ll discuss how SEO and SEM are joining forces to win the syrup. On June 19th, Tyson Stockton Searchmetrics is director of services and Leslie to three Q digital’s VP of SEO. We’ll dive into ways you can combine your paid on organic search marketing to be more effective together.

Ben:                 To register for our SEO and SEM joining forces Webinar, go to okay. Here’s our interview with Garrett Mehrguth, the CEO of Directive. Garrett, welcome to the voices of search podcast.

Garrett:            Hey, thanks for having me, Ben. Glad to be here and excited to chat with you and your audience.

Ben:                 I’m excited to have you on the show and a have to start off by saying, what on Earth are you doing here? You had a baby less than two days ago, your first child and you are joining us to be on a podcast.

Garrett:            Yeah, I mean I’ve got a great team here and this is like my only thing today so I’ll hop on for a little bit of time with you and your audience and then back to taking care of the babies. So it’s a crazy balance of trying to be 100% on the family and a hundred percent on the company. But I’m enjoying the process. And last night after bringing the baby home, went to Ikea, built out a full Home Office, I got the new noise canceling headphones so I can work right next to the baby and take care of her. But I hadn’t had a chance to actually try the headphones out yet. I guess they have noise canceling mic too, which I just hadn’t had a chance to try. Like literally I bought it, rushed here and hopped on here. I’ll rush home right after. So, so glad to be here.

Ben:                 Let me be the first one from hopefully the SEO community. Definitely on behalf of Searchmetrics to say congratulations and there is no amount of noise cancellation a pair headphones can bring you to prepare you for what’s going to happen in the next months and years of your life, but very exciting times for the Mehrguth family and we’re excited to have you here on the show. Let’s talk a little bit about your professional background outside of being an obvious workaholic and you know, a new parent. Tell us a little bit about how you got into SEO and about your background. How did, how’d you get into search?

Garrett:            Yeah, so search, the way I kind of got into it was I was trying to figure out marketing in general. I want to kind of get into management consulting. So I did my master’s when I was about 21 years old and was trying to get into management consulting. The university I graduated from didn’t really give me that as an option with the way it works since that I was trying to go to the Boston Bain, Deloitte, McKinsey, and you can’t go from Azusa Pacific University directly into those places, even on an internship program because your university isn’t in their pick list. They don’t tell you about that in orientation day when you’re trying to choose a university, they don’t tell you that the university you select is going to greatly affect your ability to get A level internships or job opportunities in a real way. So I had no idea, but when I didn’t get into Boston, Bain, McKinsey, or Deloitte and kind of had to apply as “other” from their online kind of hiring portal, I got the auto reply that says, you know, we’re no longer interested or not accepting right now.

Garrett:            I decided, you know what, I’ll start my own agency and one day they’ll have to acquire me. No clue what I was going to do. No real hard skills. But I kind of had this belief that perception is reality. And so, you know, when I was playing soccer and club and all that growing up, I would train kids. People knew I was a good player. I was on the top team in the country. I figured, okay, I can leverage that at the local store so that everybody came in to buy shoes, could also be a customer. I’d ride my bike and hand out flyers at all the fields and I started eventually, you know I had 15 or so kids that I was training. So I learned from that, that essentially if you have a skill, ask yourself how you can leverage it. And if you don’t have a skill, figure out a skill that other people would at least pay you for based on your reality, Aka your age.

Garrett:            And so I figured, okay, older men and women who have money and have companies, they don’t understand the Internet and, and I’m okay at it, not great myself if I’m being honest. Like I didn’t even get Instagram until like a junior in college. So I figured heck, I could probably figure it out. So I just went on Moz, search engine land, search engine journal, and I read everything that they had written, like for hours and hours. And I just had a little motto called learn, engage, create. So if I could learn something new every day, engage with it and I can create more value for myself and our customers. And so I just read probably every post that they had written for the previous four years on every one of the major blogs in the industry. And next thing you know, start feeling little more comfortable on it.

Garrett:            And it’s just mostly just learning, practicing canal mound like side stuff where I could. But then I started selling social media calendars and databases on Fiverr. So that was kind of where my first search engine was actually the Fiverr engine. And I figured out how to kind of get on Fiverr’s homepage with the title tags and my gigs and the videos and my descriptions and my tags. And when I did all that I was like, this is really powerful. I wonder if I could figure out other search engines that kind of what got me excited. And I liked the process of like learning how algorithms and systems and just anything kind of works. And yeah, that was kind of my start.

Ben:                 So you walked out of college thinking that you were going to go be a management consultant and found that you were having difficulty because the profile, the college that you went to and you decided to be a self-starter and go the school of hard knocks MBA and do the real work and the hard work of learning SEO yourself. You mentioned that you know the Fiverr search engine was the first one that you mastered. Talk to me about what roles you had coming out of college and how are you able to get, how are you able to pay your bills as you were starting a consulting practice?

Garrett:            Yeah, I mean, so during college I was elude or Socrates senior doing all that. So I was pretty involved there. I did my degree in three years, so I did my degree economics in three years. And then I did my master’s my fourth year. So I was always pretty busy with school. But I also had about, I was working at the Chamber of Commerce for the city. I was working custodial in the summer, so I would clean bathrooms from like five to two or six to two each day. I forget the day times. And then I would work in events. So like after chapel or after sporting events I’d tear down or put up. So I was always pretty busy. I had two or three jobs, kept soccer team, you know, doing school, all that stuff. And then after school I had my graduation party. And if anyone’s younger out there, what you do is you just find all your most successful family friends and even if you really know them or not, you invite them to your graduation party.

Garrett:            And I just kind of try to talk to them and figure out if I could get an internship with them. So got an internship with a couple of them. So I was doing two internships while I was finishing up my master’s program and I was doing Fiverr, so I’d like to do contractor gigs in Fiverr. And that was what helped me pay the bills. You know, I was living on like 12/13 bucks a day. So if you stay pretty humble, you can do that. And then I just had a little moped and that’s when I started kind of handing out flyers. So I had a 1973 Peugeot and yeah, started, handing out flyers for this business. I found on Go Daddy for directive consulting at a little Go Daddy one page site, pretty horrible, and eventually got a Persian restaurant that I liked. He, he wanted me to help him.

Garrett:            It wasn’t even searched at the time, it was just like marketing consulting. So I was helping them get Facebook, Yelp, flyers handed out. Just like really, really basic stuff. So yeah, I’ve worked with them for about 30 days. Came to get my check and he said come back tomorrow. And a whole place was boarded up. So that’s the very first ever contract in the history of Directive. I got the grease stains, it’s in my office still. And yeah, that was the whole place was boarded up. So from there I kind of learned to pre-bill and all sorts of other lessons. But yeah, that’s kind of the start.

Ben:                 So you really had a grounds up way of building a consulting business where you’re piecing together multiple different jobs, everything from custodial, handing out flyers and eventually you’re starting with some, you know, relatively small clients, you know, a restaurant that happened to have folded before they would actually pay you. Sounds like at a minimum a grass roots way of approaching marketing and a, you know, your consultancy has grown to be a relatively large team and you know, you’ve been successful in growing an independent consulting business. Talk to me a little bit about how you’ve grown and matured your business.

Garrett:            Yeah, I mean I never had any intention of being anything other than where I’m headed and I’m not there yet. And so, you know, from the moment I started it, I bought, my best friend who used to go to law school. He was my best friend from freshman year high school, roommates all through college. I told him not to go to law school, join me. He became my business partner and I taught him everything I had learned from reading all those articles. And you know, I had that one side and then eventually the first SEO client was a hookah shop. Got them to rank number one. I think he paid me 200 bucks a month. My best friend’s Dad, his dad was a plumber, my dad was a cabinet guy, so both pretty blue collar. His Dad, you know, became our second client, got him to rank number one.

Garrett:            So I kind of just wanted to treat every client like a case study and just work really hard and show how passionate I was and just make the right decision, you know, take the high road till you run out of air. And that was it if I’m being honest, I never had any other intention of being the biggest and I always invested a ton in our own marketing and sales, a ton of money and effort and time into that growth. That’s why I’m doing this podcast today, obviously to get our brand out there and talk to your audience, hopefully inspire or help some other young men or women whose trying to get started. But yeah, for me it wasn’t anything other than hard work. And then, you know, I had the vision of being the biggest search agency in the world and you know, we’re on our way. I think we’re getting there, especially in the B2B space that we’re in right now. I think we might already be pretty close. And on the enterprise side definitely, you know, have some strides to make still some large, large players that have been in the market for 10 plus more years than us. But we’re doing just fine.

Ben:                 So talk to me about some of the projects that you’ve taken on and how have you grown so quickly?

Garrett:            Yeah, I mean we, well I like to eat, we eat our own caviar. So if you search SEO agency, I think we’re number one or number two, you know, we spent probably anywhere between $600,000 a month on sales and marketing pretty easily, which is a ton, if you’re familiar with consulting firms. Most of them rely on referrals and references, but when you know you’re a kid and you’re getting started, you know, like if I started now I could grow this firm much differently due to my portfolio brand and experience. But when you’re first getting started, you know, you only know pretty much the smallest accounts possible on the market and those are all you have and what you start to learn is the networking effects of small counts as small accounts sell small accounts, medium accounts sell medium accounts and big accounts sell big accounts. And if you’re relying on referrals and stuff, you’ll end up with a very high volume, okay

Garrett:            Agency. And so for me, I was just wanting to be the best and, and I don’t mean anything against those high volume of search firms. When I say high volume, I mean, you know, having hundreds or thousands of accounts. But what I learned is yes, you can deliver a world class service for the price, but you can’t deliver a truly world class service based on all options available and have that many accounts. This is not really a reality. And professional services, you have to be okay with volume and high churn or few accounts and high quality. And so I decided, you know, I wanted fewer accounts. It’s a higher quality, like we’ve got to, I think if I had a couple pretty blue chip insurance companies for about three years, I think I got one of them when I was about 23/24 years old and always kept them. You know, we did the global SEO for Cisco I think two years ago, 10 cents Samsung. So you know a lot of pretty pretty cool firms and a lot of mid-market and enterprise B2B software firms that are very large in their industry and they’re just not household names. This large part of our portfolio was B2B software. But you know, they’re, they’re large in their markets, but they’re not necessarily household names.

Ben:                 So Garrett, here’s what sticks out to me is, you know, you mentioned, hey, look I couldn’t go to a top tier school. I couldn’t get into the consulting businesses I wanted. All right I get that right. And that’s fine. And I was working some janitorial jobs and I did some stuff on Fiverr and I got some clients and I’m sitting here thinking, okay, well this guy’s running an independent consultancy and he’s, you know, starting to hire some people, the business is growing and then you drop the bomb of, oh by the way, when you search for SEO Agency, we’re fourth in Google and I’m sure it’s different for everybody, but like, oh by the way, you know, I was doing some janitorial stuff a couple of years ago, couple of years out of college and we’re bringing on some pretty heavy hitters in, in the technology industry. We’re, we’re bringing on Cisco as a client.

Ben:                 We have some industry, like, there is something that does not connect about how you’re positioning this story in the sense of I was, you know, scrubbing toilets and now I’m fourth in… You know, fourth in Google for SEO agencies and I’ve got a team of something like 60 people running an independent consulting business. Help me connect the dots here. The headline here is I went from scrubbing toilets and working on Fiverr to 59 people work for me and I run an SEO consulting agency. It cannot be as simple as I read Maus. Like give me the secret sauce here because you’re clearly doing something that is working.

Garrett:            Well. It kind of is that simple that’s the funniest part and that’s what’s so hard about the search marketing game is it actually is that simple because our industry has done such an amazing job of publishing their thoughts and opinions online and that’s why I try to give back like this is the keys are out there. The real question is can you inspire men and women to hold up your same values and deliver for the clients like you would? Can you manage a sales and marketing team? Like we have no funding. Like I started this thing with 20 bucks. So can you understand how finances work well enough to recognize how to maintain your gross profit while scaling and deliver quality? And so no, no. It really actually is that simple for anyone out there. The question is, are you willing to do anything and everything the right way 100% of the time from the conversations you have to men and women at your firm that one day might screw you over or,

Garrett:            They might to the client who wants to sue you for no reason. For all those tiny little moments, can you make the right decision and have wisdom and if yeah, then it’s really actually not impossibly hard. It’s just that ability to self-regulate yourself and inspire others and hold others accountable by holding yourself accountable, then you can build something really special. There isn’t any secret sauce other than showing up every day and busting your butt. It doesn’t matter if you’re cleaning toilets or anything else, like you have to figure out how you can be the best at every little thing you do, not just the things you care about, but the things that you don’t care about. Can you get yourself to care enough to be better than everyone else at the things you hate? And once you get to that point in your life as a man or as a woman, as a leader, then you can do anything in the world that you want.

Garrett:            It’s just a matter of effort and diligence.

Ben:                 So I appreciate the sense of being driven and needing to not just do the things that you feel comfortable or specifically fascinated about, but doing the things that need to get done to be efficient. Let’s talk about marketing because you’re clearly delivering results to be able to scale. And you mentioned that you know you’re a search consultancy, so not just necessarily running a SEO business, but a combination of SEO and some other channels. Talk to me about some of the ways that you’ve been able to provide value for your consulting practices and what are some of the other things that people who are interested in running independent consulting businesses can do to be more effective?

Garrett:            Yeah, I think, and by the way, just Ben, I think as a side note, the theory really does apply. Like I was shooting a hundred…do you play golf at all Ben?

Ben:                 Badly.

Garrett:            Okay. So I was shooting like one 10 to one 20, 9 months ago and I just shot at 78, so like the principles that I’m talking about have nothing to do with search, when it comes to growth and personal development. It’s about attitude and consistency. The barrier to entry to success is so freaking low it scares me. I only practiced 30 minutes a day for nine months straight, 30 minutes, and I was able to take, you know, 20/30 strokes off my game. My point is, is a lot of us want to be the best at something, but don’t spend 30 minutes a day reading on it and that’s just hypocrisy at its finest. And so my point is, is the barrier to entry to success is so low, it should, should startle you, and you don’t have to do that much to beat 99.9% of the population.

Ben:                 I’ll be honest, Garrett, like I said, when we started this conversation I was like, Oh, where’s this going to go? It seems like, you know, we’re like, don’t take this the wrong way. Like you might not be a legitimate guest. I was worried that it was going to be like, oh, our clients are, you know, small businesses that are restaurants that have closed up shop. And I was worried about relevance for the SEO Community that’s listening to this. And as it turns out, you are this incredibly driven, motivated entrepreneur who is simplifying what it takes to be successful down to just do some work. Just read some stuff.

Garrett:            Well here’s the thing with search jokes.

Garrett:            I want to make sure your audience has something here, Ben. And I think what you have to do to be successful in anything, figure out horribly simple things differently. You have to pick an enemy and you have to create a villain in whatever you do. And it doesn’t have to be about the villain, but you have to figure out what’s wrong in your industry that no one else is noticing. And then figure out how to distill that in a really simple way. So here’s what I’ve found in search and what no one’s talking about and I’m obsessed with, and it’s the concept of discoverability. See, what no one understands and always forgets is people come to you for SEO and PPC first and foremost to make their brands, I want to be crystal clear here, not their websites, their brands discoverable for the products and services they sell.

Garrett:            So what I mean by that is historically the reason our practice exists and why I get to be in search is because one day someone found out about Google and they were like, wait, how do I get my business to show up there? How do I get my products or services to show up there? It’s the theory of discoverability. Now it became to along the way was hacks and tricks and us for Google and all this BS that keeps you horribly unfocused and horribly unsuccessful. And so I kind of have pioneered this idea that I used to call share of syrup and now call discoverability because who cares about sharing syrup and a lot of people care about discoverability and I’ve actually written the book on it, I’m trying to get it published right now and I’m building software and tools around it, but it’s a concept that when someone searches for the products and services you sell, you need to make your brand more discoverable.

Garrett:            Now, the reason I say brand and it’s so important, is if you’re sitting here in your computer, you can search the keyword top ERP software, okay? This is important because what you’re going to find the search set and then you’re going to find a bunch of third party sites. This is what I call the Yelp and Amazon effect. What’s happened is consumers who won’t buy a breakfast Burrito for $7 and 50 cents without looking it up on Yelp, aren’t going to buy an ERP software for $750,000 without looking it up online, okay? Now what that means is Google understands that, and so they’re really pushing and promoting comparison shopping across the binder, now especially when the timing is most right. See, search marketing is one of the most highly dependent marketing channels in the world. What I mean by that is you can only show up when someone’s searching and you can decide the value of showing up based on the intent they have in the queries that they’re putting for what they’re looking for.

Garrett:            In other words, if they modify their category of ERP software with top best reviews, they’re at the buying stage when they search, what is ERP software? They’re at the discovery phase and you want to be discoverable in both, but you can’t weight them the same. Now the problem is there’s a lot of SEOs and a lot of PPCs are out there thinking that the game’s the same, but it’s completely changed and this is why they’re experiencing diminishing marginal returns. See, what’s happened is they’re trying to drive leads based on the amount of times they show up for the volume of keywords, not the amount of times they show up for the right keywords, in other words, and they’re only worried about their website, not their brand. Okay. So what you have to understand is if you can show up on Capterra GT crowd GetApp software advice and other sites that are at the bottom of the funnel for BB software, you’re making your brand 100% discoverable.

Garrett:            And the way you know it was important, right, is cause the number one result in Google has a 28/30% click through rate, while the ads regardless of position hover between two and three on average. So let’s say a hundred people search top ERP software and your SAP, you have a world class spot, you have all these things but you’re grinding on him cause you’re not showing up for this keyword. Now the truth is is your website won’t ever show up on this keyword because it’s not the best answer to the person’s query. What is comparison shopping? And so you need to as an SEO or as a PBC, put yourself on these third party review sites. Because when you’re looking at your Google ads data and your search, you’re finding that these people who click on your ad 3% of the time are converting.

Garrett:            So why don’t you just connect to your volume and take out an ad and be number one on the list for the number one spot. And you see the theory of discoverability is that you need to make your brand more discoverable when it matters not more discoverable when it doesn’t. You see most SEO and PPC, they look at the process of getting more traffic as getting more keywords instead of taking market share around the right keywords and by reversing this logic and reallocating funding based on cost per deal, not cost per acquisition. In other words, doing search marketing on sales data, not marketing data. You can do a very good job with time. You can unlock explosive growth for companies that already have market share or brands. And that’s kind of the key.

Ben:                 So that’s what I’m talking about. So as it turns out, well you’re starting this interview off by talking about, well I was doing some janitorial and some work on Fiverr and I had a restaurant client. It turns out you’re world class SEO and not just a world class SEO, but understanding the customer mindset and what the customer journey is and being able to map that to whether SEO or performance marketing, PPC or social media are the right different channels. So the interesting thing to me, cause this is a career day episode, is thinking about the growth for you going from, I wanted to learn a little bit about SEO, so I started reading some articles on Maus to becoming an outstanding and capable marketer that is across multiple different channels related to search and visibility. So talk to me about what you’ve done to not only expand your mind, right. Obviously there’s a lot of hard hustle, a lot of hard work and the right mindset, but what are some of the practical tips that you’ve had to go from, I’m hungry and I want to learn this to I’m a world class expert in marketing across multiple channels.

Garrett:            It all comes down to context Ben. I think so many people are really good at SEO but can’t tie their shoes in life or in finance.

Ben:                 I love it.

Garrett:            Or anything that matters. SEO doesn’t intrinsically in isolation matter. It doesn’t, it doesn’t do anything for anybody in isolation when it’s a really perfect fitting piece of a puzzle, it’s magical. And so for me, I maybe spent 5% of my time reading on SEO and 95% of my time reading on leadership, finance, economics, marketing, business, and all the other pieces that allow me to actually communicate a strategy. You see, you don’t understand how gross profit works, how can you effectively pitch the most or the least expensive cost per acquisition channel in the market and SEO? You’re actually missing out on the greatest reason why an in house enterprise marketer needs to be funding this channel because it’s the only one that’s experiencing increasing marginal returns instead of decreasing marginal returns.

Garrett:            Right? So if you’re doing PPC, every time a new competitor enters the marketplace, it drives up the auction price for your most successful terms.

Ben:                 And you have to pay a toll every time you go through the toll booth.

Garrett:            Exactly. Now the problem is, is that at a certain point that cost per click increases more than you’re able to increase your conversion rate to counterbalance it or your ability to increase your price. So eventually, regardless of how successful you are from paid, you are going to experience diminishing marginal returns, especially as incumbents enter the marketplace and also drive down price. Nobody enters the marketplace and increases your price point. And so when you put all these pieces of just reality together, it helps you communicate a balanced strategy that grows someone’s cash, not just their revenue and understanding the difference in revenue and cash and why it all matters, that’s really the key and that’s what makes the difference between a great marketer and a good marketer is understanding everything outside of marketing.

Ben:                 Last question I have for you. You’ve gone from somebody who was hungry, willing to put in the work, but inexperienced, to running an agency or consultancy of 60 plus people in four different locations internationally in a very short period of time. For people that have high aspirations like yourself, what advice do you have for them to go from, I want to learn a little bit about SEO to eventually becoming a consultancy owner that they might not think about when they are at the beginning of their journey.

Garrett:            Yeah. You gotta figure out what you want in life and what, what you want to be the best at, because you see, if I just wanted money, I would just take my three big clients or four big clients and now I’d make more money than I ever dreamed of a month with two employees. Okay. No headaches, more money that I could ever spend and do that, but that’s not what I’m truly passionate about. I’m really passionate about developing myself as a man and becoming a better leader and developing my character. And the best way to develop your character is to go through the fire and the biggest fires you ever go, trust me occur, the bigger your organization gets, the more you’re stretched with demands as a leader.

Garrett:            And so you have to ask yourself what you want to build based on your values. Like for us, we had to decide that we weren’t going to service really small business anymore because we could do a really good job serve this small business, frankly, I think better than anyone else could serve this small business but not as good as we could serve the small business. In other words, like there’s no magic for time and there’s no magic for cost and so great people are expensive and great work takes time. Small accounts take about the same amount of time as mid-market accounts. It’s not the same as enterprise, that’s a lie people haven’t done enterprise if they think that. Enterprise takes a lot more time than small business, but small business and mid-market are actually pretty much the same. The only difference is you make money on one and you don’t the other.

Garrett:            And the problem is it’s not even about you making the money. It’s the kind of company you want. You want to have a brand. You can’t do bad work for sustained amount of time because the damages of current revenue are so big that they’re going to drastically hinder any future revenue you can generate because the quality of your brand is dipping. And so if you want to become really successful in the agents and space, you’ve got to decide if you want to be big or you want to be small and there’s no problem being either. See if you want to be big, you’ve got to build it to be big and then decide if you want to have world-class deliverable or a world-class deliverable for a certain market. So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving a small business the best the small business can get.

Garrett:            But don’t lie to yourself or to them and say you’re the best anyone could get cause it’s not true, but always the best when you’re trying to build. That’s great. Now if you want to be a boutique firm and you want to just have more of a lifestyle and a little bit more freedom and a little less headaches than build that, but don’t expect you can have the lifestyle, the freedom and none of the headaches and be the biggest agency. So you just got to understand what it is that you’re truly passionate about. And then don’t get distracted when crap gets hard cause it’s what you asked for, like don’t be upset if you want to be the biggest agency and all of a sudden you know you have all these headaches and you’re stressed out. It’s like you want to be the biggest, what do you think? It’s going to be easy? And if you want to be a boutique firm, don’t keep trying to be the biggest if you’re not willing to hire a head, trust other people, allow them to do the work because you’re never going to be it. Right? So you just gotta decide what it is you want. As long as you stayed fully committed to that and all the realities that go along with it, you can be hyper successful at anything you do.

Ben:                 I think it’s amazing advice. I think understanding the impact of the journey that you’re heading down is 100% true. Thinking about whether you want to be an agency owner, an independent consultant working in house, something that we all struggle with. I think that the thing that resonated the most with me is you saying that you know you want to build yourself and to be the best possible man that you can, and I’m going to bring this full circle in my experience, the best way to do that is by having to show up every day and be a great parent. So again, let me just say congratulations on having a baby. I think your story is outstanding. It’s amazing the way that you’ve been able to be self-taught and develop a brand that has become a world class marketing agency is inspiring to me and I hope the other SEOs that are listening to this story learn from it as well. Congratulations and thanks for being our guest.

Garrett:            Thanks Ben. I got a baby to go home to and I’m so glad I could be on here

Ben:                 All right that wraps up this episode of the voices of search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversation with Garrett Mehrguth, the CEO at Directive. If you’d like to learn more about Garret, you can find a link to his Linkedin profile on our show notes. You can send him a tweet at Gmehrguth. Or you can visit his company’s website, which is Directive Consulting. If you have general marketing questions or if you’d like to talk about this podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes or you can send me a tweet at BenJShap. If you’re interested in learning more about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic online visibility or gain competitive insights, head over to for your complimentary advisory session with our digital strategies team, and if you’d like to join our webinar about the combination of SEO and SEM, go to if you liked this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app and we’ll be back at your feet next week.

Ben:                 Lastly, if you’ve enjoyed this podcast and you’re feeling generous, we’d love for you to leave us a review in the Apple iTunes store or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Okay, that’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.


Jordan Koene

Jordan Koene

Jordan Koene is the CEO of Searchmetrics Inc. a wholly owned subsidiary of Searchmetrics. Previously, Jordan was the Head of SEO and Content Development at eBay. During his time at eBay, Jordan focused on utilizing eBay content to improve user experience and natural search traffic.

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