In today’s interview, we are happy to introduce you to Ashley Faulkes, the founder of Mad Lemmings, an extremely valuable resource that helps thousands of people build outstanding WordPress websites that attract customers!
Victoria Galperina: Could you please tell our blog readers a bit about yourself and your business?
Ashley Faulkes: I am originally from Australia, but have been living in Switzerland for about 15 years. I started out here as a web developer but switched to web design and SEO about three years ago after being stuck at home after a skiing accident.
My business, Mad Lemmings, is all about helping businesses get found on Google. I like to use a combination of great web design and amazing content to help businesses get more traffic. But not just any traffic, traffic that gets them customers.
VG: How and when did you decide to start Mad Lemmings?
AF: I started Mad Lemmings as a blog, but it soon became a business when I realized what I knew was worth selling as a service. At first, I focused more on WordPress web design, but have since started working more in SEO.
This web design/SEO combination is actually quite useful as SEO is usually not worthwhile unless your site is well optimized too.
VG: Please describe your typical work day. How do you manage your time?
AF: I like to start my day going through the less difficult stuff while I take in a coffee or two. That means emails, social media and less brain-draining things like that.
I then focus on my current clients, depending on the phase of the project, that could mean part of a day or all day.
I also allocate a portion of my day, usually afternoons, to non-client projects such as any blog posts I am working on, outreach for link building (to my site), guest posting or at the moment – creating my next online course.
Of course, other random things pop up like a bit of mountain biking if the weather is good, or a Skype call with friends in Australia. But that is less planned and more depending on my workload.
VG: What do you enjoy most about your work?
AF: What really motivates me is seeing my clients achieve results.
I don't like working with people who are not focused or don't appreciate what I do. Not just because it is not fun, but more because it is harder to achieve anything. And that is ultimately what motivates me.
I want my clients to succeed (more traffic, more customers, more money) and seeing that happen makes my day.
VG: What was the toughest decision you had to make in your life? And what did you learn from it?
AF: I must say that deciding not to go back to work after my skiing accident seemed easy, but actually turned out to be quite tough.
Why? Because it is more difficult to start a business online than most people realize. Especially when I had no one around me who understood what I was doing.
It is still like that in many ways, as few of my direct friends or family understand what I do. However, as Mad Lemmings has succeeded, it is at least easier to justify why I don't have a "real job."
From all of this experience I learned that almost anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Sure, it can be tough, but persistence usually wins in the end.
VG: When it comes to WordPress websites, what is your advice to people who are just thinking about starting their own website? Where should they start?
AF: The key with all online business is to first know if you have a viable product/service from research and testing.
You may think you have a good idea, but the only way to know is to find out if people are willing to buy.
So although rushing out and building a website, creating your business cards and all the rest can be fun, it is not smart if you don't know whether your idea even works/sells.
But, once you start with your website, I would also advise to go slow. It does not have to be a work of art, or anywhere near perfect in the beginning. Just get the minimum online and improve it as you get more time and money. Think MVP with everything you do - Minimum Viable Product. At least in the early stages.
VG: What role does affiliate marketing play in your overall marketing strategy?
AF: Because I started as a blogger, affiliate marketing was one of the best ways for me to make some extra cash. That is still the case, but my services business (SEO and WordPress) has taken over from there.
Affiliate marketing can be a great income stream, but I still like to do my own thing where I can.
VG: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
AF: Spare time? I wish I had more.
I live in beautiful Switzerland and actually moved here for work, but also because of the mountains. So, I do a lot of outdoor sports. Mountain biking, Hiking, Stand up Paddling, Skiing (until I shattered my leg :>).
I also do a little magic as a hobby, although that has kinda died as my business has grown. But I still get outside a lot.
VG: Where do you see yourself in the future? Are you already planning any new endeavors?
AF: As things progress even further in my business, I am looking at launching a new course later this year. Perhaps this will move me more in the digital products area than services, where I make most of my money now.
I am also starting to do more webinars and local speaking events. So, that might change things too.
Nothing ever stops as an entrepreneur, and that is why we love it!
Thank you for taking your time and sharing your expertise with us, Ashley!
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