Episode 58: John Vuong
Entrepreneur Conundrum Podcast
John Vuong helps businesses dominate their local market.
EC 01 | 4min
About The Guest
John is an owner and founder of a local SEO search, a boutique agency from Toronto Canada. He helps small and medium-sized businesses rank on Google and dominate their local market.
Virginia: [00:00:00] Hi everyone today, I’m talking with John Vuong about how he helps businesses dominate their local market. John is an owner and founder of a local SEO search, a boutique agency from Toronto Canada. He helps small and medium sized businesses rank on Google and dominate their local market. Welcome John.
[00:00:21] John: [00:00:21] Hi, Virginia.
[00:00:22] Thanks for having me fellow Canadian.
[00:00:24] Virginia: [00:00:24] You’re welcome. It’s awesome to have you here.So what kind of inspired you to become an entrepreneur and start this journey? You’re on.
[00:00:34]John: [00:00:34] How far should I go? So, how far back? So my parents came from Vietnam. They left the war. I was born shortly after arriving in a small town outside of Toronto called Hamilton, Ontario.
[00:00:47] And that’s where I grew up until I went to university, studied business finance, and really I had 20 jobs before I. I finished my university degree. I was ultra curious. I was trying to fit in because it was different growing up with not much, I would say because my parents didn’t know the language.
[00:01:09] When they came here, they sacrificed everything for the next generation, which was for us children. And we never had a sleepover. We didn’t really have a lot of toys. Travel was to Toronto once a year to see any right. So it was, I think a great life. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t know what other people were kind of living right. I knew we had really good support in terms of our strong family foundation, which was, we had each other, we had food shelter and that’s all we needed. Right. Like we played a lot. So it was a lot of fun. Fun. But again, I was curious to see why and how did people have cars? How did they travel on a plane?
[00:01:47] Right. I’ve never flew before. Right? All these things were just. Things that I wanted to at least experience. So growing up, just ultra curious, and then right after university, I got into advertising sales and I was doing that for 10 years and I was doing traditional advertising sales online affiliate No performance-based advertising sales.
[00:02:10] And then I worked at yellow pages group again, advertising sales. So I did everything in terms of sales from telemarketing outside Lewis station account management, you name it. I was. Like a true sales person, but I enjoyed the entire game of it all because it was all about learning their needs and desires.
[00:02:28] Right? Was very strong. Like I learned a lot about like storytelling, making the impact, listening, asking, and probing the right questions. So all that allowed me to start this agency actually, cause while working at yellow pages working with thousands of these business owners, I just felt like they gave me writing on the wall in terms of the trends, what they didn’t enjoy at yellow pages was they were spending more than ever not getting good, solid ROI, frustrated with what was happening and transitioning.
[00:02:59] And they wanted to go online digital, but they didn’t know who to trust, who to go to how it works because it was a new. Market altogether. Right. So think about business owners like dentists, lawyers, plumbers trades, people. They were so great at their profession. They were experts running small family run businesses, right.
[00:03:19] They understand how traditionally businesses brand took care of the customers. Understand unique selling proposition, understood value prop, it’s just servicing people. Well, pricing, well, competitive landscape, all that was foundational. Then you fast forward to this new digital landscape and they don’t even know where to start building a website, social media, email funnels, landing pages, and then everything in between from an affiliate to you name it.
[00:03:47] Right. I kind of dabbled in a lot of this stuff and. I didn’t know what, I didn’t know, like going in and running a SEO agency. I had no SEO skillset. I was not technically inclined. I just knew there was a marketplace where there was a need where business owners just wanted to go online, but I had to figure out how to then perform and make it happen.
[00:04:10] Right. So I sold and I sold a lot at the beginning. And that was my skill set. Right? So getting revenue the challenge was now I had to produce and get results and therefore I made a lot of mistakes early. I got better. I hired wrong. I fired, I hired more. I fired like I made so many mistakes, but that’s the whole journey of entrepreneurship.
[00:04:32]So today I feel like I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I still enjoy what I’m doing. More passionate than ever, because I know there’s still a huge marketplace. I can inspire transpire and help businesses dominate their online presence. Through search engine optimization.
[00:04:51]Virginia: [00:04:51] That’s fun. So with your multiple jobs and stuff that you’ve had at the beginning, do you find that your content now being in one area?
[00:05:06] John: [00:05:06] Yeah. So discovering meeting a ton of people learning and probing. Right. I’m always curious. And for me it was all always about what you see on TV, in those magazines, going to an airport or going to Hawaii or different places. I always trying to figure out who were these people going?
[00:05:25] How did they go and how could they afford to go? I just was scraping by with just. Food right when I was young. So, I feel like I’m in a good space because I enjoy giving, I enjoy helping businesses and they were so good. People, I like those community leaders. Those professionals that I worked with at yellow pages.
[00:05:46] And the type of people I work with today are the hardest working individuals and families and people that understood community understood taking care of their customers, understood what it means to have a strong core foundation of family. So that’s what drives me today, like to help these kinds of people that are the pillars of every single city community town in Canada, in North America.
[00:06:10]Virginia: [00:06:10] Do you find that there’s any like common mistakes that a lot of your customers are making prior to coming with you?
[00:06:17] John: [00:06:17] Yeah, definitely. A lot of business owners don’t know a lot about how to have presence, right? They think social media is the same as SEO. They don’t understand this whole new digital space, how it works.
[00:06:31]Being informed, educated, and asking the right questions. So they’re sold with a lot of No guarantees. A lot of people are out there. They see your social posts and, they can make a hundred thousand a month or something, right. People want impulse, they want faster results, but in reality, just like anything in business or in life to become an expert, to become a true professional it takes years.
[00:06:57] Of dedication, hard work, grind, grit, perseverance 10,000 hours, right? To at least become an expert in sports athlete to being a plumber or a dentist, right. You need to actually put in the time. So people don’t understand that, but the professionals I kind of work with, they get it because they understand how long it took them to now own their own business versus.
[00:07:21]Fly by night kind of business owners that have a dream. They don’t really understand how to run a business yet to then have revenue and to support that with a good product or service.
[00:07:31] Virginia: [00:07:32] So you mentioned that like the professionals, but who would be your ideal client?
[00:07:37] John: [00:07:37] Service-based small, medium sized businesses comprised of 80% of my type of client base.
[00:07:42]And 20% is B2B. And they’re more international or global. In scope. So again, it’s anyone that wants to dominate the search engine results page through keywords. So SEO is really ranking your website organically or naturally for keywords that your customers are seeking out for products and services of yours.
[00:08:03] And you want to become known as the leader expert in that chosen keyword or field. So that’s what we do. Help businesses position themselves become. As leaders digitally on search
[00:08:14]Virginia: [00:08:14] how do you get in front of them?
[00:08:17]John: [00:08:17] So, 95% is inbound. So the key here is being there when people are ready. And there’s multi touch points, right?
[00:08:27] Again, it’s no longer the bricks and mortar signage. You drive by you, that’s a trigger or yellow pages. You pick up that phone book when people are ready, there’s so many different ways. People are now in front of. Customers, right. My customers, they take a while to take that next step to make a phone call or form inquiry.
[00:08:49] You need to educate them. You need to inform, you need to build that trust. You need to make sure that they have all the questions. Out there for you to answer so that they’re confident that you can take care of them properly. So with this digital landscape this digital environment and a world we live in today it’s a lot harder, I believe because it’s cluttered.
[00:09:10] There’s so many different options, right? From funnels to social, to search, to paid and even video podcasts to images, to. Blogs, there’s so much out there with apps. You need to understand where your customers are seeking out your products and services first and focus heavily on the 80 20 rule of being front and center on that chosen medium.
[00:09:36] So that when they’re ready, at least you are top of mind.
[00:09:39]Virginia: [00:09:39] So do you get their attention on Facebook and then pull them into an email nurture sequence? Or how do you go about doing that?
[00:09:46] John: [00:09:46] Yeah we don’t touch social. Most of our clients are usually not even on social because you have to convert them. Right?
[00:09:54] And most business owners don’t have time. They don’t want to be sold. They want to be you don’t earn their business. And most of the time I’m speaking at events, I’m a part of, a lot of associations. I educate. Before I sell. So it’s a different type of relationship sell that we offer here at local SEO search because it’s a long-term relationship that we want to partner with business owners versus the the one-time kind of sale.
[00:10:20]So it’s, that’s what I found to be the best kind of ROI.
[00:10:24]Virginia: [00:10:24] So would networking be the right word?
[00:10:27] John: [00:10:27] Not necessarily. So we appear on search for a lot of keywords. So it’s more inbound leads. So when people are ready and seeking out any of the terms and keywords and services that we offer we need to be at least visible.
[00:10:41]So we’re an option for them. And that’s the big thing. Inbound lead versus pushing ads at people where you need to. Hit a hundred people or a thousand people to get one, 1% conversion rate. And the quality of leads on social is a lot different than someone inbound seeking out your product and service.
[00:11:00] Virginia: [00:11:00] Very true. So what are a couple of big goals that you have in the next one to two years?
[00:11:07] John: [00:11:07] Yeah. So we’ve been operating since 2013 solely to help clients in Canada this past year, we’ve been focused on global more so North America, UK and Australia. So that’s my job in effort to really. Amplify the message, the brand and it’s a lot of fun.
[00:11:25] So doing this speaking I’m working on a book community there’s a lot going on. But it’s fun. So that’s what I’m interested in to grow the brand, to get people excited about SEO, the right way, offering it up so that people who are not informed and educated, at least I can get them to a level that they’re comfortable with and they understand that there are good SEO’ers out there.
[00:11:49] Wanting to help them do the right thing because everyone’s sold a lot of things like guarantees and promises. And it’s not the best industry because everyone gets solicited by emails and phone calls. So I just want to do it the more genuine route authentic route of education . And trust and expertise.
[00:12:10]Virginia: [00:12:10] Gotcha. So how would. Having a bigger reach, affect your business.
[00:12:15]John: [00:12:15] I think it doesn’t really make a huge, like for me, I want to work with good humans. I want to help the. The strongest, like the hardest workers out there, which are small medium-sized businesses expand their reach. So for me, I started this business by helping them not knowing how to do it, but I really truly believe like small business owners are 80, 90% of every economy, every country.
[00:12:42] And. If you understand how hard dedicated these people work, say a restaurant, they work 16, 18 hours coming in, prepping it, buying inventory, servicing clients for such a small margin. They are, hard working people and they do it for 30, 40 years just for the family. Right? Justin support their family.
[00:13:03] They don’t really do it to live a luxurious life. They’re just the hard working type of humans that I want to help these are people that I feel like there’s a huge opportunity if they discover me or companies like us. There’s good SEO companies out there just, yeah. Educate yourself a little bit, ask the right questions so that you can work with great vendors or independent contractors or freelancers so that they can help you generate more visits.
[00:13:33]Virginia: [00:13:33] What do you feel like your number one roadblock is for that goal?
[00:13:37]John: [00:13:37] Yeah. So number one road block for me is time.I want to do everything yesterday. I want to do everything right away too, right? Like it’s so hard because you need to plan, you need people, you need systems, you need for me, I have a marketing team. Right. And even though they’re fully in it’s more, why is it taking so long? Well, it’s because they need to do their due diligence, strategic, planning as well before they start pitching and doing all this stuff. It’s the same thing. I want everything to be done yesterday.
[00:14:09] Every business owners, the same, but slow and steady, always wins the race. I understand that the longer you do it, the better you’re going to get at it. And it’s okay. It’s the grind. It’s this is business ownership or entrepreneurship, right. As long as you’re still enjoying what you’re doing and growing forward and having fun like ultimately that’s what life is all about,
[00:14:31]Virginia: [00:14:31] especially the enjoyment part.
[00:14:34] John: [00:14:34] yes.
[00:14:35]Virginia: [00:14:35] So to so to switch it up on you . A little bit. What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received?
[00:14:40]John: [00:14:40] Yeah. So for me, I was so fortunate to work at yellow pages and work with thousands of business owners. And I mean, a lot of business, lot of entrepreneurs or business owners they don’t have that experience.
[00:14:52] They don’t have the mentors, coaches, people that guide them. To make the right decisions at pivotal moments in their lifespan or business journey. I was lucky to ask and probe so many of these successful business owners in my mind, they were successful. And what success means to me is taking care of family, taking care of community and having fun.
[00:15:13] Right. That’s what truly, it’s all about in terms of life. It’s not the money or the top stuff that you drive or the stuff that you have, right. It’s the impact that you’re going to make in people’s lives. So. For me, I feel like just having all that resource abundance amount of people that supported me along the way of just guiding me, giving me, a lot of push in terms of look.
[00:15:37]I know that anyone could kind of run a business, but you gotta be determined. You have to have grit. You have to have perseverance. And this is sales as well. I was in the trenches. I was making a hundred phone calls a day and getting slammed on. So in terms of sales, you need a very thick skin. And that’s how entrepreneurship is all about as well.
[00:15:55] Like when you fall down and you got to get up. And you got to get up on a daily basis because some days you don’t even want to go to work because it’s frustrating and everything else. Right. So, just learning all that. And I read a lot, I go to a lot of conferences. I meet a lot of people.
[00:16:12]Just trying to find good people in your life to surround yourself with. That are one, two generations older than you with wisdom will give you a lot more wisdom in terms of how to be successful in figuring out what you want truly in life.
[00:16:27]Virginia: [00:16:27] Yeah. Very true. So what’s the best advice you’ve ever given?
[00:16:32]John: [00:16:32] For me, it’s all about just taking action, right?
[00:16:35] Just it’s okay. If you fail, go and do something. And I have a young son right now, and for me, he’s all about, he tries and plays and does things and I’m like keep doing it. And if you want to be a good player in sports or be good at reading. You got to keep practicing. Right? You got to just keep doing it and don’t give up because if you give up this early in life, you’re going to give up later in life as well.
[00:17:03] So if you’re going to be good at anything, just be determined, persevere, right. That grit, determination. So just keep moving, keep taking action. Keep doing things.
[00:17:14]Virginia: [00:17:14] I like that my, we have young kids as well, and my daughter gets very upset when she doesn’t get like a hundred percent on something and it’s that’s okay.
[00:17:23]Do you understand why that mistake happened? And then just learn from it? Right. So we need to continue carrying that over as adults.
[00:17:32]John: [00:17:32] And that’s a big thing. A lot of kids put a lot of pressure on themselves and it’s self detrimental. Right. They need to realize that it’s okay to not be perfect.
[00:17:41] It’s okay. To keep falling and trying. Right. And I’d rather them fail and learn and try to reduce those failures just like in business. Right. Hopefully it’s not detrimental for you to hold your business. If you fall on your bike, you gotta keep trying, right. You got to keep getting up and doing it again until you’re able to not fall again.
[00:18:01]Just in life. That’s exactly how it is.
[00:18:04] Virginia: [00:18:04] Yeah. Is there anything that you would like to share with us that we haven’t asked you yet?
[00:18:11] John: [00:18:11] I mean, in terms of SEO, in terms of business entrepreneurship just have fun. Everyone forgets about why they’re in business, right? Like you have to understand why ultimately.
[00:18:23] You’re doing what you’re doing. It should be based on the lifestyle you want to live. Don’t be run to the ground. Don’t over exert yourself because you’re committed in the business. So much that you forget why you’re doing it, which is family. Usually you want to eventually spend more time with the kids or spend more time to travel to different places, to explore, right.
[00:18:49] Or spend time with your elderly parents or et cetera. So understand why you’re doing it. Set yourself up with goals and have fun throughout the journey because life is short. And as we know it this pandemic has really put a dent in a lot of people’s lives and coming to realization of slowing down, even living presently disconnecting from all the bad news out there, right?
[00:19:12]Enjoy the process of entrepreneurship as well. Yes. There’s going to be challenging days. Yes. Your kids are gonna drive you nuts some days, but. Have a perspective, understand the mindset of what’s going on in their lives as well. And this is what life is about, right? Like just slowing down, enjoying it.
[00:19:32] Life is short. So enjoy every moment out there because people are always chasing and racing for the most likes and more sales and revenue. It’s okay. If it takes a little bit longer. No, it’s okay. That’s how I approach life right now in Virginia. So
[00:19:52] Virginia: [00:19:52] which lowers the stress aspect, right?
[00:19:55]John: [00:19:55] Yeah, that’s stress and that’s relieving stress, right?
[00:19:58] Like having sleep being more mindful, like I wake up early so that I can meditate and read before my kid gets up and I make breakfast, I eat healthy. I try to take care of myself now. Right. And before I was kind of burning myself out. Because I wanted stuff. I wanted that nice car. I wanted those trips.
[00:20:20] But when you come to a realization as you age and mature in life you realize what’s really important. Why you’re doing certain things. Are you happy with more money or is it really to spend more time with people that you really love?
[00:20:33]Virginia: [00:20:33] Words of wisdom right there. I appreciate you being with us today, John, how can people find out more about you and what you do?
[00:20:41]John: [00:20:41] Yeah, thanks a lot. You can check out my website. It’s www.localseosearch.ca. So we’re based in Canada. But we also own.com and we service clients all over the world. But we enjoy the entire process. Like we actually help and enjoy helping great business owners more than anything, because if you’re not.
[00:21:04] Good at what you do. We can’t teach you to become an expert. You gotta be an expert. Right. And that’s one thing I’ve learned over the years. Like my profile clients are usually professional services on trades or health or beauty or whatever it may be, as opposed to me trying to teach them how to run a business.
[00:21:26] Virginia: [00:21:26] Well, thank you, John. We will keep in touch and have a great day.
[00:21:29] John: [00:21:29] Thank you so much for having me Virginia.
[00:21:32]Virginia: [00:21:32] You’re welcome take car
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Virginia lives in Northern Alberta on a small farm with her husband and three children.
Virginia is a master funnel builder having been certified as an FG Society Master Marketer, Funnelytics, and ClickFunnels Certified Partner.
She also helps businesses with their visibility through online searches.
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