Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.
Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.
Below is our interview with Kari DePhillips, Founder and CEO at The Content Factory:
What does your company do?
The Content Factory is a digital marketing agency that speciailzes in SEO, social media marketing, digital PR and web content writing. Essentially, we get our clients to rank at the top of Google search results for specific queries, help our clients’ reach their target audiences via social media and get the brands we represent earned media coverage in a variety of news outlets. Our clients range from major national brands to tech startups in the cryptocurrency space. I have a dozen full-time employees spread out over seven different states, and we all work from home (or wherever – I’m currently in Amsterdam, and spent 2017 working from around the world, documenting it all on The Workationing Podcast). The Content Factory has been in business since 2010.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I’m the owner and founder of The Content Factory. I love the creative flexibility digital marketing gives me and my team – we’re able to come up with creative solutions to our clients problems, and drive more web traffic and sales as a result. It’s extremely fulfilling to help grow a client’s business. I enjoy how tangible the results are, too. That said, my favorite thing about managing a remote team of employees is how it levels the playing field – people are judged entirely by the timeliness and quality of their work, as determined by clearly outlined KPIs (key performance indicators). I get to spare my team, and the environment, a daily commute to an office each day. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been able to create a flexible work environment that enables my employees to save time and do their best work.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
The biggest challenge I’ve been facing lately is hiring. It takes a long time to craft the right kind of “help wanted” ad that will attract applicants, while also outlining the job, company and culture. Once that’s done, sorting through hundreds of applicants takes a lot of time – it takes my editor and me 50+ hours to review everything, sort and test applicants. It’s a process we’re still perfecting. We’re not quite large enough to be able to afford a staffing or headhunting agency, so right now this task falls onto our plate. Trying to find the right match is time consuming and stressful, and sometimes creates a waiting list of clients for our company.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
Invest in yourself, and your website. The more targeted content you create now, the higher you’ll be ranking for those SEO keywords later. I give this same advice to the new clients that come our way and plan to have a long-term digital marketing strategy. Content is such an essential aspect of SEO, and although I knew that from the start I didn’t always practice what I preached. Had I known then what I know now, I would’ve made creating our SEO content more of a priority. Right now, The Content Factory’s website ranks at the top of search engine results pages for everything from press release distribution to website content writing – this drives over $750,000 worth of search traffic to our site, but had we written more articles we could be ranking for even more keywords.