Spending too much time in burnout city

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Ben Goodey is the founder of How the F*ck, an SEO podcast & paid community built to help people scale their search traffic.

Biggest fuck up?

I actually can’t tell you the biggest fuck up of my career. But I’ll give you number two: living too long in ‘burnout’ city.

I’ve always worked in startups, and the “we’re a family with a higher mission” attitude often leads to a lack of personal life and a complete lack of balance.

It took me way too long to realize who this benefits the most. I would put 110% of my energy in, and the result was I burned out three different times, to the point where I genuinely couldn’t work anymore. Then I learned to make boundaries in my work life.

My attitude towards corporate anything is now pretty hardcore “I’m just gonna look after myself because this job is NOT my life.”

That helped me a lot in subsequent roles, where I said “no” whenever I felt it was too much. Hard earned lesson for me, and I wish I could stop others from doing the same.


The SEO industry has an unnecessarily toxic attitude, in my opinion.

Nobody actually knows what works/doesn’t work in a concrete way, yet they sit on the sidelines like good little Google shills judging other people.

We need to all agree that Google should not have a monopoly over search, especially when its interests align with its shareholders and not the SEO community.

Anyway, enough with the callout culture and more with the support, guidance, and advice. That’s why I love LinkedIn because very little toxic shit happens!

PS. and this shouldn’t be a PS; SEO & marketing, in general, needs more diversity in positions of influence. Initiatives like Chima Mmeje’s Freelance Coalition do great work in this area.

Useful Advice

This is my advice for developing a marketing strategy:

1. Pick a niche. Stop sitting on the sidelines and focus on one particular audience segment, positioning point, or unique differentiator. This will make every marketing channel come into a natural alignment and allow you to build momentum.

2. Stop creating content that your target niche doesn’t care about. It’s so easy to stray, especially in SEO, when the traffic volumes suck you in.

3. Figure out ways to scale: Especially in SEO, there are almost always opportunities to meet your customer’s need in the search channel with something that’s also scalable for you and your team to initiate. 

This is one message we repeatedly receive in the SEO case studies in my community: find a keyword pattern, make a template, and scale production. That’s how you grab a ton of growth in one go with SEO. (I explain this pattern concept in depth on LinkedIn.)


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