I’ve been following Rand Fishkin’s career for years. He has one of the best rags-to-not-quite-riches-yet stories I’ve heard.
Rand is a college dropout who spent his early 20s spiraling into a deep debt hole. His problems began when he tried to grow a marketing company but funded it in the worst way possible. He leased office space, rented booths at conferences, hired expensive contractors — and paid for everything with a personal credit card. Yikes.
His credit card debt ballooned to $150,000. He couldn’t make the minimum payments, so he defaulted. The late fees and penalty interest rates caused his debt to swell to more than $500,000.
Anyone else might have declared bankruptcy, but Rand stayed the course. He doubled down at work. He decided to specialize in a marketing niche, search engine optimization, which set him apart from the pack.
He brought new clients into his business. He developed internal tools to use for his clients, then started selling subscription-based access to this software.
Dollar by dollar, he pulled himself out of debt. His company grew into an eight-figure business.
A few weeks ago, I interviewed Rand on my podcast about the lessons he learned from his early mistakes. Here are five takeaways from that conversation.