I got laid off in September of this past year, somewhat unexpectedly. Things had been rough for a while as I moved to a new team internally after an acquisition and we tried to figure out how we supported my new role. Right after I moved over to the new team the GM in charge of that team left, which at the time felt like an omen and I came to realize later it was. When you lose the person who advocated to bring you to a new position, who has the vision for how that role will look, you’re going to be in for some hard challenges that you might not be able to win.

Today I want to talk about exactly the steps I have taken over the last few months that have led me to double my salary short term, which is how I am currently financing my software marketplace which is also growing substantially month over month. Continue Reading…

Consulting or running an agency is an interesting business. On the one hand, an agency can be a cash cow because your margins can be really high if you keep headcount low. On the other hand, many consultants and agencies struggle to make ends meet and do great work for their clients.

From my years in marketing and consulting, and now running my own business in the space as well as doing some consulting myself, I’ve realized that many consulting problems can be solved by one of two things (and usually both at the same time to make the magic happen):

  • Charge more per hour or per month to increase your margins.
  • Create better processes to save time and increase your margins.

Consulting is no different from other businesses in that when you increase your margins, many of your business stresses go away. Let’s talk about the two of these. Continue Reading…

I’ve been working on the Internet for what feels like a long time now – 6 years. In that time, I have worked inhouse for 4 different brands and consulted with more than I can reliably count. That number is probably in the 35-50ish range.

Over time, as I have gained more business experience and expanded my skillset outside of just SEO or even digital marketing, and am now running HireGun both as a consultant and a software solopreneur, I have increasingly become convinced of one thing:

Those who win are those who do

Many companies will say that they get things done. But the truth comes out when the rubber hits the road. When I worked at Distilled, we always prided ourselves on working with our clients to help them get things done. After all, if we were going to be successful as consultants, our clients had to see a return on their investment. If they moved slow, then it would take a long time for them to see that positive return and at that point it was up to the consultant to keep the client happy (and still a client!).

Here are some of the traits I have seen of successful companies and individuals. Continue Reading…

HireGun Launched Today

John Doherty —  November 12, 2015 — 1 Comment

Today I launched HireGun to the world via Medium and Product Hunt. It has been quite the road to get to this point, most of which I wrote about over on Medium, so I recommend you go there to read the full story.


I’m excited to have it out to the world. I am excited to see where it goes. I think it could be big, as it works and people on both sides of the marketplace get value from it. I love seeing comments like this:

brandon-hiregun sean-smith-hiregun

Today I am grateful. Grateful to have a great life, a wife who supports me, friends and peers in the industry who support me, and a vision for where the product will go.

I’ll likely do a full recap at some point, but today I am happy. We generated some new leads for the awesome HireGun partners, identified some pain points in the business, and ultimately pushed it forward for another day. I can feel the flywhee (via)l start to turn:


In early 2012, I was tired. I had been pushing 80+ hour weeks at work for a while. I found myself unable to be civil to clients or my coworkers. My boss at the time asked me “John, do you need a vacation?”

I did. I took 5 days (a “long weekend”) and went to Colorado with one of my good buddies to go to MountainFilm in Telluride. For those five days, I removed my email clients, Twitter, and Facebook from my phone. Instead, I watched interesting movies about outdoors issues I care about, met some intriguing people, drank awesome beer at the Telluride brewery, and spent time in the mountains hiking and rock climbing. Continue Reading…

The other day I saw Rand Fishkin’s tweet linking to this article that shows that, as Rand says, “evergreen content that ranks beats everything else:”. I am, of course, inclined to agree and because I can’t  keep my mouth shut on topics like this I tweeted this:

Then an interesting discussion happened between myself and Patrick Coombe, who is someone that I respect and value his opinions. He raised the point of nofollow links and how some people still think that there is no (business) value in them. This was the discussion (full tweet discussion here, image below because Twitter’s embedding doesn’t work like I need it to): nofollow-tweets At one point in that discussion I said this, to which Rand replied that now that I’m no longer at a big company, I may think differently:

Obviously I believe that there is business value in high-authority nofollowed links, but I’ve come far away from thinking about links as “followed” or “nofollowed”. So, I am curious as to the rest of you. Do you still think of links as follow/nofollow, or is a link a link?

The poll closes in 2 days and I will publish the results after.

Do you take "nofollow" into account for SEO and promotion of content/your business?

  • If it's a high authority site, I don't care if it's followed or not. (43%, 30 Votes)
  • I think about it, but it doesn't keep me from doing outreach for that links (27%, 19 Votes)
  • No (16%, 11 Votes)
  • Yes (14%, 10 Votes)
  • Yes for links, no for promotion (13%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 70

Loading ... Loading ...


I’ve worked with a lot of companies helping out with marketing and growth over the last years. I’ve seen some do it very well. I’ve seen others fail to resource it and therefore they’ve failed to execute.

Here is what executives can do to empower growth teams to do just that – grow the company. Continue Reading…

Recently Paul Graham, a VC and entrepreneur whom I very much respect, wrote a post called Change Your Name in which he argued that a startup should seriously think about changing their name if they are not able to get the “.com” TLD for their brand name. Graham also stated some statistics that are meant to make us think that his position is mostly irrefutable. He said:

100% of the top 20 YC companies by valuation have the .com of their name. 94% of the top 50 do. But only 66% of companies in the current batch have the .com of their name. Which suggests there are lessons ahead for most of the rest, one way or another.

I’d argue that having the .com domain is not the most important thing (and I don’t think that’s what Graham was saying). What’s more important, in my opinion, is consistency. In fact, I’d even argue that not having the .com is missing the forest for the trees. Let’s dig in. Continue Reading…

I recently read this post entitled The Curse of the Full Stack Marketer. I tweeted a few brief thoughts (a brief rant really) around this post, but now I think it needs a longer treatment. I also realize that there have been a few posts written as follow-ons but I’ve purposefully not read them so as to make this my own thoughts.

I think that there are a few elements at play that make this an interesting and tough topic (especially as someone who feels the tension very personally). Those include:

  1. The rockstar problem
  2. The meritocracy problem
  3. The individual vs manager dilemma
  4. The small vs big company challenges and differences

Let’s unpack each.
Continue Reading…

I don’t often write about technical SEO issues anymore on this site, but I have over time often come across questions about when it is best to use a 301 vs a 302 vs a canonical tag on duplicate content. I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about each in depth with the pros and cons of each, as well as a few examples of when to use them. Continue Reading…