Aaron Aders, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer at Slingshot SEO
Aaron Aders’ BIO
Aaron is a co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Slingshot SEO. Building on more than a decade of Internet marketing experience, Aaron has contributed in many roles including Graphic Designer, Project Manager, Systems Analyst and Chief Operations Officer. Creating and managing proprietary software and processes is at the core of his contributions at Slingshot SEO. As Chief Strategy Officer, Aaron will continue to steer the strategic vision behind Slingshot SEO software and business processes.
Slingshot SEO is a professional search engine optimization practice whose full-service strategic consulting and Internet marketing services deliver unparalled results for its enterprise caliber clients.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW
1. What prompted you to start Slingshot SEO?
Aaron: It is true that you should ‘stick to what you know’. There were two things that I learned a great deal about growing up that shaped my unique path.
I learned what it is like to be a doctor by spending countless nights as a child in the emergency room. I wasn’t a patient, rather I was following around my father – the director of the emergency room at our county hospital. These experiences made me comfortable around sick people, used to crazy working hours and fostered a curiosity in life sciences.
During my high school years, my current business partners and I were obsessed with this new thing called the Internet. Our company was actually created once before by all of the same founders while we were all in High School. It wasn’t called SEO back then, but we all got some amazing results by optimizing for the first search engines to hit the Internet and generating ad revenue. But we all went off to go to college to ‘get real jobs’ one day, but around 2006 we discovered that optimizing for search was a growing market called search engine optimization. Jeremy was fresh off some huge wins in SEO for his father’s product distribution company, and we were all excited at the prospects of the market and our knowledge of the space, so we threw together $10k and started Slingshot SEO Inc.
2. What made you take the big leap from working in the life science industry to full time employment as the CSO of an SEO company?
Aaron: The same year we started Slingshot SEO Inc. was the same year I was accepted into medical school. This posed a difficult decision when time for school rolled around and our 8-month old company was going gangbusters. Even though my MCAT scores were expiring, I chose to stick with the company. I figured this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I could always go back and be the old dude in medical school!
3. For most successful entrepreneurs, there is no typical day so give us a sample of your schedule from start to finish.
Aaron: This also changes to which stage of business you are currently occupying. The $0-1M stage is wearing many different hats (programmer, designer, sales, finance, etc). The $1M-$10M stage is a bit more focused but you are many times representative of an entire department. The $10M-$50M phase is currently where I reside, which is much more focused in a certain area (in my case, company strategy) but you still dip in and help with other departments as needed (help close a deal, teach an on-boarding class, etc). So currently, 80% of my day is focused on strategic initiatives and the other 20% is filling in random gaps here and there.
4. What are your “can’t live without” apps on your desktop/cell phone?
- Desktop – Outlook, MS Office, Photoshop!!
- Mobile – Popular Science, Angry Birds, Books
5. What are your tricks for time management?
Aaron: Turn off your automated email checks on all devices & check twice per day at times your colleagues know. The sharp gains in focus is worth missing a few emails and if it’s important enough they’ll call!
6. Best advice received when you started your career?
Aaron: The best single piece of advice when we started was to charge a small retainer for a product/service quote. This stopped all the ‘tire-kickers’ that can really waste your precious time as a young entrepreneur and gets you to serious customers faster.
7. Given the current economic climate, how has your strategy for building awareness of your work changed for the short-term and long-term?
Aaron: Companies need to save money now more than ever and organic SEO done right can deliver targeted leads at an ROI that is unmatched in marketing. From the short-term or long-term, our strategy has always been to grow through incredible client results.
8. What’s been your proudest achievement as such an immensely accomplished Entrepreneur?
Aaron: Haha I don’t think I’m there yet, but so far I am most proud of being a part of such an incredible and huge team at Slingshot SEO Inc!! We have the most brilliant and driven people in SEO and I never could have imagined we could do the things that we are doing.
9. What are some of the ways that you achieve balance in your life?
Aaron: I am always working and always playing! You have to follow your own cycles and not try to adhere to a specific balance.
10. Your top 3 book recommendations for our readers (and why?)
- ‘[amazon_link id=”0553379658″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ishmael[/amazon_link]’ by Daniel Quinn – Everyone needs to be aware of the concept of sustainability of life on Earth
- ‘[amazon_link id=”0143037889″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Singularity is Near[/amazon_link]’ by Ray Kurzweil – This is what the future is going to look like
- ‘[amazon_link id=”0961392142″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Visual Display of Quantitative Information[/amazon_link]’ by Edward R. Tufte – visualizing concepts in different forms/medium exponentially enhances understanding.
11. If you had an exceptional month and earned double of your average month, what (if anything) would you spend it on?
Aaron: It doesn’t really work that way for entrepreneurs, the company always gets the first pick on extra cash!
12. What are some of your most rewarding charitable involvements and why?
Aaron: Inspiring high school students who are falling behind has been fun and refreshing. Also working with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful on community environmental projects has been awesome since we provide immediate environmental improvements in our local community.
13. Who has been the most influential person to you as you’ve advanced in your career?
Aaron: There have been so many different stages I have experienced while growing my business that I have had multiple influential people help me throughout my career. As an entrepreneur you have to listen very well and process the advice into something useful to you when possible. In reality, the most influential people have been the leadership team here at Slingshot SEO Inc.
14. What’s your advice to someone interested in entrepreneurship?
Aaron: Stick to what you know. Choose your partners wisely. Find solid mentors. Learn how to handle the entrepreneur’s emotional roller coaster between negative depressive state and positive manic state. When you are in the positive manic state – this is when you do the best marketing/PR, inspiring employees, courting investors. When you are in the low depression state – this is when you work on your budgets, make hiring decisions and don’t talk to anyone. Don’t mix these up and talk to the press when you are depressed or make budget decisions when you are manic.