What does it take to be a “good” businessman or woman? An ethereal question answered through this fundamental truth, retired military members do very well in the private sector, some amassing large fortunes. By analyzing the traits associated with leadership roles in the military, principles, and execution, we can see how Dan Anton was able to not only excel at a high level in the public sector, but transition successfully into a lucrative career as an SEO (search engine optimization), also known as online marketing, service provider.
Dan Anton retired as an Infantry Ranger Major in the United States Army. He served two tours in Iraq, receiving two bronze stars for valor in combat.
The leap from confirmed kills on the battlefields of Iraq to managing a team of software engineers online wasn’t a quick or easy transition, but the leadership assets Dan possessed allowed him to objectively assess the business landscape and make critical decisions along his path.
What you will read in this post:
Clear Vision and Helping Others “See” it
In our mind’s eye, we can see possibilities clearly. In fact, Tesla had visions so powerful he couldn’t easily discern the difference between current reality and future inventions.
Military leadership in combat requires men to trust you with their life, literally. On the warm desert sands of Iraq, “Achilles” was born for his bravery in combat. By leading from the front, the men could visually see his core values, belief in the mission and true commitment to his fellow soldier. If Dan Anton had preached valor and courage to his men, but remained timid, indecisive and leading from behind, his words would have fallen on deaf ears, seeing through the thinly veiled facade.
So often, leaders become frustrated when subordinates incorrectly execute their vision, when the blame can usually be placed squarely, and justly, on the leadership. Dan understood it was his role to ensure all soldiers underneath him knew the mission, both big picture and details germane to the success of the mission.
Visual cues, a chain of command responsibilities, and personalized time were all tactics used by Dan when ensuring everyone clearly understood the leadership’s vision and expected results.
After medically retiring following his second combat deployment, Dan’s new vision became a social network for gamers, CharacterPlanet in 2006.
In the private sector, Dan Anton would delegate tasks, indirectly creating a black box of knowledge, ultimately leading to redundant code, security issues, hacking and over $100,000 lost in years of bootstrapping.
By 2010, the amount of SEO knowledge, and experience delegating both in the military and now private sector created an enormous resource for Dan Anton to pool from, knowing details can not be left to chance, and creative freedom works when properly accounted and tracked.
Market Demand is King, Passion is Secondary
Dan’s biggest mistake was creating a product or service out of passion, rather than market demand. So often, entrepreneurs are told to follow their passion, but if it doesn’t align with true market demand, it’s insincere advice and wishful thinking. Other social networks for gamers looked promising around the time of CharacterPlanet, but nearly all of them failed, as video game traffic is notoriously cheap and difficult to monetize.
While the execution might have made it a success, the passion project was attempting to force a business model to work, rather than capitalizing on existing, or trending upward market demand.
Hindsight is 20/20 and without this online venture, Dan Anton would never have understood all facets of online marketing, with a focus on SEO. It was an expensive lesson, but one that gave rise to new skillsets and principles.
With a new passion for helping others obtain website traffic, Dan studied the market by reading industry news and actively contributing to forums and discussions, where he noticed a trend; all webmasters were complaining about getting their web pages and backlinks indexed in Google.
Achieving a larger, trusted website included human tasks such as blogging, syndicating links, pinging them, posting on social media – the process was monotonous, repetitive and time-consuming.
Leveraging his computer science background ability to delegate precisely with no black boxes, and a pulse on the SEO marketing industry, Dan was able to create software which replaced the arduous, previously human only task with the product launch of BacklinksIndexer.
By listening to the marketplace and not blind passion, Dan quickly grew the product into one of the most reviewed and subscribed organic SEO products in the last 7 years.
Momentum and Industry Titans
Confidence and monthly revenues have given Dan Anton momentum and financial ability to create the next big SEO product.
By following industry titans such as Rand Fishkin, show and talk about the importance of user experience in search engine ranking results, he decided to create a completely done for you, real traffic service, Crowd Search.
When first entering the SEO space he leveraged feedback from the community, and now he decided to see where the industry leaders were going. Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines are tracking user data such as click-through rates, time spent on site, and interactions; if a user had a positive experience, they would consume more web pages, and spend more time on page, juxtaposed to a bad experience with low time spent per page, and high exit bounce rates.
Looking to other respected members of the search engine marketing industry, Dan was able to create a business plan and solve a problem before it was even mainstream.
From years of testing his new software and amassing real humans to perform searches, the product was launched once the industry caught up to the initial case study, resulting in a 6 figure launch, winning product of the day on JVzoo, and having him listed as a Rockstar of JVzoo.
Over the last decade, Dan Anton has been solving specific problems within the SEO and online marketing space. With a large, trusted following, he received countless emails and phone calls requesting complete help with online marketing campaigns, not just one phase.
Rather than attempt to force his business model on businesses seeking a full service, he decided it was time to create a client facing marketing agency in Atlanta. Now, the agency could help those who needed a website, higher conversion rates, new traffic, or maximizing their brand value online.
A true, holistic approach to marketing required a personal consultation, resulting in more positive reviews and testimonials than any other agency in Georgia. Because Dan is passionate about helping others succeed online, he was able to see passed his software point of view, and understand some business owners don’t have time to manage software, and simply want results.
This last phase and realization have led to exponential client growth and acquisition, while still serving the larger SEO community with updated software and niche services.