Dave: Interview with an Autistic SEO Specialist & Finance Blogger
Dave Bochichio from D&M Creative LLC is a successful SEO & blogging consultant, along with a talented and resourceful finance blogger.
His company D&M Creative is also co-owned and operated by Dave and his wife Mary.
Dave generously shares his wisdom with us from the lakes region of New Hampshire, USA.
How did you think of the idea for your business?
My business started off as a personal finance blog. I got the idea because I love talking about money and I originally wanted to be a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). The problem with CFPs are that they generally only work with people who have a lot of wealth, and I wanted to help the common middle class person, especially those in their 20s and 30s. Folks in their 20s and 30s either can’t afford a CFP or don’t need one. So I started the personal finance blog as a way to help young people make good personal finance decisions, save money, earn more, and invest for their future.
In September of 2020, I launched a course that sold zero copies. I was upset, but my business coach, Alison Reeves, helped me create my SEO/Blogging consulting side gig as it goes along with online business. My wife, Mary, jumped in on this and helps out with management and day-to-day tasks of this side gig, and now we run the blog and consulting gig together as one full business.
How did you fund your business in the very beginning?
Mary and I bought a foreclosed house back in 2011 at a steep discount, put work into it, lived there until 2017, and sold it for a profit. We used the money to downsize into a new house and the remainder of the funds was put aside for retirement and emergency funds. We used some of those funds to start up the business. Admittedly, we spent more money than we wish we had, but we are almost at the breakeven point at 1 year into business. Most of my research shows that typical businesses breakeven in 2-3 years, so if we can breakeven in the next few months, I’ll be thrilled.
How long have you been running your business?
Officially the business was conceptualized on January 2nd, 2020, but we didn’t go live until February 3rd, 2020.
Did you have any previous experience in your field before you started your business?
I have been a personal finance nut since around 2007, reading many blogs and books, and learning how to effectively budget and invest. I’ve definitely done my share of “no-no’s” such as day trading and investing in things that were probably not the best use of my money. But, I use these mistakes as a learning experience to teach others how to save and earn smartly, not erratically.
I got into SEO consulting in 2012, but it was mostly for 1 client and sporadic. I kept up with SEO throughout the years and went more full-time with this business in September 2020.
Now that your business has been running successfully, is there anything you wish would have done differently in the beginning?
I wish I spent a lot less money on stuff I ended up not needing lol. It’s fine because had I not invested much at all, I would not have taken the business seriously and I may have gotten complacent with making no money for a long time. It took us from January till August to gross over $200 in a month and even then, it took longer to net positive for a 30 day period.
When your business was merely an idea, what steps did you take to make it a reality?
In early 2020, I bought Elite Blog Academy to make my blog a reality. The course is way overpriced and probably not worth it, but it did work for me so I have no regrets. I did also meet a huge blogging community where I now get some of my SEO clients from, so all in all, I’d say if you go into a blogging course knowing it’s not a product that will teach you everything, you may still get some value out of it.
For SEO/Blogging consulting, my coach, Alison Reeves, helped me make this concept a reality. She walked me through the steps and got me into social sales. I was able to jumpstart the business with no website and no mailing list with her methods.
How has being autistic helped you succeed with your business?
Hyperfocus. When I’m doing well, I am hyperfocused and can get a lot of work done in a fraction of the time as a typical person. That means I can make more money for less time spent. I’m also a good problem solver which allows me to figure out how to fix things without generally hiring people to do it for me. Despite the autism, I’m pretty good at communicating on 1-on-1 calls (group calls are tough though so I try to avoid them). In a 1-on-1 call, I can quickly figure out what my prospective client needs and tell them how I will solve it for them. This has led me to a high close-rate for sales calls and a 100% customer satisfaction rate as of this interview.
Has being autistic created challenges for you? If so, what helped you overcome or cope with the difficulties?
After my hyperfocus ends, I generally burn out for a week or two, halting most operations (except for what Mary does). I also get easily sidetracked. I’m an avid gamer and sometimes my love for gaming becomes an insurmountable obsession that I simply cannot seem to overcome. This leads me to play games for hours on end with the inability to work. Fortunately, this has never affected existing client work. I’ve never been late or suffered in quality, but what it does do is slow my ability to source new clients and slows my rate of which I write blog posts.
What advice would you give a fellow autistic person who is thinking of starting their own business?
Figure out your strengths and weaknesses. If you can afford it, have a professional help you get started. Make sure they understand you and how you operate. Don’t give up. There are good weeks and bad weeks. Some weeks you’ll pull in lots of money, some weeks you’ll make zero. Take breaks when you need to. If you need a few days off, take them. If you’re symptomatic, slow down. This is mostly the same advice I’d tell anyone, not just someone who has autism.
Does your business have a social media profile or a website where The Autistic Innovator readers can follow you and learn more about what you do?
SEO URL: https://davebochichio.com
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