6 Years and 182 Employees Later. Growing An SEM Company To A Million Dollar Business

12 replies
Fellow Warriors,

I've been on this forum for 4 years and I think it's about time that I introduce myself and give back to this amazing forum. Even if it is after occasionally adding my two bits to a few threads.

And now here are my two bits about my 6 years of running a Search Marketing Business.



My first online love was Google Adsense. Unfortunately, with the little traffic my website was receiving at the time, I could not sustain a full time income (but i was thrilled to be making money online). My first "day-job" was at Directi where I spent numerous hours learning about Internet Marketing. My boss, till today one of the smartest dudes I know mentored me until I was ready to Start-Up.

Back in 1999, you really needed to be fortunate to have a dial- up internet connection in India. I still remember crossing my fingers, hoping that it would connect while the modem made that strange sound.

I knew I would be an Internet Entrepreneur at 15 when I earned my first Online Paycheck. And the day the check arrived I became a believer.

Fast-forwarding to a few years later.

We (my dad and I) started Pragmites in 2008.

We got the first few sales without having a website up. My dad's acquaintances were kind enough to be our guinea pigs. We were in business and started offering similar services to a bunch of local clients. Back in the day, we had to rely primarily on word of mouth marketing.

Building a strong team from ground up has been the single most important asset for our company. Great People do Great Things.



Business was good to us and we scored over 80 clients in our city (Pune). We were offering a variety of services including SEO, PPC, Email Marketing and a bunch of other "Internet Stuff".

We managed to cover costs while growing. We ended up hiring a majority of my friends and soon became a killer startup to work for. We were fairly unfunded so all our profits were re-invested in the business. The office was soon packed and we rented out another floor. It was pretty exhilarating from what I remember. So many mistakes to learn from but a whole lot of fun.

We had our first taste of success and we wanted more. We took the plunge and launched our company on Elance. That was an adrenaline rush! 92,856 dollars later, maintaining a 95% positive recommendation on Elance, we decided to jump ship for bigger and better things



We learnt from the best Internet Marketing Gurus and when they heard about our backoffice operations, they got interested and not only started outsourcing their projects but their customers' as well. We partnered and launched multiple products post that and literally stopped doing any kind of marketing ourselves.

Once this happened we were at max capacity and office space was running short. That was when we had a brain-wave. We built a system that allowed anyone to work remotely for us. We dominated the first 3 positions of Google for the keyword "work from home" and soon built a team of 5000+ freelancers.

We diced up our processes into micro-jobs and soon outsourced 80% of our overall business operations.

To give you an idea of the scale of business development, on Elance and other freelance portals we would average $6000 per month. However once the JV partners started promoting us, we were averaging over $50000 a month.

In the meantime, my now business partner Stanley invested into our company and my dad made his exit. Ever since, we have been focusing on building online assets that deliver passive income.

Meanwhile, may I add myself to the tribe of warriors and Internet Marketers in particular. Great to be here!

Gaurav Gurbaxani
You could follow me on twitter and facebook

PS - If your wondering who the doggie is in the picture, he is our golden retriever BamBam. You can friend him on Facebook
#182 #business #company #dollar #employees #growing #million #sem #years
  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    I love your story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    I wanted to highlight these few paragraphs for every newbie that reads this. Here is a large company that started local. Don't reinvent the wheel. There is a reason so many successful companies start local. It works.

    Originally Posted by Pragmites View Post

    We got the first few sales without having a website up. My dad's acquaintances were kind enough to be our guinea pigs. We were in business and started offering similar services to a bunch of local clients. Back in the day, we had to rely primarily on word of mouth marketing.

    Building a strong team from ground up has been the single most important asset for our company. Great People do Great Things.

    Business was good to us and we scored over 80 clients in our city (Pune). We were offering a variety of services including SEO, PPC, Email Marketing and a bunch of other "Internet Stuff".
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  • Good job and congratulations to your team and BamBam.

    Here is your next new client and success story:

    Donald Trump to launch first real estate project in India in Pune - Times Of India

    "Expected to be completed by 2015, Trump Towers Pune will also have an exclusive fitness centre by Bollywood star John Abraham.

    "All residences will have five bedrooms with an additional home theatre room and host a 360-degree view of Pune cityscape with the surrounding Aga Khan Palace and the lush green Jogger's Park being prominent. Trump Towers Pune's location is envious," it said."
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    - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author Voasi
    Fantastic story... congratulations!

    Always good to hear how companies grow in this marketplace.

    What's great about your story and what others should notice is that you stuck with a service and continued to build it. So many Warriors just continue to "try" different things, never really dedicating the time and energy to see the success with selling their offline service.
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      That's one hell of a lot of hassle to produce a $5,494 per year, or
      $105.65 per week revenue per employee.

      Compare to these profits per employee companies
      and you'll see what I mean.

      http://37signals.com/svn/posts/2283-...e-per-employee

      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author Pragmites
        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        That's one hell of a lot of hassle to produce a $5,494 per year, or
        $105.65 per week revenue per employee.

        Compare to these profits per employee companies
        and you'll see what I mean.

        Ranking tech companies by revenue per employee by Matt Linderman of 37signals

        Best,
        Ewen
        Ewen,

        Your right that would be one hell of a hassle!.. I should have mentioned that we never had more than 30 employees working for us at one time.. You know things like Link building can get pretty dam boring so there was always a huge attrition rate understandably..

        Also it might be worth mentioning that the cost of living here and salaries are significantly lower than most parts of the world.

        One book that changed the way we looked at business was Rework. Its by the same guys behind 37signals.

        Today we have 3 full time employees so the math doesn't work out so bad..
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    • Profile picture of the author Pragmites
      Originally Posted by Voasi View Post

      Fantastic story... congratulations!

      Always good to hear how companies grow in this marketplace.

      What's great about your story and what others should notice is that you stuck with a service and continued to build it. So many Warriors just continue to "try" different things, never really dedicating the time and energy to see the success with selling their offline service.
      Thanks Voasi... but trust me, We had our share of Shiny Penny Syndrome.. At the same time if we had not read a few ebooks out there and tried a bunch of stuff i'm not sure we would have made it so far.
      Having a dedicated team to help is also key. For example, if there was something that peaked my curiosity I would have someone from the team go through the entire product and give me the cliff notes..
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  • Profile picture of the author arcamir
    Wow! This is a very inspiring story. I have been working online as a VA for more than 3 years now. Currently, my team is growing. Sometimes, I always have this negative thoughts of not being able to grow or expand in the future. But with your story, now I believe that everything is possible with patience, hardwork and perseverance. Thanks for sharing your story. :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    Nice story.

    Great to hear people are doing well in other countries too.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh
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    • Profile picture of the author Ronnell
      I personally know about you guys...glad to see you continuing to grow!
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      • Profile picture of the author IvoryPulse
        Wow! What a great story to hear. And I will definitely friend BamBam
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  • Profile picture of the author Noctilus
    Hi there,

    I am always looking to outsource my offline clients work to. Do you have a website I could look at?

    Great story by the way, Makes me want to cha-ching and say "You're Hired!"

    By the way, I have visited India and I must say beautiful country and such warm lovely people.

    Cheers,
    Noctilus
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  • Profile picture of the author natebunger
    I enjoyed reading your story and I agree, start/ target locally! Congratulations, btw!
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