Big Four & Leading Accounting and Consulting Firms – news, opinion and career opportunities for aspiring & current professionals & alumni

From paper notes to Ecommerce success: Two modern day Horatio Algers tell their story

By Rob Starr

Ecommerce was around for several years before finally sparking to life about a decade ago. Like the car a hundred years before it, and even the electric light bulb and moveable type before that, innovation reared its head and directed this new Internet innovation toward bettering lives and making money.

However, the story of how the Internet and business formed a bond isn’t marked by a straight trajectory upward on a graph. While those with hindsight will tell you they never had a doubt about the success of Ecommerce as both viable and profitable, there are many pieces that had to come together to make the puzzle fit. And the story of the success of online business so far is best told through the people who are making it happen personally.

People like John King and Gary Simpson; two online entrepreneurs whose credentials in the field read like separate and equal Horatio Alger stories. The partners at PlacementSEO spoke recently about their backgrounds, the personality traits they think make a difference for people who want to work in cyberspace and those they think will make for excellent partners for online endeavors. Simpson started out talking about how the odds were stacked against him from a young age.

One Bedroom House

“When I was fifteen and sixteen we lived in Section 8 Housing and had a one bedroom house with one computer in the living room. I was too far away from any place to find a job,” he says. “My mom definitely couldn’t afford a car so I had to learn something to make some money.”

He taught himself how to design graphics and small websites. Because he loved to read, he got

Gary Simpson

Gary Simpson

a basic HTML book and wrote code on notebook paper. Later he’d go into the computer lab at school to check what he’d done and perfect it. Simpson’s  first real outside business venture was with a local startup in the Charlotte North Carolina area where he took on the role of SEO marketing manager and worked to see the company grow to $100,000 in revenue in four months.

Like-minded Entrepreneur

Fast forward to late 2015 and an online meeting through the website where he met John King, a like-minded entrepreneur that also came to the world of Internet Marketing through a childhood fascination.

“When I was fourteen, I got interested in developing code using a lightweight program known in the developer community as NotePad++ ,” King says adding that he quickly got hooked and began to teach himself how to build complex web structures and online systems that used databases. By the time King was 15, he started a business he sold to an offshore web hosting company two years later.

After a few other detours that included King leaving a nursing career and Simpson honing his early skills by taking floppy disks to school, downloading websites and re-coding them at home, PlacementSEO, which is currently #1 in editorial outreach, was born.

Not only have the partners learned how to make money and grow their search engine optimization business, they’ve come to understand what personality traits work best in a partner along the way.  First, Simpson cautions against looking at remote online work as a vacation.

“You have to work tirelessly to make something happen,” he says. “Try to use every resource that you can.”

Not only that, the cofounder of PlacementSEO says you need to understand how to best use these resources to full advantage. He stresses there’s more to online success than looking at your Twitter and Facebook account.

“A lot of people in this day and age are caught up with checking their connections on social media. They should also be taking the time to build up a repertoire of the things they can use,  what will make them successful and what they can actually use to start a business.”

John King has some further advice for anyone looking to break into the online business world. First off, he believes that a successful business is like a puzzle and all the pieces need to work and fit together but still be separate and distinctive at the same time.


“It doesn’t matter whether you have an investment or are self-funded, everyone who is involved

John King

John King

in the decision making process should always bring something to the table that’s unique to them.”

He goes on to say that it’s okay to have your head in the clouds when it comes to online business, as long as your feet are planted firmly on the ground.

“It’s okay to dream but it’s not okay to only dream,” says this entrepreneur who surpassed his first six month revenue target in two. “It’s good to do that, but you need to set goals to make those dreams happen.”

PlacementSEO is the Internet marketing company that is #1 in editorial outreach. The company provides custom tailored packages for each client and just some of the services they offer include analytics and search engine optimization.





Share this post:

Comments are closed.