Dayne Shuda is the founder of Ghost Blog Writers, an agency that provides blogging services to support the content marketing and SEO strategies of their client organizations.
As a graduate from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire with a degree in management and entrepreneurship, Dayne started his career managing brands for a catalog and online retailer of apparel and footwear.
Dayne’s natural curiosity in digital marketing and search engine optimization prompted him to begin blogging as a hobby. In just a few short years Dayne has gone from a hobbyist, to a content marketing side-hustler, and is now a full-time entrepreneur who manages an entire team of marketers and writers.
Career Success Q&A
How long have you worked in this role?
The business started as a part-time side job in 2010. In 2012 I was able to go full-time and have been doing it ever since.
What do you like most about your work?
I love running a business. I really enjoy thinking about how to improve a business and figure out how to find customers and team members.
What kind of formal schooling do you have?
I went to the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. The reason I went there was because they had an entrepreneur program.
So, it was a general business management degree until the fourth year when we learned all about entrepreneurship.
What kind of experience did you have before you started your company?
I got really lucky in applying for a job as a catalog manager. I had no idea what the job was, but I got hired and it turned out to be perfect training for running a business.
The company was – and still is – great. The people are smart and friendly. It’s like a family.
I learned the direct marketing catalog industry. I worked as a semi-business owner for a couple of the catalog brands. I learned about budgeting, marketing, and more.
While at the company I also started learning about online marketing. I had an interesting in search engine optimization and that turned me in the direction of blogging.
As a hobby, I started blogging every night on my own WordPress blog. I would write about what I was learning at work. I would write about hobbies. I was just writing every day to learn how to write a blog post and how to build a little audience.
Eventually a business owner I knew through my professional network asked if I would write a weekly blog post for his business website. That was Client #1 and Ghost Blog Writers evolved from there.
Do you have a guiding philosophy for your career?
I don’t think I have one, but I try to live my life a certain way.
Reliability and punctuality are very important to me, and I try to bring that to everything we do at Ghost Blog Writers. Whether it is life or business, people seem to appreciate others they can rely on.
What excites you most about your career right now?
Growing the business.
Over the last few years I’ve tried to delegate all of the day-to-day tasks at GBW, and now that we’re in a good place with that I’m working on sales strategies beyond what we’ve already been doing, which has been all organic.
What excites you about the future of your career?
I think content marketing is still just in its infancy stage, with many businesses still just learning to understand what it is and how it can work for their business.
Are you an avid reader?
I’m usually reading a book at all times.
I love reading autobiographies and biographies. I just finished Bitter Brew, which was great.
I’d guess that I read about 12-20 books every year. I just go to the local library where I live.
What book would you recommend to people trying to improve professionally?
The Good to Great series of books by Jim Collins has been a favorite of mine. You learn so much about business and leadership.
I [also] read a lot of blogs. I subscribe to a couple business and sales videos series and podcasts as well.
Right now I like the series of business and sales videos that Alex Berman is doing on his YouTube channel.[Brendan’s Notes: Alex Berman’s tutorial on email prospecting is the most dialed-in approach I’ve ever seen. It’s a must watch for any salesperson or business owner]
Do you have a regular routine you follow to ensure you’re improving?
Every 6 months or so I have a date set on my calendar when I do an audit of my everyday tasks.
I look at what my goals are for the business and what I’m doing every day, and I assess if I need to make changes to achieve the goals I have.
It’s so easy – at least for me – to get into bad habits where I’m doing something almost every day that really isn’t productive in terms of achieving my goals.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
Right about the time I left my full-time job to run Ghost Blog Writers full-time I remembered that over the years I’d heard a number of successful entrepreneurs say that they wished they would have started sooner.
So, I figured that there was no better time than the present to take action. A big part of any battle or any journey is getting started.
Who are your most influential mentors?
I admire the quiet entrepreneurs out there.
My boss in my first job was really good. He was the CMO.
The CEO at that company was also a really nice guy, really smart and really good at his job.
Would you consider yourself a goal-setter?
I try to set goals and then work backwards to what can be done in an everyday routine to achieve those goals.
We’re talking sales goals for Ghost Blog Writers generally, but they might also be goals for saving money in my personal life and things like that.
This last year I had the goal of getting my golf handicap under 10.0. I brought that back to taking 100 practice swings every day. I did that, and earlier this summer my handicap reached 9.8 for a month or so. Goal accomplished!
Is there been a specific method of goal setting you like?
- Set goals.
- Prioritize goals.
- Focusing on the most important one; or maybe 2 or 3.
- Working backwards. Figure out what to do every day to achieve those goals.
- Audit your daily activities every 6-12 months to make sure you’re not getting into bad daily routines.
What are a few of your short-term and long-term career goals?
I have a short-term goal (1 year or so) to build new sales channels for Ghost Blog Writers.
Long-term (10, 20, 50 years) I have a vision of what GBW will become as well as what my life would look like:
- [The] business running on its own.
- It’s probably still just a good-sized small business.
- I might be involved in other small businesses as an owner.
- Mortgage paid.
- Flexible daily life.
- Traveling with my wife and family.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced over the course of your career?
Focusing on the long-term.
So much can happen in a day or a week for a business, but the saying that we overestimate what we can do in a year, but underestimate what we can do in five is so true.
I try to focus on the long-term as much as possible, but it’s not always easy and it can get you down if you’re in the short-term too much.
I try to look back and see how far the business has come in the last five years. I look at how much I’ve changed in ten years. That seems to help me get focused on the next five, ten, or more years.
What have you found to work really well for fostering professional growth?
Having a goal and doing something every day to achieve it. You are what you do every day.
Do you work on your dream business or dream job every day? Or, do you do something else every day?
What is a professional challenge you’re still looking for a solutions to?
Sales. I’m a novice and I’m trying to learn all I can.
Are you currently working on any projects we should be aware of?
It’s pretty much all Ghost Blog Writers now.
What is the best way for people to connect with you?
Have questions about your own professional development or the details of Dayne’s career path?
Ask your questions in the comments below and we’ll be sure to help in anyway we can!
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