John Vuong – All the Work Starts After You Get Paid (#270)

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John Vuong - All the Work Starts After You Get Paid

John Vuong is the Founder and President of Local SEO Search, a family-focused boutique agency looking to form long-term relationships with local businesses that need trustworthy search engine optimization (SEO) services.

John Vuong is a seasoned sales professional and Internet marketer with a proven track record of helping businesses expand their customer base and profits. He has a comprehensive understanding of local marketing dynamics and customer behavior as a result of his 15 years of experience working with CEOs, business owners, and marketing professionals at some of Canada’s most successful firms. After helping over 5,000 local business owners, John followed his entrepreneurial spirit and started his own company, Local SEO Search, in 2013.

John was born in Canada shortly after his parents immigrated as refugees from South Vietnam in 1980. Like many other newcomers, his family endured difficult times with the support of numerous community organizations. John could have let his current circumstances bring him down, but he used them as fuel to embrace the value of hard work, working as a newspaper boy at nine years of age to help support his family with bread and milk. Throughout adolescence and early adulthood, John set a goal to one day own a business and give back to the local community, which he’s currently doing with Local SEO Search.

5 Ways to Improve Your Online Presence

Nowadays, every kind of business needs a solid online presence. How can someone improve it?

Here are the top 5 suggestions by John Vuong.

  • Optimize For SEO: When done effectively, SEO can help your website rank higher in search results, increasing the chances of potential customers seeing it.
  • Publish Relevant Content Regularly: You can enhance your search engine results by creating high-quality & relevant content, but you can also boost your online presence by publishing more frequently.
  • Using Social Media to Build Your Brand: On average, people spend 2.4 hours every day on social media. As a result, it’s an excellent place to establish your brand and boost your online presence.
  • Make it Easy for Customers to Contact You: Whether through social media, your website, a phone number, or email, providing different communication channels can help you stay top-of-mind.
  • Respond Quickly to Company Inquiries: Customers expect companies to reply swiftly to their inquiries in today’s fast-paced digital world, so make sure not to disappoint.

And now here’s John Vuong.

Full transcript below

Video With John Vuong on Why All the Work Starts After You Get Paid

Video on the Simplest Ways to Promote Your Website on Google

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Podcast with John Vuong. All the Work Starts After You Get Paid.


people, john, sales, business, parents, siblings, growing, learn, yellow pages, clients, business owners, seo, world, canada, listening, knew, years, work, paid, magazines


Mike Malatesta, John Vuong

Mike Malatesta  00:07

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the how that happened podcast powered by WINJECT Studios. I am so happy today to have another amazing success story to share with you. I’ve got John Vuong on the podcast. John, welcome to the show.

John Vuong  00:26

Thank you for having me excited and honored to be on your show today.

Mike Malatesta  00:31

Yeah, well, we’ve been looking forward to this for a while John first connected me. First, we connected on LinkedIn, I think and then I sort of didn’t follow up right away like I was supposed to, which I normally do. But anyway, John was persistent. And, and I’m glad because he’s got a great story to tell that you’re going to. You’re going to love and you’re going to say Mike is fulfilling his promise to you today with John’s story. So let me tell you a little bit about John. John Vuong. That’s V-U-O-N-G. John Vuong is the owner, or do you consider yourself the CEO as well, John.

John Vuong  01:16

I’m all hats I pretty much started it bootstrap in founded? Yes.

Mike Malatesta  01:22

Okay, so John is the owner and founder of Local SEO Search. He is also a seasoned sales professional and internet marketer with an exceptional track record helping companies grow their clientele and their profits. Through 15 years of experience working with CEOs, business owners and marketing leaders at some of Canada’s most successful corporations, John developed a deep understanding of local marketing dynamics and consumer behavior, his entrepreneurial spirit, and experience working with more than 5000 business owners inspired him to start his own company, which is Local SEO Search in 2013. Congratulations on that, by the way, John. John’s parents were among the last of the boat people, refugees who immigrated from South Vietnam in 1980. And John was born a few months after they arrived. Like many newcomers, his family persevered through difficult times and relied upon the help from various community organizations, including the Salvation Army, and Canada employment center. Early on, John embraced the value of hard work, and set a goal to one day, own a business and give back to the local community. So with that, John, I start every episode asking the same question which is how did happen for you?

John Vuong  02:46

Early stages of my life, my parents really gave us all the inspiration of connection being supported with each other, and hard work. So for me, growing up was family first, really hard work which is doing the best you can appreciating what you got here, which is safe safety net, like having escaped the war, my parents had to leave everything behind the people that community to come to Canada without the language without a community without much like survival mode, right food and shelter. So growing up, that’s all we had each other. So food, shelter, and trying to understand the how everything worked, culturally. So at the upbringing was a little bit more challenging living in government housing. But we persevered the four children, and we all got university degrees, we, you know, try to fit in like everyone else, and we worked hard at it. So I think that really set the foundation up on what happened in my business career as well as my sales career and Post University.

Mike Malatesta  04:14

So thank you for that chat so that this boat people thing I know you are not yet born you were you were in the womb, I guess so to speak on the way over, but can you give us a little bit more of a perspective of what your family was going through? Not only that caused them to leave, but but also to figure out where to go. I mean, it’s one thing to decide you’re going to leave somewhere but then figuring out where to go is a whole nother thing.

John Vuong  04:46

As we’re recording this episode. Ukraine is going through some turmoil. Yeah. And there’s a lot of refugees people trying to leave the country because they’re Caught in the middle of friction on the highest levels, right. And they were businesspeople, they were educated, smart family run people, and they just want to survive, and then provide for the next generation. So my parents had the foresight to really think about not themselves, but they’re simply like the children, right, so the next generation. So that’s what my parents did, they sacrificed everything liquidated all their assets, to gold, to escape with pirate ships, and whatever it may be, to get over to a safety net. And what happened was my parents actually separated from their siblings. So some of them were relocated. So my aunts and uncles, some of them were relocated to Germany, Australia, different parts of the world. And we fortunately got accepted in Canada. And for us, me being such a young child, I thought, you know, I, I had a lot of regret growing up, not wanting, not being like everyone else, right. But now, in hindsight, and now that I look back, it was probably the best thing that happened to me not being too comfortable, I would say, because that really made all the children work hard, persevere, like, we had to support one another, right? Like, I wasn’t newspaper boy, nine, right? To really support the family with bread and milk. I had so many jobs growing up, it was really survival mode. So that really brought us together.

Mike Malatesta  06:45

And when you say, not being like everyone else, I don’t want to presume to understand what that means. So I thought I’d ask you, what do you mean by that?

John Vuong  06:55

Okay, so growing up, you know, we had to shop at secondhand stores, we didn’t go to the mall and buy new stuff, right? We didn’t have vehicles, we didn’t have much growing up. So going to school, you know, we were picked on we were laughed at and all everything else. Right? So, you know, it was challenging. And it was fine. Because end of the day, we had family, right? We had each other I was trying to fit in like everyone, you know, when you’re a teenager and things happen, right? It’s hard and some people can persevere. Some people will, you know, forward, right? And, you know, sink in and do some petty crime and do some bad things. I saw a lot of that happening. And I was very, my parents really made sure that we were doing our homework, we were doing chores, we were busy doing other things. So we were not caught up doing and hanging out with the wrong crowds.

Mike Malatesta  07:59

And we’re in Canada, did you end up? And are you still in the same areas where you came?

John Vuong  08:04

Yeah, so we resided an hour away from Toronto, which in a small city called Hamilton, Ontario. And it’s an hour away. And what I do recall every year was growing up, we had a ticket given by the government to an event and festival called Canadian National Exhibition. And now it was a one time family event every year that we look forward to as children. It was it’s just a little carnival, right? In Toronto, but we got free passes. And that was what we look forward to every single year as children. And that connected us to really like having an experience of how other people were living outside of our small little community. And it was great.

Mike Malatesta  08:53

And where you live, John, was it mostly? You know, native Canadians around you? Or was this a place where sort of immigrants were? Yes. So annulled,

John Vuong  09:04

it was definitely where a lot more immigrants were channeled. It was apartments, government housing. So in the school system, there were a mixture of different ethnicities, cultures, everything else. And it was, you know, a lot of people were coming through in similar situations, so we can actually, you know, grew up together and most of my friends today are, you know, professionals, doctors, dentists, lawyers, because we were hard working people, right, like we understood the values of, you know, staying in the system, understanding the long game. And there’s a lot of people that I knew that took shortcuts, right, went into petty crime and figured out quicker, faster ways to make it but then they ended up I have no idea where they ended up, but you’ve probably not the good side of the The world so

Mike Malatesta  10:01

yeah. Okay, so they wanted Yeah, they wanted to game the system shortcut the show? Yes. And you mentioned that your parents were professionals, they had to give up all of that sell all their assets, they come to Canada, they’ve got you and three siblings. I don’t know what the order of your other siblings were. What do they do? What do they have to

John Vuong  10:25

do my parents own business, a bike repair shop in Vietnam. And, you know, during the war, they had to liquidate everything, assets to just leave. But, you know, for, for me as a child, my parents didn’t understand the culture and language living in Canada. Right. So it was a little bit more challenging not knowing how things operated, where to go, how, how everything worked. So that was the probably the biggest challenge, which now I look back, I’m so fortunate to have this 40 years of generational knowledge and wealth of information to pass on to my child, so that it’s a lot easier and quicker to navigate and figure things out. In terms of the culture and how things work, where a lot of people first generation or challenge, they go through a lot of turmoil sacrificing for the next generation, and I want to help them I want to support those people, because it was a big challenge for a lot of us.

Mike Malatesta  11:33

What, what did your parents said? So I, I’m gonna ask this first. I’m assuming based on what you’ve told me so far, the separation from siblings, you know, you get you, you basically get assigned to come to Canada is what it sounded like. So you get here. Do your parents know anyone? Is there any connection to someone for me? Oh,

John Vuong  11:53

yeah. So we had a sign someone to kind of integrate us into the community. But again, there was a it’s hard because you don’t know the language. And that person only speaks English, right?

Mike Malatesta  12:06

Yes. That person that was assigned to you didn’t know. So they’re like a liaison of some Yes, yes. Hmm. I’m just yeah, I’m sort of exploring the courage. Although, on one hand, I want to call it the courage and I always feel like immigrants have a lot of courage, right? But they’re also sometimes you, it’s so forced on you that you really don’t need courage so much, because it’s not really a choice. It’s a necessity. Yeah. But you need something because to get into that environment, and it’s got to be super scary. First of all, no matter what kind of confidence or courage you have. And just be it just makes me and I’ll ask you this later, but it just makes me feel it’s your family so special. And all families that go through something like this are so special, because the those of us who haven’t, you know, can read about it, and we can empathize with it. But it’s all from a distance. Like, I don’t want to get too close to that. Because yeah, I don’t want to experience it. So did you do what did your parents end up? ended up doing once they got, you know, sort of on their feet? Oh,

John Vuong  13:21

yeah. My dad was trying to get jobs in the same profession, right side gigs, the language was big as determined, right? My mom had to raise four kids, right? Like, all these things are, it’s challenging. So we were on the Social Security, like welfare system, and just surviving, really. So it was, it was hard, right. So when my my siblings were of age, we all supported each other, we were working to support the family. And that was how we grew up closer than ever. Right? And, you know, the foundation of it, the core of it all was family.

Mike Malatesta  14:04

Yeah. Okay. And has your family your parents you have they been able to reconnect with their siblings that

John Vuong  14:11

so? So yes, my mom is able to fly certain places at certain times. So they’re getting a little bit older now. But with technology is a lot easier using video because before it was like mail, the postcards or whatnot letters, right. And then came telephones which still is not the same as video. So right now it’s a lot easier because you can actually see here and talk to them real time. So advancements in technology has really helped.

Mike Malatesta  14:45

And I’m assuming as a young kid, and maybe for a long time you’re speaking Vietnamese in that in the home and then learning English at school or did you learn on learned English, you know, sort of on the streets being surrounded? How did you do even? Yeah, so

John Vuong  15:01

at home, we spoke Chinese, Chinese. So my parents were Chinese, Vietnamese. And yeah, English was the school system, right? Because at home, my parents didn’t really understand and speak English. So it was just how we were raised. And we were able to get through the education system, and then all my siblings are engineers now. And myself, being a business owner.

Mike Malatesta  15:31

And this is this may be an unfair question. And if it is just, you know, tell me about that. I’m curious from your perspective now. You know, as an adult, and you know, with your own child, and, you know, you’ve got all this experience and all the success that you’ve had, and is, do you think it was more difficult for your parents to come? I way that they did, or do you think it was more difficult for you and your siblings? Well, I

John Vuong  16:03

can’t speak to my parents. Yeah, I can think about what they had to go through, like to endure a war to separate from siblings to then sacrifice everything, pick up and leave liquidated everything for their kids. That must have been hard survival at its greatest Yeah. Right. And then the luxury that we have being in a safe haven, a country that supports and embodies the culture of the values that we all are very appreciated. All right, in the western society and world. So I feel being privileged and grateful to be living in a Western country and world. Because if I were to go through what Ukrainians are going through right now, maybe I’d be frontline. You know, to support that country. We don’t know what would have happened, right? And what would have happened if my, my parents decided to stay? Right? Yeah, there’s so many things that coulda, shoulda, woulda, and right now you can only look in the past. But moving forward, I’m just trying to embody my son to have to think about how grateful he is living in the Western world. Right. And culture.

Mike Malatesta  17:28

You know, maybe this would be the last question I asked you about this journey, but maybe not, but that you met you that you’ve mentioned hardware a number of times since you’ve started here. And you mentioned, you know, opportunity and you know, freedom and, you know, some of the things that you got, as a result of growing up in the West, that your perspective, because, you know, there’s so much talk about, well, in Canada is a good example. There’s a lot of entitlement in Canada. There’s a lot of entitlement in the US, there’s a lot of entitlement in every Western country. But you know, you you, I’m it didn’t doesn’t sound like you ever felt entitled you felt, you know, gifted I guess to be to have the opportunities that you had. And I’m just wondering what your perspective is on, on the way that say, you and your family saw things coming to when you came to Canada or when you grew up, as opposed to how some natives you know, see things. Yeah. Do you understand what I’m trying? Yeah,

John Vuong  18:45

I totally agree. So why my parents were very grounded to the point where they were telling me not to compare to anyone, because no one has gone through what they just went through. No one understands. You have to live it. And the only people that live it is people that were escaping, or people that were going through the challenges that they had to go through. So everyone lives their own life. And we were very fortunate to have parents that were strong to really push us in the right direction, and focus on what you can control, right focus on what is within your realm. And they really pushed us to get further education, which was good or bad. It was really setting precedent on knowledge, and how to decipher information, right? Because there’s so much content out there. You have to navigate through to see what worked, what’s fitting your perspective in life at that given time. So that’s what I feel really helped us get through the challenging times.

Mike Malatesta  20:00

Okay. And you mentioned that the petty crime thing that some of your friends or whatever you saw, and I wondered to myself, did you or any of your siblings sort of investigate that a little bit? And your parents were like, whoo, no, no, no, no, no, no, that’s not why we’re here. That’s not how the world works are where you just straight arrows like, we’re just going to work. And

John Vuong  20:21

well, we knew what was going on. We knew the families, we knew the people, because some of these cars and vehicles that they were driving were more worth more than the car, the homes that they were living in. And they were same age as myself and my siblings, right? It would not, you know, like, my parents really put us we were very grounded and knowledgeable at that time, right? We’re not gonna say anything, we just see it, we just let it go. And so you got to have the sense of street-smart, as well as book-smart. Because you would not be able to survive in the areas I was living in, if you were not a part of the culture as well.

Mike Malatesta  21:01

Okay, fair enough. Thank you for that added perspective. And you talked about being you know, newspaper, I was also a newspaper boy, when I was small, those jobs are all gone. Now. They’re performed by adults who drive around and put stuff in mostly. But what are some of the other jobs that you had? And I’m wondering, you know, you know, from the I’d like to learn a little bit more about, you know, how you came, you know, your adolescence through your teenage years and ultimately to, to university?

John Vuong  21:32

Yeah. So, before I went into university, I had about 20 different jobs, from working in the restaurant industry, to anything outdoors factory, I jobs, library, all the major facilities in Hamilton I pretty much worked at, because I was Ultra, not just curious, but trying to figure out like, what are the locals doing right to support and survive? Because as children or my family, we didn’t have much. So we’re like, we got to work to survive, to buy a pair of jeans that I had to save for a month, right? So this hard work was ingrained in us. So yeah, just working hard, spending a lot of time staying away from what was going on locally, so that we were constantly busy.

Mike Malatesta  22:29

What were you doing outside of working, which is

John Vuong  22:33

I always alive sports activities. My parents, like, I paid for YMCA membership. So I was always active in the sport and weights and spending time with people that have like minded interests of mine. And my parents really tried to push me away from the people that were partying all the time and doing stuff that they wouldn’t agree on. So for me, it was just staying active and busy. Okay.

Mike Malatesta  23:01

And when was it when you entered when you were going to university? Did you have an idea at that point, what you thought you might want to become? Or were you just sort of like, okay, I’m gonna get an education and then figure it out.

John Vuong  23:17

So in my high school years, I was working in the library, Hamilton Library. And the funny thing is, I would always look at these magazines, right, and the friend or throw the magazine, they would always be successful people, right? Like nice cars, nice outfits, they looked apart, they dressed apart, and they felt like they belonged. And they were ultra successful. So growing up, I always wanted to be like them CEOs, or someone that actually portrayed to be wealthy. Right? I had no idea what that meant, or how to do it. I just knew that one day, I wanted to be like that. And then I was Ultra curious. Right? So I was like, okay, so what do they really drive? Where do they really live? What’s going on? And how do they come who they are. So growing up, I studied business in university business, finance, and learn a little bit more about how businesses work, what’s important to how to do that. And then my first job was sales. So outside of university, I was in advertising sales, right? It was like I got a job, let’s go in be the best salesperson I could. So I was absorbing content. Through audio tapes every day, I would show up first. And I work because for me, I was already work waking up at 5:40am to deliver newspapers every day when I was like 10 years old. So waking up early is not a problem, and then constantly just learn that art of sales. So in two years, I just got better and better practice. Picking up phone calls learning about listening And although all the trainings are always learning and absorbing, and just continue that whole cycle of getting better at everything that I was trying to focus on in terms of getting my goals in line,

Mike Malatesta  25:13

and can you so I was an audio tape person too. And for those younger people listening that we actually had a physical thing that we had to put into the device and listen to some of the some of the audio tapes that you were listening to Who were some of the people you were listening to Jad, and why?

John Vuong  25:31

Well, they were the Zig Ziglar years of the world. That, you know, before Tony Robbins, there was a ton of other sales influences. So at the time, I was really focused on like, Brian Tracy, influential people that motivated you to keep going hard, because it was tough, like sales is psychologically and mentally draining. Because it’s the rejection day in day out. So you have to be strong in terms of not worrying and understanding that there will probably get a lot of phone calls, and you only have x amount of seconds to connect with him to have a further discussion. So really, the art of it all.

Mike Malatesta  26:18

Okay, did you also listen to leadership, people like, like Jim Rohn, or

John Vuong  26:25

not until I was more into my 30s,

Mike Malatesta  26:29

okay, because we have been focused on sales.

John Vuong  26:31

Exactly. Because I was really on that career path of, once I’m done this job, I can go to the next trying to earn a little bit more, and then try to be at the best of that company, to then move on to the next right. So I was on just trajectory of trying to be the best I can in sales. So I spent 10 years in advertising sales.

Mike Malatesta  26:55

So is this kid working in the Hamilton Library? You know, flipping through these magazines to now, you know, the founder, CEO, Owner, whatever you want to call yourself have this firm? How do you see? Or do you define? Or do you have expectations about success that are different than what you were thinking when you were sort of looking through these famous people in magazines and applying probably what little you knew about success? To them, you mentioned wealth as being one of the things so I’m curious how you’ve evolved your thinking.

John Vuong  27:36

So over the course of many, many years, it it really makes a huge impact of where you’re at, and what you want to achieve. And throughout those stages of life, I found that the hard work that I put in, and learning you know, all that stuff that was in the magazines, reading books and audio tapes, it got me close to closer to where I am today. So success didn’t just happen overnight. It was that growth, the progress the failures, every day wondering, what the heck am I doing? Why am I doing this? And then trying to observe and being grateful for the opportunity. And that’s one thing I always take a step back and say, Well, how you know, I am progressing, I am getting closer. And even though I may never be on that front page of a magazine, because I’m no billionaire or multi millionaire, hundreds of millionaire, I’m happy. And that’s most important thing, right? And as much as it glorifies, you know, more influencers and more likes, shares and all that. You have to be content with yourself. So overall, I’ve come to realize that life is short. It’s important to just continually being grounded, jaded with what you’re doing presently, in your moment and moving forward, progressing. Because you can reflect all you want, you can look back about history, what if what could have should have, but it’s more about what can you do today to move yourself closer to where you want to be?

Mike Malatesta  29:17

The future is the only thing you can change. Yes. Okay, the you’re listening to these audio tapes, and you and I were discussing before we went live here this if you’re watching, you’ll see that behind John he’s got bookcases full of books that reminds me of my I’m in the top floor of my office here my bottom floor is much like where you are where I’ve got, you know, just hundreds and hundreds of books. And we talked about you you know, just constantly learning right using books to constantly learn. And this is just a kind of a stupid in the weeds question but do you listen to books now, or do you read them because I’m

John Vuong  30:03

still. So my routine and morning is I wake up at five still, okay, but it’s been happening forever. And I consume content. So I like that slow pace reading still, that’s the best way I absorb content. So I just stick with what works for me. And there’s different people that listen to content, watch YouTube videos. But for me, that’s how I learned the best.

Mike Malatesta  30:31

Yeah, okay. I was just curious, because some people, you know, get, like, if I had a choice between reading Zig Ziglar, and listening to Zig Ziglar, except to hear the voice, which was kind of cool. I would read, as opposed to listen, so I didn’t know if that, you know, sort of, I like to explore that with people because some people love to listen, they don’t want to read. I like to read because it’s physical. And I feel like I have a connection to the thing. But I will have, I will admit that some books, once you hear the author read them, it’s like, wow, we’re really glad I listened to that book, as opposed to read the book, because you learn a lot, just from the me I learned a lot, sometimes just from the way that they, you know, the emotion that they read the book with, which is very personal, as opposed to me trying to just, you know, take the words and incorporate them the way my brain does it. Anyway, sort of an innovative question. So John, the the, you mentioned how hard sales was, and you said something that was really, really struck me as brilliant when you said, you know, you have to remember that, you know, the person that you’re, you know, calling on gets lots of calls, and you only have, you know, that brief sort of window to get their attention to, and really get their attention, meaning they actually think you can help them with something. How did you? It’s one of the hardest skill sets I find interesting to see what your perspective is, I find still, that many salespeople, even career salespeople are not performing, in my opinion, anywhere close to what their actual capability could be. Because they they don’t get what you said, you know, you only have, you know, 30 seconds to get my attention. How did you? I don’t know if you see that today, still, but I’m wondering more like, how did you get good at it?

John Vuong  32:42

And just, again, it’s the art of trial and error, and constantly learning, right? There’s no one way fit all there’s no, every day is a challenge every day, mentally, psychologically, and just being present is important. So you got to constantly grind at learning the scripts, changing it up, as well as understanding once you have a couple wins, you ask the people that you actually won over in the sales, what triggered them. So every one that you start getting to know, on a more personal level, from new clients to old clients, prospects, the ones that you lost, you want to reflect on them to get better, and get gain insights on why and what I could have done. So I’ve learned early days, I back in the day, I would have business cards, I would make notes at the back of it on what triggered them, what were their interests, what were saying things that we can connect with. And when you start connecting on a personal level with people, they’re more inclined to want to do business with someone they like, and share commonalities. And that’s why I learned early in my 20s This is how I became one of the top sales persons in each of the organizations by just understanding connection relationships, as well as you know, the sales I didn’t even know this was a skill until now I’m a business owner. It’s one of the probably the most important skill sets that I had to harvest and learn to be where I am today because without revenue and clients, you have no business.

Mike Malatesta  34:28

Yeah, sure. And you forgot to mention hard work there too. Because it’s it’s it becomes an art or a skill after a lot of repetition. Yes. And putting in the work outside of it like listening to the tapes and really learning from people who’ve done it. So you became a top 2% salesperson I’m wondering the along the way how many times or whether there was a time John where you were like I I’m so I’m so discouraged by not making the progress that I want to make that I just want to give up. Was there ever a time for you like that, during your sales, or in your sales, the sales part of your career,

John Vuong  35:11

I think in sales, I was very fortunate to be working with people in all stages of their lives. So me being in my 20s, early 30s, I was able to also work with people in their 40s 50s 60s. And they’re at different stages of their lives with fit family, ones that don’t have family, and had different perspectives on the career path where I wanted to take it, what I needed to do to be like them, if they own a home, nice car, you know, had children that went to private school, and I like all these things, I was so fortunate to be a part of a bigger ecosystem, and build relationships with people that I can trust and turn to at that certain stage of my life. So, you know, for me, I was just happy to constantly be a part and engage with people that I respected.

Mike Malatesta  36:05

Okay, and you, it’s in the bio, I mentioned that you from an early age had decided that one day you wanted to own a business, and you’ve got this sales career going on top 2%. mean, you’re probably doing well. And in 2013, you decide that you’re going to start your current business, which, you know, on one hand, I applaud on the other hand, I’m like, why would you know, why would somebody who’s had so much success want to walk away from that, and just put, go all in on something like starting a business.

John Vuong  36:50

So different people go through different things that they have to figure out in kind of, for me, it was a pivotal moment in my life, just recently got married, left my job, because it was not as fulfilling anymore.

Mike Malatesta  37:08

For me, tell me about that.

John Vuong  37:10

So large corporation, I was working at the Yellow Pages, and I was there for five years. And I saw a lot of change happening and in the corporate world, change for them didn’t go fast enough for what I saw in frontline in sales, clients were not happy, they didn’t like the kind of product and service I was representing. So for me, I had different choices. I either continue working in sales at, say the Googles of the world, and Amazon’s and big, big companies in the corporate environment again, or I had the full support from my wife. And she basically said, you know, this is a great time for you to try something, if you’re not happy, go for something that will make you happy. And in the course of the last 10 years ago, I was working with small business owners, and what really impacted me the most was getting to know them on a personal level. So imagine 5000 business owners, and I got to really know maybe hundreds of them, where they really gave me the fundamentals of understanding what makes and breaks a business, and really, about what are the core values of it, which is community. Understanding that family comes first. Usually these are small family run businesses. And then hard work, right. They were so instrumental to just putting in the time learning, understanding how to run a business, listening to clients, having services that really mattered to the community, right. And they were like neighbors, they were community leaders. They were just normal people. Yet they were the, you know, the, the heart of every single neighborhood city community in North America, right? It was just, that’s what was instrumental and I want it to be like them, ultimately. So for me, I spoke to a lot of them. I really want it to be like, Okay, now is my opportunity and chance to try something. So I reached out to someone and said, I’m going to start something. I have no idea how to do SEO. I’m not tech savvy at all. But I knew that it was underserved and underappreciated. I knew there was a direction that was moving towards this digital age. So I went out, got sales, meeting these business owners, and I basically said, I’ll figure it out. If you stick with me, I’m going to do my best and start performing and generating good quality results for you. And so that’s why I did

Mike Malatesta  39:53

okay, and Bravo by the way, I love i That’s a great story about change, right you, I just had an economist on with me in a recent episode and John list and he was talking about opportunity cost of the opportunity cost of your time, you know, and it seems to me like you saw something happening at Yellowpages changes that weren’t going to maximize your time. So your opportunity cost of staying there was lower, or higher, I guess, then moving to something else, which is like a trigger for all of us, my trigger was a little different. When I started my business I, I was I thought I was doing great, I thought I’d might want to maybe one day, become the CEO of the company, instead, I got fired. And so, you know, he’s sort of looking around, not really that different than being this, you know, you know, discouraged by the trajectory of the company or the changes, and looking around and going well, what can I do now, knowing that I don’t really know how to do anything, certainly not start a business. So that’s, I appreciate you sharing that. You didn’t know because a lot of people, you know, they come in and like they know every, you know, like they know everything. But how did you learn? How did you partner with? You know, you’re not tech savvy, by the way, SEO for people who don’t know what that even means? John, why don’t I don’t want to butcher my butcher it by explaining it? Why don’t you explain that and then tell me how you actually got to learn it, or how you brought on the right collaborators or partners or whatever you needed to have a business that was selling SEO?

John Vuong  41:29

Yeah, search engine optimization, which is short for SEO short for. And what it is, is getting your website found on that first page of Google optimizing it for the users intent. So every keyword, you want your website as a business owner to appear, because Google is what Yellow Pages used to be, right? When people are ready to buy, they seek out that category in the Yellow Pages. Well, now it’s keywords. So I knew there was a shift because of technology. The speed was faster, it was affordable, and access everyone. Now we’re equipped with desktop, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and things were at their fingertips. So I knew there was a shift. However, I didn’t know anything about SEO to honestly, I just knew I could sell it. So I went there got my 1020 clients, they pay me up upfront years of a brand. And I was like, Okay, now I have enough money to learn this stuff. So I went and tried to absorb as much content as possible learning the basics, terminology of what you know, content, and you know everything about keyword research and technical audits and link building all that stuff. And it was draining. So I was working 14 1618 hours for a good year or two, right? Before I started hiring a lot of people to then because I needed to know a little bit about what they were doing to then hire them to do the work. Right? Because I didn’t like for me, I wanted to build a brain. Because I don’t want to be a consultant or solopreneur all my life, right, I wanted to look at how yellow pages built their company, to then kind of mimic it on a smaller scale to support my type of client that I only want to work with. So I you know, just observing a lot of it learning, making tons of mistakes on hiring, firing, like all these things are, I’m a lifelong learner, I’m gonna still constantly make mistakes, and there’s nothing perfect in any business, in particular, my business, my, I’ll always be honest with my clients, I will let them know if I made a mistake or not. Or I am going to be very transparent throughout the entire process. And that’s how I’ve been able to be around since 2013.

Mike Malatesta  43:52

And you brushed over something there that I want to dig into a little bit because I think there’s a good lesson for lots of entrepreneurs there. And you said that you got you were able to get people to buy into whatever vision you were selling them and buy in by actually paying you upfront to do things that’s unusual in the business world. And I feel like so many entrepreneurs and business owners, you know, have sort of just grown up with this mentality that you provide all the value first and then you wait to get paid, you know, you send an invoice and wait to get paid, but you actually used it sounded like and I don’t want to, you know, be telling the wrong story here. So you tell me if I’m if I’m off base here, but it sounded like what you were saying is you got people who not only believe in you, but but pay you which helped you to fund the business and learn what you needed to learn to actually give them what they wanted from you.

John Vuong  44:50

Yeah, so I learned this model at Yellow Pages. They got recurring business upfront for product that has been established for many years right And it was a proven product, I just didn’t know how to do it. But clients saw the value of how Yellow Pages perform. So for me, it was like a years upfront to do the work. And now I have time to figure it out. And it just like lawyers, professionals, that bill per hour, and they get upfront retainers, I wanted to be that expert or the brand that wanted to get money first, because all the work happens after you get paid. Because I never wanted to be in the bread. So throughout the course of starting this business, I’ve never lost any money, right? I’ve always been in the positives, because I knew without revenue and sales, I wouldn’t have money to hire my people, to train them to use software and figure things out. So that was, again, say always, I think, learning how to sell and pitch and position yourself so that people see a tremendous amount of value to pay you up front.

Mike Malatesta  46:02

It’s an amazing lesson for those of us hearing that because like I said, in the inertia in the business world is not that the inertia is do it send a bill and you know, hope you get paid, or we get paid on their terms, whatever those happen to be 3060 90. And you’re out all that capital in the meantime, nobody’s paying you, you know, here, you got to come up with that to fund your business. So very smart, John, you I don’t know if we were recording when you said this or not. But you said something about your future, knowing what you want. And I’m, I’m a huge proponent of that. I mean, like, I feel like, if you don’t know what you want, you’re never going to get it. And you’re never going to be able to lead your people towards helping you to get what you want. Because you can’t, you’re unable to identify or articulate it properly. So tell me about how you think about your future and, you know, making it yours or owning it.

John Vuong  47:11

Thank you for that. I think early days, I really had goal setting, and vision planning and everything in place at an early stage. Because in order to survive where I was growing up, in, you know, elementary school in high school, I had to plan things out every day was a battle, I had to make sure that I fit in. And I also took care of my base, which is needs necessities. And then university it was survival mode as well paying all the debt from schooling and working along the way. So I had to plan things out. And even when I got my first job, I was trying to plan out to pay for a car, I got my job without having a vehicle. But it was a requirement. So they even know that I had no car, I had to take public transit for six months, without them knowing that I had a vehicle. So I just had to figure it out. Right, I had to plan it out. And eventually I planned out to get my home, get married, have you know all these things fine, on a personal level. And then now comes the business I saw at Yellow Pages, I was planning out sales targets, KPIs monthly goals, targets, how many phone calls, how many sales you need, in order to achieve any sort of success, you need that clarity, right? Written goal planning, right? On a monthly quarterly, semi annually, three, five year 10 year plan. So and when I started this business, I had no idea what I was doing. But I knew that I want to be, you know, at least paying myself a little bit the same amount that was making in the next couple years, right? That was my real time goal. And then you move on to hiring more people to remove you a little bit from the daily operations, to then focus on your lifestyle, right. So everything takes time to progress. And, you know, even last year, I did a 10 year plan with the company. And I said, Look, you know, are you with me? If not let me know so that I can find people that are in alignment with our vision and goals, right? Because it’s so pivotal. It’s important because we’re going through one of the biggest pandemics in the world, right? Like what, there’s so much turmoil in life. And you need to hit people at the right time at the right moment in alignment with the same vision and goals, right. So it’s hard to find people that have similar goals that are like minded, as well as clients. So we do a lot of hard work at the beginning of onboarding of new clients to make sure they’re a good fit so that they’re lifetime clients of ours as well.

Mike Malatesta  49:55

And just curious when you went through that 10 year planning exercise with your team. Was there anyone that raised her Hey, John, this isn’t for me.

John Vuong  50:02

Well, you can tell right? From the times of questions or if they’re very passive, and you try to learn from them, especially if they’ve been with us for many years, how engaged they are, you extract and learn from people, just because I’ve been, you know, with so many different people at different ages, different walks of life, different stages. So just reading people from interactions on a personal level, as well as hearing and how they say things. And then getting them to observe, right, like, all my team observes each other, and we’ll have gut checks, we’ll have roundtables every month, we’ll collaborate and gauge what is going on. Right? So having fun with this entire business, it’s fun as well. So I enjoy it as much or even more today than when I first started for sure.

Mike Malatesta  51:00

So what what is the if you don’t mind sharing what is at the 10 years of this planning, where, where are you? And where is Local SEO Search?

John Vuong  51:13

So Local SEO Search, my vision, when I first started, it was being one of the top in Canada, right. And Canada is, you know, it’s not as big as us. But it’s a substantial market in the Western world. And, you know, I’m getting there, and it’s fine. So progressing, growing the team and servicing more clients on a local scale. Eventually, I want to get into different segments in different markets in the US and UK and Australia, Western world. And it is a big challenge to be the best of any profession is, in a global scale is huge, right? So for me, it’s just making a dent a small market share, and having fun throughout that journey. Yes, there’s revenue thresholds, yes, there’s growth in terms of each employee. But sustainable growth, realistic goal growth, and I don’t ever want to overextend. So strategic, in a sense of never spend more than you you’re earning and learning and growing in, you know, being at the pulse of what’s going on in competition, like, just learning so much all the time, every single day.

Mike Malatesta  52:29

So, I this is a personal question from me, not a personal question to you, but so I have my podcast, I have my website and my blog, I have all of these things. And it seems like every day, I get what I call spammed by some SEO experts saying, Oh, I reviewed your website and it looks good except and then they go on to like something and then you know, calm book a call to figure out how I can like, you know, supercharge your, your world with my SEO brilliance. And you you mentioned that Google out the you mentioned algorithm at one point. And you know, everyone, a lot of people say, well, the Google our algorithm changed and you know, Facebook’s algorithm change and all this stuff. How do people separate jam? You know, these people who are just, I don’t know, I call them spamming. There’s, they’re spamming me, I have no idea who they are. They’re not creating a connection with me. They’re not trying to make differentiate themselves in 30 seconds. Like, personally, like you had mentioned, how do you how have you attack? Because there’s a lot to them? It seems like there’s lots of them out there, at least in my experience, how do you cut through all that noise and get to, you know, really get to have great, real good conversations with people about how you can help them.

John Vuong  53:46

And I think when people are ready, and they know they need something, they’re going to seek out service providers, right? There’s a big difference between people that are fishing for information, and then being sold versus they know what they need. And they need an expert to serve them. So I find this being like Yellow Pages, right? When I was there. When you’re looking for a plumber, and you’re at home and you need someone, what do you do you go out seeking for advice from an expert versus your soul in a brochure or magazine radio ads, Google Ad Facebook ad, you are out there, getting a service provider, you’re in control the user. So it’s the same thing, when someone’s looking at business owners looking for SEO, you want to just be there as an option. You want to be front and center when they’re ready to buy and you’re a trusted source right? Versus you’re pushing stuff out people like paid ads and different retargeting ads, all that stuff. I don’t think by pushing stuff that people you’re gonna get the best quality of leads when you earn the trust. You’ve become that thought leader, you’re someone that they respect, that’s when people are more likely to want to do business with you. And that’s what I’ve done in the last nine years for my company, and all my clients. It’s all about positioning them as leaders in their industry, in their market in whatever given service product they have. And then getting people who are ready, who are seeking out that product or service to find you, right. And the quality of leads that you get is night and day, ready to buy customers of your ideal type avatar persona, paying you the best amount highest margin lifetime value customers, because those are the people that you want to work with. And that’s what we try to provide for our clients.

Mike Malatesta  55:48

That’s a wonderful answer. John, thank you so much. Thank you so much for clearing that up to me. So don’t so if someone’s spamming you for SEO? No, you know, contact John and get the real, get get get an expert to really talk you through what you need to be thinking about and what you need to actually have great results. John, how do you how do you want people to connect with you? Yeah, exactly.

John Vuong  56:10

So like we’re all about just trying to educate, inform, and when you’re ready, we never try to oversell, we’re here patiently working with people that know they need the best ROI for advertising sales, I still feel SEO is the, you know, behind the scenes secret weapon for a lot of businesses out there. If you’re not utilizing your website as a lead source, lead generation kind of revenue stream, then you’re missing out. So take a look at our website, Local SEO Search. We own as well as And if you have any questions you could reach out to me on LinkedIn, John Vaughn, and I can answer any of your questions.

Mike Malatesta  56:56

VUON G, by the way. John, thanks so much for being on the show. It’s been so so much fun getting to know you. Thanks for sharing your story of success and I hope that we’ve inspired, activated and maximize the greatness in everyone that’s listening.

John Vuong  57:11

Thank you so much. Mike had a tremendous amount of fun today.

Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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I help entrepreneurs get unstuck, take back their power, achieve their life objectives, and create the futures they want.

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