My New Ventures

September 30, 2015

So it’s been a little over 5 years since I last posted on this site. And to be honest, I’d pretty much forgotten about it completely the past 2 years. Such is the case for a web guy with many domains and a bit of A.D.D. I’m sure I’m not alone on that though!

If you’re new here and came via a Google search or something, my name is Jon Payne and I’m an internet marketing guy. For the first 10 or so years of my career, from roughly 2003 through 2013, I was an internet marketing consultant and transitioned over time from a one-man show to a legitimate agency with a team of 15 full-time internet marketers. My agency was called Ephricon and it focused primarily on organic SEO services for clients who were looking to generate leads. Hence the name of this blog and domain.

In 2013 I made the decision to sell my agency to another larger agency by the name of Straight North. Long story short, it was the best decision for the growing agency which needed structure and administrative support and at the same point I was getting burnt out and wanted to take some time off and then shift my professional focus a bit.

After sticking around for about 9 months after the merger to help integrate the two firms, I made the decision to leave and time a little time off. I did pretty much nothing professionally speaking (lots of travel and Xbox) for about 6 months. It was great! But then it was time to get the business juices flowing again.

So that puts me to about a year ago, right around the start of Q4 2014. My “next phase” has involved several different focuses. In a nutshell, I’m doing 3 different types of things:

1) CREATING A PRODUCT BRAND (ON AMAZON) – This is something I sort of backed into, but am having a blast with. Originally I was interested mostly in figuring out how to rank on Amazon. As a guy with a background in SEO, Amazon’s search piqued my interest and the numbers about how more people search and buy through Amazon than on Google really caught my attention. The thing is, to rank on Amazon you need a product, not a website. So I got into the whole world of product sourcing, private-labeling, etc. and essentially backed into creating a brand called Comfy Clothiers. Our first product is a 5-pack of metal collar extenders that help give guys a little extra room in the collar of their dress shirts. The feedback we’ve gotten has been great, and as such we’re currently developing several new products to be launched in Q4 2015. What started as a “ranking on Amazon” thing has really turned into a passion for what our brand represents – creating useful products to help ensure that looking good and feeling comfortable don’t have to be mutually exclusive. We’re now looking past just our primary channel – Amazon – and working on selling direct on our own website, selling wholesale to brick-and-mortar retailer, etc. Its a great combination of my skillset and experience in digital marketing combined with enough new areas for me like manufacturing and general retail sales to keep me on my toes.

2) CAREER COUNSELING & JOB TRAINING WEBSITE – We have a big issue in the US that effects many of us both individually and as a society. We have this huge mis-match between supply and demand as it relates to jobs. I believe that part of the issue is that in general most of us are ill-informed about different types of careers. So you have college freshmen picking majors that either align purely with their interests and maybe have poor practical applications when it comes to getting a job (like history or sociology) or you have people on the other end going so practical in their major and then learning later on that they really don’t want to be a nurse or an accountant or what have you. So my contribution to this problem is The Career Project, a website that features thousands of real-world career profiles that document the pros and cons of different careers. The idea here is that whether you are a college student or someone mid-career who is looking for a change, we’ll bring you the inside scoop on what its really like to work as an accountant, or nurse, or whatever. Plus, we’ll match you the training and educational tools you need to start moving in that direction. Sometimes it may be a college degree, sure, but more often it’s a certification test you need to pass, or an online course you can take and complete within a few months.

3) CONSULTING SERVICES – As my focus is really on the two things above, I am super selective with the consulting work that I do. I have a couple of clients and generally focus on some combination of serving as a part-time outsourced CMO, providing marketing automation consulting services, and assisting with helping companies effectively sell on Amazon as an Amazon selling consultant.  In fact, the response has been so strong to our Amazon consulting services that I’m setting up another agency – after having run an SEO agency for more than 10 years – but this time it’s an Amazon consulting agency that focuses on helping manufacturers and brands sell more on Amazon primarily through a form of Amazon SEO and Amazon Account Management.

Lastly… so as not to shortchange you…  I’ve also got an e-commerce site that sells industrial supplies such as schedule 80 CPVC fittings as well. But I think 3 topics above is a bit more digestible than 4 different focuses. So we’ll save that discussion for another day!