The story of Harry Sanders, the founder, and CEO of StudioHawk, broke when it was announced that the company has $1.3 million in billable contracts in 2019 and was hoping for at least $2 million in 2020. People were shocked that a 21-years old can be such an SEO expert, so they started digging around. What they uncovered is one of the best Cinderella stories ever.
When Harry was 13, he witnessed his father’s boat licensing business going under. One of the reasons was that the firm Sanders Sr hired to promote his company through SEO did everything wrong. Young Harry, who was at the time spending all of his time in front of a computer, playing video games, vowed to learn everything there is to know about SEO.
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He says: “I played a lot of games and wanted to be a game developer, but that industry is so hard to break into, and once I started doing SEO I fell in love with it.”
He started learning from scratch and the process was marred with errors. But eventually, he learned enough to pull his father’s business out of the woods and booming. A year later, he got his first job offer.
“I was basically part time at school, part time at work, and even working on my laptop whenever I got the chance at school,” he says. “I was obsessed with SEO.”
By 16, he was working almost full time, which had a negative impact on his schooling. His marks took a nosedive and his attendance was just 30%. He decided to drop out and go in business for himself by starting his own company, StudioHawk.
“I’d spent most of my money on computer parts and sunk the rest into the business before it all went belly up,” he recalls.
Eventually, the company proved to be too much and he ended up being homeless.
“The first night of being homeless was the worst. I had no idea where to go or what to do. I spent my first few nights under a bridge, unsure of what to do and honestly feeling terrible asking anyone for help. “It can be dangerous, as there are territories amongst the homeless. I had no idea bout that going in, so I got into a lot of trouble at the start. I always managed to find things to eat and would often visit soup kitchens. I would also usually ask different food outlets if they had any leftovers that they didn’t sell for the day, and most would happily give me things to eat,” Harry recalled.
It was a time for a change.
“I started really hustling to get my first few clients, telling them I would get them to the top for free and they could pay me after,” he says. “I was regularly putting in 100 hour weeks getting them top rankings so that I could get some money coming in.”
Things got easier when he had a team around him: “Once I had that team of passionate individuals around me things really began to take off as we fed off each other’s passion and enthusiasm,” he says. “I’d gained strength from where I’d come from and never wanting to go back there. Now what gives me strength is my team. I couldn’t do without them.”
Harry recently shared some tips for successful 2020 in an interview with FEMAIL.
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Play like there is no tomorrow
‘Working hard is the only way that you’re going to make 2020 your best year. Prepare for it,’ Harry told FEMAIL. ‘Don’t start off the year washed out already. Start off fresh. So, play over the holidays.’
Have a reason for every goal
‘It’s not enough to say, “I want to get fit” or “I want to get a promotion”,’ Harry claims.’Everyone needs an incentive.’
Use it or chuck it
“Everyone’s world gets filled with things they no longer want, things they thought they needed, things they don’t use any more,’ Harry said. Clear out the old to make room for the new. When you clean out your space, you clean out your mind – making room for success.”
Fall in love with saving
“Keep your eye on the big prizes next year and get yourself ready to grab them,” he said. “Open a savings account and arrange a direct debit transfer every pay day – of even a small amount.”
Build your own brand
‘Your brand might not stay the same forever but now is the time to check that it’s right for who you want to become this year,’ he said. He also added a warning: ‘Be careful what you put on social media – the whole world’s watching.’