I was helping an exceedingly frustrated local SEO consultant in the forum that was asking Vanessa why there were so many constant problems with Places. I wanted to share part of my answer to him as it leads me to an announcement I’ve been needing to make and have put off. My answer in part was:

“Google Places is exceedingly complicated, buggy and EXTREMELY frustrating.

To specialize in Google Places Optimization takes thick skin and TONS of patience! If you can’t change your attitude to be able to deal with the constant changes & frustrations then you should get out of the business!”

So I took my own advice I QUIT!

Seriously to keep from losing your mind, if you want to stay in this business you need to learn to roll with the punches, need to develop patience, need to learn not take every changed address, dupe and bug too seriously. Need to learn to just play it light with clients and say “Sorry Google is being buggy again.” And then have the patience to wait 6 weeks for a fix. I couldn’t do it any more.

I QUIT!

I realized I can’t change Google Places. (Although I continue to try to help improve it, in ways that I can via the work I do with Google.) I can only change my attitude toward the frustrating things about Places I can’t control. And if I can’t change my attitude toward the relentless problems that plague my clients listings, then I need to change my line of work – so I did!

I finally realized I don’t have the time, patience or tolerance for the constant roller coaster ride. I’m too much of a perfectionist and care too much about my clients. So ended up far too often going down the rabbit hole on endless bugs and problems. If I could just do the optimization and help clients rank, which I LOVE, I’d still be in the business. But I ended up too often working for free trying to fix Google Places bugs, dupes and other problems that ended up eating my profits and keeping me awake nights. I’m dead serious when I say every single night I was having nightmares about dupes and merges. 🙁

Now let me stop for a minute, after puking all that negativity, to say very clearly… I LOVE GOOGLE PLACES and all that it can/should be!

BUT I no longer personally do optimization and am referring all my clients to companies I’ve done Advanced Places Optimization Training for.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m still in the biz – just hopefully on a bigger scale. I’m shifting my time away from doing hands-on optimization – to focus on doing more training and consulting and to make time for some of the big picture projects I know will help the industry, that I’ve been too tied up to work on.

Not to wax all philosophical on ya, but for anyone that’s still reading…

I’m at a point in my life and career where I can afford to pick and choose where to spend my time. I feel strongly that my life purpose is just bigger than playing whack a mole on a handful of client’s chronic on-going Places problems. I want to make a difference and help more people in a more meaningful way, so I’m making a big shift in my business.

My new focus is on training and consulting for Local search consultants and agencies. (I’m referring all optimization work out to partners I’ve done Advanced Places Training for and I accepted my last optimization client a couple weeks ago.)

This will hopefully allow me to focus on some of the bigger picture stuff I have not had time to do – like research and ranking analysis, testing new ideas, consulting on more new Local SEO tools, more time to blog and curate Places news, more time to help in the Places forum. I just want to be freed up to help more people in a bigger way.

You’ve heard the saying “those that do do, those that can’t teach!” That’s me now. I’m no longer a doer, I’m a teacher (and coach/consultant/blogger/curator). I have to tell you guys this – to help it sink in. Because in my head my business is still “DOING” optimization for clients with a little training and consulting on the side when I have time. Well the demand for my training and consulting keeps growing, so hands-on optimization – my core business – is now going bye-bye.

Crap now I’m going to cry! I LOVE Dentistry, the field I specialized in when I was “doing” optimization. It’s near and dear to my heart and an industry I’ve worked in off and on for over 20 years now. But I’ve partnered with one of my GP training clients who specializes in Dentistry and has the same ethics and skill set I do, so I feel very confident my Dentists will be in good hands!

So, don’t worry I’m not getting out of the biz and I’m hoping my shift in focus and the fact I’m “quitting” will mean I can help you guys a lot more.

I have a several major projects planned. I will finally be able to finish my Local SEO / Local Hooks Automation Tool that’s been in BETA for so long. Plus many of my Advanced Google Places Trainees have been requesting an on-going coaching/mentoring program to keep them up-to-date on new techniques, fixes and solutions – so that’s on the drawing board. Additionally I have several other big project ideas that will really help us all band together, share our combined knowledge and be more successful in this business. Now hopefully I will have time to actually pull some of this stuff off! 😉

PS that forum post I referenced in the beginning has some good advice and a good little discussion started. Join the conversation there or of course feel free to share any comments below.

Your partner in success, Linda