Growing up, Scott Gilbert said, he spent a lot of time on a computer. At just 8 years old, he learned how to use AOL’s instant messenger feature.
“I pecked one key at a time,” he said.
As an adult, working with computers gives him a chance “to do something that’s natural to me,” he said.
Gilbert’s business, Gresco Marketing Consultancy, provides Web design and helps business owners reach their customers through improved search results.
1. How did you get into this business?
My father owned a financial services practice. It was a very stressful business to be in when the economy was doing poorly. During that time, my dad was using his spare time to pursue secondary income streams. He was working on creating micro-niche websites, affiliate marketing with pay-per-click campaigns, and several other similar projects. I was pretty good with computers, so I started helping him with the tasks that I could, and that led to us starting a business.
2. What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
It is my job to understand the factors that Google uses to rank websites. The biggest challenge I face is a continuous one — Google releases updates to the algorithm it uses to generate search results frequently. When I first started in this business, I felt like I spent all of my time just trying to learn what those ranking factors were. I’ve overcome that concern by focusing on things that remain consistent: Instead of trying to play tricks, I focus on helping my clients create high-quality websites with good content that people will find useful.
3. What’s on your to-do list?
I’m hoping to develop and launch my own privately labeled product on Amazon this year. I’m also working on a fun side project, a website that tracks and catalogs all of Napa’s best happy hour deals.
4. Do you have any tips or tricks of the trade to share?
Every brick-and-mortar business should make sure they have claimed their Google Plus business profile. That way, they are more likely to appear at the top of a search result.
5. What’s a common mistake business owners make?
A lot of business owners are not doing a good job of collecting (and using) emails of customers. That’s an easy thing for people to do.
6. Who do you most admire in the business world?
I admire Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk the most. They’ve both created extremely disruptive companies that are focused on both the customer and on innovation. They are also both trying to launch humanity into its next phase of exploration: space.
7. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?
I want to create a passive income that is more than $70,000 per year. I say that, but money really isn’t that important to me — I want to make the world a better place and help create a better future for humanity.
8. If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I love my business. However, right now, it is almost entirely a one-man show. I’m proud of myself for being able to wear all of the hats required to run the business. However, if I could change my business, it would be to grow it into something that can function without needing me at the helm constantly.
9. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I’m pretty geeky with all of my computer and Internet stuff, but I also had a pretty good career as an athlete in my youth. I was a state-caliber swimmer and captain of the swim team in high school. My best stroke is butterfly.
10. What was your childhood ambition?
I think it was probably to be a professional video-gamer. I played a lot of video games growing up. Favorite games: “Super Mario World” and “TMNT: Turtles in Time” for the SNES, “Super Smash Bros.” and “Mario Kart” for the Nintendo 64, and “Halo: CE” for the X-Box. I once won some money playing in a “Halo” tournament, but I think it is safe to say that I won’t achieve that childhood ambition.
Bonus questions for the Web
Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?
Nikola Tesla, Aristotle, Bill Murray
What job would you like to try/not try?
Try: Play in a band/perform as a DJ
Not try: Corrections officer
What was your first job?
My first real job was working as a vendor at the local movie theater in Wisconsin. I served up popcorn, poured drinks and ripped tickets for movie-going patrons. It was a pretty fun job, but hard work. You’d be surprised how tough it is to clean every piece of those giant popcorn poppers. We were also required to work on holidays.
What’s the worst job you ever had?
I once worked for a group that was trying to raise money for a political cause. The cause was a good one — they were trying to improve the quality of the lakes in Wisconsin, which have been severely affected by agricultural runoff over the past 30 years.
The job wasn’t so great — it was my job to accost people as they walked by in the street, get them to listen to my 30-second speech, then ask them to donate money!