“Serial Entrepreneur” Ken Courtright Navigates The “Internet Mindfield” Via Today’s Growth Consultant and Income Store
The Veteran Business Consultant’s Flagship Enterprises Own and Operate Nearly 200 Money-Generating Websites Being Recognized As An Inc.5000 Company Years before the business world could conceive of the kind of revenue generating websites that Ken Courtright owns and operates via his two thriving companies, Today’s Growth Consultant (TGC) and Income Store (IS), the self-described “serial entrepreneur” was already seeing the signs – literally.
Working the Southern suburbs of Chicago, Courtright did so well as an electric sign sales rep in the early 90s—rising to #3 in sales on a force of 700 reps in only six months—that he started his own sign company and growth consultancy at 22. In addition to running his own operation, he tirelessly traveled around the country, helping other businesses market themselves effectively. Within four years, he had 40 people working for him, delivered on 1000 signs and had 1400 consultancy clients, including 400 in Alaska.
By 2009, after 2500 consultancy clients, Courtright was happily married, had four “high achieving” kids and was looking for adramatic change. He felt it the perfect time to finally write a book on everything he had learned and taught to thousands of business owners. He had the perfect title: “Today’s Growth: Bridging Yesterday’s Marketing with Today’s Technology.” The book covered dozens of case studies of Courtright’s growth concepts and their results. Courtright wrote half the book nine years before, in 2000, but internet technology and terminology were changing so quickly that he put it aside until 2004. Four years later he wrote the second half but felt the timing still wasn’t right. In 2009, with an established family and the energy to write and promote what he felt was a great book, he rewrote the complete book and set up to self publish. With the manuscript finished he called Todd Krause, a web developer that had built 4 websites for Courtright over the last few years. He told Krause he needed a website to promote the book he had just finished. Krause agreed to create a website for the book but thought he had a better idea for Courtright’s book. He suggested that Courtright turn the book itself into a website. After a six-hour coffee meeting, Courtright liked Krause’s vision but had a different idea altogether.
“A few years earlier,” Courtright says, “Todd showed me that he did a consultancy for a medical website that eventually made millions of dollars in residual income. Over the course of our six hour meeting he layed out the fundamentals behind building a website that could dominate search results.” Much of what Krause explained to Courtright centered around what is called a “keyword silo,” a list of keyphrases that search engines display as the most important and relevant keywords for a given niche or industry. In a nutshell: The idea behind “silo-ing” is that each page of content is specifically written to answer the need of a search engine for content on a given keyword. “Todd suggested that I turn my book into a website,” Courtright says. “He suggested that I take the chapters of the book and break them up into multiple posts on a website structured around specific keywords. He showed me how WebMD, the biggest medical site out there, is, like a lot of the other highly visited sites, dominating search engines due to content written on specific keywords. Todd stated, ‘Rather than publish a book, which is a one-time event, you should create a website with content as valuable as that which you would have put in the book, but which could be updated as often as necessary to stay relevant.” Krause mentioned that eventually the website could add Banner Ads and Lead Generation tools to generate revenue. “The concept of creating an asset that could continually grow and produce revenue did appeal to me but I immediately had a different idea for this “Authoritative Site” idea,” says Courtright.
Courtright stated that as he watched Krause explain that a website could be written in direct response to the needs of a search engine his mind raced to try and guestimate how many business owners would love to know this. With Krause’s help, Courtright tried out the concept of turning his book into a website. He began building a website around a keyword silo in the Growth Consulting industry, and it worked. Courtright started the website www.todaysgrowthconsultant.com. Much of the beginning content for the site was pulled right from his original book. Seeing the growth of the website Courtright quickly realized that his first reaction was probably correct, others might have a use for an Authority Website as well. After what was a trial with his own website, Courtright began testing out his hunch that others would see value in a website that dominated their industry. With the creation of Today’s Growth Consultant and its offshoot Income Store, Courtright’s companies have now consulted on over 3000 companies over the last two decades. More importantly they have helped over 100 individuals create Authority Websites. TGC and I.S. no longer perform traditional Growth Consulting. Today, the only service they perform involves partnering with businesses, individuals and private equity firms. They partner with them and either build or buy “Revenue Generating” websites to help their partners generate revenue online. TGC and I.S. own and operate over 300 revenue generating websites with individuals of every age range and demographic.
With the majority of their websites built from scratch, Courtright’s group of websites are now seen by just under 100,000,000 people each year, with a “group website”” growth rate of 100,000 annual views, each day. In 2014, TGC and I.S. will pay out over seven figures in shared revenues to their partners. As one of the fastest growing U.S. companies, TGC was recognized this past August on the Inc. 5000 list by Inc. Magazine as one of the 1083 fastest growing U.S. companies.
TGC and I.S. offer three unique ways for entrepreneurial minded people and business owners to create or buy assets that generate revenue online. In each case they partner up on a Revenue Generating website. The first model offers an Authoritative Website which helps clients package their areas of passion or expertise. These take roughly a year to strategize, build, market and monetize. As of June, 2013, Authority Sites can now generate revenue three different ways that have nothing to do with the traffic from the website. It provides a platform for a secure and stable income.
“Here’s a good example of how it works,” says Courtright. “A few years ago, I bumped into a plumber who wanted to create an authoritative site on plumbing. We came up with a couple hundred keywords that we knew the search engines needed content on. We provided the plumber with this keyword silo and coached him on the basics of writing online. My team built a massive site and told him he would have to write content one to two times a week until he reached 150 pieces. A year after launching the site, the site partner was asked to consider creating a pilot episode for the Discovery Channel, was featured on ‘The Giuliana and Bill’ reality show on E! and was later asked to be on the advisory board of a billion dollar German plumbing company. These Authoritative Sites generate steady income and can lead to incredible opportunities.”
Their second model is also an Authoritative Website, but, instead of 100 percent of the content being written by the website partner, TGC finds, teaches and trains up to 30 additional industry writers that also contribute to the website alongside of the main site partner. This model allows more flexibility to the site partner while still keeping the same financial rewards. The third revenue model offered (Income Store) finds Courtright and his organization working with individuals, business owners and private equity manager’s partnering up on sites that are already generating revenue. The process starts with a potential partner declaring a monthly income they are interested in pursuing, say $2,000 per month. Courtright’s team will begin doing a global search for a site earning $4,000 per month. Once a site is found Courtright’s team alerts the partner who wires in funds for the purchase of the newly found revenue generating website. Sites are usually found in approximately three weeks. Courtright’s staff members inspect, escrow, re-inspect, buy, repair, manage, market, grow and further monetize the existing revenue generating site in exchange for a 50/50 split in revenues. With Income Store, Courtright’s partners fund the deal and approve all major changes and updates to the site. This program allows Courtright’s staff to take over and grow each site purchased. The incredible success of Today’s Growth Consultant and Income Store have brought Courtright full circle back towards his original goal of being an author – but this time, he’s bringing the power of these two enterprises with him.
His recent chapter entitled “Stacking S-Curves For Hyper-Growth” in “Against the Grain: How To Achieve Results in a Down Economy”—which is co-authored by renowned business development expert, author and motivational speaker Brian Tracy—has made Courtright a bestselling author in five categories on Amazon.com: “Direct Marketing,” “Marketing,” “Entrepreneurship,” “Marketing and Sales” and “Personal Finance.” His chapter exposes the incredible turnaround of Corning (which went from being a global leader in glass cookware to manufacturing fiber optic cable) to illustrate the concept of an S-Curve. An S-Curve is a visual chart or graphic of the revenues of a company or products life cycle. This chart resembles a slanted letter “S” with three distinct phases: beginning, growth and maturity. Courtright educates the reader that the best growth opportunities for any company in any
industry come from stacking S-Curves. His contributions to “Against the Grain” provided him with the honor of the “Author of the Year” designation from Celebrity Press. Also in 2013, Courtright’s first book “Online Income: Navigating The Internet Minefield” was published by KDC3 and is currently available via Amazon.com. In the book, Courtright asks, “What’s the best way to walk through the minefield?” Follow someone else’s footsteps, if you don’t see blood, you can keep walking, he stresses. “Those footprints will lead you safely through the minefield and to success.”
The book offers the author’s perspective on being successful in the online income space. He walks readers through his own experiences and shares case studies, metaphors and “real world” examples as
footprints that can act as a path for an online entrepreneur. He offers many strategies and examples that were used as his companies battled their way from zero visits on zero websites in 2009 to over 80,000,000 visits a year across their 200 websites. As a follow up to Courtright’s bestselling book “Against the Grain”, one third of his original book will be published in May 2014 in a book titled “S-Curves: Sustainability and Success.”
In addition to books, Courtright also shares his wisdom with regular speaking appearances before the entrepreneurship students at Loyola University; contributing to John Maxwell’s “Injoy” organization, which develops our next generation of leaders; and CTO, which helps mold and mentor young men lacking a stable home.
“The most impactful part of all of this for me is simply realizing the value of what we offer with Today’s Growth Consultant and Income Store,” he says. “With the economy in turmoil, people are uncertain of a safe place to put their money. Mutual funds, gold and silver are great sometimes, but they fluctuate greatly with the markets. I don’t know of any other venture where you can put your money in and sign an actual contract that guarantees double digit return as solid as we are able to do. It’s very exciting to be part of so many people’s success stories, which inspire us to expand our reach and become even more successful ourselves.”