From sofa surfer to SEO success (From The Argus)

FIVE years ago Tom Clark was sofa surfing around Brighton and practically homeless, living on two cans of tuna and four slices of bread each day.

He had lost his home after his relationship failed and he had nowhere to live.

He said: “I was homeless and fortunate enough to be a sofa-surfer rather than literally living on the streets.”

Turn the clock forward and Tom, 28, is now the owner of a successful SEO business having gone from call centre work to an internship and finally to running his own business doing what he loves.

He owns Convert Digital in the Old Steine.

He hopes his story can inspire others and raise awareness of the problem of hidden homelessness, something Tom feels is particularly rife in Brighton.

He said: “Looking back they were very difficult times and my life was certainly at a very low ebb.”

“I was living on two cans of tuna and four slices of bread each day. That was all I could afford at the time.

“My weight went down to eight stones.

“I felt absolutely crushed. I had no security. I couldn’t even afford a flat share. It was all pretty brutal.”

At the time Tom was teaching guitar to private customers having graduated with a degree from BIMM Brighton music college.

His luck turned when he secured a four-month unpaid internship in April 2012 at a city digital agency focusing on SEO (search engine optimisation).

He said: “I got trained by people far superior than me which was very helpful and I worked there part-time whilst also teaching guitar.”

In 2014 Tom decided to take the plunge and launch his own SEO business and he hasn’t looked back since.

He said: “When I was working part-time, the freedom to run my own company was very appealing.

“I was confident that I had developed my SEO skills but I still knew it was a gamble and I had to learn a lot quickly. I had no clue about business and personal finance, setting up a limited company or even invoicing.

“And so Convert Digital was born.

“It’s been a massive success and now it is growing at a fast rate, turning over six figures per year.

“My first goal was simply to make as much money as I was earning when I had a part-time income (£850 per month). At the same time I wanted to travel – that is something I love.

“I travelled all over, to Brazil (three times), Iceland, Spain, Corfu and Amsterdam while running the business at the same time.

“My decisions are not just about money, it’s about securing a good lifestyle. I now live in Hove with my partner and we’re hoping to buy a new place soon.

“I want to be living in Spain six months per year while running the business and renting out a property back here in Hove.

“Life is good, very good.”

Tom says the contrast in his life compared to five years ago is very raw.

He said: “I was vulnerable and lost back then. I was down and out and nobody wanted to be my mate.

“I had to prove to myself that I can excel in what I do. Now I’m enjoying myself, have a great work and life balance, and I can enjoy my hobbies of fishing and travel.”

Tom describes himself as a freelance SEO consultant.

His success is in part due to his results-based sales approach.

All clients can be walked through the Convert Digital case studies, showing exactly how he impacted the Google rankings, with before and after rankings data.

He said: “I have more than six years’ experience in providing SEO for a multitude of successful national brands, small businesses and my own companies.

“As a freelance SEO consultant my clients’ success means a lot to me personally. This is why my clients choose me over the SEO agencies. I am on top of my game and know how Google is evolving so clients can focus on running their business.

“Customers rely on me to manage their SEO and the future of their business.”

The company can be reached via

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