The time I landed a $5,000 project by commenting on Reddit

Here’s how the punchline to this story goes: I made $5,000 from a project with a lead that came to me through commenting on Reddit.

Here’s the story.

Early on in my career selling Search Engine Optimization services, I’d spend time on /r/SEO and other subreddits focused on the topic.

My goal? Participate in discussions on relevant topics. Essentially, talk shop, provide value, and if someone mentioned needing help, offer to answer questions for them over email.

At the time, my web presence was minimal. I had a WordPress site up with ~5 articles on it and 1 or 2 services. But I was making 2-3 comments a day and trying to provide value to the community.

Then The Large Startup reached out to me. Their CTO had been browsing Reddit during the day, saw my answer in which I had linked back to an article on my site. They clicked through, explored my site, and said “We should get in touch with Kai.” and they did.

We ended up working on a large SEO project together. It went well.

What I love about the story is that I was able to pick up the lead by posting on Reddit. Reddit isn’t a place that I think of as a good lead channel. But something about this worked.

What was it?

There are a few lessons we can take away from the experience. Lessons that I think help us understand how to better reach prospects.

Lesson #1: Participate In Your Community

Whatever it is — online or offline — if you’re part of a community, take part in it. Let people know that You Do A Thing and that You Are Good At The Thing and You Can Be Hired For The Thing.

One of the top challenges I hear from freelancers and consultants that I coach is “No one knows about us!”

If you’re participating in your community, then you’re maximizing your chances to help people know about you.

Lesson #2: Know Who Your Customers Are And What Communities They Belong To

You could look at the above example story and think “Okay, so the secret to landing leads? Post to Reddit!” and off you go.

But that isn’t the whole picture.

When I was posting to Reddit’s SEO and Ecommerce communities (and private Ecommerce and SEO forums), my goal was to participate in places where my target client was spending time.

I knew who my ideal client was at the time: Owner of an Ecommerce store or Large Company who needed advisory services on SEO.

I looked and saw that Reddit had a number of communities that had these people participating in them (/r/seo, /r/bigseo, /r/ecommerce, /r/smallbusiness, etc.).

I decided — strategically — that I was going to participate in these communities because they were home to the people I wanted to work with.

So, I started participating. Making 2-3 comments on posts each day. When I could, I’d link back to articles I had posted on my site.

Because I was actively taking part in these online communities, it was easy to share information and resources with them. Because I was sharing information and resources, it was easy for people to follow links back to my site. Because people were arriving at my site, they could see that I was a consultant available for hire.

Now, this worked for me because I found the right places online to post to. Reddit worked for me — but over time I switched to different lead sources.

For you it will be different. Maybe your target market (#positioning) spends time on Reddit. Maybe they spend time on Pinterest. Maybe they spend time on LinkedIn. Maybe they spend time on private forums or discussion boards. Maybe they spend their time on mailing lists. Maybe they spend their time listening to podcasts.

Wherever it is, your #1 goal is to understand where your target market is already spending their time.

This is the #1 question that people I work with in my coaching program ( and I focus on in the first month together: understanding who their target market is and where their target market spends their time online and how to reach them (writing, speaking, emailing, commenting, podcast guesting, guest article writing, etc.).

Because when you understand that one thing, it makes your marketing easy.

You don’t need to struggle to go out and find people or figure out how to get people to come to you.

Instead, you can focus on going where the customers you want to work with already are. And then, participate.

If you find that your target market is WooCommerce Store Owners and that there are Facebook Groups and Slack Teams for WooCommerce Store Owners, you’ll want to go there.

What’s important is understanding where your target market spends their time.

That’s what I did. I knew that my target market was spending time in these specific forums because I took the time to do market research and identify that they were in these communities. And then I started participating. And it paid off — in the form of this $5,000 project and many, many more projects.