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Interview with Craig Lewis

Interview with Craig Lewis from Pin and Grow

Hey Craig,

First off thank you for taking the time to get involved in this interview for my readers.

We were introduced to each other via a friend who is using your services to grow his Pinterest channel.

After jumping on a call with you I knew within just a few minutes on our first call I know that you would be a good fit for my business.

Maybe it’s a cultural thing, then again you are from Wales 😉

I was impressed that you had so many referrals from happy customers that you have only recently got your website up.

So, I am super excited to share your story with my ears, and let’s jump straight into this with our first question.

Craig Lewis Profile

1. It would be great to get some background on where you’re from, your early life, studying.

I’m originally from a village called Skewen in Wales. I don’t imagine too many of your readers knowing where this is – so the nearest town is Neath. And the nearest city is Swansea.

I left school at 16 and pretty much fell into a job within a few months of leaving school. Little did I know this at the time, but this job (which was eventually to become a Project Manager role at a Mechanical & Engineering company) would shape my life and career into what it is now.

For 12 years I remained at the job, but for as long as I could remember, especially the latter few years of that job, I had a nagging feeling that something was missing from my life.

Everything on the outside is what most people would see as successful.

New company cars, good money for a twentysomething, and 3 or 4 holidays a year, but in 2014, at the age of 28, I gave it all up.

I handed back the keys of the BMW and never looked back

Within the space of 3 weeks I’d handed in my notice and I’d left.

My vision at this stage was to work in professional sport. From 2010 up until 2014, I’d been working as a strength coach and personal trainer (on the side of my full-time job).

It was the vision of working in Professional Sport as a Strength and Conditioning coach that led me to head back into full-time education to study Sports Science at Swansea University. (I went to Brighton University to study Science too! – see my about page)

Alongside working and being mentored at professional clubs for 3 years I was now studying full time.

Fast forward to 2017 and I’d graduated with first degree honors.

In the summer of 2017, and after going through various interviews and tests I found myself in a position of being able to choose from 3 different roles.

Here’s where it gets funny.

Within the space of 36 hours, all 3 roles had either been given to someone else, or the roles did not exist anymore.

I’ll always remember this moment because it was at this point I realized that I’d put the trajectory of my life in the hands of others and was giving all my personal power away.

I could see that I had no say in the next part of my life.

I’d hinged everything I thought I wanted on the decisions of others. And I swore to myself that this would never happen again.

Three months later I’d started my first company.

2. The digital nomad movement is hugely popular now, with many people placing a high value on remote working by freelancing or starting their own business. How did you get started working online?

It definitely is a popular movement right now. I honestly believe that in the coming years (maybe a decade), we’re going to totally see how the majority of people and companies are set up for work.

This is just my opinion, but I feel the stereotypical “office work environment” will be a thing of the past – at least for the majority of the time.

I slightly touched on this above in the first question, but once I saw I was giving my power away to others, within the space of 2-3 months I had created my very first website (one of the most challenging things ever haha) and had my first clients.

The first company I set up as an online personal training company (may as well put that degree to use)!

For someone who had no idea how to run an online company, it actually did pretty well. It was this company that provided the income required to leave the UK and head off for Thailand in August of 2017.

Funny how things work out. I thought I’d be working in professional sport in 2017, but I ended up in Chiang Mai, Thailand, working online!

Craig Lewis Bali Life

3. It’s easy to get distracted and disillusioned with the number of options with an online business, what made you focus solely on Pinterest?

Haha, this is a great question. And the reason why I’m laughing is that I just had a flashback to my second online company and how I was thinking and feeling at that time.

My second online company (after I closed the personal training one down), was a website that had a blog and sold info products.

I’m about to show you how naive I was back then…

…with this type of company and the way it’s set up for generating revenue. You actually need people to come to visit your site.

I hadn’t actually thought about this. So, now I have a blog and sell info products, but no one is reading anything.

Bear in mind, I had zero clues about SEO, how to use Facebook or Instagram as a business, or what “traffic” actually meant.

I “tried everything” at this point, nothing was working. If I’m honest, I did not stick with anything as the results were not what I was expecting.

I remember being on YouTube and saw a few people talking about Pinterest for Business. I kept seeing the website views they were getting from Pinterest and I actually thought it was too good to be true.

Must have been another month or so of struggling with Facebook and IG, and then decided to go all-in with Pinterest.

first 30 days of being intentional with Pinterest, my blog was now getting 1000’s of website views a day, plus making sales of the info products

In the first 30 days of being intentional with Pinterest, my blog was now getting 1000’s of website views a day, plus making sales of the info products I’d created.

That first month with my new blog was pretty insane in terms of website visitors. I still have the stats from this first month as it still blows my mind.

This was all organic traffic. No paid ads, traditional SEO, or affiliate traffic of any sort.

Once I saw the potential of Pinterest it was a no-brainer for me. This is where my attention would remain, and everything else was put to the side.

4. You now run an agency called “Pin and Grow” (great name by the way!) that helps business grow their traffic from Pinterest. Can you give us an idea of how this started and what made you decide to go to the agency route?

Thank you! I like the name too! Haha

What a great question.

While being in Chiang Mai for most of 2019, I saw a post in one of the Facebook groups that there were limited spots for a MasterMind that would run during September 2019.

Honestly, I was a little apprehensive about joining as up until that point I’d kind of just been doing my own thing and was a little unsure of the value of a MasterMind, but I ended up saying yes.

At this point I had no Pinterest agency, I’d actually gone into this MasterMind with the full intention of creating a program for that blog I mentioned above.

And even though that’s what I ended up spending my time doing in the MasterMind, what was becoming so clear to me was that most online businesses, even high six-figure and seven-figure businesses had no idea how to use Pinterest as a business.

By the time the MasterMind had finished, I had a few people in the MasterMind tell me that I should probably think about doing something related to Pinterest and helping other business owners.

I took this as a sign, so that’s exactly what I did.

Within 24 hours of deciding, I opened up a beta testing group. My original plan was to take on 5 accounts and grow these over a three month period. I remember thinking if I get 5 I’d have a nice set of results.

I didn’t really know if I’d get 5 people, but within 3 days of opening up beta testing, 5 people signed up so I left it at that and started working with these 5 new clients.

I’m still a little unsure as to what actually happened, or what it happened, but I had people reaching out to me constantly after capping it at 5 clients.

I had people in Facebook groups talking about this beta testing, I even had people in Chaing Mai who I’d never met want to set up meetings with me to be in the beta testing.

After originally capping it at 5, I decided to re-open the beta testing and it capped out again at 5. Within a week or so I’d gone from zero clients or Pinterest Agency to now having 10 paying clients.

On a personal level, some of the people who I was in the MasterMind with, or signed up for the beta testing are now close personal friends.

A few of which are also still clients of my Pinterest agency.

The reason for going the agency route was pretty easy for me to decide on. If you remember, from the age of 16 up until I was 28 I’d been involved in Project Managing. A big area of this role for me was running teams of people.

I can now see that I was pretty good at building and running teams. I put this skill (which I’d learned at that job) as one of the main reasons why my agency grew so fast while still delivering on the promises to my clients.

In the space of the first 9 months of my agency, I’d built a team of 7 (including myself). I did not use any agency to find any of my team members, I handpicked each of these myself. This team now spans nearly every continent.

Two of these seven have been with me since the very first week of my beta testing.

It took me a while to recognize that I enjoy and I’m good at building teams. Once I saw this, it was an easy decision to build an agency with front and backroom team members.

I also love working with clients, which always helps when running a service-based agency!

5. I really underestimated Pinterest as a source of traffic but from speaking to you I can see the potential for serious traffic from this platform. Can you outline some examples of the sort of results you have got for your clients?

We have had some amazing results with a lot of my clients.

Doubling or even tripling their Pinterest traffic is pretty common for us, even within the first 30 and 60 days of taking over their Pinterest account.

For a few of my clients, this was the difference in experiencing five-figure months in ad revenue alone.

We grew one food blogger’s account by undertaking an account update on their account and giving it some TLC in terms of Pinterest SEO.

Without us even pinning anything we saw a 33% increase in traffic from Pinterest in a 3 week period.

I recently wrote a pretty interesting case study which you can find on the main page of my site. This account is the US travel space.

Pin and Grow Case Study

For anyone interested, we also have a full page of testimonials from many of my amazing clients.

6. Are there any particular businesses that don’t really work with Pinterest?

This is a really interesting question.

I can only give my perspective on this (as this is all I have). On the first day of beta testing on the 1st of October 2019 right up until the day I’m writing this, I have only ever told one potential client that Pinterest was not a good fit.

This site was so niche, it was six niches deep in a niche of a niche.

This site was for a certain car part of a certain car.

As we’re now fast approaching the 300 mark for proposals, I’m pretty confident in saying that Pinterest will most probably be for most companies.

There are over 280M+ active users each month on Pinterest and also heavily skewed in favor of US users (even though all other countries use it).

It’s a predominantly female platform. That said, there are more new male sign-ups each month than females for the last year or so, which makes Pinterest especially existing right now.

7.Are there certain types of businesses that do well? Do they fall into particular niches?

There are some super popular niches that perform ridiculously well.

Here are a few of the big hitters from what we have seen.

  • Anything related to food
  • Health & Wellness
  • Fitness & Weight Loss
  • DIY
  • RV/Motorhome
  • Home Decor
  • The “make money online” niche
  • Mental Health
  • Travel
  • Printables
  • Personal Development + Habits
  • Survival related content
  • Relationships
  • Personal Finance

Most niches do well, but anything remotely related to those above will do very well.

8. If you don’t mind sharing, what is the process you go through when onboarding clients?

Sure, no problem.

One of two things will happen when someone reaches out to me via my site or FaceBook.

If a potential client already has an existing Pinterest account set up, my team and I will comb over everything, both from a Pinterest perspective and website perspective.

We’ll then offer some advice on what can be improved, and also how we can move forward together

If a potential client does not have an existing Pinterest account but wants to explore Pinterest in an intentional way, then we’ll undertake some research on Pinterest and also take a look at their current website set up.

At this stage, we’re looking to see if Pinterest is a viable option for them while also setting some expectations on what it takes to make a brand new account from zero.

With either option, we’re pretty open and transparent with everything we find. I think this is the least we can do for even reaching out to me in the first place.

9. I know you have recently got your website live, and that you will be expanding on this in the future. What else do you plan for 2021?

It took so long to even get the site up and running for so many different reasons, but it is life now!

I have a number of new projects and services that my team and I are working on.

There are two main projects that are already mentioned. Both get me fired up for a different reason, and one is a big stretch vision for me

The first is that a certain percentage of my agency’s revenue is now officially being sent to a foundation here in Bali, which is now where I live full time.

The second which really gets me excited is to create and launch a podcast. We already have certain things in motion to get started with this in 2020. I already have guest speakers lined up for the podcast which is also very exciting.

I believe that people will heat what they need to hear at the right moment. And if someone takes something away from the podcast that improves their business, then, for me, the podcast is worth creating.

Thanks again Craig, it’s been a pleasure chatting with you. You’re one of the few guys I know that has great communication skills and delivers on their promises, a rare thing these days.

If you want to know more about Craig and how he can help your business grow with Pinterest traffic, check out https://pinandgrow.com/.

Adam Author

About the LifeHacker Guy

Hi, I'm Adam the founder of the LifeHacker Guy.

I have a First Class Honours degree in Sports Science from Brighton University, specialising in exercise physiology and nutrition. In my youth I was a competitive Triathlete and long-distance runner placing top 10 in most triathlon races I completed.

Since suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I moved into web development, after a couple of years I then moved onto developing a number of online businesses. I've recently taken a sabbatical and I'm now looking to make big changes in my life, hopefully this may resonate with you - join me in my journey!

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