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Meet Richart Ruddie of The Reputation Management Co. in Venice

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richart Ruddie.

Richart, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In late 2010, I was working in finance at a boutique hedge fund during the day and crafting my internet marketing skills at night. One evening a friend of mine is telling me how much money he’s spending on his digital marketing to which I respond I could save you tremendously on costs. He mentioned that I should start an agency and so I posted an ad on Craigslist to test the waters outlining a marketing plan.

Almost two months go by with no calls and then one day the first client pops up and then another. Fast forward a few months later and I’m now at a crossroads between my current job that wasn’t going as well as I had anticipated and the chance to take on a new adventure. What I’ve found talking to other entrepreneurs and those that want to take the leap is their job oftentimes is paying them just enough to keep them from venturing out onto their own. I was in a situation that I wasn’t making a lot and wasn’t happy so the decision to break free was easy.

From there, things started to take off as I built out and started to rank my first online PR business focusing on fixing unfavorable press for clients. Within the first year, the business had monthly recurring revenue of $60,000 a month. Now fast forward nine years later, we have an offer to move the business to the Los Angeles area once the COVID-19 pandemic starts to subside. Over the years, we’ve helped celebrities, directors, athletes, and top Hollywood Agencies manage PR crisis campaigns so setting up shop in Los Angeles is a natural fit for us.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No road is smooth but the journey is more important than the destination. It’s always a learning curve. The first years growth was so tremendous that we would be bigger than Uber had we maintained that growth percentage year over year. It’s hard to not get excited thinking you’re onto the next big thing but then reality sets in and you find your groove and niche within the field. There was a point with ease I could rank and un-rank any search result that wasn’t to our liking. I started to have the thinking that Google’s algorithm was going to be that easy to manipulate for the foreseeable future. Then reality set in and now the work to fix issues and to rank webpages is magnitudes more difficult than it was previously and that’s been a big obstacle when working to satisfy our client base.

We pride ourselves on doing nearly whatever it takes to resolve our client’s issues and to keep them happy. It’s translated to a 92% retention rate but not without some challenges along the way on figuring out solutions to meet their online needs. The struggle between fundraising and retaining equity is another challenge that we’ve grappled with between the keep it small and keep it all approach or a smaller piece of a much larger pie. Looking at the tremendous growth in Northern California startups where they can spend relentlessly on advertising and user acquisition to fuel their growth and for us it’s been frustrating to see their growth while we more or less maintained for years. In business, you always want to grow bigger but there’s a right way to grow and avoid imploding.

Please tell us about The Reputation Management Co.
We specialize in online public relations and brand management. The majority of our clients come to us in a reactive scenario where something negative has happened and has hit the press. In some instances, the storyline is completely false and in other instances, we are working on damage control to help mitigate the issue at hand and to help promote a dialogue that portrays our client’s true values.

We do this by creating everything from branded Websites, Paid Distribution Press Releases, Editorial & News Content, Suppression of Autocomplete Suggestions, and Creating Videos optimized for the clients brand. In some instances, if the information is false or defamatory we help the client to completely remove and delete the results.

What sets us apart and makes us proud is that we go above and beyond to ensure our client’s success and that’s translated into a marketing avenue of receiving referrals from past clients, agencies, and law firms that we’ve helped.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
This is one of the most difficult questions that I’ve come across. Growing up with two older sisters, we had so many family adventures and events that we recently had moved from VHS tapes to the computer. We always had fun birthday parties and one year we had a petting zoo at the house where they brought over Rabbits, Toads, a Donkey, Turtle, and a few other animals. What was so memorable about this was we all got photos with the toad sitting on our head and my photo ended up on their ads for years after. Being able to see that funny photo triggered great birthday party memories and seeing the video recently really was special as it displayed how much effort my parents went into to plan out birthday parties for the kids.

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