A story of MFMY

About MFMY

My Childhood - an introverted kampung boy

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Hi, my name is Faiz, and I come from a small village near a beautiful beach at Kelantan. As a kid, I had a fondness for reading and solving puzzles, which ignited my curiosity and sharpened my analytical skills. During my primary school years, I excelled academically and achieved straight As in the UPSR exam. This achievement paved the way for me to join a prestigious boarding school in Kota Bharu called SMK Dato’ Ahmad Maher. I was quite active and engaged during my early years there.

However, when I reached Form 3, I started to rebel. I began smoking and hanging out with a mischievous group of friends. Despite this rebellious phase, I managed to maintain my strong academic foundation and scored straight As once again in PMR. After my success in Form 3, I was accepted into MRSM Kuala Berang. Unfortunately, I quit after three months. I transferred to SMK Bestari Kubang Bembam, where I became a bit naughty during Form 5, occasionally finding myself spending nights at the police station. Nevertheless, I was able to score 7 As out of the 10 subjects I took in SPM.

University Life

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Although I had initially wanted to pursue a degree in law, I ended up enrolling in a Public Administration course, which focused on policies and politics. Unfortunately, my love for the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle took its toll. I constantly skipped classes to go to gigs and concerts then got kicked out during the fifth semester because as my attendance are way below the permissible line. I went back home, my father gave me a second chance. I enrolled in UNITEN for a Foundation of Finance program. However, I repeated my past mistakes and flunked again because I kept skipping classes to play DOTA. On the bright side, I was quite good at DOTA and even won several local CC and University tournaments. 😅

With no other options, I started working at a car wash. It was during this time that I began contemplating my future and reflecting on my past accomplishments. I wondered how my life would have turned out if I had shown more self-control and discipline. I know I can achieve more than washing cars. I know my brain can take me higher. Fortunately, my father agreed to give me a third chance, but this time, I had to take on a student loan and some odd jobs to support my life on campus. I decided to take a Business IT course and enrolled at KPTM Kota Bharu. After 3 years, I managed to achieve a 3.78 CGPA, with 3 semester in Dean’s List. I learned how to build websites through YouTube and Google. I also built several mockup websites during this time.

My First Job - Out for an adventure

After completing my studies, I landed a job at GM – a Big mall – in Penang as their website admin. But my joy are cut short when I learnt that the whole marketing department there disliked me because I was chosen to fill the vacancy instead of the supervisor’s friend. Nevertheless, I did my job diligently and even redesigned GM’s website, establishing a solid SEO foundation and enhancing their social media presence. The bad days went by day by day with the constant abuse until one day the supervisor forced me to design an alcohol-related poster despite after explaining that as a Muslim, I cannot do that. He refused to listen, although there are many other non-muslim staff there that can do it. I quit and started job hunting in Kuala Lumpur. During this time, I started trading FOREX during night time to earn some money to fund my expenses for job hunting. I would travel by bus for interviews and sleep at bus stations or at mosques.

I think I learnt a lot about life’s reality during my time at Penang. At Penang, there’s no joy in my life at all. At office the colleagues hated me right off the bat, my house owner are stingy asshole that would locked the kitchen to avoid I use it, eavedropping when I was taking the bath to make sure the water are not wasted, sneaked into my room when I’m at work to see how many electrical appliances I used although I already paid full rent including electricity, there’s no friend for me to turn to there, my girlfriend ghosted me, I have no money (my salary at GM was RM800 after deducting EPF and SOCSO, rent is RM300, so I only left with RM500 per month) and I have never been so alone. Thank God I braced to those silly things and doesn’t quit.

The light at the end of the tunnel

After a series of challenges, I finally landed a job as a Web Admin at HW. Picture this: I had a mere RM200 in my bank account when I embarked on this new chapter in Kuala Lumpur. I didn’t have any friends or relatives there either. I’ll never forget the day I arrived at my flat in Taman Medan, only to be chased by stray dogs while juggling heavy bags and belongings. To make matters worse, my phone was broken, leaving me unable to call the HR department at HW to inform them of my attendance on my first day.

Nevertheless, I dove headfirst into my work at HW, and my initial task was to lead the development of their stagnant E-commerce website. It had been sitting idle for years. I managed to get the site up and running in just three months.

Just when things were starting to look up, I encountered my first setback in Kuala Lumpur. Out of the blue, my landlord in Taman Medan decided to kick me out, as he wanted to rent out the entire unit to an Indonesian family. Mind you, I was only renting one room while the other two rooms in the unit remained vacant. He simply wanted to maximize his earnings.

Suddenly, I found myself with no place to go. So, I resorted to living in my trusty Kelisa while desperately searching for another affordable room nearby. I would park my car at a petrol station and head to the office early to use their restroom for a quick shower. Loneliness became my constant companion during that time, and I often lied to my parents to spare them the worry.

Thankfully, after three weeks of searching, I stumbled upon a room in Kuchai Lama, hosted by a couple of Homo individuals. It was about 15 kilometers away from my office. Out of sheer desperation, I moved in, paying a monthly rent of RM450. Let me tell you, that room was tiny—only wide enough to fit a single mattress.

Despite the housing challenges, my work at HW continued smoothly. The website I was working on began ranking first for important keywords, even surpassing competitors with bigger teams and budgets. The website gained traction, and our inbox and phone were flooded with sales leads and inquiries. We even secured a sub-project with Ranhill through the website, opening doors to bigger contracts and projects in the following years. Some of our competitors, who happened to be friends of my boss, even paid us a visit to inquire how I managed to improve HW’s ranking. Proud.

As it was scripted, once again, I faced an accommodation issue. That Homo couple failed to pay the rent for the unit, despite my monthly payments. I should have seen it coming – seeing all those fancy high-end shopping bag despite both of them rarely working. The unit owner locked the gate and demanded that we vacate the premises. I tried reaching out to the couple, but to no avail. Frustrated, I lodged a police report to demand a refund of my RM900 deposit, which was a significant amount for me at the time. Unfortunately, it didn’t yield any results.

So there I was, back to sleeping in my trusty Kelisa, enduring the heat and mosquitoes. This time, thankfully it only lasted for two weeks. My boss noticed my predicament and kindly offered me one of her houses to stay in temporarily. Eventually, I found another room for rent in Taman Sri Sentosa for RM550 per month—a relatively expensive price. At that time, my salary at HW was only RM1,800. But with no other options, I made the move.

HW’s website continued to flourish, bringing in numerous inquiries, sales, and leads. HW’s name began circulating within the plumbing and M&E community. We even landed sub-projects with Air Selangor, Air Kelantan, and others. In addition to maintaining the website and optimizing SEO, I also responsible for various IT troubleshooting tasks such as shared networks, SQL accounting, printers, and more. Graphic design became part of my responsibilities as well, including designing new price lists, catalogs, name cards, and so on.

With such outstanding performance and workload, I believed it was the perfect time to request a salary raise, especially after researching common rates for SEO executives in Malaysia. Unfortunately, my request was denied, which left me shocked and disappointed. This prompted me to embark on a job hunt. It’s worth noting that during this time, I was also considering enrolling in a part-time weekend program for a Computer Science degree to expand my skillset—an endeavor that required additional funds.

Not long after, I landed a job with a Singaporean fashion house seeking to establish its online presence in Malaysia. I requested a salary of RM3,200, and to my surprise, they immediately agreed. I submitted my resignation to HW the following day, but my boss rejected it and asked to discuss the matter after work. During our discussion, I explained my situation and my plan to further my studies. In a show of support and persuasion, she offered me RM3,500 and a 5-day work week to accommodate my study schedule —a generous gesture considering I had been working 6 days a week before. Recalling her previous acts of kindness back then when I’m homeless, I accepted her offer and withdrew my resignation.

Hard choice yet necessary

As time passed, in 2019, an interesting opportunity came knocking on my door through LinkedIn. It was an approach from a General Manager (Malaysia) representing TG, a Philippine-based MNC company. She had stumbled upon my portfolio on Jobstreet and believed that my qualifications perfectly matched a vacancy they had for an SEO Executive. The offer was undeniably enticing, especially considering that my role would solely focus on SEO within a team, in contrast to the multitude of tasks I had been handling alone at Heap Wah.

During that period, my primary focus was my career progression. I yearned to expand my skill set by working alongside a team and gaining exposure to different perspectives on SEO. At HW, I was the sole SEO practitioner, and I craved the opportunity to learn and grow. With these aspirations in mind, I eagerly accepted the offer.

Once I joined TG, I swiftly settled into my role, and things proceeded seamlessly. I accomplished the task of ranking their websites on the coveted first page of Google’s search results for numerous crucial keywords. Remarkably, one of their websites, cyberattack-event.com, got a huge climb from page 7 to page 1 in Google’s SERP in less than a month of optimization under me. Yup, only me. It turns out that I’m the only one managing the SEO and website. The dream of me working together in a team while exchanging SEO ideas, tips and tricks are crushed.

Repaying the debt

During my time at TG, my former boss at HW persistently tried to persuade me to return to the company. After three months at TG, I realized that my dream of working in an SEO team at TG are not going to happen along with the incompetence of my replacement at HW. I made the decision to go back to HW. In addition to a substantial salary increase, I was also promised an assistant to alleviate my workload.

To my surprise, luck was on my side, as my boss at TG was so satisfied with my work, he offered me to do freelance work during the evenings. This meant I was earning double the salary while working double the hours. Despite the increased workload, it wasn’t a major issue for me at the time since I was single. On weekends, I attend to my part-time classes to further my studies. Life is a bit busy, but manageable.

Freelancing - even the sharpest knife will be dull if left unused

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The COVID-19 pandemic hit, and unfortunately, TG couldn’t withstand the challenges posed by the Movement Control Order (MCO) restrictions. Their business model heavily relied on organizing conferences and events, which became difficult during the pandemic. As a result, they ended their contract with me, leaving me with a single source of income once again. On a personal note, I got married, which led me to reflect on my career prospects. I need to get something going or I will be left behind.

To sharpen my skills and expand my niche knowledge, I started taking on small SEO freelance jobs. By the end of 2021, I took the initiative to create a personal website and focused on ranking it for common freelance keywords, such as “SEO freelancer Malaysia.” The site managed to reach the first page in Google SERP, and inquiries and job offers began to flow in.

One notable freelance project I received was from BNC, a website specializing in women’s innerwear. It was quite a challenge for me, considering that I wasn’t well-versed in the fashion industry. However, I decided to embrace the opportunity and learn my way into the fashion world. I delved into understanding the demographics, keywords, niches, selling points, and more. Creating a strategic keywords list, I optimized the site, and within a month, it had climbed from the 10th page to the second page on Google SERP for five of my main target keywords. Although it was a significant improvement, I wasn’t entirely satisfied.

To further enhance the site’s performance, I researched competitors and adjusted my game plan. I realized that directly competing with well-established brands head-on wouldn’t yield the desired results. So, I shifted my focus to targeting common keywords with lower competition. This approach allowed the site to gradually rise to the top of SERP. Once the less competitive keywords secured top spots, I could then tackle the more highly competitive ones.

My strategy worked, and by the end of the third month, the site was ranked higher than cotton-on and shopee for five of the initial target keywords. It was a gratifying achievement, and it proved that with determination and smart tactics, I could make a significant impact even in challenging and competitive industries.

New Chapter?

As time went on at HW, my day-to-day responsibilities started to feel stagnant, as the site had already achieved high rankings in SERP. The keywords remained firmly in their first spots, showing little movement. Despite being tasked with developing websites and branding for HW’s sister companies, I didn’t feel like I was learning enough. The promised assistant turned out to be an empty promise, leaving me juggling various ad-hoc IT, sales, and graphic design tasks. The constant demands and lack of progress left me feeling drained and demotivated. I knew it was time for a change.

After careful consideration of my future career path, I decided to pursue opportunities at MNCs where I could be part of a team and expand my perspectives in SEO and branding. Fortunately, luck was on my side, as out of the 11 applications I submitted, five companies reached out to me with job offers. After reviewing the salary packages and benefits, I accepted the offer from ZM to join them as their SEO specialist.

However, before I even started at ZM, there was an unexpected development. The manager of the department resigned, leaving me without a superior to turn to for guidance. This news caught me off guard and left me feeling somewhat lost and clueless during my first week. There was no documentation available for me to refer to, so I had to navigate and learn everything on my own. Additionally, the other members of the marketing team were not familiar with SEO or the company’s CMS, so I had to figure things out independently.

As time went on at ZM, I gradually found my rhythm and became more comfortable with my responsibilities. It was a great experience, as the company had hired an agency to handle their SEO, which meant I had the opportunity to exchange perspectives and marketing plans with them during meetings. There were so many meetings, which I was told is quite common in MNCs. My main tasks revolved around creating soft-pages for new products in Sitecore and attending meetings with the agency and the internal marketing department. Overall, I was quite happy with my role. However, the only downside was the lack of free time. Being the only person in the marketing department with knowledge of Sitecore and CMS, I had to be on high alert at all times to ensure that all pages and promotions on the website were up and running smoothly, even at night or early morning. This led me to forego my freelance jobs.

Square one - Not quite

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Did I tell you, throughout this entire period, my former boss at HW persisted in trying to convince me to return. It wasn’t just my boss either; the account, purchasing, and sales departments all expressed their dissatisfaction with my replacements, and persuaded me to come back even when the fact that I continued to support them here and there during that time.

I remained strong and focused at ZM for six months. However, living as the sole breadwinner in Kuala Lumpur with a Malaysian kinda wage proved to be quite challenging, especially since my wife had just graduated from her Master’s in Architecture and hadn’t secured a job yet. The salary at ZM wasn’t enough to support both of us. I need to go back doing freelances.

Eventually, HW made me a compelling offer that I couldn’t resist—an impressive salary increase, an assistant package, and even a free house to live in. After careful consideration of the job scope, the generous offer and the possibilities of me to continue doing freelances, I decided to return to HW.

Sailing to the sunset

Now, I decided to focus on my Freelances works in especially in SEO service by founding a micro freelance service called MFMY SEO service to provide affordable yet specialized SEO service to Local Malaysian market.

There is an indescribable joy that fills me whenever I witness a website under my optimization strategy climbing the Google ranks and securing a spot on the coveted first page of search results. But the true delight lies in receiving calls from small business owners at the end of each month, excitedly sharing their success stories of increased sales and inquiries. Knowing that my expertise has played a role in their growth brings me immense satisfaction.

I am passionate about what I do, and that is SEO. I am committed to helping businesses thrive in the digital landscape by harnessing the power of search engine optimization. My mission with MFMY SEO Service is to empower local entrepreneurs and contribute to the success of their ventures through my skills and dedication.

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