The challenges of hiring someone good at Adwords

I’m in a lucky position that I’m constantly being offered accounts to manage. My reps at Google in Leeds have told me several times before that I’m the only person they have on their books that doesn’t ask for help with pitching and that they don’t know anyone who gets as many new accounts as I do. The problem I face is that I can’t take on the majority of work that I’m offered as I simply don’t have time. To grow my business I need to be able to pass out work to other people but this has come with great challenges.

The Train Up & Leave Guy

I thought the easiest way to grow without any risk would be to pass out my extra work to another freelancer. That way I wouldn’t actually need to employ somebody but could pass out builds as and when and could pass out management work on a percentage basis lower than what I was being paid.

The person I chose was one of the other highest rated PPC freelancers on Elance (now Upwork). We did a lot of talking, he had great reviews, I asked a few questions and he seemed nailed on to be good at PPC. Only when I actually sent him his first job did it become apparent that this guy had a bit of knowledge but his work wasn’t very good. The campaigns had no negative keywords at all. That shocked me as even someone new to Adwords would know to do negative keyword research. His keyword selections were poor and his ad text was very uninspiring.

Over the next year he would email me daily for advice and I taught him how an expert would build and manage accounts. Once there was little more that I could teach him he said that he was too busy to take on any of my work anymore and that I would need to find someone else.

The Friend

A friend of mine that I did my Masters with entered the PPC field at the same time that I did. Whilst I went to a small agency and effectively taught myself, my friend chose to work for one of the biggest agencies in the world that managed PPC accounts for internationally famous brands. He was a very articulate guy at university and having worked for such a big agency I had assumed that he would have been taught well.

I recently asked him to build some campaigns for me but when they came back I effectively had to rebuild them myself from scratch as they were full of amateur mistakes. Someone who had been in the industry that long should know better. I know he tries to stretch his time between different ventures so it may be that he was rushed. But I can’t take the risk that I will waste money on work of that quality again so I haven’t used his services since.

The Recommendation

A good friend of mine works for Google and said to me that a very talented guy had left their team to start his own PPC business. He recommended that if I had any overflow work I should pass it out to him.

For me this was perfect as my friend at Google knows the industry well and I trust his instincts. When I hired the guy to build campaigns he sent me something over that I could have produced myself in 20 minutes and charged me £200 for it. After a big email exchange he made several improvements but still the campaigns. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and hired him to do another build – same problem again. I can’t pass work out to someone that I have to constantly nag to build accounts correctly.


It’s not been an easy journey trying to find some help. The head of of a big London agency once told me how much he struggles to find employees as “the industry is full of shit people”. I’m beginning to agree with him.

Going forward I’m going to start hiring people with no experience and I will train them up myself. But I’m going to hire based on their work ethic and personality. It’s easy to train someone up to be good but you can’t change someones personal attributes.



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