Southside Plumber to Plumbing Authority
“Southside” is referring to the south side of Chicago. That is where Sean and his father had a plumbing business for sixteen years. Everything was going great, and then 2007 happened. Like many places around the country, the housing market in Chicago took a huge hit. In Sean’s words, his business was “on life support”.
When the recession first hit, Kavanaugh Plumbing had $3 million in contracts. Then in a month they all walked away. “Literally in August we had them and in September we didn’t” says Sean. That year they estimated $50 million worth of work. Received no business. Needless to say, the future of Kavanaugh Plumbing was in question.
When One Door Closes, Another One Opens
The physical business was in distress. There was no work available. The future was looking grim. Then walked in an old buddy of Sean’s, Ken Courtright. Ken and Sean had known each other since childhood. They grew up wrestling together. Little did Sean know, his old buddy Ken had an idea how to keep Kavanaugh Plumbing up and running. So to speak.
The solution? An authority website. What is an authority website? Think of WebMD. They are an authority online in anything medical related. You have a sore back, you type in “sore back” into Google, and the first line of results leads you to WebMD.com and “10 Ways to Manage Low Back Pain A Home”. That is an authority website. Ken’s idea was use the same model but just for plumbing.
That is when ThePlumbingInfo.com was born.
As mentioned earlier, an authority website is considered an “authority” when it is the “go to” for answers in a given field. (ie. WedMD and medical questions.) The first step for Sean to get ThePlumbingInfo.com off of the ground was to start writing. The first article he wrote was on this new revolutionary product called the Hansgrohe iBox. It changed the game for plumbers (which Sean explains more in the episode).
From there, the new authority Sean had in the industry found him on many industry boards. He was featured on the “Giuliana and Bill Show” in Chicago multiple times. One of his pieces of content even ended up being used as part of an industry instruction manual.
What It Takes To Be An Authority
Besides being an all around great guy, one of the main reasons Sean was on the show was to display what can happen when persistence wins the day. Most people think you have to have some fancy degree or work for some well known company in order to be successful. Sean is case and point that that is not the case. He didn’t have to go to Harvard in order to be an authority in plumbing. He didn’t have to have some computer science degree or know how to write code in order to have one of the largest plumbing websites of today. He had to be persistent.
Not only that, but he had to have a deep down passion for what he was doing. If you ever read any of his content, that passion comes through in spades.