Freelancing is frequently romanticized as a means of escaping an obnoxious boss who doesn’t value you.
People who start working for themselves, on the other hand, frequently discover that they ‘quit 9-5 to work 24/7.’
This can harm your self-esteem and mental health, but it does not negate the value of freelancing.
It can be a rewarding experience if you approach it with the right mindset.
This column will teach you SEO freelancing tips that will help you find more (and better) clients, build a sustainable business, and truly enjoy what you do.
But first, consider why so many people prefer to work for themselves.
The Benefits of a Freelance Career
I’ve already mentioned some of the drawbacks of starting an SEO freelancing business. So it’s time to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of this journey.
When working as a freelancer…
You have more control over your time and life.
Obtaining permission to visit the dentist during the working day is not required. You can even take a full weekday off if your projects allow it. It is entirely up to you to set your schedule.
Your salary has the potential to rapidly rise.
According to Search Engine Journal research, 60% of full-time SEO professionals earn the same as or more than the US median.
However, one’s ability to advance is frequently constrained by the number of years of experience one has, and it is difficult to significantly increase one’s salary within a single company. You’d have to change jobs a lot to get a bigger raise.
As an SEO freelancer, however, you are not required to wait for a ‘3% yearly increase’ in your salary. You can produce more quickly.
In my first year of freelancing, I made my previous full-time job salary and more than doubled in the following year.
That is not an unusual outcome; there are numerous success stories from other SEOs who chose to begin their freelancing careers.
Furthermore, because you can expand your freelancing business into an agency or something else, there is no upper limit to how much money you can make.
Working with clients one on one.
It was one of the most important advantages for me because I wanted to have a greater impact on my clients’ success.
You now have a better understanding of your customers.
You now have a better understanding of your clients as a business owner because you know more about prioritization and estimating effort vs impact.
It enables you to concentrate on the most important recommendations rather than attempting to solve all SEO issues.
With no prior business or freelance experience, I had to learn everything quickly when I founded my company two years ago.
Here are my top ten most useful tips, which I hope will help you get your SEO freelancing business up and running (and keep you sane while doing it).
1. Collaborate with Other Freelancers
No matter where you are, some people have gone before you. They have knowledge and experience that you can take advantage of.
Getting such advice can save you months of trial and error. I’m grateful to Aleyda Solis, Luke Carthy, Andrew Optmisey, Kirsty Hulse, and Troy Fawkes for being honest with me and giving me sound advice.
A few pointers on approaching people for advice…
Take into account their time.
Don’t just DM your questions or something vague like ‘please assist me.’ People will gladly help you if you instead build relationships with them.
Inquire about particulars.
The questions you ask determine the answers you receive. As a result, be sure to ask specific questions that will truly move the needle for you.
You are held responsible for your actions.
You ask others to assist you rather than take responsibility for your company. So use common sense to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
2. Create an Online Presence
You have the potential to be the best SEO of all time. However, if no one knows about it, success will be difficult.
We live in a world with a lot of voices on social media, and yours should be heard as well.
LinkedIn can assist you in developing your online presence. You can use Twitter, start a newsletter, or do both simultaneously. You have a decision to make.
But believe me when I say that having a strong digital presence makes talking to prospects much easier.
I started building my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles two months before I quit my job. It did help me get my first clients and students for my SEO course.
3. Manage Yourself As If You Were A Business
When you start your own business, you are simultaneously an accountant, a salesperson, an account manager, and a legal department.
You must also pay your taxes (which can be frightening at first).
This must be taken into account when pricing your services. It is not sufficient to simply compute your hourly wage from your day job. To cover all other expenses, you’ll need several times that amount.
4. Recognize How to Price Your Services
Even if you are the sole employee, you now understand that you are a business.
The primary goal of any business is to make a profit. So the next step is to accept it and stop putting yourself down (it might be easier when you see your first tax bill).
Here are a few ideas:
- Don’t work for free.
- Use project-based pricing instead of billing by the hour.
- Improve on a regular basis and raise your prices to reflect this.
5. Learn How To Sell
“You’re not in the business if you can’t sell,” people told me when I first started. It made me cringe every time.
I didn’t want to sell and was terrified of doing so.
Furthermore, it’s a common misconception that if you’re good at your craft (in this case, SEO), you’ll have a slew of clients lining up to work with you.
That is not the case. In reality, selling and SEO are two completely distinct skills. And you’ll need both of them if you want to succeed.
Everything changed for me when I accepted this truth. I started learning how to sell.
I’m not talking about door-to-door sales or bombarding your contacts with LinkedIn messages. It’s much more subtle.
When you speak with a potential customer on the phone, you are selling.
You’re selling even if you’re just talking or sharing your previous successes.
You’re selling ideas, outcomes, your expertise, and your company. Every interaction you have with a prospect is a sales opportunity.
The sooner you understand this, the better.
6. Create Processes and Systems
Many people tell me that they still don’t know how to conduct an SEO audit or other repeatable tasks.
It’s fine if you don’t currently have any processes or systems in place. But the time has come to start building them.
Creating processes will assist you in increasing the efficiency of your freelancing business and increasing your margins. Processes are also useful for delegation later on if you decide to hire someone to assist you.
You are not required to create anything elaborate. A process can begin as a simple checklist that you can expand over time.
7. Make Assets
I started working on a course when I first started my freelancing business.
While I would not recommend that everyone embark on such a large project (because it is exhausting), it is still beneficial to begin amassing assets (for example, an ebook or a paid membership).
In my opinion, selling products in addition to services makes you a much better SEO because you learn a lot of marketing skills.
You start to see audience research in a new light, learn to Copywrite, and gain a better understanding of your SEO clients.
Furthermore, assets generate passive income and keep you busy when there isn’t much client work. Who knows, maybe they’ll grow into something bigger in the future.
8. Get Ready for a Long Journey
Starting a freelance career is not easy. You’ll have to work quickly to figure out a lot of things. It can be isolating as well.
All of this can contribute to chronic overwork and mental health problems.
Work/life balance is one of the three most difficult aspects of freelancing, according to a Twitter poll I conducted:
So it’s better to take care of yourself and your work/life balance now before it’s too late to remember who you are outside of your business.
Here are a few ideas:
Have a group of people who will lift your spirits (your spouse, friends, fellow freelancers).
- Have a hobby unrelated to your job (and, ideally, does not involve a computer).
- Make plans for your downtime.
- Set firm limits for yourself; don’t work in your pyjamas for 12 hours a day.
All of these minor details will ensure that you run a marathon rather than a sprint (yes, this is an allusion to SEO).
9. Know and Follow Your ‘Laws’
You won’t be able to work on every type of SEO project that comes your way. You cannot work with every type of client who comes to you.
Trying to help everyone will leave you exhausted.
Rather, you must be clear about what you do (your strengths), how you help (your services), and who you help (types of clients you work with).
It will be difficult for you to say “no” to potential projects at first. However, in the long run, it will be worthwhile.
10. Help Others Along the Way You have worth
No matter where you are in your freelancing journey, you can assist someone who is a few steps ahead of you in something.
You can contribute in whatever way works best for you, such as writing a blog post, tweeting your tip, answering a question in a Slack group, and so on.
Just keep in mind that your experience is valuable, and one day (very soon), you’ll be the one assisting someone who is just getting started.
The Final Touches
Life is too short to be stuck at a job or working on projects that you despise.
When you embark on a freelance journey for yourself, you will have no boundaries.
I believe in you.
Learn more from SEO and read SEO Best Practices: How to Write Outstanding Meta Descriptions.