If you’ve ever considered making money online, you’ll know by now that one of the first and most common ideas is to start your own SEO Agency. If you had money to start a business, there are much easier avenues to take. Ideally, an e-commerce store, or affiliate marketing. However, they do take some level of start-up capital. If you are, like most readers here, lacking in cash and looking for a means to survive and build a fighting fortune, then an SEO Agency is the perfect avenue.
The reason for this is three-fold:
You can start it up with $0 if you wanted to – you only need to invest sweat equity (your time and energy)
You are learning a valuable and highly useful skill (SEO) (and technically Sales and Marketing)
And it is possible to scale. Very quickly, and very profitably.
Bonus Offer (Free)
Pro’s & Con’s
$0 to start your SEO Agency
You’ll need to sell your services
You are learning a valuable skill
Can be difficult to focus on what to learn
Terrific way to get an intro to business
You still need to be able to deliver a result
The business model is very scalable
Quite simply, you need to sell your service then deliver results. Both are difficult. However, being able to deliver impressive results is going to make selling your services easier. Thus, it’s reasonable to say you need to learn how to do SEO first. That is not an easy task. The basics of SEO are simple enough to understand, however, the topic can become incredibly deep and wide very quickly. It is important then to focus only on what you need to know to deliver great results.
Start by understanding the basics of SEO from MOZ and from Search Engine Journal. Both are excellent starting points for your journey into the world of SEO.
In essence, SEO can be divided into two fields – On-page and off-page SEO.
And there are several excellent guides I would recommend above all else. Far better than anything I could produce here. The on-page SEO process from Brian Dean is an amazing starting place. And the off-page SEO guide from Neil Patel.
The next step is to learn how to get clients. That’s not so easy to learn and will require you step outside of your comfort zone and learn to sell.
How I Would Do It
Begin by reviewing the material listed above so that you have a grasp of how to do SEO
Create a site of your own and begin trying to rank it, you cannot say you know SEO until you have ranked a website in Google.
Ideally, rank for an easy keyword to give yourself some confidence
And also, to understand the process, and to use as a case study
Choose a specific niche to specialise in, e.g. SEO for Dentists
Taking what you’ve learned, create an easy to understand case study for a niche
Create your branding, logo and website around your agency, this is not super important but if you are looking to scale it becomes valuable. And it also helps build trust.
You can, perhaps more easily, begin as a freelancer and simply sell your services
Using the case study for your niche, create an easy to understand presentation to give to clients by email or print form. Detail your skills and how SEO can have a significant impact on a business, use plenty of stats and figures.
Go the extra mile, if possible, point to how a competitor is already ranking in their local area and develop a strategy for how to beat them.
Ideally, give the client this presentation in person so that they do not run off with your arduous work and give it to another freelancer who might work more cheaply
But if you must, do so, because more likely than not, most business owners won’t do anything with it on their own – most people are very lazy!
It’d be easier for them to just hire you
Charge approximately $500 per month on a minimum 3-month contract
Take note of all necessary metrics (primarily ranking) before starting, so you can effectively show how you are improving their results
You can also charge a $1,000 setup fee
As usual, offer to waive the setup fee or first month’s fee if this is your first client. After you have landed your first client and delivered results, you can raise prices and use it as a proper case study.
Take note, you will either love it or hate it. Some people love the pressure of selling and managing clients. Most don’t. Personally, I consider an SEO Agency the method by which you can build capital and escape your 9-5. But long-term, I would be working on other methods to make it big, such as affiliate marketing, local lead generation, e-commerce or rank & rent.
$100 A Day Math
Quite simply, you need only 6 clients at $500 per month to pay $3,000 per month or $100 a day.
Scalability – Can It Become a Million Dollar Business?
Yes, absolutely. Top SEO agencies, even in local niches, can charge 10s of thousands per month for SEO services. This does involve more pressure, of course, to deliver good results as well as to manage and sell bigger clients. But it is doable.
Best of all, most SEO work (the grunt-work, not the plan) can be outsourced very cheaply. Many people automate portions of their SEO or use Virtual Assistants or VA’s to do the grunt work.
I would also say there is an opportunity for up-sells and cross-sells, such as social media and PPC management, but would advise against it at first. It is better to be an SEO agency that specialises only in SEO and only in a certain niche. This may seem to cost you money, but in the long-run, it allows you to scale much higher.