How To Go Freelance As A SEO / PPC Consultant
Post date: Feb 27, 2017 6:17:59 PM
I've been freelance since 2008 as a SEO / PPC consultant so can share my experiences & lessons learnt. I recommend that all the tasks in the list below should be completed before you go freelance:
Get a website (with built in blog) with case studies & testimonials and Linkedin profile. Build links to your site. To go freelance successfully, you might need some big names to say you've worked on in the absence of lots of business contacts
Study salary surveys – you need to be paid for your experience and you don't want to be “too cheap”. You can undercut agencies...
Start business networking “in the real world” – this can be for your current company. Be aware this is often just sales people trying to sell to other sales people. A learning community might be better e.g. Digital Surrey - look on Eventbrite or Meetup for events near you. You might even get some time off in lieu :) . This is especially useful if you're not in a client facing role.
Get some business cards – Vista Print are relatively cheap and cheerful...
When you go freelance
Take a deposit on your work (at least the first piece of work for a client). 25% or more. Remember there will be bank charges when international clients pay you from abroad.
Can you poach your old companies clients? It's dog eat dog out here.
Be aware of what 'allowable business expenses' are .
Add case studies and (video) testimonials to your site.
You are going to have to spend a certain amount of time doing non-chargeable work e.g. studying (this is important – reading Twitter etc), administration thus with the best will in the world if you work a 5 chargeable day week that will put you into having to work evening & weekends. A 4 chargeable day work week works in my view.
Linkedin should be a focus of social media activity. Get involved in groups.
Start blogging on your site (remember Tweets compiled can be a blog post and vice versa). Seek guest blogging opportunities.
Always incorporate into your charges scoping and feeding back on work, travelling to meetings etc (all the things that take your time up in relation to a project beyond the actual “doing the work”). Sometimes on the first piece of work this will be hard to judge.
Think about the things that can give you a Unique Selling Point.
Think about the things that can give you a competitive advantage. There will be certain information you will be happy to share online and some you won't. Or will there (as you know it can all earn you links to your site)?
Create your Google Map listing and get some reviews
Get on Skype or similar to enable 'free' calls
Try and find partner companies / freelancers to work with
Be aware of late payment legislation
Get some (free) business advice
Finding a workspace away from home may be necessary sometimes. The library can do (not for phonecalls). A permanent workspace can be an uneccessary cost if you are working in-house or away at meetings / networking for a significant part of the working week.
Like all businesses, freelancers should keep their expenses as low as possible. Are you likely to get much work from a £1000 2 day conference? In all likelihood, the answer is no. You might learn a lot but that will be it. Do you need a business address that is not your home address?
Always carry your business cards
Respond to new business enquiries straight away if possible
There are lots of free training events and conferences about e.g. Brighton SEO, Measurecamp etc.
Share cost of software tools (e.g. Semrush) with a client or partner if possible. Always try before you buy.
Think about how you want to charge (by the hour / project). Charging by the hour may be more transparent. Not publishing a price list allows you more flexibility
Manage clients expectations e.g. with detailed quotes, recommendations with priority marked and caveats, KPIs to be measured etc
Scheduled meetings to allow off peak travel where possible (get a railcard if need be). If you can combine business travel with other activities it's a better use of your time.
If starting PPC work always export campaigns before making amends so you can re-upload them if need be.