Hi everyone: Help wanted in starting up

justindobz

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My name is Justin, I have been around SEO for the past few months and have learned a lot about local SEO (shout out Brian Willie) as well as general SEO. It's really all I've been doing the past few months besides my part time job. I feel like I have a really solid knowledge of what I'm doing and now it's at the point where I need to practice on actual businesses.

Any advice on where I should start? Should I be trying to get paid clients (since I have a skill that can make them money), or get businesses to let me help them for free until I build up some sort of portfolio and gain real experience (since I have no credibility)?

Any general advice is also welcomed and greatly appreciated!

Excited to be a part of the community. Thanks!
 

djbaxter

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Hi, Justin:

Welcome to the Local Search Forum. :)

I don't know the answer to your question but once the work week starts I'm sure one of the Local Search pros will pop in with some advice for you.

I just wanted to say hello and let you know I edited your thread title to make it a bit more informative and therefore more likely to get some attention. :)
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Justin,

Welcome from me too. You are in the right place to get started.

If you feel you have Local SEO under control, then you should probably read some of our discussions in the Consultant's Corner forum. You'll find lots of helpful topics about running a Local Search business. Best ways to prospect, what NOT to do, etc.

Like David said, hopefully tomorrow some consultants will weigh in and give you some insights.
 

Linda Buquet

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FYI I wanted to share the story of how I started which answers some of your Qs, but have problems with carpal tunnel and can't type much. So have been trying to find a thread I did a long time ago that explained my start-up strategy.

Wanted to let you know I've been working on it and also wanted to bump this back up to help you get some feedback from other Local SEO Consultants.
 

mborgelt

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Welcome to the forum, Justin!

If you feel you have a good command of this SEO thing I suggest attending local meetup groups for marketing and any other markets you've worked in. Also starting up an UpWork account and bidding for jobs there is a great way to build your portfolio and start getting more referrals for your service.

A big difference in knowing SEO and doing it for clients is the how well the communication aspect is. I recommend spending the next few months learning how to fulfill KPIs, manage expectations and learning how to mitigate challenges and problems that arise.
 

Cherie Dickey

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Hi Justin!

Welcome to the forum!

Any advice on where I should start? Should I be trying to get paid clients (since I have a skill that can make them money),
You could try for paid clients that are local to you. Small businesses, etc, who might not have a complicated presence online. How I got started though is that I was hired on with a pretty large company as an admin within their SEO department. The work was really just data entry (mostly directory work), and I expressed an interest in advancing within the team, and did the legwork necessary to learn what I needed to in order to step into a Specialist role when one became available.

Starting out this way has been invaluable to my growth within the field. I was able to learn directly from experienced SEOs, and was given access to a variety of situations to learn from as well as advice on what blogs to follow and training courses to take. I still work for this company.

It took a few years, and I am still learning (I think it's the nature of the field), but I am where I want to be now professionally.

Also, freelancing is different. Different filing systems, different ways to track time, invoicing, personalities of the business owners, different needs for each industry and company. Being brand new, an in house position gave me some room to grow in my knowledge and experience before dealing with these other complications. I'm a bit spoiled, actually, haha!

Just my opinion though :)

or get businesses to let me help them for free until I build up some sort of portfolio and gain real experience (since I have no credibility)?
I would not recommend doing this... it's spec work. Your time is valuable, whether experienced or not. It's worth something. This is common in the graphic design community, and has been bad for the industry overall. Makes it more difficult to find quality jobs, and get paid for experience.

If you want a portfolio, why not create your own website? Get it ranking and and earning quality traffic - then you can use that successful site as an example of what you can do. Take some training courses, and get certified in Analytics and Adwords. Those are things you could highlight on your site, and they will give you some credibility.


I hope this helps! Good luck!

Cherie
 

John Vuong

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Hey Justin, Good luck on your journey. Starting off is always an adventure and should be both fun and challenging. My advice is to keep learning, but learn to sell yourself more than the service you are offering.

Customers buy from people they like, trust and can connect with. Focus on the intangibles; passion, motivation and drive.

To get new customers, learn to prospect (networking, cold calls, market yourself and services), have a story behind who you are and why you are selling what you are selling, your USP, your value.

Depending on how much you have saved up before starting on your own, you can offer services based on your cost of time until you have a portfolio and social proof to slowly raise your rates. Early on you have a ton of time but no clients and eventually you will have no time and more money.

Good luck!
 

CraigJMount

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As mentioned, local networking groups (make sure they are paid ones) can be a great source of leads for a new business like yourself. Your main focus is going to be building relationships and (hopefully) establishing a solid network around the value and goodwill you provide.

On a related note- I've created a video that talks a bit about what you might need in starting up.

What is the Cost of Starting a Digital Marketing Agency? - Classy Brain

If you have any questions please don't hestitate to ask me. Classy Brain is relatively new and I very much know what it's like to first start out.
 

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