Getting Self Employed in Search

by rishil on January 12, 2010

Self Employed SEO? Not as easy as you think.

Self Employed SEO? Not as easy as you think. Photo Credit:

As many people who followed me from SEOmoz are aware, I have done a lot of Small Business SEO/M, and have written a range of posts on the subject. However, of late I am getting myself immersed and tangled with larger projects and at the same time using any spare moments to get involved in learning Affiliate Marketing. This doesn’t mean that I am averse to discussing or writing about Small Business Marketing anymore, but it does mean that I have less time to.

The reason for this post is over the years plenty of people have asked me for help developing their own small business consulting projects, and I have been pretty glad to help as many as I could. What I realised was that often the questions that roll in are pretty much along the lines of “how to get more clients” and ”is it better to freelance”, and of late more and more inhouse SEO’s are tempted to start their own businesses.

What I felt may be useful to these folks would be a few tips on starting that new business, from my own experience. This will be a Series of Posts, with this being the first.

Should I or Shouldn’t I?

In my usual “teaching mode” fashion, I want to get you to think of a few questions to ask yourselves first: (note the bolded characters – these are my formula indicators used later in the post)

  1. What are your key specialities? (stop assuming you can do everything!) YS
  2. What connections / relationships do you have to YC
  3. What part of your business will you need to outsource? OS
  4. How good are your people skills? PS
  5. How good are your business skills? BS
  6. How realistic is your view of your worth? (e.g per hour) £PH
  7. What MINIMUM possible revenue do you need to generate to survive at your current standard of living? MPRFS
  8. How many man hours can you dedicate to your own business? MPHFW

Now is that done? Were you honest to yourself? Promise? Ok. Read on.

A .Map your resources

Your Specialities vs those of your connections:

Me + Timmy + Tommy + Tina + Tanya

B. Map your Offerings (services)

Me + Timmy + Tommy + Tina + Tanya

C. Map your Revenue

What does 100% use of your time = in terms of (your value per hour x Max Hours you have to spend) – Is this > or < than MPRFS ?

D. Your Business Skills + People Skills

In Months 1-3 can you sell 90% of your time using PS+BS?

OK – so by now you have pretty much done your self discovery process. If it scares you, are you ready? If it seems simple, are you over confident?

I am not trying to discourage you. But the grass is usually greener on the other side. before taking a serious step into freelancing or starting your own business, this sort of thinking is extremely necessary. Remember, I havent even mentioned accountants, legal support, banking, taxation etc etc. Taking a step out in the open means you need to make sure you are prepared for all sorts of weather. Rain or shine, make sure you are covered.

Saying that, if you do decide to take the plunge, fear not, I will write a few posts on getting the clients, and keeping them happy :) .


Sam has written a decent view on this, well worth reading.

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Rishi Lakhani is an independent Online Marketing Consultant specialising in SEO, PPC, Affiliate Marketing and Social Media. Explicitly.Me is his Blog. Google Profile

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ken Jones January 14, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Loving the new site Rishi. It’s about time you finally got around to setting yourself up with a place of your own on t’internet.

Thanks for putting together this post. I’m really looking forward to seeing the rest in this series as I’m now in the early stages of striking out on my own as a freelancer as well. I’ve always been impressed with your posts on SEOmoz so I’ve no doubt that there’ll be plenty more for me to learn from your experiences as you share them on here.


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