Thinking About Starting an SEO Agency? Read This First

Starting an SEO Agency

If you’re like me, you’ve got that entrepreneurial spirit and you just have that need and desire to create whenever possible. Whether it’s a website that sells Hip Hop inspired posters, a plant-based sanitizing mist, or a Long Island SEO agency, you feel the need to continue to create new and exciting things.

If you’ve ever thought about creating your own SEO or digital marketing agency, you’re not alone. It’s a lucrative, yet very competitive and crowded market at this time, and it’s expected to grow even more over the next few years. And for good reason. The demand for SEO, professionals for Google Ads management, and social media experts are all growing. People are searching for, and buying more products online every day, so the demand for professionals to assist these business owners is also increasing.

If you’ve ever thought about starting your own SEO or digital marketing agency, I’m here to help you weigh the pros and cons. Take it from me, I’ve built an SEO agency in Long Island, so I know a few things, and I’m happy to share.

Pros of Starting Your Own SEO or Digital Marketing Agency:

1. You have the desire to make more money

This is a no-brainer. Money is what drives most entrepreneurs. It’s what drives me. It’s not the ONLY reason I started an SEO agency, but it was very important.

When you are your own boss your destiny is in your hands. There is a direct correlation between how hard your work and how much money you make. It’s that simple.

2. You have something to give the SEO community

What I don’t recommend is that you start an SEO agency without any knowledge of the industry basics. However, if you do know more than just a little, and have experience, why not apply it to help local businesses grow and prosper? Take your knowledge and share it with the community and industry. The SEO world will be a better place.

3. You like the challenge

If you’re like me, you played sports growing up and you were very competitive. It’s important to take that competitive nature into the business world because you WILL need it. One of the most important aspects of running your own SEO business is sales, and if you are not competitive then you will most likely fail in the sales department. However, if you decide to link-up wit a partner and split the responsibilities, maybe you don’t have to spend too much time on sales – but you should still have that competitive nature.

4. You’re organized

If you plan on succeeding running your own SEO or digital marketing agency, you’ll need to be organized. If you’re not doing it for success than what’s the point, right?

Most that jump into the agency game don’t realize how much is involved in the day to day management of running the business. You need to be organized. To give you an idea of what you’ll need to manage, see below. Keep in mind this is only the tip of the iceberg:

Sales and prospecting
Scheduling discovery calls
Auditing websites
Creating proposals
Closing prospects
On-boarding prospects
Assigning tasks
Checking the accuracy of assigned tasks
Client and prospect follow-up
Marketing for own company (how else are you going to get business??)
Marketing for your clients
Producing content for your blog
Getting eyes on your blog
Keeping yourself educated on the industry and strategies

The list goes on, so if you’re organized, you’ll be in a lot better shape.

Cons of Starting Your Own SEO or Digital Marketing Agency

1. No more personal time

If you’re really looking to make a career out of this agency thing, you’re going to have to work. Most that jump right into it most likely watched a few YouTube videos showing you just how EASY!! it is to start your own business. Keep in mind that these YouTube channels are trying to get views on their videos so that THEY can make money. Can you say “click bait”? Ever wonder why there’s so many people selling systems and programs on HOW to do it? They’re going that route because actually running the agency is HARD work, so plan accordingly.

2. Very little money to start

If you’re just starting out and haven’t built up a client base while working a 9-5 job, you’re most likely starting at $0. Time to get on it! Even with your first couple of clients, most of that money will be spent on the clients directly. You’ll see just how fast the money gets eaten up, especially if you’re outsourcing some of the work initially.

3. You SUCK at sales

As mentioned above, sales is VERY important to the success of your business. If you’re not a natural salesman, it’s going to be very hard to sell a product or service to a business that doesn’t realize the need it. If you plan on outsourcing your sales, be ready to hire, train, and fire as needed. 9 out of 10 sales reps will NOT work out, so you’ll need more time for that hiring.

4. Very competitive

As this industry grows, there will be more and more SEO and digital marketing agencies popping up in your own back yard. That will make it just that more hard to get new business in the door. Especially since this is a business that anyone can start from their home with very little startup costs, the barriers to entry is very small, so be prepared.

With the Pros and Cons out of the way, let me off some additional advice before you make your decision…

Thinking of Starting an SEO Agency. Final Advice…

Just Do It – Like the iconic Nike saying, if you’re leaning towards starting your own agency, you have to jump in all the way. If you tip-toe into the agency world, you’ll get eaten alive. So embrace everything that needs to happen in order to be successful.

Choose a lucrative niche – Focus on high ticket clients like doctors, lawyers, surgeons, etc. to get your business going. Landing only a handful of any of the above can help float your business while you get it off the ground.

Don’t be a bottom-feeder – If you Google “SEO service” today, you’ll see plenty of ads promoting their SEO services for $500, $300, even $100 a month. Now, you get what you pay for, but keep in mind that you’re client is expecting results whether they’re paying $100 or $2000, so price your services accordingly. Also, in my experience, the clients that are NOT willing to invest in SEO and the future of their business are oftentimes not the best clients. They’re needy, need a lot of attention, and seem to keep you from helping your more profitable clients.

Set client expectations correctly – Tying into your pricing model, it’s a good idea to set SEO packages for clients to choose. Within each package is a set of deliverables, either on a weekly, monthly, or whatever basis. Having your clients see the tasks and deliverables ensure they know what to expect each month. This will keep them from asking “what’s going on with my SEO???”

There you have it. My two cents. I hope you use this guide to make well informed decisions before jumping into the agency pool head first.

Of course, if you should have any questions or need advice, feel free to reach out to me directly or drop a line in the comments section.