My Journey to $10,000 / month SEO Business Subscriptions total: $1607 Customers total: 8 Hello everyone. I am a 26 y/o male who started an SEO business about a month and a half ago now. I'm going to share with you how it went from the start, and where I'm at now. MY SERVICES I've found it quite difficult to find people who will pay for large plans (The largest customer I have at the moment is $350 / month, this includes 2 websites of work). Because of this I've targetted a market looking to not spend a lot. My plans start at $99 / month (5 keyphrases). However I've also targetted SEO companies looking to completely outsource their work to me. For these companies I've offered $69 / month (10 keywords). What I offer for this is: On-site work: Titles, canonical IP, metas, descriptions, and some others. Off-site: Social Bookmarking 55 Social Media 25 Directory Submission 30 Classified Submissions 25 Social News 10 Video Submission 5 Unique Article Creation 1 Article Submissions: 25 Total Links: 175 This monthly system has worked no problems for ranking clients. I provide the clients with a weekly report showing the link building and change in ranks. A typical time frame is 2 - 5 months to get good results. Quick side note: I have made more than the $1607, I'd estimate another $1000. This is through Freelancer / Upwork. I am only interested in following my subscriptions that I know are going to come in every month, not from 1 time payments that I'm unsure will come through the next month. HOW I STARTED Website: The very first thing I did was make a website. I did my best to find a great custom theme, and put some of my own touches in to it. I paid for a logo from a freelancer on Freelancer.com. I then created a nice landing page explaining everything included in the SEO service, along with the price. I then paid a coder (through freelancer) to create me a checkout with stripe.com. I had him customize it so that they can select from a drop down menu "5 keyphrases, 10, or 20". The rows of keywords open up accordingly and the client can enter their keywords at checkout. It saves this to my customer back end and makes it easy to keep track of my clients. (When picking 5, 10, or 20) the price increases / month as well. Kijiji advertising: My first mistake. I picked 4 large cities in Canada and paid for top ads for 1 month. (Approx $200 in advertising spendings). This didn't bring a single customer. I definitely won't be using kijiji for paid ads anymore. Freelancer: QUICK NOTE: Be extremely careful with Freelancer, and leaving a large amount of money in the account. I've read lots of horror stories about Freelancer stealing their money. That said, This is where I finally broke through. I had a Freelancer account from years ago when I did a bit of Web design. It has a 5 star rating over about 10 jobs, so it made it much easier to win some jobs. I upgraded to the "Standard Account" and I played around with a few copy and paste messages to bid on jobs with. At first I wasn't getting much attention. I fine tuned my copy and paste some more and this helped. I noticed many people wanted to see a "site analysis" and I then began my Google search. The best one I found was: seositecheckup.com. They gave me 15 free website analysis. I then was able to attach my logo to white label it and it looked great! I now pay monthly for this service and It's one of the first things I do for a client. Get the analysis, and then explain to them we will fix the important errors found in their website. Most of my competition is using a tool like this. It gets the client upset about having errors on their site, and It's also very confusing stuff that us (a professional) needs to fix for them! Also, for the SEO businesses outsourcing their clients to me, I provide this analysis with the SEO companies logo on it. So yeah, I started getting some Freelancer jobs ($99 - 150) This motivated me to push harder. After this, I found: Upwork: I now made an account on Upwork. Not a huge fan, was only able to lock down 1 job with my full month of bids allotted. That said, there's a bit higher quality clients on here. This landed me my client in Australia that's paying $350 / month. I always try to convince the clients on Upwork or Freelancer to sign up through my website, and explain it saves fees for me. This is part true, but the real reason is because I want that automatic credit charge every month. If you are trying to build your rating on a freelancer site though, I would do a mix of accepting payments through the freelancer site, and convincing them to checkout with your website. Adwords: Next I moved in to Adwords. I still don't know how I feel about Adwords. At the moment I'm about break even with costs / profit. The thing to consider though is that, ok, I'll typically spend $200 to get $200 in monthly revenue. So while I may work for free the first month, the profits still come in their next months. So I do consider Adwords profitable. I am however, a complete amateur at Adwords. I'm sure my ads could be optimized better, proper negative keywords, etc etc. I have designed my ads to be VERY specific about costs. I want people to know that It's a monthly service, and this is the price, etc. So that when people click it, I'm attracting (hopefully) the people that are ready to spend their money. I should also mention, I have a live chat on my website. It pops up asking if we can be of any assistance when we have a new visitor. I pause my ads when I am not at the computer. I feel it is super important to have my live chat in place when I get a new visitor to the website. Most my sales come through answering questions via the live chat. So this is where I'm at currently with customer aquisition. I sit on Freelancer sites, and I wait for Google adwords to bring people in. Locals / Referrals: 0 Customers from this. I've only had clients for 1 month max, so I haven't received any referrals. I also never tried any offline marketing tactics to get local clients. I'm sure a local client would bring more $ / month, but I'm not having a very easy time getting any. I haven't tried cold calling, and I've considered hiring someone to cold call. This is possibly on my list. WHERE WERE AT DEC. 11/2015 Sales today: 0 Active Leads: 2 Subscriptions total: $1607 Here's where I'm at today with my sales. Active lead 1: I had a lead yesterday through an email from a gentleman who found my website through Google Adwords. I explained to him we have packages ranging from $100 - $1500, it depends on how much business he's looking to generate. He got back to me explaining he's a new startup and just wants to start at $100. I said great, and sent him a site analysis. I told him let's proceed and I'm waiting to hear back. Active lead 2: The other lead I have is a realtor. He's becoming extremely needy and difficult. He's requested all sorts of things, and keyword research. I've completed these tasks and woke up to about 4 emails from him today with just walls of text. I was hoping he was going to be a large client, but then he started talking about just starting with the $99 plan. He showed me a bunch of his competitors and asked: "Can you do this for me?" This is where I explained his competitors are probably on a SEO plan well over $1000 / month. I explained it would be easier to compete with these guys if we got more serious and went with a bigger plan. It sounds like I managed to convince him to go with $200 / month. Not a huge increase, but really, if I never said anything I'd be making $100 less a month. What I've been learning is to not be scared to upsell. I was so eager to get my beginning sales for any amount of money. Now I'm at the point where I'm not scared to ask and push for more. Especially when it comes to clients like this, who are going to be taking up so much of my time, I need to get some money for it. That said, I find they calm down after the first week. Another thing I've learned from this client is to put my foot down with other things more. I'm not going to begin keyword research until I receive payment. Being my first Journey, I'm not entirely sure what to cover, or what people want to hear more about, so give me feedback! I'll update this regularily, and hope we can hit that mark of $10 k / month! Screenshot of my current subscriptions: Thanks BHW!