(Tips) How to Start a Successful Six-Figure SEO Freelancing Career

t0mmy

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(Tips) How to Start a Successful Six-Figure SEO Freelancing Career

It’s been forever since I shared anything here. There was a time I’d share my posts here every week or two, they would go down a treat with newbies and veterans alike, it also spurred on many of our past and current senior members to begin posting new threads. I’m going to start sharing my posts here again, if they help a few of you then mission accomplished.

I’ve been in this game for over a decade now, I will not spoon feed you.. my posts require action from your end, reading between the lines and educating yourself on topics I mention, for example I know many of my old readers learned about HARO (with many still using it to this day as part of their agencies outreach strategy) due to me forever plugging it back in the day within my posts. Lastly if you’ve nothing relatable to input please hit the back button, I don’t want these posts diverted.


Lets get down to it..

There has always been a great opportunity for those with extensive SEO Freelancing experience and knowledge to make a healthy and comfortable living selling and providing search marketing services in a freelance or reseller capacity.

Now, with the industry becoming much more technical than it has been previously, it’s resulted in several specialists emerging and focusing on providing service in very specific SEO categories as well as niches.

This has created even more opportunities for freelancers to thrive and earning six-figures as a service provider or consultant in the SEO industry currently isn’t far fetched at all. In fact, I would say that six-figures is at the bottom of the earning range for an SEO with the required skill set.

Possessing the knowledge and skills, however, isn’t enough to build a successful freelancing business. As a freelancer, you are the business, so a strong online presence and being viewed as a thought leader is important.

When you embark on a freelancing career you are the business, the salesperson, the customer service department, and the marketer. It’s a lot of hats to wear, but if you can manage it, the freedom and financial reward is unmatched.

Let’s dive into why becoming an SEO freelancer is extremely lucrative right now and what you can do to improve the chances of success, and creating a six-figure income along with location independence.


Why SEO Freelancing is a Lucrative Opportunity

Ok, the financial part is self explanatory — who doesn’t want to earn at least six-figures? But aside from that, it’s the ability to have full control over your time and how you spend it, that is the truly attractive perk.

Not only do you have control over your time and the freedom to work when and where you want, but you also have full control over your earning potential. There is no ceiling. If you want to expand — taking on more clients or even hiring additional team members — you can.

There is nobody holding back your growth other than yourself.

Some individuals would rather earn a comfortable living, but also have as much free time as possible, whereas others might want to maximize their earning potential and sacrifice additional free time for more income.

The choice is yours — and that is the biggest selling point of becoming a freelancer. You have to be self motivated, as nobody will be there to push you, but if you can light a fire under your own bottom, then you will be in a position with endless opportunities.

Here are eight tips to help you start a career as a search engine optimization freelancer.



EhQiK5A.gif


1. Network with Other SEOs and Industry Experts

The SEO industry is filled with great people and many are shocked to learn that many of the top SEOs help one another, by sharing insight and trends amongst one another. This is often done via private Slack and Skype chats, as well as Twitter groups and forum PMs.

The key is to learn where the most brilliant minds hang out and then begin to engage with the members and build trust. You cannot just show up and appear, expecting to be spoon-fed valuable information.

If you want to really build trust, provide value without asking for anything in return. If you show that you are willing to share your findings and knowledge selflessly, without asking for something in exchange, it’s the fast track to creating that strong relationship responsible for two-way sharing.

I would suggest that you first identify the people you’d ideally like to connect with and follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn. Engage with their content, establish a relationship, and monitor their interactions with other SEOs. You will often learn where they hang out and when.

Put in the effort to build meaningful relationships and it will pay off in the form of long-term professional relationships that will provide process value to your freelancing career.


2. Create a Strong Personal Brand

If you have an incredible SEO strategy and have the ability to deliver amazing results, that is great, but it doesn’t mean you will be a successful freelancer. Why? People need to know about you and your services in order to have the opportunity to hire you.

As a freelancer, you need to position yourself as the leading SEO expert and one of the best ways to do this is to take your personal branding to the next level. Social media provides you with a platform to reach millions of individuals in all corners of the world.

You are not limited to just local clients when you work as a freelancer. If the client has an internet connection he or she can find you and hire you. Having a strong personal brand that positions you are someone with extensive search engine optimization knowledge will help you close more deals and build a larger book of business.

Post frequently on social media, engage with large online marketing and SEO accounts, guest post on industry publications and blogs, and participate in Q&As and Twitter Spaces. The more you put yourself out there, the better you will position yourself as an authority in the SEO industry.


3. View Yourself as The Business and Position Accordingly

When you start a freelancing career you become the business and all aspects of it. You are the name, the face, the salesperson, the marketer, the accountant, the customer service department, the labor, and the client liaison.

Be prepared to wear a lot of hats and take on a lot of responsibility. From handling all pre-sale inquiries to performing the actual work and customer follow-up, to handling things like business registration and taxes.

A lot of people start to freelance and don’t take it seriously, and this is a big mistake. If you don’t pay attention to every detail of operating a business — from small to large — you will create a backlog of work and the longer it piles up, the bigger mess it will create when it comes crashing down.

We discussed the importance of personal branding before, and that is important to draw attention and win over clients, but if you aren’t also treating and viewing yourself as the actual business entity you are going to be in for a rude awakening.

The best SEO results alone will not suffice — you need to ensure that all aspects of the business are addressed. Take it seriously from day one and this will not be an issue down the line.


4. Price Your SEO Services According to Your Value (Not Your Competition)

One of the biggest mistakes I see new SEOs make is pricing based on the competition, and not on their value and goals. There is always going to be a cheaper option, and if you try to always be the lowest cost option you will sell yourself short, reduce your earning potential greatly, and many clients aren’t looking for the cheapest service — they want the best service available.

You need to account for your time, your skillset, your operating expenses, and your revenue goals. Would you rather take on 10 clients at $1,000 monthly retainers or four clients on $5,000 monthly retainers?

The second option is more appealing because it’s less client management and more revenue. Having fewer clients will allow you to devote more time and manpower to their website and SEO work, helping drive better results, which then allows you to charge a premium.

See how this works? You need to first determine your financial goals, and then reverse engineer how you can reach those goals according to the services you offer. The same strategy applies to link building as it does to performing technical website audits. What is your time worth, and how many clients do you need to meet your income goals after expenses.


5. Become a Great Salesperson

As the face of your business — and when operating as a one-person freelancer — you will be solely responsible for selling your services. If a potential client inquires about your SEO services it’s you that will be speaking to them and explaining the value you provide, what your service entails, and what the client should expect.

When hiring a freelancer a client isn’t interested in speaking with a representative or an assistant — they want to speak directly to the freelancer they are considering hiring. You will close a much larger percentage of leads if you learn to become a great salesperson.

I would suggest you read as many sales books as possible. Dedicated 15 to 20 minutes each day — early morning or late evening — to reading. You can find great recommendations through a simple Google search or by looking at the top chart on Amazon.

Aside from reading, the best way to learn how to be a good salesperson is to dive right in and start selling. You will soon learn what works and what doesn’t. It’s also important to craft your pitch as well as your USPs according to the client.

Someone looking for links is going to require a different pitch and value proposition than someone looking to improve their on-site optimization.


ilHeBaB.gif


6. Build a Streamlined Process from Onboarding to Workflow to Delivery and Reporting

Being efficient and optimizing your time is crucial. Since you are wearing many hats, you need to allocate time to selling, client work, as well as the follow-up, billing, and reporting. The best way to accomplish this is to create a streamlined process for onboarding new SEO clients, performing the work, as well as deliverables and reporting.

Organization is key, and if you don’t have this characteristic learn to keep everything organized and easily accessible. Google Workspace is a great starting point, as you can keep all files stored as well as access spreadsheets and other documents. You can also create shared folders and provide access to reports to clients.

Also, many SEO SaaS, analytic, and reporting tools can help you automate the process. Something as simple as setting automated email report delivery can help you save a lot of time. The more you streamline, the more time you will have to not only perform the services but also onboard more clients.


7. Publish Marketing and Customer Attraction Assets

To help you build your reputation as an SEO freelancer, you will want to publish as much educational content as possible. This could be on your own blog, which you link to from your freelancing profiles on the popular marketplaces, to blogging on an established platform such as Medium.

The more information you publish, the more opportunities you have to attract interested prospects. Don’t be afraid to share a lot of valuable information. Most clients are looking for a search marketing freelancer because they don’t have the time to handle it themselves.

By providing exceptional value, you are establishing yourself as an expert, and if you mention and link to your freelancer profiles at the end of each post you will greatly increase your inbound leads.

You can also publish case studies, as they help to provide social proof. Anyone can claim to be an expert, but if you show proof that you have the skills to deliver, you will close deals much easier.

Be sure to also ask your clients to leave you reviews. Not only does it help with new leads, but the freelance marketplaces will give more organic exposure to freelancers with high ratings and client satisfaction. Their algorithm works somewhat like Google — certain signals help your profile rank on top of the search results.


8. Identify Your Specialty and Remain Exclusive

Not every client or project is going to be a fit — it’s impossible to take on every client that approaches you about your SEO service. It’s best to establish yourself as an expert in one service type and even one industry or niche.

For example, you might specialize in e-commerce SEO and ranking Shopify product pages. Another freelancer might be an on-page optimization expert. Another might specialize in link building for law firms.

When you have a clearly identified specialty you will attract clients that meet your skill set and when you work with a certain group or in a specific specialty, it enables you to provide a much more effective service.

When you do this, your client retention rate each month remains high, you attract raving reviews and thus attract more clients.


7rmZqa5.gif


Final Thoughts

If you are a self-motivated individual with the knowledge and ability to deliver outstanding results in a specialized search marketing niche — from link building and content creation to technical audits and on-site optimization — then you have the opportunity to start a successful freelancing career.

The tips and suggestions above are a great starting point and can help you get your feet wet. The best piece of advice I can give you is to start slowly and begin as a freelancer during your downtime. You can do client work in the evenings and on the weekends to start, and then transition to a full-time freelancer once your freelancing earnings consistently beat your current job.

The worst thing you can do is quit a job that provides for you and your family before having an established freelancing career, clients, and income. Start slow and position yourself to branch off fully, but don’t rush it. Doing so will put an incredible amount of stress on your shoulders.

What questions do you have about starting a freelancing side hustle, and providing SEO-related services? Drop them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them
 
Last edited:

rafark

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If you have a house or family to support, don’t quit your job until you’ve made money for some time. This industry is very volatile.
 

M0n3y.

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What do you think about SEO conferences? Do you think they are worth the money and time investment to make connections and know the industry better?
 

krishnaverma

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I liked the point of having less high ticket clients versus lot of small orders. It saves a lot of time in long run.
 

N3WY0RK

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Thanks for the refresher :)

“6. Build a Streamlined Process from Onboarding to Workflow to Delivery and Reporting”

I would really love for you to break down your process in regards to this!
 

GenesisOne

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Nicely put together for anyone interested in the SEO business.
I'll refer the newbies looking from where to start to this post.
 

Yes

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8. Identify Your Specialty and Remain Exclusive

Not every client or project is going to be a fit — it’s impossible to take on every client that approaches you about your SEO service. It’s best to establish yourself as an expert in one service type and even one industry or niche.
Could serve as an extremely good reminder for all those folks who go around offering their time on every kind of WTB/HaF thread that pops up. The idea of being a specialty and thus being exceptional in your service rather than an average guy who provides every which kind is lost on some.

Good write up, dude.
 

The Seer

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Solid tips for war time seo freelancing.

Thanks, Tommy.
 

Willyfish

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A very well presented piece of content.

Very good infos.

+ Your writing style is really top notch, very impressed every time you post something bro.
 

xShot

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Lots of value here!
 

ContentExpert

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Great share, some solid points and insight, now just read, study, and think out of the box everyone, and remember, lots of success not only comes from what you know but who you know. :)
 

Albert Camus

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Great share here, thanks for the tips

+ Take time learning how stuff work, read, watch and learn more about the bigger picture, make a workflow/strategy, take more time testing, and more to adjust and better your strategies ✅

+ This tips would work not only for SEO but for most online business (with slight edits ofc), this is more of a recipe for success ✅
 

t0mmy

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If you have a house or family to support, don’t quit your job until you’ve made money for some time. This industry is very volatile.

100%! I’ve preached this countless times here over the years. A great read that covers this and other hard hitting truths can be found here, all newbies should read this. I wrote that thread over 6 years ago, each point in it is as valid today as they were then.

What do you think about SEO conferences? Do you think they are worth the money and time investment to make connections and know the industry better?

Personally I avoid them, I’m happier behind a screen and find them to be sales pitches 99% of the time rather than educational, I’m sure they’re great though for networking and newbies. To each their own.. we do sponsor and run ads at them though, including BHW’s Ungagged in the past.

Long time back awesome share

Good to be back, going to make this a regular thing again!

Thanks for the refresher :)

“6. Build a Streamlined Process from Onboarding to Workflow to Delivery and Reporting”

I would really love for you to break down your process in regards to this!

I had intended to go into more detail on what I do here, I probably should have now in hindsight because the main clog I use to streamline our processes was developed by a BHW member - SPP, you can find it here in the market place. We have been using it since the day it was released, it totally changed how I do business.. it streamlines all of those processes and many more.

Great to see them doing so well now.. most agencies I see now are using a version of SPP, I’m yet to find a CMS with so much built in specifically for SEO agencies/freelancers. The developers are constantly updating it, missing something you need? just shoot them an email, I’ve done it countless times. Check it out for yourself.. spp aka service provider pro.

After loooong time we see tommy back

Always lurking.. never gone. Expect more new content ;)
 

NoMorePixels

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(Tips) How to Start a Successful Six-Figure SEO Freelancing Career

It’s been forever since I shared anything here. There was a time I’d share my posts here every week or two, they would go down a treat with newbies and veterans alike, it also spurred on many of our past and current senior members to begin posting new threads. I’m going to start sharing my posts here again, if they help a few of you then mission accomplished.

I’ve been in this game for over a decade now, I will not spoon feed you.. my posts require action from your end, reading between the lines and educating yourself on topics I mention, for example I know many of my old readers learned about HARO (with many still using it to this day as part of their agencies outreach strategy) due to me forever plugging it back in the day within my posts. Lastly if you’ve nothing relatable to input please hit the back button, I don’t want these posts diverted.


Lets get down to it..

There has always been a great opportunity for those with extensive SEO Freelancing experience and knowledge to make a healthy and comfortable living selling and providing search marketing services in a freelance or reseller capacity.

Now, with the industry becoming much more technical than it has been previously, it’s resulted in several specialists emerging and focusing on providing service in very specific SEO categories as well as niches.

This has created even more opportunities for freelancers to thrive and earning six-figures as a service provider or consultant in the SEO industry currently isn’t far fetched at all. In fact, I would say that six-figures is at the bottom of the earning range for an SEO with the required skill set.

Possessing the knowledge and skills, however, isn’t enough to build a successful freelancing business. As a freelancer, you are the business, so a strong online presence and being viewed as a thought leader is important.

When you embark on a freelancing career you are the business, the salesperson, the customer service department, and the marketer. It’s a lot of hats to wear, but if you can manage it, the freedom and financial reward is unmatched.

Let’s dive into why becoming an SEO freelancer is extremely lucrative right now and what you can do to improve the chances of success, and creating a six-figure income along with location independence.


Why SEO Freelancing is a Lucrative Opportunity

Ok, the financial part is self explanatory — who doesn’t want to earn at least six-figures? But aside from that, it’s the ability to have full control over your time and how you spend it, that is the truly attractive perk.

Not only do you have control over your time and the freedom to work when and where you want, but you also have full control over your earning potential. There is no ceiling. If you want to expand — taking on more clients or even hiring additional team members — you can.

There is nobody holding back your growth other than yourself.

Some individuals would rather earn a comfortable living, but also have as much free time as possible, whereas others might want to maximize their earning potential and sacrifice additional free time for more income.

The choice is yours — and that is the biggest selling point of becoming a freelancer. You have to be self motivated, as nobody will be there to push you, but if you can light a fire under your own bottom, then you will be in a position with endless opportunities.

Here are eight tips to help you start a career as a search engine optimization freelancer.



EhQiK5A.gif


1. Network with Other SEOs and Industry Experts

The SEO industry is filled with great people and many are shocked to learn that many of the top SEOs help one another, by sharing insight and trends amongst one another. This is often done via private Slack and Skype chats, as well as Twitter groups and forum PMs.

The key is to learn where the most brilliant minds hang out and then begin to engage with the members and build trust. You cannot just show up and appear, expecting to be spoon-fed valuable information.

If you want to really build trust, provide value without asking for anything in return. If you show that you are willing to share your findings and knowledge selflessly, without asking for something in exchange, it’s the fast track to creating that strong relationship responsible for two-way sharing.

I would suggest that you first identify the people you’d ideally like to connect with and follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn. Engage with their content, establish a relationship, and monitor their interactions with other SEOs. You will often learn where they hang out and when.

Put in the effort to build meaningful relationships and it will pay off in the form of long-term professional relationships that will provide process value to your freelancing career.


2. Create a Strong Personal Brand

If you have an incredible SEO strategy and have the ability to deliver amazing results, that is great, but it doesn’t mean you will be a successful freelancer. Why? People need to know about you and your services in order to have the opportunity to hire you.

As a freelancer, you need to position yourself as the leading SEO expert and one of the best ways to do this is to take your personal branding to the next level. Social media provides you with a platform to reach millions of individuals in all corners of the world.

You are not limited to just local clients when you work as a freelancer. If the client has an internet connection he or she can find you and hire you. Having a strong personal brand that positions you are someone with extensive search engine optimization knowledge will help you close more deals and build a larger book of business.

Post frequently on social media, engage with large online marketing and SEO accounts, guest post on industry publications and blogs, and participate in Q&As and Twitter Spaces. The more you put yourself out there, the better you will position yourself as an authority in the SEO industry.


3. View Yourself as The Business and Position Accordingly

When you start a freelancing career you become the business and all aspects of it. You are the name, the face, the salesperson, the marketer, the accountant, the customer service department, the labor, and the client liaison.

Be prepared to wear a lot of hats and take on a lot of responsibility. From handling all pre-sale inquiries to performing the actual work and customer follow-up, to handling things like business registration and taxes.

A lot of people start to freelance and don’t take it seriously, and this is a big mistake. If you don’t pay attention to every detail of operating a business — from small to large — you will create a backlog of work and the longer it piles up, the bigger mess it will create when it comes crashing down.

We discussed the importance of personal branding before, and that is important to draw attention and win over clients, but if you aren’t also treating and viewing yourself as the actual business entity you are going to be in for a rude awakening.

The best SEO results alone will not suffice — you need to ensure that all aspects of the business are addressed. Take it seriously from day one and this will not be an issue down the line.


4. Price Your SEO Services According to Your Value (Not Your Competition)

One of the biggest mistakes I see new SEOs make is pricing based on the competition, and not on their value and goals. There is always going to be a cheaper option, and if you try to always be the lowest cost option you will sell yourself short, reduce your earning potential greatly, and many clients aren’t looking for the cheapest service — they want the best service available.

You need to account for your time, your skillset, your operating expenses, and your revenue goals. Would you rather take on 10 clients at $1,000 monthly retainers or four clients on $5,000 monthly retainers?

The second option is more appealing because it’s less client management and more revenue. Having fewer clients will allow you to devote more time and manpower to their website and SEO work, helping drive better results, which then allows you to charge a premium.

See how this works? You need to first determine your financial goals, and then reverse engineer how you can reach those goals according to the services you offer. The same strategy applies to link building as it does to performing technical website audits. What is your time worth, and how many clients do you need to meet your income goals after expenses.


5. Become a Great Salesperson

As the face of your business — and when operating as a one-person freelancer — you will be solely responsible for selling your services. If a potential client inquires about your SEO services it’s you that will be speaking to them and explaining the value you provide, what your service entails, and what the client should expect.

When hiring a freelancer a client isn’t interested in speaking with a representative or an assistant — they want to speak directly to the freelancer they are considering hiring. You will close a much larger percentage of leads if you learn to become a great salesperson.

I would suggest you read as many sales books as possible. Dedicated 15 to 20 minutes each day — early morning or late evening — to reading. You can find great recommendations through a simple Google search or by looking at the top chart on Amazon.

Aside from reading, the best way to learn how to be a good salesperson is to dive right in and start selling. You will soon learn what works and what doesn’t. It’s also important to craft your pitch as well as your USPs according to the client.

Someone looking for links is going to require a different pitch and value proposition than someone looking to improve their on-site optimization.


ilHeBaB.gif


6. Build a Streamlined Process from Onboarding to Workflow to Delivery and Reporting

Being efficient and optimizing your time is crucial. Since you are wearing many hats, you need to allocate time to selling, client work, as well as the follow-up, billing, and reporting. The best way to accomplish this is to create a streamlined process for onboarding new SEO clients, performing the work, as well as deliverables and reporting.

Organization is key, and if you don’t have this characteristic learn to keep everything organized and easily accessible. Google Workspace is a great starting point, as you can keep all files stored as well as access spreadsheets and other documents. You can also create shared folders and provide access to reports to clients.

Also, many SEO SaaS, analytic, and reporting tools can help you automate the process. Something as simple as setting automated email report delivery can help you save a lot of time. The more you streamline, the more time you will have to not only perform the services but also onboard more clients.


7. Publish Marketing and Customer Attraction Assets

To help you build your reputation as an SEO freelancer, you will want to publish as much educational content as possible. This could be on your own blog, which you link to from your freelancing profiles on the popular marketplaces, to blogging on an established platform such as Medium.

The more information you publish, the more opportunities you have to attract interested prospects. Don’t be afraid to share a lot of valuable information. Most clients are looking for a search marketing freelancer because they don’t have the time to handle it themselves.

By providing exceptional value, you are establishing yourself as an expert, and if you mention and link to your freelancer profiles at the end of each post you will greatly increase your inbound leads.

You can also publish case studies, as they help to provide social proof. Anyone can claim to be an expert, but if you show proof that you have the skills to deliver, you will close deals much easier.

Be sure to also ask your clients to leave you reviews. Not only does it help with new leads, but the freelance marketplaces will give more organic exposure to freelancers with high ratings and client satisfaction. Their algorithm works somewhat like Google — certain signals help your profile rank on top of the search results.


8. Identify Your Specialty and Remain Exclusive

Not every client or project is going to be a fit — it’s impossible to take on every client that approaches you about your SEO service. It’s best to establish yourself as an expert in one service type and even one industry or niche.

For example, you might specialize in e-commerce SEO and ranking Shopify product pages. Another freelancer might be an on-page optimization expert. Another might specialize in link building for law firms.

When you have a clearly identified specialty you will attract clients that meet your skill set and when you work with a certain group or in a specific specialty, it enables you to provide a much more effective service.

When you do this, your client retention rate each month remains high, you attract raving reviews and thus attract more clients.


7rmZqa5.gif


Final Thoughts

If you are a self-motivated individual with the knowledge and ability to deliver outstanding results in a specialized search marketing niche — from link building and content creation to technical audits and on-site optimization — then you have the opportunity to start a successful freelancing career.

The tips and suggestions above are a great starting point and can help you get your feet wet. The best piece of advice I can give you is to start slowly and begin as a freelancer during your downtime. You can do client work in the evenings and on the weekends to start, and then transition to a full-time freelancer once your freelancing earnings consistently beat your current job.

The worst thing you can do is quit a job that provides for you and your family before having an established freelancing career, clients, and income. Start slow and position yourself to branch off fully, but don’t rush it. Doing so will put an incredible amount of stress on your shoulders.

What questions do you have about starting a freelancing side hustle, and providing SEO-related services? Drop them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them
Thank you, this will help me in my improvement process as a freelancer.
 

NulledCode

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A lot of what is said here can be applied to any business, not just SEO. I hope people see the value of these 8 tips.
 

Tony Shelby

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I'm starting from scratch, I don't know what it is to be an SEO, I want to learn. Where do I start on this journey?
 
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