Starting your own business.

Solaris

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Since I finished Uni I've been doing go no-where jobs on and off and have found problems getting a proper job.

The thing is, I've never really wanted a job, the idea of working for someone else in order to make them money doesn't sit right with me.

I've also spent a lot of time over the last few years working within the internet marketing industry, doing freelance content creation and building a few sites of my own (with limited success).

However for the past month or so I've been having a fair bit of success doing freelance SEO work for small local businesses. Right now I'm just finishing up work I've been doing for my 3rd client and have made just over £200 so far in my first month. It's not a lot of money, but I've learn't a lot about myself and what I can do. Some of the results I've been seeing are really pleasing, I've been getting clients onto Page One for the desired keyword and it's a great feeling knowing I've done a good job. I also have recurring payment plans agreed and so I'm constantly building a better foundation to move forwards from.

However I also know I am undercharging and so I've started thinking about marketing myself to larger local companies like solicitors or property agents etc. where I can start making ££££ a client. I really believe I have the skills to do this and so I'm pretty excited these days and absolute live for the phone calls I have with people where I try to sell them my services.

Has anyone else any experience working within their own or a family business?
 

No Limit

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What you will want to work on right now is building up your customer base. For a small business you run yourself your most valuable form of advertising will be word of mouth.

You will want to get out of the mindset that you don't want to work for somebody. Even if you are running your own business you are always working for somebody. And sometimes those people can be far less forgiving than a boss at a conventional workplace can be.

Also, just from experience in the industry you will want to probably expand your horizon to other web related work not just SEO work. This includes web design, HTML/javascript coding, maybe some programming. Understanding how to promote using social media and email marketing is also a must not only for your own business but also for the people that hire you.

Finally, you obviously will want a good portfolio and a good business website for yourself that has good search engine rankings. Without it most people that know anything about internet marketing won't hire you.
 

CptStern

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ya freelancing is ok but is difficult to maintain when you have a mortgage and are wondering where your next job is going to come from. at least for the first few years till you build a client base

keep every reciept. I've written off video game purchases as "research"
 

Solaris

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What you will want to work on right now is building up your customer base. For a small business you run yourself your most valuable form of advertising will be word of mouth.

You will want to get out of the mindset that you don't want to work for somebody. Even if you are running your own business you are always working for somebody. And sometimes those people can be far less forgiving than a boss at a conventional workplace can be.

Also, just from experience in the industry you will want to probably expand your horizon to other web related work not just SEO work. This includes web design, HTML/javascript coding, maybe some programming. Understanding how to promote using social media and email marketing is also a must not only for your own business but also for the people that hire you.

Finally, you obviously will want a good portfolio and a good business website for yourself that has good search engine rankings. Without it most people that know anything about internet marketing won't hire you.
Thanks, yeah I'm pretty clued up with the social media side of things as well. Although my HTML and JavaScript aren't great, I've had no problems so far when I've needed to make alterations to clients websites.

With building a customer base, do you think it's a good idea to keep my rates low? Around the local area other established companies are charging 3-10x more than I am. I'm currently planning a mail campaign to the larger local businesses like lawyers and stockbrokers etc. A friend of mine does this in America and send hand written envelopes with a small product inside that's relevant to the business to get a 100% rate of people actually opening the letter and reading it rather than putting it straight in the trash. I'm gonna try something similar. With these guys, do I go straight up with a normal market standard figure for cost or try and low ball and then hope they recomend me to friends.
 

No Limit

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That's a personal decision on your part about rates. If you are in a position where you can afford to under charge since you don't have many bills that you have to pay then for a short period of time that might be worth it to build up a client base. I would make clear to your customers in a professional matter that this is an introductory rate and your prices might increase in the future and if they do you will give them plenty of notice.

I think you should also always take in to account what the customer can afford and is willing to pay when deciding your pricing. If you don't advertise pricing online it is a perfectly standard thing to charge people different based on who those people are. If you are lucky to get a large company you should obviously try to get more money out of them than you would from a individual that is starting a website and wants you to do some SEO work on it.
 

StarBob

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Kind of a volatile time to start a business, but people say that's the best time. However, if you don't have a lot of bills and a place to live then you can probably manage it. I don't know about your laws but the taxes are a thing to deal with here and of course things like business licenses and such. Freelancing is kind of a different story. Sometimes I'd like to be a contractor but then I realize I'd have to pay all the money I made to health insurance.
 
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Totally go for it! Owning and running a business is lots of fun and like you said, you don't work and make someone else rich.

You need to have your pricing reflect your value. If you're good then you can charge more. Don't low ball just to get clients. People could see you as desperate or if you're way below the asking price of other people that you're not good at what you do. Part of your price is showing how confident you are in your ability to help them get what they want.

Have a direction of where you want to go and take the jobs that will help you move in that direction. Turn down bad jobs when they come so you can take better ones. (you have to be wise in deciding what is good and what is not)

Keep good communication with your clients. You want to make sure they're happy, of course, and also tract the amount of progress and success that they're enjoying because of you. You can use that to grow faster, look for ways to improve, and give you more to show off to future clients.

It sounds like you're about to hit a lot of success. You'll do awesome!
 
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