A good SEO agency in a typical metro area can bring in $20,000 to $100,000 per month and up as the business grows and as long term monthly retainers are secured. A great SEO agency can do even better.
Those who work the system will *always* be able to find ways around issues (dynamic IP addresses, logging in from larger institutional networks that can’t easily be blocked, etc.) but it is the average person who gets screwed by Google’s draconian monopolistic “customer support is evil” ways. The problem for Google is this: “when innocence itself, is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the subject will exclaim, it is immaterial to me whether I behave well or ill, for virtue itself is no security.” – John Adams
All the above – Knowledge is King, and Experience is Queen. If you can get both, then you’ll be the front of others. Sometimes people can talk but cannot deliver. This is why many SEO Guru, cannot becoming the next billionaire.
One of the most important things I’ve learned from running my own agency is that I don’t have enough time to do everything. It’s important to outsource and to not spread myself too thin. For example, outsource your links! Outsource any web development work you can and focus that time instead into managing clients and sales.
The problem is that self-employment, especially if you’ve worked in the corporate world before, has all the allure of the pipe dreams sold in The 4 Hour Work Week (I guess Tim Ferris doesn’t count self-promotion as work, even though he does it about 100 hours a week 🙂 ).
When you are a beginner in any business, you must have a proper plan for at least three years because you can do a lot with your business in further days. So you must prepare a pre-step by writing a business plan.
What other forms of advertising/marketing do they currently use?: This question is a good one for a few reasons. Firstly because it gives you an idea of the sort of money the business owner is already spending on advertising. Secondly, once the business owner has revealed what advertising they currently pay for, you can ask them if they are happy with the response they are getting from that advertising. In most cases you will find that the answer to that question is that they simply don’t know. This is where you can explain how they can track exactly how many more targeted visitors they will get to their website through your SEO efforts.
Final point here: lean on your network. reach out to those you know when a problem stumps you. Just be sure to record the answer for later reference when you hit the same problem again with another client.
Another thing to keep in mind, beyond the health insurance, is that unless you start one there’s no retirement benefit, no paid vacation time, and no paid sick time. It is a really good idea to purchase short-term and long-term disability insurance for yourself as well.
Accordingly ensure you’re always delivering value outside of just the number of rankings or which keywords are ranking #1. Help clients improve their conversion rate, create videos, content, paid marketing and/or other areas you’re already competent in.
You should be focused on your business and the associated responsibilities. If you are doing any of the above, try to transition that to your spouse or significant other. It’s not just the hour or two it might take for you to do those tasks but it’s the stopping of your business activities and the mind-flow disruption associated with starting and stopping tasks frequently.
When Google acquired BeatThatQuote it was violating guidelines. I highlighted that & they banned it. Then 14 days later BeatThatQuote began ranking again, without even fixing the overt issues I highlighted. So they give themselves the benefit of the doubt, even when they flagrantly violate their own guidelines.