As an SEO consultant or freelance, your income can be unpredictable. Now one way to bring some stability and increase your income is to get more customers. But that also comes with more work, stress and taking on clients you probably don’t want to work with. Now, the easiest and most stress-free way to make more money as an SEO consultant or any SEO specialist for that matter, is to charge more for your services and sell more to your existing clients.
So in this tutorial, I am going to share six tips to help you make more money as an SEO consultant or freelancer without taking on more clients. Now the way people usually price their services is based on arbitrary theory. For example, they might think:
“Hey, I want to make $1,000 this year, so if I charge $100 per hour then I only need to bill 1,000 hours in the year which is average on just over 19 hours per week”
On the other hand, some people will take a volume approach and try to undercut their competitor’s price by 10 to 40% hoping to be a more attractive option. Neither of these models make sense because pricing is based on your own goals and desires to make money. They need to be centered around your client’s needs and the value your services offer to them. So its simplest form, the way you make more money as a consultant without getting more clients is to.
- Sell more services
- Sell your services for higher cost
- Sell someone else’s services
And we will be discussing all of these things in greater details. Now, it’s important to note that if your skills aren’t up to scratch, then trying to become a high paid SEO consultant probably isn’t the best first move. Focus on honing your skills in a specific area of SEO. And this will help you become a master of your craft faster and it’s also easier to build authority in a tight niche like link building as opposed to SEO as a whole. Plus, you will want to get tangible results which you can use for detailed case studies. Now let’s get to the tip and there are based purely on my own experienced as an SEO consultant, meaning there are other models you can use to increase your income.
TIP #1 IS TO CHARGE FULL PRICE FOR YOUR INITIAL CONSULTATION.
People often give a free hour of their time to attract more consultations. And the the underlying goal is to sell them on the call and make more money as a result. Now while you may convert some clients, you are likely wasting your time with most prospects because what’s likely happening in reality is that you are cheapening the value of your services. Let me explain more. You may also hire me SEO consultant in Vietnam for your projects.
Consultant are paid for their time and expertise and if you give it a value $0 , then you have a lot to prove in that hour to show that you are worth $100, $500, or even $1000 per hour. By charging your regular rate that’s justified by your skills and results, you avoid tire kickers and attract people who.
- Want to work with you.
- Can actually afford your services.
For my experience, these calls are usually a lot more fruitful and lead to longer-term engagement, which is how you make more money and bring consistency to your income. Now, one thing you do to improve conversions is to offer clients the option to use the initial consultation fee towards future services. And I see this happen a lot with lawyers. Yes it technically makes the initial consultation free, but that’s only true if they agree to engage you for 30 to 100 times the initial fee.
TIP #2 IS TO PARTNER WITH REPUTABLE AGENCIES.
First, let’s talk about the difference between a consultancy and an agency.
A consultant’s job is to provide expert advice, guidance, and strategy for a business. And while agencies can also provide this kind of advice, their main selling point is in the actual implementation itself. Now reputable agencies almost always provide some kind of referral fee that ranges between 7 to 15%. And in my opinion, it’s better to work with an agency you respect, rather than the one that pays the highest fee. Reason being, agencies will often be tasked to implement the strategy that you have created. So by being on the same page, you are more likely to deliver better results. And the more you work together, the better the synergy gets over time. Learn more about link building for local SEO.
Now, now these kinds of partnerships are not always one way. Sometimes the the agencies will send leads your way or engage you for more bespoke cases.
TIP #3 IS TO UPSELL.
Upselling is a sales technique that’s used to get customers to spend more money on more ‘premium’ services. Now, upselling is not about “tricking” clients into paying more. It’s about communicating the level of your services and the other offerings you provides. And the reason why it works so well is because they are already sold on your services. So if there is an option for a higher level of services, it’s within budget, and it’s going to add additional value, THEN WHY NOT?
TIP #4 IS FOR THOSE THAT SELL ON THIRD PARTY MARKEPLACES.
And this one is simple: put your list rate10-30% higher than your actual rate. Now, while networks like upwork are great to find free leads, they can charge quite a hefty commission and buyers often send lowball offers. A higher rate gives you a bit more padding. On top of that, if you are an established name in your niche and you have published impressive case studies, people will often do their due diligence and search for more information about you. This will naturally lead them to your website where they will see that your rate is much cheaper than on the third party marketplace where they may choose to contact you instead. People also getting more benefits from other platform like Fiverr for that first you will have to learn how to rank Fiverr gig to get more order.
Now, it is important to note that I m not encouraging you to move clients OFF of freelance networks. It will be against terms of services, but in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with people naturally finding you though your website and contacting you there.
TIP #5 IS OUTSOURCE PARTS OF YOUR PROCESS YOU ARE NOT CRITICALLY NEEDED.
This is probably one of the biggest mistakes I made when I first starting consulting. Because clients where hiring me for my expertise I felt that I had to do everything myself or I’d be cheating them. When in fact, I was doing them a disservice by not hiring help to do some of the more monotonous work. For example, gathering competitor metrics from a report like any SEO tools for Ahrefs and Moz. Competing domains can be done by anyone. Exporting backlink profiles and doing an initial filter in Google sheets can easily by systemized. Filling out some standard slides in your deck where not much interpretation is needed can easily be outsourced.
Now, while these are not exactly time-consuming tasks, they consume your mental capacity which can limit you from always putting your best foot forward. And the additional time you free up can be better used to take on more clients.
TIP #6 IS TO GIVE TOTAL TRANSPARENCY
If I asked you, how much do your services cost? You’d probably know the answer right away. Now if I asked you, “Why do you charge so much” or “why do you charge so little” then you might feel stumped. Reason being, a lot of SEO consultants make up arbitrary rates based on their competitors rates or personal goals. And this is where transparency with your pricing can help both you and your leads.
For example, let’s say that you have a client who wants a competitor analysis, technical audit of their site, and a one-hour strategy call with you. Now let’s add on to this scenario and say that you have a small team with a junior SEO that gets paid $20 per and a technical SEO at $50 an hour. Now, assuming your initial consultation requires 3 hours from your junior SEO and 2 hours from your technical SEO, then your overhead cost at this point is $160. You will alos have additional overhead like.
- Payroll tax
- Software subscriptions
- Other operating cost
But since we are talking about a small operation, the costs will likely be marginal so let’ leave these out for the sake of simplicity. Now so far, your rates does not even account for your time. So assuming your hourly rate is $100 per hour and you are going to spend 2 hours in total to review and edit the deck and get on a call for an hour with your client, then you should be charging at least $360 for your time together. And this is with zero markup on your employment costs. Laying out a pricing model like this helps to justify why you charge what you charge and what the client is actually getting. And it’s something I wish I had done better when I was consulting to really lay out where a client’s money goes.
Nick Eubanks actually has a really good post on how his agency pricing their services.
BONUS TIP IS TO APPLY FOR JOBS
Now, this might sound completely counterintuitive especially since consultants are usually self-employed. But there are companies that hire in-house consultants on a part-time basis. Meaning, you get 10-20 hours of work per week at higher than average hourly rates. And this results in a consistent stream of revenue, you will still technically be self-employed, and you will likely be advising management or an in-hour team of SEOs.
Now again, if you are just starting out, focus on building up your skills, portfolio, and reputation in your niche. These are alone are going to help you justify increasing your rates and attracting better clients. It is not necessarily a fast process, but it’s one that will continue to produce more revenue for your SEO consultancy over time. So if you want to upskill your knowledge in SEO, I highly recommend visiting some of my post on link building, keyword research, technical SEO and content marketing.