I decided to transition from a freelancer to an entrepreneur in the last two quarters in 2017. Before building my own digital profiles, brand and website, I would go around my circle of influence, pitch my SEO services to business owners that I know, and get a couple of deals every now and then.
However, I found out that I didn’t like being a freelancer anymore, for a couple of reasons.
Why I Stopped Providing SEO Services as a Freelancer
Firstly, the majority of small business owners in Singapore do NOT appreciate the strengths of digital marketing. In SEO sense, they do not know how much visibility and conversion Google can get you by ranking for commercial keywords. They think SEO is a scam. They also think SEO is something you can pay $500 a month to ‘get it figured out’.
Hence, SEO is under valued and under charged in the market. Furthermore, anyone with a website design background can read a couple of guides online and declare themselves as an SEO consultant.
Secondly, I got tired of clients calling me up after work at 8pm shouting expletives at me for making a change in the website. Here’s where majority of business owners screw up, they focus too heavily on design. They also freak out when a tiny change is made on their website. Why hire me to fix your website when you are so afraid of change?
Thirdly, I also wanted more choice with my clients. I wanted to be able to fire clients. To do that, I needed enough leads coming in to pick and choose my clients.
The customer is only always right if they are paying you enough. If my leads only came from my warm market, then I’m severely limited. I needed to reach out to the cold market.
Fourthly, I took my SEO skillsets, and launched side projects on my own.
I spent a couple of years as an instructor in the armed forces, freelanced as a Muay Thai instructor and have dived deep into psychology, persuasion and social skills for the last half of decade.
I figured, how can I market my current skillsets and make a profit out of it? I’m great a coaching. I’m great a speaking infront of a crowd. Hence, I launched a website teaching social skills, used my digital marketing skillsets, and got my first client for $700 and my second client for $997. Since it was an extremely niche market in Singapore. In hindsight, I could have priced my products better.
Now, let’s take a look at my cost.
Okay, I argued in this point that digital marketing is extremely powerful. I’ll prove it to you using my business numbers.
My $4000 Month
- Conducted my first SEO course for a small medium enterprise for $3000
- Conducted my second social skills course for $997
Total Revenue: $3997
Total Cost of Digital Marketing
- Cost of website hosting a month = $10/ month from Vodien
- Monthly MailChimp service = $13/ month from Mail Chimp
- Training room rental (free, because I brokered a deal)
- Rental of projector = $140 for 2 days
Total cost: $163
Of course, I need to get a training room to conduct my SEO course in Singapore. I brokered a deal with a business owner in Singapore, in exchange for usage of his office, I’ll help him out with his digital marketing profiles for free.
Needless to say, these results didn’t just come out of nowhere. Over the 3-4 years, I’ve spent more than 5 figures in digital marketing skillsets, entrepreneurial skillsets such as pricing, positioning and packaging, paying for mentorship, developing skillsets on my own.
Studied Positioning, Psychology and Packaging
These results weren’t derived because I knew how to rank for keywords. I often stress to business owners that SEO rankings isn’t enough. You’ll need to understand copywriting, persuasion and positioning.
One other reason why I stopped providing SEO as a service is because there are overlaps in these skillsets. Great content leads to good SEO that leads to good positioning. If you hire me as an SEO consultant, I’m actually doing you a three tiered service for the price of one. It isn’t worth it.
What I Hope to do in the Near Future
Whilst I stopped providing SEO as a service, I’ll be looking to teach digital marketing as a whole in our SEO course for the right price. Nonetheless, I’ll be taking my own advice, and positon my company and courses differently from my competitors.
Here’s some ideas off my head:
- SEO rankings isn’t enough, digital marketing is what you should focus on instead
- How to convert SEO rankings to customers that love your products
- How to package, price and position your products to beat competitors
To my current knowledge, there isn’t a ‘guru’ offering the complete package in digital marketing. Some of them stress on SEO, some of them stress on Facebook ads and some of them stress on copywriting.
The secret is that everything matters.
I’m also not completely saying no to SEO consulting.
However, it has to be the right client for the right price. I absolutely hate it when clients do not value my work. Unfortunately, the majority of SEOs in Singapore are willing to sell out their services for dirt cheap. That makes it harder. I also don’t intend to build that sort of ‘cheap’ company. In fact, I intend to position my company as a luxury brand.
Lastly, I’m also looking to continuously my digital marketing skillsets by studying psychology, persuasion and copywriting. Continuous self education is the key to excellence.