The Entrepreneur Forum | Startups | Entrepreneurship | Starting a Business | Motivation | Success

EXECUTION After almost 7 years on here, I have finally have a revenue-generating business

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
As you can see by my join date, I am approaching my 7 years on this forum. I joined this forum when I was 15 and a lot has happened since then. I joined in high school and have graduated college. Now, I have my own business.

I can't even begin to count the number of businesses I've "started". Everything from dropshipping, marketplaces, blogs, local services and the list goes on. I cringe when looking through my post history on here :D

I was the biggest wantreprenur and I was really comfortable during college. I didn't take much action and the little action I did take would only last 2-3 weeks. I was simply just too comfortable.

I graduated and got a job. Surprise, I didn't enjoy it. Even though I didn't enjoy it, I learned a lot. I got a job in digital marketing and found my passion for SEO specifically. I studied and learned about SEO 24/7 and practiced all on my own. I was simply obsessed with it. It fascinated me and really captured my interest.

That job was temporary and it ended on December 5th. I had some money saved up and gave myself a 3 month period to try to start my own SEO agency (which is basically freelancing in the beginning). I was very confident in my ability and the value I could provide. I worked my a$$ off and managed to sign my first client after 26 days. I would spend a lot of time prospecting and preparing for meetings. Since I didn't have a previous track record I would have to show the value I could bring in the meetings. I would prepare for 3-4 hours for each meeting basically giving away my strategies for free. After about 6 meetings like this, I signed my first client and have recently signed my second a couple days ago!

If you're curious about the numbers, the first is a 6-month, $1300/month contract and the second is a $630/month, 3 month contract. This is a start I am more than fine with and it is only up from here!

I'll be updating this thread periodically. Time to get to work :D

Edit: Maybe I should double check my title next time lol
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

Last edited:

RazorCut

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Summit Attendee
Speedway Pass
May 3, 2014
2,032
7,108
1,736
Marbella, Spain
Excellent work. Well done. Starting is often the hardest part. Once you have clients on your books new ones will be much easier to acquire.
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Can you explain your prospecting method?
Sure, I tried a lot of different things.

  • Cold calling myself
    I got tired of this after 30 calls. I know it's really effective and I would have picked it back up if I needed to later down the line
  • Hired cheap appointment setter
  • Cold emails
  • Reddit outreach
  • UpWork
  • I work in a coworking space. There are about 30-40 private offices and I created a free SEO audit for each of them. I printed them in nice color and put them in a laminated report cover so it looked nice. I got a couple meetings but didn't close any.
  • Craigslist

I think that covers the majority. As soon as I left my old job I spent that next day building a MVP in terms of a website. I used to spend weeks perfecting a website and basically action faking. The next 24 days I focused 100% of my efforts on getting clients.

It's nice that now that I have a revenue stream I can pick and choose my clients. I learned that I need to qualify the clients as I was wasting a lot of time preparing for meetings for clients with little marketing budget. However, at first I didn't care as I would take any chance I got to get to a meeting.
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Excellent work. Well done. Starting is often the hardest part. Once you have clients on your books new ones will be much easier to acquire.
Yup, this is how i'm viewing everything. I just really worked hard and had to go the extra mile to secure my first clients. I am also undercharging so my work but that is fine as I'm just starting a looking to build a SEO portfolio.

Good job!
Can you explain what SEO services you provide for that monthly fee?
Thanks!

I provide a complete SEO solution which includes content writing, link building, website optimizations, local SEO, directory listings, keyword/competitor research. The specifics change per client depending on multiple factors.

I never offer a set package. I offer 3 pricing tiers depending on how aggressive you want to be. Each pricing is different depending upon your website, competition and industry.
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
where did you learn SEO tactics. I know the very basics but that is about it....
I learned everything for free.

1. The person I ended up sitting next to at my old job was a SEO specialist and I literally talked to him all day lol. Luckily he didn’t find me annoying and answered all my questions.

2. I slowly started to help him with SEO tasks and it progressed to more advanced stuff.

3. I had my personal website where I blogged so I optimized that and implemented techniques.

4. I read every blog post there is. I keep up with Moz, Ahrefs, SEMRush, Neil Patel, SE Land, Journal, Backlinko and much more.

5. It is really important to learn how to use SEO tools as a lot of work revolves around them. I picked Ahrefs, SEMRush and screaming frog and watched hours upon hours of tutorials on YouTube. I also started using these tools at my old job and progressed onto my own site.

6. My favorite way to learn was the SEO subreddit. It’s really good for more specific questions and it’s nice getting practical answers. On top of that, people do SEO differently as there isn’t a set method a lot of times so it’s nice to learn about the different ways to solve the same problem.

There’s more ways I learned such as Twitter discussions and podcasts. I never read a book and think they are very inefficient with SEO and unreliable since SEO is always changing. It’s best to read updated and new blog posts.
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Update:

April is now over and it has been a good month.
  • One of my clients upped his package from $699 to $1000.
  • I got a small client for $499 on a month-by-month basis. April went good and he is on holiday but will most likely continue for more months
  • I have contracted $130 worth of work to another agency (really easy work)
  • I have just signed a client looking to white label my work at $50/hour on UpWork. I just completed his first test project where he wanted me to give him a year SEO plan for one of his own websites. I knocked it out of the park in my opinion. I have made $250 so far and will be getting more work from him soon
Those are the main updates in April. May I have guaranteed revenue of $3k + whatever more the 2 agencies need (I predict somewhere between $400-$500).

It has been a good month and my UpWork profile is now beefy with the $499 client and the $50/hour client. Before this I only had 2 projects done of $50. I now have $1k earned which looks good.

I am really proud that I have reached $3k/month. I have high profit on that revenue since it's digital work. I don't include any budget that my clients give me for backlinks ($400 and $100).

I'll be going hard again in May looking to sign more clients. The client that has upped to $1k said he has a friend who needs SEO help so he sent me his website. I sent back a proposal and I should be hearing back from them soon.

Things are looking promising!
 
Last edited:

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Update

Closed a small client for $499/month for 6 months! Total monthly revenue is now about $2388 per month!

I'm going to focus on these three clients and build out my portfolio for now. I will be casually looking for opportunities as I can still take on 2 bigger clients since i'm working a lot of hours. I don't say that to brag but just so you know i'm not producing low quality work or taking shortcuts by spreading myself too thin. Although i'm not too worried because once I have a solid portfolio it will be much easier to charge higher prices and get new clients so no rush now :)
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
This is great man. Good on you for persevering through those first 26 days, I can imagine the joy you experienced officially getting that first client. Nothing sweeter than reaping the fruits of your own labor. I'll be taking a page from your book and applying that attitude to myself. Thanks for your contribution.
No problem, thanks for the kind words! Those first days I was working really hard. I quickly learned that I don't deserve anything. Just because I was working 12+ days 7 days a weeks doesn't meet I "deserve" a client. That's just not how things work. I have to earn clients.

The most important thing was that I was confident in the value I could provide to these businesses. It was just about communicating the value and getting a business to bite. This was harder since I don't currently have a portfolio or anything so I had to give away a lot of value for free.

If I wasn't confident in the value I can provide I would have given up after a week.
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
What's up guys, figured i'd give an update as it's been 6 months.

I have failed.

I was profiting around $2-2.2k a month before taxes and this isn't feasible. I am going to have to get a job and my contracts dried up.

There were 2 main problems I had:
1. I was working in my business and not on my business
2. I got comfortable (even though it wasn't much money) and wasn't constantly trying to get new clients

I also in general started to not like the work. When I say work, I mean the freelance part not the marketing work. I hated clients and especially at the beginning there are a lot of penny pinchers. Instead of 1 boss I had 5-6 bosses.

Although I have failed, I would still not change my past year. I have learned a lot about business, freelancing, agency and marketing. I am qualified for jobs I wasn't before due to the results I have achieved for my clients.

At least I have a strong portfolio as I'm applying for jobs! This isn't the end of my entrepreneurial journey. I have failed so many times since I first started when I was 15 (23 now). Time to get a job, stabilize and then go at the entrepreneurial dream again :)
 

Thomas Baptiste

Guide Yourself!
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jun 8, 2018
163
262
177
Commonwealth of Dominica
This is great man. Good on you for persevering through those first 26 days, I can imagine the joy you experienced officially getting that first client. Nothing sweeter than reaping the fruits of your own labor. I'll be taking a page from your book and applying that attitude to myself. Thanks for your contribution.
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Why do you use more than one paid SEO program? (ahref, semrush and screaming frog)
And that must eat into your profits. I think ahref alone is about 99$ per month.

Adam
I use them for different tasks and each have their own strengths. I like to keep them all as imo it's a necessary expense in order to get the best research.

Ahrefs is best for backlink building and competitor research.
SEMRush is best for keyword research.
Screaming Frog is best for technical website audits.

I use a mixture of these 3 tools daily and I don't want to rely on just one.
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Update:

Now that March is over, I figured it's time for an update. To make things short, I have gotten VERY complacent these past 2 months. After working very hard to secure my first clients I just have gotten very lazy. I was slowly wasting time, leaving the coworking office early. Now that I work completely from home I get distracted very fast. It got as bad a only working 1-2 hours a day.

I didn't even realize it but I got back into an old addiction. I have been slowly playing more League of Legends (PC game) this past month and yesterday I ended up doing 0 work and playing for the whole day (12+ hours). At the end of the day I realized I was not happy and that I was wasting so much time. I had the same addiction my freshman year of college and almost failed.

I realized I still felt sad/awful after a full day of playing (the game is very toxic) and I was wasting so much time. I got complacent on my current clients which should never be the case.

Anyways, I have snapped out of it and have deleted everything and am going to get back on the gym grind to keep my mind fresh. I still have all 3 clients with one ending this month. One of the clients said he wanted to extend his contract (3 month contract ending this month as well) as maybe even upgrade his package to a higher priced one so I talk to him next week.

I now have 3 months of solid data that I can use in my pitches of my current clients (they gave me permission) so it should be easier. I already created a proposal/case study to show clients. I never took a step back until now but I have managed to grow organic visitors by 143% and 291% for my first 2 clients in 3 months! I'm really proud of this.

I'm still sitting at around $2200/month revenue and will aim for $4000 in April. Let's get this bread!
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Great job man!
Don't wait too long to ask for referrals tho.
For sure, also the client I lost has asked me to keep posting monthly articles for them. While it isn't as much as the big SEO package at least it's something.

July revenue i'm looking at so far:

Monthly SEO Packages: $2000 + $500
Monthly Articles: $120
One-time projects completed (Upwork): $400 + $100 + $60

Total: $3180

My monthly revenue is technically $3980 as the client is giving me a $800 budget for buying links but I do not count that since I make 0% from it. Not sure if I should?

Also will be taking on more Upwork tasks. I'm at $50/hour on there and my profile now has excellent reviews as I have taken 2 jobs that I over-delivered for.

25670
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

BancroftPl

New Contributor
Sep 27, 2017
1
3
16
Nj
Great job! When I was dabbling in SEO work, I would reach out to web design agencies that didn't list SEO in their services. If they didn't have the skill set, they may want to outsource SEO to you so they can provide better value to their clients. Just a suggestion for you if you're looking for more work. Good luck and I hope it all works out for you!
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Update:

Signed my third client. This client is through UpWork. My 2nd client I took off of UpWork but I am keeping this one through UpWork so I can build my work history on the platform. I managed to sign them for $499/month for 2 months.

While this isn't ideal as a short term money solution as I could have taken them off UpWork to keep the 10% fee that they charge, I want to build out my experience on the platform for future clients.
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Update: As May is coming to an end, I wanted to post some screenshots.

24763

I have been seeing growth for these past couple months. While these may seem like really small numbers (they are), I am proud of what I have accomplished so far. Still no where near my 2019 goals but we are getting there.

24764

Upwork profile is starting to look good. I have just received the Job Success Score and it's at 100% so far! I currently have one client on Upwork at $500/month. I've earned about $1600 total so far on there.

The $1000/month client seems to be on the fence about continuing work and we have a meeting in the middle of June talking about if he wants to continue going forward. My hunch is no but I will stay optimistic.

The $1350/month client is very happy with my work. The initial 6 month contract ends in the beginning of July so we have 1 more month. I'm fairly confident that we will continue working together as his is very pleased with the results I have been getting for him.

I'm feeling really motivated lately. I have been listening to some podcasts about growing agencies. I'm fairly confident in my process and how i'm slowly growing. A lot of people started like me with freelancing and slowly grew to hire and bring on more people. I'm still in the beginning phase but will keep at it.

Lastly, I have figured out my niche that I want to focus on. I want to focus on small to mid-size ecommerce webstores as those are currently my 2 biggest clients. I have seen great success with them and want to only focus on that niche. I am just having trouble on how to go about prospecting and generating leads from that niche. Where can I find them?
 

Jon L

Platinum Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Aug 22, 2015
1,614
4,211
1,016
Bellevue, WA
I think there was another problem you had in your business ... you were working for the wrong kind of clients, and probably charging them too little. Low-dollar clients tend to be more demanding than high dollar ones. A company that is able to spend $1000 on a website is going to be a pain in the butt. They don't have much money to work with, and they must be successful with what you do for them. They can't afford slip ups. Someone willing to spend $10-$20k on a website will be much easier to work with.

Each niche has its sweet spot in the price/ease of client/amount of work curve. Mine, custom software, is right around $20k. Less than that and they're generally wanting too much for too little. More than that and they take up all my time, and I don't end up making any more per month.

If you were only making $2500 a month, I'm betting your clients were way too small and you were trying to provide $10k/month level of service to them.

At 23, you might not have the experience necessary to charge more. However, you might actually be very valuable in the market and you're just undervaluing yourself. You'll have to make that call for yourself. One way to know is to gauge the effect you have on your clients' businesses. If they doubled their revenue because of what you did for them, then you're quite valuable and you need to charge more. If you didn't add any revenue to their top line, maybe take a job and learn some stuff before you go back out on your own.
 

AdamUK

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Sep 14, 2018
15
18
22
Nice going,
this and fox's thread is exactly what I need to get my a$$ in gear and take action. Rep added.
 

Don't like ads? Remove them while supporting the forum. Subscribe.

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Thanks for sharing and AMAZING PROGRESS! How do you keep up to date with the blogs that you follow?
I'm not sure if I fully understand your question but i'll try to answer.

In SEO, things are always changing and it is VERY important to keep up and stay current. There is always something new to learn since there are so many ways to do the same thing. What you do now and 2 years from now might be completely different.

I always make it face to read and consume content. Throughout the day I read SEO blogs totaling around 1 hour. I make it a POINT to read and learn everyday. At this point i'm not consciously doing it, I just do it during breaks or whenever I feel like reading new content. I have a couple blogs I regularly keep up with.

Also, anyone that runs an agency will tell you that we don't know what we're doing. Kinda. We know how to figure out things and find the answers. Not only do I work with Google but Google is also my "mentor". There is so much information available online that I am consistently searching for answers.
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Can you tell me more details about how you used Upwork to find clients and how you were able to transition clients away from it?
Well, I my 2nd client posted on UpWork and I sent a highly personalized proposal to him. We then chatted on Skype and had 2 phone meetings. I put a lot of time into them and the first one was a complete personalized proposal.

I presented myself as professional as possible. I am not a freelancer (in their eyes), I am an agency owner. I explained in the beginning that I will invoice them monthly. I made sure my invoices were branded and also my powerpoint. This gave me legitimacy. I did not lie to the client and say I was a big agency or anything, I just acted like one :)

The only reason a potential client would want to deal through upwork is if they don't trust you. Which is fair for freelancers. I made everything super professional and built trust so that I could invoice him directly. It was also important to build trust as I would be invoicing at the start of the month, not after the work.
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
So, a little update. I am still focusing on those 2 clients. I aim to build case studies out of these to add to my portfolio which will help me land more clients in the future. Both clients are benefiting from my work, one even had a 91% increase in organic traffic month over month. Considering I only had them for 1 month that is good since SEO does take some time so seeing fast results is motivating.

I have a quick questions.

I started this business with an action first mindset and didn't want to register the business until I had decent revenue. As we are a little over halfway through my 2nd month I figured I should start looking into that. I am leaning towards filing for a LLC. I was wondering if people do it themselves, use an online service (legalzoom), or use a lawyer. I know using a lawyer would be the easiest method but I would like to save money. I don't mind spending my own time going through the process. Any thoughts?
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Update:

Lost my biggest client. $1350 which is like 40% of my revenue was gone. The initial 6-month contract ended and I assumed we would renew since I have been killing it for them. Unfortunately they are shifting their focus away from SEO.

I felt sad and this is the first time I really doubted myself. I've been cushioned for 6 months with this contract and got too comfortable.

Hell I even started to apply for jobs and thought about quitting freelance altogether.

Then my current client contacts me and wants me to take on his other website as well. Would change from $1k/month to most likely $2k/month.

We're back in it. This time the fire is back and I won't get comfortable.:fire:
 

Zcott

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Jul 24, 2018
304
630
269
That is great news, well done!

Is that $1300 and $630 a month each?
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Nice going,
this and fox's thread is exactly what I need to get my a$$ in gear and take action. Rep added.
Appreciate it! I read through fox's thread yesterday and it's great! I have wasted the past 7 years action faking so I am making sure that this time is different.
 

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Great job! When I was dabbling in SEO work, I would reach out to web design agencies that didn't list SEO in their services. If they didn't have the skill set, they may want to outsource SEO to you so they can provide better value to their clients. Just a suggestion for you if you're looking for more work. Good luck and I hope it all works out for you!
Thanks!

I've heard of this method of acquiring clients. I have a referral page on my website setup for something like this. I reached out to a couple and even talked to an app development agency in NY. Not something I have put much time into but I will look into this soon as I'm looking to slowly ramp up.
 

JeffH

New Contributor
Jan 14, 2019
2
1
4
Kentucky
Pick up a copy of Franchise Times, and use that as a potential client list. There are 1000's. When I owned a franchise, we used a company that all franchisees used. The franchise paid for the service, however, we paid for how we wanted to rank and PPC.

I'm new and haven't done all the "require stuff," yet, but I saw this and wanted to comment...I haven't read through all of the replies, so someone may have already brought this up...

EDIT: Oh, and way to go!! Thanks for taking the time to share your success!
 
Last edited:

Twiizlar

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 4, 2012
343
378
194
25
Pick up a copy of Franchise Times, and use that as a potential client list. There are 1000's. When I owned a franchise, we used a company that all franchisees used. The franchise paid for the service, however, we paid for how we wanted to rank and PPC.

I'm new and haven't done all the "require stuff," yet, but I saw this and wanted to comment...I haven't read through all of the replies, so someone may have already brought this up...

EDIT: Oh, and way to go!! Thanks for taking the time to share your success!
Hey! Welcome to the forum.

So instead of trying to land individual clients, I should try to land a franchise?

I feel like there would be too many steps involved and especially unlikely for a small and new agency like me? I also couldn't handle more than 2 to 3 more clients as I want to slowly scale my business.

I'll look back into this when I get bigger and have more systems in place with a bigger team. Thanks!
 

Sponsored Offers

MARKETPLACE 7 Days To Freedom: From Wantrepreneur/Wage Slave To Freelancer
I attended the live session, really loved it! It gives some useful and practical tips on how to...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE Lex DeVille's - Advanced Freelance Udemy Courses!
Three things: 1. Discord Chat is open. Click here for free access. 2. New YouTube Channel...
Introducing MJ's Personal Unscripted Network, Join Now for FREE!
Any chance to make it available outside of US? It has been available outside of the US on...
MARKETPLACE Not sure how to start? This free book will teach you how to build a successful web design business
If there’s one thread I see repeated over and over again on the forum, it goes like this: “I...
  • Sticky
MARKETPLACE You Are One Call Away From Living Your Dream Life - LightHouse’s Accountability Program ⚡
Thanks for clearing that up. What do you recommend for those who are still in the process of...

Forum Sponsor

Over 100 Fastlane Students
More Details...

Fastlane Insiders

View the forum AD FREE.
Private, unindexed content
Detailed process/execution threads
Monthly conference calls with doers
Ideas needing execution, more!

Join Fastlane Insiders.

Top Bottom