While I'm new to Warrior, I'm not new to marketing or consulting. I wanted to post a thread that would really provide value to you guys who are looking to get in a business where you can make a lot of money, still work from home, and enjoy a great lifestyle and leverage the internet. For me it is in consulting! No Affiliate marketing or black hat stuff that comes and goes.
First, I'll share a little about myself and how I got into this business. In 2007, I owned a mortgage firm. I'll spare you the details, but as you can guess, it went bad. Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, and the like! I looked for a job for a while and finally got a job as a junior SEO guy for a small company in Orlando, about 10 employees. I was told to train and read. I did, but the week I was supposed to start I got a call from my future boss, that he couldn't hire me because he lost sales. We were broke, we were down, but we didn't give up.
In 2008, I launched my business LMS Internet, and tried to connect the dots. Growing an SEO company from scratch after going bankrupt wasn't going to be easy. In this thread, I'll share with you some important tips if you're trying to get a marketing business or consulting business set up.
BTW, I should probably share with you that we've had great success. I'm not saying this to be "proud", but I remember starting in 2008 without any help. Hopefully this thread will walk you through the steps of having great success and avoid you some pain. Since 2010, not only have we brought in more than $200 a year in consulting from home, but we've also trained many to do this as well. So, hopefully this advice will give you some good direction.
Before you go out to the public and say, I'm a SEO consultant or I'm a marketing consultant, the key is to have your business set-up like you've been doing this a long time. If you don't put your best foot forward, you'll attract "bottom feeder" clients.
1. Professional Domain Name - We typically use our own names in our marketing. This helps us build credibility as the CEO of our businesses. So, for example you could be Smith Marketing Solutions, etc.
2. Professional Email and Phone System - While I do work at home, you'd never know it. We have custom email addresses using Google apps, and a toll free phone number that has several options. For example, press 1 for SEO, press 2 for AdWords, etc. These are different departments. Of course, they all ring my office desk, but it really makes us sound big.
3. Professional Site - DON'T start your business with a junky site. Get a nice one! Make it clean and professional!
So, when you're starting, spend some money on your business. Professional emails, 800 numbers, and corporate email. Professional signature and act like you've been doing this for 20 years. It is called posture!
What Work you Will Offer
I want to share a little bit about pricing out clients and how to handle the work that you will do.
1. Pricing and Packages - I have a PDF document that I give to my prospects that show the work we do. When I started it was only SEO, but I realized that if I built a team of global workers, that I could offer any type of marketing online that exists. We do copywriting, SEO, PPC, Website Design, Video Marketing, Social Media and a bunch of other things. Most of these are set up in custom packages, but I had to give a prospective client something so they knew we were legit.
2. Your Team - Since I outsource about 90% of the work to people all over the globe, I ask them for their portfolio to use in my proof package. When I started, my proof package was work from my outsourced team. These guys were great at SEO, link building, website design, and other things. So, I took their portfolios, with their permission, and I put it on some other PDF documents to show clients. Now, I had people I would use on my team and I knew their pricing. Over the years, I've replaced my portfolio with projects we've done, but it got me started. Of course, it was a win/win as I got the client and my outsourced team got the work, so they didn't mind me showing their work.
3. Thirdly, when it comes to working with clients and outsourced staff, you have to have systems. From Chat, phone, work hours, and getting the project completed, I worked very hard to figure out systems. Know exactly how you'll handle each project. We started out pretty dysfunctional, but in the end, it turned out great. We now have systems for invoicing, proposal writing, and updating our clients. I'd check out proposable dot com and also freshbooks. These are great for giving a professional appearance. Again, we work from home, just my wife and I, but the key is to NOT LOOK like you're new to this business. Systems are the key. If you've never read the Emyth, by Michael Gerber, it is key if you're starting a business.
Selecting the Right Clients
If you follow the right path, which is have your stuff together before you start looking for clients, you'll find the business is easy. You will look professional and clients will find it easy to say yes to working with you. Additionally, you'll have proof from your staff members who will do the bulk of the work for you. Lastly, you have systems in place of "how" you do things. The last thing is to pick the right clients.
1. Because SEO and Ecommerce marketing are in high demand, it is really easy to land new clients. There are many guys on the forum here that probably make well into the six figures consulting. Those that want to have a life, know this all to well.... The secret to your success is clients who have money to spend. With a $200K per year consulting business, I have to tell you that I only have 7-8 clients at a time. Most of them have been with me since 2008. In 2008, we did about $50K, 2009 we did $150K and in 2010 we did $200K. I'm on pace to do that again this year as well. Just to give you a heads up, if a client doesn't have a budget of $10K or more, I don't take them. After all, if you're a successful consultant who is good at what you do, would you take on small clients? Probably not. I turn away a lot of clients, which will surprise many. However, I have had a lot of new clients come with $500 month budgets and leave spending $1000 minimum. If you position yourself correctly, then you can charge more.
2. Close Ended Contracts - While some of the advice you'll receive on the forums might disagree, I always have closed contracts. Which means, they will go for 6 months or 8 months. There is work laid out on these projects. If it is a new site, 500 blog links, AdWords set-up, it is all listed there. The client pays a deposit and then we invoice them monthly for payments. We always work in arrears of payments, so I've never been burned. I did this in 2008, because of not having the cash, and I do it now because it works. Some of you reading this will say, but what about keeping the client longer... Well, I do keep clients for long stretches of time. Some 3 years or more. However, at the end of the campaign, if you've done the SEO correctly and given them things that will grow their traffic, they will renew. You'll write a new proposal, and in most cases, my clients end up spending more money the next round because they want to grow more. It also gives me a chance to review their business, which is key.
3. Weed out bad clients - Yes, I have fired clients. How? By raising the price so high that I know they won't go for it. The best way to weed out clients is to not deal with the wrong ones from the start. In 2008, I spent over 20 hours working with a client on proposals, calls, emails, and the final result.... They hired someone else. It burned badly and I said, everyone who wants to work with me must pay the $300 proposal fee. So, yes, I charge $200 to $300 for every client that wants to work with myself. It works! If the client doesn't have $300, then they are not serious or they are shopping on price alone. This last year, we've booked a $19K seo deal and a $27K seo and marketing deal. Both of these clients paid the proposal fee.
I didn't realize this at first, but there is good money in just giving advice. So I started offering consulting. In the end, it worked great. I've been all over the USA consulting. Seattle, LA, Denver, Phoenix, all paid for by my clients. I even flew first class, which was pretty cool. At the same time, I've charged as much as $300 per hour for a one day meeting.
1. Have a plan of growing a clients business - One day when I was sitting down trying to figure out how I would grow a business, I came up with the four steps of marketing. They are pretty simple and I'll explain them.
a. Have a good Unique Selling Point
b. Always try to generate a lead with offers
c. Use the weapons of the marketing Arsenal - SEO, PPC, Etc.
d. Use technology for follow-up automation.
So, now when I meet with a client, I measure them against the growth. We've had clients grow as much as 300% who were not marketing correctly. We doubled their sales and as you can imagine, they are willing to keep paying me every month. Some know that I work from home but could care less because we've grown their businesses so much.
I'll list a few books here that will also help you...
1. Anything by Dan Kennedy
2. The 4 hour work week
3. The Emyth Revisited
4. No BS time management for entrepreneurs
5. Raving Fans
Planning out your business
The secret to success is that you have a plan for your business. No, I'm not talking about some marketing plan or corporate business plan to get funding, but a plan of action steps. Since we've been training people to do this business, I realize that the secret to success is first and foremost, getting your business launched. If you get your business launched, you can be successful. That does take time, work, money, and good training. We have some of our guys we've trained in Orlando, who've made $10K on their first contracts. However, they followed the business plan. So, my encouragement is to write down everything you have to do and get it done, a little at a time.
Many will say, get clients and then set up your business. NO! I say, set your business up the right way and then getting clients is easy and you'll get high end clients with $$$ to spend.
The rewards of being a marketing consultant and an SEO consultant are pretty great. Our clients love us and pay us very well. We can also spend time at home with our kids. My wife works with me 2 days a week and the painful foreclosure and bankruptcy are far behind us. I love this business and love training people in the business. It is so awesome when I see a new consultant land a big contract and can't believe the system worked.
If you have any questions on setting up your business or want some tips, feel free to post your questions. You can also PM me if you'd like.
Four Step Marketing Consultants