The regulars around here will recognize me, but it has been quite a while since I posted (probably a good 4-5 months). For the new people, I will quickly recap what I achieved in the last 2 years in setting up and running my online marketing/web design business.
I started at the beginning of 2012 with no clients, no idea how websites worked or how to do any kind of online marketing (SEO, PPC etc), but I needed money. I didn't have any university degree's, only a Diploma of Arts (Graphic Design) and not much passion for the graphic design industry. Basically I was broke, sick of retail jobs and ready to try something new.
So I taught myself a bit of SEO, how websites worked and how to host them, and finally got on the phones and started calling local businesses who didn't have websites and offered them cheap websites around $600.
Fast forward 2 years and I have served over 40 clients, ranging from $600 sales to $5000+, with Google PPC, SEO and more. But I have decided to walk away from it and here are a couple of reasons why...
1) Quality Control Is Difficult
I outsourced everything from the web design to the SEO, like many people here do, because I didn't have the inclination to learn how to produce in those areas. This made designing and offering a high quality service quite difficult.
My outsourcerers would frequently produce average to bad looking website designs, even using pre-made templates. This was also coming from a reasonable pool of contractors (I went through about 10-12 different web designers over that time). It could be the price point, but I just couldn't get quality designers for the $5 per hour mark.
This lead to disappointment for my clients and myself, and was a large reason I believe I didn't get much word of mouth work over the 2 years.
Running A Business Really Requires You To Wear A Lot Of Hats
Chasing up clients for money. Working out the financials and keeping track of every dollar. Hiring and firing. Managing staff workloads. Juggling client files and keeping track of every stage of where each client is at. All these tasks really take someone who is 'good at everything' and I knew this wasn't for me. I just loved to make sales. I was the cold caller, the salesman. Once I figured this out, I would avoid the other jobs and things started to get out of hand.
That's when I knew I should really focus on my strengths and find a great job in sales. Running a business really isn't for everyone. I figured out that I didn't really have a passion for running a business. I just wanted to make some good money doing what I enjoyed. I enjoy sales and it's one of the highest paying professions in the world, if you get good at it.
Anyway, I decided to move on, but this is the good part... Because I essentially had built this business from the ground up, taught myself the basics of online marketing and cold called hard for the last 2 years, I found myself a job as a business development manager for a large web design/online marketing business in a nearby large city. The employer was very impressed that I had basically 'picked myself up by my bootstraps' and worked what was essentially commission only for 2 years.
So my advice is this : Give this a try for a while. The worst that will come out of it is work experience of all kinds that employers will look upon favourably. The best that comes of it? If you really have the passion for it, the sky is the limit.
Anyway, that's my 2 cents, hope someone get's something of this post. Happy to answer any questions!