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"There is an excellent paid only WebmasterWorld thread on the topic of why would the best SEOs decide to take on client work, as opposed to building out their own ideas and cashing in on those ideas. The rational is, if they are the best, why not make a living doing your own thing then making someone else rich?"
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from everett 2186 Days ago #
Votes: 5

Client work is addictive. While a steady stream of passive revenue from your own sites is great, so is that big injection of cash every now and then. Sure, one could start their own ecommerce business, social network, blog network, etc... and possibly strike it big in a few years - but while they are working on that "big project" or their multidute of little projects they will probably find themselves in need of liquid cash injections. That’s where I think client work comes in for the independant SEO with an entrepreneurial nature.

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from seocompany 2185 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Personally, I have thought exactly this and although I have been an SEO specialist for about 8 years now no one has ever heard of me because I dont join a lot of these SEO type sites and dont go to conferences but rather just do my own thing for my network of websites but I have begun thinking recently that while lucrative, it is more speculative so I have lately been of the opinion to begin working on my SEO site more and begin taking more outside clients to have multiple income streams.

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from Jeeb90 2185 Days ago #
Votes: 4

The answer is simple. If your client is a fortune 500 company with lots of trustrank, it’s easy to make them rank through internal linkage etc. Like if you have the Discovery Channel as a client (they are paying SEOs to help them) you can make them rank fairly easily because their domain is so trusted. So the question is, are your profit margins really higher if you do SEO on your own? Well, maybe if you have 3 fortune 500 companies as clients and they are each paying you $20k a month (as some SEO companies do) and those 3 companies only represent a fraction of your total client base, it’s actual more lucrative to do client work than it is to try and do it on your own. But a better question is this, and it’s the Jason Calacanis question he asked at affiliate summit and asks constantly. If SEOs are so smart in general, why are they not creating much larger projects that don’t revolve around SEO?  Or why aren’t they creating larger projects that do revolve around SEO to a large extent.  I mean, jesus god, more than the half the people who use sphinn had the talent to create Mahalo.  But they didn’t.  Why? And it’s not because they didn’t want to. Why wouldn’t you want to make a company with a very simple premise that you can then turn around and sell for XX million?

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from xmxmxmx 2185 Days ago #
Votes: 2

<div class="comment-content">Of course we do, you can’t become the best SEO without doing client work, also alot of times its not that simple or exciting doing your own business as you spend more time doing non-seo tasks in running other aspects of your business, the SEO takes a back step as thats something you know are more assured you can control, not so much as a viable website business model and non-seo publicity. Also in most cases SEO’s do not enjoy copywriting and so maintaining a profitable blog is out. Most of the businesses making money on the internet are ecommerce businesses that sell a REAL TANGIBLE PRODUCT that they ship you in a box, so to setup a business of that sort i’d have to have a product to sell...etc. etc. </div>

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from Jill 2185 Days ago #
Votes: 3

This topic has been discussed on sphinn fairly recently. Many of us, including me, mentioned that we LIKE to work for clients and have no interest in creating our own sites to make money. 2 different business models, for 2 different types of SEOs. Both good, depending on what you want.

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from paisley 2185 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Question: Are the SEO conference speakers making bank? When i did it in 96, (there was no speaking circuit, so it was ad clubs, CPA meetings, bar association meetings, chambers, Eco Dev groups, etc.) and i didn’t make jack, and didn’t get too much business other than web development and programming projects.. then again there was no SEO circuit and we charged more for hosting and development to offset SEO work.) Because i have XX Organic SEO clients i learn a lot more than if i was working on my own stuff... and if Google changes then i bill clients to implement those changes. I work on my own stuff to test the methodologies that i will use after they have been vetted, then implement them on my own clients.. i don’t want to run my own business, i just want to sit it my dark room, bury my head in client metrics,  crank tunes and leave @ 5 and have a life.when i had 49% ownership in an ad agency i got fat, f***ed up a marriage to a smokin hot model chick,  smoked too much, ate fast food too much and had shitty health, from too much stress. i have a golden parachute... but right now i’m happy to take my monthly trips to amsterdam or monthly trips to the beach every other weekend.. you decide.. p.s. after doing this for 14 years i am on top of my game and happy....

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from Halfdeck 2185 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Just ask yourself what do you enjoy doing? Whatever the answer is, go with it. There’s no right or wrong answer.

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from incrediblehelp 2185 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I bet more did it back in the day when prescriptions and gambling was a little easier to make tons of cash on.  I know that is what I did, then all that fun stopped when that government of ours started to crack down.

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from chartwell 2185 Days ago #
Votes: 0

My income is about 75% from my own websites, and about 25% from the SEO work I do for clients through an internet marketing firm. Guess which takes up the most of my time? (the 25%)It’s still a great balance for a few reasons:1. I don’t like having "all of my eggs in one basket." Having "client" income helps to diversify my sources of income.2. My work with the firm helps to keep me at the top of my game. Like mentioned by Paisley, I learn a lot more by working with the different markets, and by talking to my co-workers, other website owners, and other professionals in the field.3. Having my own websites and source of income keeps me from being stuck in a shitty job where I don’t like the boss :) I’m fortunate that I really like all the people I work with today, but if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have to stick around just to get a paycheck.I also don’t take on clients unless it is through the firm (no sidework). The firm gives me a team of professionals to consult with on projects, relaible systems in place to handle billing, and there’s no conflict of interest that way.I couldn’t ask for a better situation.

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from MattKeegan 2185 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I balance between working for clients and building up my own portfolio for the simple reason I like to mix up my work and do something different from time to time. What is nice about working for a client is that they affirm your talents by wooing you and paying you accordingly.

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from demib 2185 Days ago #
Votes: 2

I’ve been investing in my own ventures for years now and actually do less client work than I’ve ever done. You don’t get really rich from working - but from havning other people work for you and invest (time and/or money) in larger projects. And I intend to get rich(er) :)

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from DVOLA 2185 Days ago #
Votes: 0

"not every SEO has the entrepreneurial spirit to run their own thing"   this is very true... and I have found most "seos"  are great talkers and not great "doers" If you set up an ecommerce site right you dont have to do anything, everything is outsourced.. so you can technically run 30 -40 sites with ease..The more seos that opt out the better , it leaves more niches open for the ones who have spirit "to do"  Its also not true you need a "unique product"  either  you can simply sell someone elses ..

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