How Starting A Meetup Group Helped Me Launch A $3,5K/Month Boutique SEO Agency

$3.5K
revenue/mo
2
Founders
4
Employees
product
Wolfate
from Mexico City, CDMX, México
started May 2018
$3,500
revenue/mo
2
Founders
4
Employees
1.16M
alexa rank
99
followers
46
followers
Discover what tools Carlos reccommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Carlos reccommends to grow your business!
Start A Seo Agency

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello, I am Carlos and I am the owner of Wolfate, one of the few boutique SEO agencies in Mexico. We are a team of 4 people that work with a limited number of clients on specific scenarios and situations.

We’ve recently expanded our service offering to Canada offering the same services that are currently available in Mexico: web design, SEO consulting, and Google Ads campaigns.

how-starting-a-meetup-group-helped-me-launch-a-3-5k-month-boutique-seo-agency

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I’ve started to learn how to create websites back in 2016 and started to sell websites for small businesses. One of my clients at the time asked me how to get people to visit their website and that’s when I first discovered SEO.

In 6 months, my client’s website started to rank for some of its main keywords and received media coverage in local industry sites and magazines. He then referred me to one of his friends that was going to do a rebranding of his restaurant and needed help with doing a website migration from its old domain name to the new one.

It was the first time I had to work as the SEO consultant for a web migration and started to watch webinars, read articles and take notes to know what needed to be done and how. In one of the final meetings, he said that he was happy with the overall result of the web migration and that all the SEO companies he found weren’t specialized in that area.

That’s when I realized the need for a more specialized, boutique type of agency that could help businesses in particular scenarios like a web migration or organic traffic and ranking drops. In 2018 I decided to start Wolfate as a boutique SEO consultancy but still offered web design services for small businesses.

Over the years, some of our clients have referred us to other similar businesses until we got reached out by a Canadian company that was searching for help to launch their business in Mexico and we are currently working with them as well as with other 3 businesses in Mexico.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

When it comes to defining a consulting service, it’s critical to know your area of expertise or the area in which you can provide the most value and start to investigate what are those characteristics that businesses want in that consulting service.

In my case, it was clear that there was a lack of agencies that were specialized in a specific area of SEO, most of them at the time are generic agencies that do not have any particular type of specialization but there are some agencies that do offer complete SEO services for a particular type of business.

The great advantage of launching an agency or any online business is that the cost is very low, you only need to have a domain name, and a web hosting service. With that, you can create your online store, a business landing page, etc., and even invest in some Google Ads campaign to promote your products or services.

Describe the process of launching the business.

At first, I only launched the website and did a small social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram with some of my savings and revenue from being a freelance web developer.

When it comes to defining a consulting service, it’s critical to know your area of expertise or the area in which you can provide the most value and start to investigate what are those characteristics that businesses want in that consulting service.

Since I had some web development experience, I built the website from scratch, I didn’t need to hire a web developer or designer. What I believe helped the most for the successful launch of the business was my personal brand.

I was already known for being a freelance web developer and an SEO consultant, some people hired me for both things: to do their website and do some local SEO for their businesses. So having my personal brand definitely helped the business to get clients and get exposure.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

What helped the business the most was organizing the first SEO meetup in Mexico, I wanted to do a proper conference event but realized that the audience would need to be broader, so I decided to start with a small meetup of 20-30 people which was very successful, some of the assistants referred us to their friends or agencies wanting some SEO training and people working in different businesses that recommended us to their boss.

The cost of organizing that meetup was relatively low because I searched for sponsors, the main sponsor was an SEO tool and also a social media tool that helped me to cover most of the costs involved.

I also did some media outreach in some marketing blogs and sites to increase the exposure of the brand. This is not something that you can do at the beginning because the cost is not low, but if you have the opportunity to get covered in media sites, do it.

At first, we got shortlisted in the top 25 SEO agencies in Mexico and then we got more specific media coverage with another article that described our main areas of service. Those two articles helped us to attract more high-end clients, without that media coverage I don’t think we would now have a service offering for Canada.

There’s no golden formula for every business but the one thing that can definitely help your business to get more clients is to get media coverage but don’t search for generic media sites, try to find industry-specific sites that have more chances of having audiences that can match or overlap with your client’s profile.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

The company is profitable and the main focus remains on offering specialized SEO consultancy services but also offering web development services for small businesses both in Mexico and Canada.

The goal is the same as it was 1 year ago, keep growing, getting more clients, and maybe grow the team. Right now, I’m the one handling all the SEO consulting services but I have 3 people in my team that are in charge of the web design, web development, and Google Ads campaigns for our other clients.

We are proud to be offering services in two countries and are thinking of maybe expanding to the United States in the long term.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

When I started the agency I was only 17 years old, I didn’t have any previous experience in managing teams, dealing with clients, anything that has to do with the management side of things. However, I did learn the importance of good communication skills and correct planning.

One thing that can definitely help your business to get more clients is to get media coverage but don’t search for generic media sites, try to find industry-specific sites that have more chances of having audiences that can match or overlap with your client’s profile.

Dealing with several clients at a time means that you have to set up deadlines for each project, stay in touch with the client and monitor the progress with your team on each task that is scheduled to be done.

Another very important thing that I learned is how to choose the right members for your team, I didn’t do a proper interview process but rather reached out to people I know were willing to learn, have the necessary skills and responsibility for working in 2 or more projects at the same time. You’ll end up delegating important tasks on them and sometimes even entire projects so they need to be trustworthy, hardworking, and responsible people.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We mainly use Asana for all of our teams and clients’ project management aspects, it allows us to keep track of all the tasks that need to be done and the client can monitor the progress and create any additional tasks for new requirements or support they need.

I also have to deal with several meetings and emails daily so my favorite email tool is Spark, it has a great team feature in which I can write comments or notes in emails with my team members and delegate some of them so they can answer to the client. It’s a small project management feature integrated with an email tool.

For my everyday meetings I prefer to use Google Meet, it integrates very well with our GSuite’s calendar and there’s no need to install any additional software which is something that I don’t like about Zoom.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The book that made me change my traditional business mentality is Onward by Howard Schulz. Another book that I just recently finished reading and that is full of business insights is The Four by Scott Galloway.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?

Be persistent, I always thought I couldn’t grow a business when I first started because I was 17 years old but age is no limitation to how good you can be. Persistence and hard work is the key to be a successful entrepreneur. As a teenager, you’ll think that besides school I would be spending my time at parties or hanging out with friends but there were occasions when I missed several parties and opportunities for going out with my friends because I needed to finish a project for one of my clients.

Don’t let people discourage you, only once in the time I’ve been working with clients I have been left out of a project because I was young and had no work experience. At that moment I was wondering if other businesses would think the same and weren’t going to trust me to do their website or help them with their SEO projects but that didn’t stop me, instead, I just kept working harder.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Right now I am not looking for an additional member of the team but I am searching for a freelance designer for several small design jobs both for our agency and in work for clients like social media designs, vector graphics, and such.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Carlos Castro,   Founder of Wolfate

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