20 Tips For Starting A Successful Seo Agency

Want to start your own SEO agency? Here are 20 tips you should know.
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We've interviewed thousands of successful founders at Starter Story and asked what advice they would give to entrepreneurs who are just getting started.

Here's the best advice we discovered for starting a SEO agency:

#1: Nathan Elly, founder of Digital Next:

We chatted with with Nathan, founder of Digital Next ($120K/month). In our interview, Nathan says:

Everyone has thoughts of grandeur and some sort of destination to work towards but the reality is when starting out there is hard work to do. If you work hard, stick to your ethics and deliver on realistic expectations; the rest will fall into place.

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We chatted with with Alan, founder of Growth Gorilla ($20K/month). In our interview, Alan says:

The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll learn from your mistakes (‘cause there will be many of those). Learn from others who have done what you want to do and take massive action.

Additionally:

Most issues with clients can be avoided by simply sending them a message saying that something went wrong and explaining why instead of doing nothing and waiting until they find out themselves.

Further:

In order to find something you like doing, you have to try a few other things that you dislike doing. You’ll never know what it is that you enjoy if you don’t try a few different things.

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#3: Leslie Gilmour, founder of Cube Digital:

We chatted with with Leslie, founder of Cube Digital ($25K/month). In our interview, Leslie says:

Around 80% of new clients are referrals. Every successful client brings in at least one new.

Additionally:

Develop humility. This is easy at the start of your business. But, at some point as I gained a degree of success my ego developed. Thankfully, I have people around who told me about it. I hope it didn’t go on for too long.

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#4: Mike Leonhard, founder of Compose.ly:

We chatted with with Mike, founder of Compose.ly ($/month). In our interview, Mike says:

Don’t be afraid of getting feedback and criticism from others. Actively seek it. You need to leave your bubble to get valuable feedback.

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#5: Leslie Gilmour, founder of Cube Digital:

We chatted with with Leslie, founder of Cube Digital ($25K/month). In our interview, Leslie says:

Build your product or website where you earn revenue.

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#6: Rick Hoskins, founder of On The Map Inc:

We chatted with with Rick, founder of On The Map Inc ($350K/month). In our interview, Rick says:

A very common mistake that I’ve seen over the years is focusing too much on product/service and not enough on the sales. Think about how you’re going to sell the product and then push for the execution.

Additionally:

I’ve always been pretty averse to debt.

Further:

Don’t rely too much on one big client. It’s better to have a solid pool of clients, so when you lose one, the impact on your revenue stream isn’t as severe.

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#7: Chris Dreyer, founder of Rankings.io:

We chatted with with Chris, founder of Rankings.io ($275K/month). In our interview, Chris says:

Find someone whose work you admire and apply both their mistakes and successes to your own trajectory. Most any mistake that can be made has been, so take advantage of the availability of the stories of others to sidestep the pitfalls that caught them.

Additionally:

When everyone gets busy, everyone naturally needs thinks that the company needs to hire more staff, but in most cases, there needs to first be a retrospective on the circumstances that are making us busy and ways that we can improve efficiencies within our existing team.

Further:

If you’re just selling hammers, a consumer is going to shop on price, because there are hammers in many stores. If you focus on a unique service, product, or offering that solves a problem, you are instantly seen as the best… because you’re the only one solving that problem.

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#8: Russell Michelson, founder of Paper Box SEO:

We chatted with with Russell, founder of Paper Box SEO ($28K/month). In our interview, Russell says:

When you make your living doing one time projects, like building websites or consulting on projects, you always have to be on the hunt for new clients. With SEO, revenue is long term and accumulates.

Additionally:

The subreddits /r/smallbusiness and /r/bigseo have been invaluable in helping me grow the business. They’re active communities where people have candid, insightful conversations.

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#9: Rick van Haasteren, founder of SiteGuru:

We chatted with with Rick, founder of SiteGuru ($500/month). In our interview, Rick says:

For all the product builders out there: never underestimate how long it takes to build something amazing. It requires lots of iteration and customer feedback until something is really valuable to your audience. Don’t give up, and keep going!

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#10: Noah Riggs, founder of Busy Living Better:

We chatted with with Noah, founder of Busy Living Better ($5.2K/month). In our interview, Noah says:

Never become complacent doing your job, learn more, provide value, and make your skills undeniable.

Additionally:

Becoming successful by any measure requires a lot of commitment and sacrifice. If you don’t have a meaningful reason for why you are trying to accomplish something, then you aren’t very likely to stick with it when things get hard.

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#11: Alan Silvestri, founder of Growth Gorilla:

We chatted with with Alan, founder of Growth Gorilla ($20K/month). In our interview, Alan says:

Feel free to try different things, but give yourself a deadline for any of those. If something fails, try another one and keep going until something sticks.

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Want to start a SEO agency?

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