Crushing Barriers to Launching an SEO Firm — Part 5: Personality

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mountain climbersThe last barrier to entry when launching an SEO firm is the most intangible one — your personality.

Suffice to say, it takes a special kind of person to be able to start a company. You need to be a self-starter, have the confidence required to sell your product and market yourself as an expert in the industry, possess the work ethic required to get a company off the ground and make it successful, and have the willingness to take a big risk for both your career and your future. You need to have the motivation to succeed, and the perseverance to push forward through setbacks and discouraging results.

The SEO industry has long enjoyed a community that is more entrepreneurial than most. It is one thing to dream, however, and another thing to execute on your fantasies and make your dream come true. To all those who think they are cut out to start their own SEO company, I salute you. It’s a challenging proposition, and the fact that you’re bold enough to chase your dreams is a clear indicator of your passion for SEO.

If you love SEO and your heart is in the right place, you’re already on the road to success.

A Natural Fit

I feel as though I was a pretty natural fit. I’ve always been the entrepreneurial type, and ever since I can remember, I’ve been dreaming up business and website ideas. The freedom and flexibility of self-employment amaze me, and I don’t think I’d have it any other way. After over a year of working for myself, it’s hard to imagine going back. I like the excitement of a startup company, the prospect of the unknown ahead of you. Each day has a new set of challenges, successes, frustrations, and revelations.

I was always a self-starter, and since I’ve gotten a taste of independence, I haven’t regretted for one moment my decision to start an SEO company. Moreover, my experiences in doing so have improved areas of myself that weren’t exactly ideal. I’ve become much better at things like time management, sales and public speaking. These were by no means my strong points when I first decided to open my firm, but over the last year, I’ve gained some great experience and learned to deal with these considerations much more effectively.

Do You Have What It Takes?

The best advice I can give is to be honest with yourself. Are you really going to have the motivation required to make a new business succeed? Or is your enthusiasm going to fizzle at the first sign of hardship? You need to do some soul searching and figure out if this is something you really want to give your all, because there’s no point in a half-hearted effort. If you are cut out for it, however, starting an SEO company can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.

This post is part of a series that analyzes those barriers to entry for starting an SEO consulting firm. Check out the other posts in this series:
• Introduction
• Opportunity
• Experience
• Strategy
• Finances

Anthony Mangia
Anthony Mangia is the CEO of Mangia Marketing, a boutique digital marketing firm based in Downtown New York City that specializes in SEO, paid search,... Read Full Bio
Anthony Mangia
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  • Absolutely! One of the things we’ve learned is that old adage about working “half days” – any 12 hours will do! Being a business owner is as much about skill as it is determination. We routinely come across competitors who have 1/5 the experience we do or may just be “hobbyists”. You just have to be the bigger person, wait them out and prove yourself with service, insight and results. We feel (and you have probably run across this too) that there is a vast amount of misinformation about SEO that you have to overcome by educating your clients too. When you are playing the SEO/Manager role, you tend to do a lot of hand holding along with your optimizing. With all of that it is still an exciting business to be in. The constant change forces you to stay educated and educate your clients. You often have to form a partnership with your clients and their web development team to get the best results for them. So, if you don’t have the personality to work well with others, or force yourself to pick up the phone and actually sale yourself to a caller, then you might want to reconsider going out on your own!

  • Great advice – as someone who has worked in the industry for several years, it’s a demanding environment. Believing in yourself is one challenge, getting others to believe in you is a whole other story, especially when the hardships come along.

  • Hi Anthony,

    I’ve just been reading the rest of your posts on this topic, and I’m glad to see that I’m in a similar mindset and situation as you described. As a new SEO service provider, one of the things I struggle with the most is actually finding new customers. Most of them seem to have a disturbed vision of what SEO really is. Because of cheap SEO package sites (the usual low quality directory submissions, blog spam comments, forum profile spam etc). It seems hard to be able to compete with these kind of things, when you’re trying to explain a potential customer that those types of “SEO” work are exactly the opposite of what they should be doing.

    Any tips on this would be greatly appreciated 🙂

  • Perseverance is the most important skill a business owner can have. When I first launched my SEO firm I had to take every client I could find and was working an obscene amount of hours every week just to make ends meet. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart! You really have to love this business to make it over the first few hurdles.

  • Besides the core skills every entrepreneur must have (ability to take risks, self-starter, perseverance, etc.), I do find that being a good “salesman” is essential in the SEO industry.
    As previous comments point out, we must educate and convince the potential client to distinguish from a “cheap and immediate results guaranteed” kind of package and what we are delivering.
    Once an SEO project is underway, you will see less of your client as most times the reporting can be done via e-mail, I’m not saying it is the best way but definitely, the first meetings with a client will be the most decisive for your business, that’s when you really need to know how to close a deal.