If you’re working as a freelancer the last thing you want to do is be mucking around wasting time with low end deadbeat clients
Regardless of what you’ve been told or what you might think you know, it’s just not possible to provide any type of quality service dealing with clients that are only interested in paying you a few hundred dollars a month.
It won’t take you long to figure out that the clients that pay the least amount of money are the ones that make the most amount of noise, and that will drive you mental, believe me.
So what do I do?
How do I get high paying clients again and again, over and over?
If you haven’t yet already, go here and read this post where I talk about my earnings over a 12 month period. If you don’t have time, then here’s a brief summary.
Last year I made almost half a million dollars working from home, as a freelancer, with 2 virtual staff, and no more than 20 clients (with no paid advertising)
And guess what? Most times I only had 8-12 clients, not 20.
I was able to do that because I wasn’t fucking around with lolly scramblers who only wanted to pay me a few hundred a month.
What happens when you offer “cheap” SEO
Before we get into how I did that, lets look at the why.
There’s no point just rushing in and asking for $5,000 a month just because it “sounds cool”.
You’ve got to have a good understanding about why offering cheap SEO is a waste of time which I’ll cover here.
Your profit margins are going to be shit
Regardless of what it is that you’re doing – even at say, $300 a month your profit margins are going to be absolutely shit. Even if you spend an hour or two hours of your time on a campaign at that rate, then you’re essentially going to be making maybe a hundred dollars a month, or $25 a week which is absolutely ridiculous
Your time is severely limited
If you’ve got a client paying you just a few hundred dollars a month, then the amount of time you’ll have to allocate towards their campaign is going to be severely limited and its going to take forever. Think about it, even if you decided to work at $100 an hour, doing 3 hours a month is absolutely pointless and it’s not going to achieve anything.
You’re not going to get results
If you’re only spending a few hours a month on a clients campaign, you’re just not going to have time to do anything useful and you’re certainly not going to get any worthwhile results. That doesn’t help anyone, it doesn’t help you, and it certainly doesn’t help the client – and it’s certainly not going to allow you to showcase your work, and get referrals.
You’re going to be broke and constantly chasing more clients
If you’re mucking around with low end clients, you’re going to be in constant need of more clients, because you’re just making ends meet. In other words, one client drops out, the next one comes onboard, then the cycle repeats and you’re just going in circles – all the while feeling desperate because you’re fucking broke.
I’ve sat in on calls with freelancers that have been working in the SEO space for 7 years and they’re still fucking broke and scrambling for shitty leads.
Don’t do that.
You’re going to be providing a shit service
When you’re working with low paying clients, you’ll end up doing crap work.
You’ll be skipping between client campaigns, simply throwing in 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there with no direction or focus at all. You just can’t go deep with a business owner to understand how their business works, where they need help, and what you can do to make that happen when you’re charging shit rates.
Charging what you should be and doing the job right
So what can you do to get high paying SEO clients?
Firstly, I want to preface this by saying – this advice is aimed at people that really know what they’re doing. If you don’t, then I would strongly recommend you invest in my coaching and learn how to do this shit properly, before you start throwing out big quotes.
Because there’s a big difference between charging high rates and doing a good job, and charging high rates and providing a shit service.
You’d be surprised, I see people posting in Facebook groups asking questions like this all the time –
“Hi guys, I’m really excited but also very nervous. I just landed my first paying SEO client. They’re paying $3,000 a month, and I don’t really know what to do or where to start. Can anyone help or offer some advice?”
Put your fucking prices up
Seems pretty obvious doesn’t it?
Putting your prices up is something that a lot of people seem to struggle with – especially freelancers. I’ve worked with a lot of them in my time that have come to me for help and they’ve been charging $500 for a website and $199 a month for SEO and they’re making $25,000 a year and struggling.
They have a limiting belief of what’s possible, and that’s the very reason they’re pulling 12 hour days for $15 an hour.
Change your mindset and everything changes.
If you’re charging peanuts, you’ll attract monkeys.
Put your prices on your website
Second point is this…..
Put your prices on your website.
Yes that’s right.
Stop hiding behind an enquiry form hoping that someone might contact you.
This is another problem I see and it’s not just limited to freelancers either. Agencies have a tendency to do this and it’s just annoying. You ever been on a site and all you want to see are their rates, and you can’t find them?
It’s annoying isn’t it?
I think most SEO service providers do this for two reasons –
- They’re scared that they’re going to miss out on a potential client because their pricing might be a deterrent, OR
- They want the call regardless so they can apply some sleazy sales pitch to sign them up
Forget about that.
You want people to know what your rates are BEFORE they even contact you, so that you’re not going to waste time mucking around with someone who’s not a good fit.
I’ve spoken at length about this and pre-qualifying new prospects is absolutely vital.
You’ll want to be sure that you get your rates out in the open before you spend 2 or 3 hours in a meeting or on a Skype call. This way there’s no time wasting. In terms of prequalifying you should be asking a set series of questions in order to to determine if the prospect is a good fit, before you get bogged down dealing with someone who wants to invest $99 a month. If you’re interested, go here and read this post, about prequalifying SEO leads.
Again, you’ve got to be completely transparent about your prices, which is why I said put them on your site.
You’ll save yourself a lot of otherwise wasted time mucking around with dead ends that call you asking how much you charge, then whinging that you’re too expensive. Again, its always best to get this out of the way early so people know what to expect before they pick up the phone.
Avoid low end clients
Low end clients attract more low end clients.
When you’re working with people that are only willing to pay you a few hundred dollars a month, then they’re going to attract more people that they know and next thing you know you’ll be working with 50 people paying $200 a month and you’ll be losing your mind.
You want to work with high end clients for the simple fact that high end clients attract more high and clients – simply via referrals.
Which brings me to my next point – referrals.
Ask for referrals
I make it clear to each client I have that if they send me a referral, and that referral leads to a paying client, then I will either –
- Pay them for the referral (typically 10-20%), OR
- I’ll give them some free hours to put towards their own SEO campaign
Most clients will take the free hours, so it won’t cost you anything – just a bit of time.
But remember, association is key. Clients that are happy to throw big numbers around typically associate with likeminded people, so asking them for a referral is usually always a smart move.
Do good work
This is pretty fucking obvious but it needs to be said anyway.
When you’ve got lousy profit margins, being able to do the job right is near impossible.
Instead, increase your rates and do the job properly. Once you do this, you’ll look back and think WTF was I thinking?
It’s a much nicer feeling knowing that you’re not rushed, and you can spend time with a client and get to know them, their business, how it works, where they need help, and how you can make that happen.
Instead of just blasting crap links all over the place and doing shit work.
Remember, aim for fewer, higher paying clients.
You want 10 clients paying $3,000 a month, not 50 clients paying you $99.
What you can do right now
If you already have a client base, and you’re sick and tired of spinning your wheels with shitty rates, then I would recommend that you do the following.
- Think about what your rates need to be, and adjust them accordingly.
- Let all your clients know of the pricing increase. Give them a few months notice “Hey the rates are going up, but not for another 2 months”
- Consider leaving some clients on the old rate – but only if they’ve been with you a while.
- Offer a personal one on one call to explain the increase with any clients that question it, or would like more information
- Don’t lose sleep over any low end clients that complain or drop off
In other words, make the change right now – BUT don’t just put your rates up unless the quality of your service supports it.
You’re not going to have any clients left if you put your rates up and you’re offering a shit service.
Interested in working with me?
If you’d like to move away from low end SEO at $99 a month with whinging clients that don’t appreciate your time, then get in touch.
It will be the best decision you ever made.