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Sell your SEO services for Equity and help build a company
Many people out there are trying to bring in whale-sized clients, but they forget to target the startups with no money. Why target the companies that don't have much money in the beginning? Because you can help build them to a point where you can profit from them regularly and they can't say much about it.
What you'll want to do is pitch your services by showing startups some proof that you know what you're doing. You'll need actual proof, you can't fake this, so if you don't have any, I would hope you make some lol. After you get a startup interested in your services, one that can't afford you, that's when you can pitch the idea of coming on board for an equity share. You will essentially become a partner for the company and take over the IT and Marketing department so you can bring customers into the website.
Why not get paid upfront?
Getting paid upfront is always a great thing if you can get large companies to pay you thousands a month regularly, but that doesn't always happen. I've noticed that working with startups, helping them build, and not asking for a paycheck until they're making enough to give you money, they will be more willing to give you shares.
You don't have to ask for anything crazy like 50% of the business, because you will never get that much, but it's not crazy to ask for 20% or even 25% in the beginning and tell them there will be a negotiation if you hit certain goals.
Negotiate your terms and renegotiate when you're successful
After you're hitting your goals, you will want to start the renegotiations so you can get more of the company signed over to you. You'll need to explain to the owners that the more you own, the more time you can invest, and the more successful everything will be. I've heard stories where someone asked for 20%, boosted the company from 10k a month to 50k a month, then got 49% of the company in return for all the hard work and dedication they put into it. The company now makes six figures in net profit, and my friend owns 49% of that company lol
It's rare that you'll hit those numbers, but it's not impossible, and I know this for a fact because I've seen my friend's house that was purchased from those profits and it's glorious
Partnering makes running a business easier
One of the big rules of running a business is that you need a skilled partner to take on tasks. You can't do everything by yourself, every single day, and expect to not burn out over time. Your partner needs to be there to handle everything you're not skilled in, which is what you'll be doing for these startups, and the company will become more successful because of it.
It's difficult running a business by yourself, and a lot of people think it's easy. You need to manage absolutely everything, you can't ask anyone to pick up your slack, you can't focus on specific things, and you will eventually get burned out even if you don't know it. If you're pitching your services to these startups, you will be filling in the skills gap, and that means they won't have to worry about most of the technical stuff since you have experience in it. They can focus on what they know best, the business itself, and you focus on rankings as well as traffic generation.
Be more than their "SEO guy."
You'll become their devoted SEO guy or Website guy, but you can be more than that. If you know how to do SEO, then you likely know how to run marketing campaigns, and PPC campaigns, and that means you can become the IT partner.
You can do this one of two ways. You can pitch your SEO services and start helping them all over the place, not just SEO, to make them more successful. They will understand you're worth and see all the stuff you're helping with; then they'll give you more equity if they're nice. The second way is to use your SEO and other skills as a way to sell yourself for them to bring you on board as a partner. You need to become their Digital guy who can solve any problem related to their website, marketing, or advertising, and they will treat you like a king lol.
It's not the easiest thing to pitch, but you can become a partner to startups if you find the right ones, and these companies tend to be ones that sell physical products and not digital services. Don't pitch to a web design agency that you'd like a percentage of their company because they'll laugh at you. Instead, find a bunch of startups and pitch your ideas to them as well as show them examples, and you'd be surprised how many respond back to you
Thanks for reading