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A One-Person SEO Agency Making $30K Monthly

One-Person SEO Agency Making $30K Monthly

Hello! Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your business?

My name is Jade Pruett. I'm from Columbia, South Carolina, and I am 30 years old.

In 2021, I founded HelloSEO, a boutique SEO agency serving small businesses and startups. HelloSEO is dedicated to helping small business owners achieve greater visibility on Google and other search platforms.

I'm super passionate about SEO education and strive to bring transparency to what can be a mysterious marketing strategy that often leaves business owners in the dark. It's crucial to me that my clients have the tools to make informed decisions regarding their marketing, which is why clarity about rankings, traffic, ROI, and other KPIs is a priority. I also take great pride in my experimental tactics. Given the constant innovations in AI and the frequent updates to Google's algorithm, SEO strategies need to adapt quickly. I love going above and beyond for my clients and often leveraging their projects to test new strategies and ideas.

This approach frequently results in added value for them, ensuring they maintain a competitive edge on Google.

How did you start this business? Take us through the process.

I kicked off my business back in 2020 on a freelance basis.

At the time, I was working as an SEO specialist for the affiliate divisions of CNN and Business Insider. It happened to be one of our busiest seasons when I received a direct message on LinkedIn from an attorney in need of SEO assistance.

I wasn't entirely sure if I was ready for the challenge, as I had never ventured beyond the confines of a big agency for SEO work. Nonetheless, I decided to take the leap, and it ignited my entrepreneurial spirit.

Working with that attorney was a game-changer. It not only boosted my confidence but also showed me that I could thrive outside the safety net of a large agency.

From there, I began attracting new clients primarily through referrals and by hosting webinars. This was how I secured my initial clients before fully diving into my own marketing efforts.

How did you get your first initial customers?

To secure my first handful of clients, I relied heavily on referrals and conducted webinars.

Initially, I specialized in SEO for therapists, and having such a focused niche was instrumental in gaining visibility among therapist practices across the country. I conducted webinars for various therapist associations, appeared on several podcasts to discuss SEO specifically for therapists, and maintained an incredibly competitive price point.

This combination made it easy for therapists to engage with my services, and that's how I initially attracted my first round of clients.

From there, I started building a referral network. Happy customers are always a great way to find MORE happy customers.

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Since launch, what are your marketing strategies or channels to get new customers?

So I use a variety of marketing channels and strategies. I do utilize SEO myself, although I will admit that ranking as an SEO agency in Google is, of course, incredibly difficult by design.

However, I have found a lot of luck on utilizing local SEO using social media, especially Instagram and LinkedIn, and I also love to be a part of communities online and in person, full stop. So I get a lot of my referrals and clients through online and in-person networking. There's really no better marketing than building relationships with others, and that's coming from someone who does marketing for a living.

One interesting strategy that has really served me well is focusing on the transparency and educational aspects of SEO. SEO is really complicated and mysterious and weird, and by really trying to make it accessible to business owners in a fun way, I've gotten a lot of traction and reshares on social media.

One of my favorite ways to do this is to use Taylor Swift or current trends like Barbie to explain different SEO and marketing tactics.

These often get picked up in media outlets and get a lot of reshares, especially on LinkedIn.

How does your business make money?

My current business model is strictly service we work off of.

6 month contracts and then they go month to month from we chose this model because sometimes it takes SEO, a little bit of time to get but typically after six months we can fully understand what it's like to work together and see some good results.

I'm currently making around $30k MRR, and I can easily keep costs under 30%.

I'm a big fan of the Profit First method. Running an SEO agency is actually pretty inexpensive. At first, your overhead is just your laptop and subscription to Ahrefs or SEMRush.

As I've grown, I now invest in other SaaS products I can't live without (Loom, Mailchimp, Frase, Mangools...), office space, and a few contracted employees. Manpower is certainly my biggest expense now.

Before you go, what advice would you give to another who wants to start a business like yours?

My advice to anyone looking to start an SEO agency or any business, for that matter, is simple: just go for it.

I'm a big believer in the phrases 'take messy action' and 'fail forward' because that's precisely how it feels and how it should feel. When I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey, I already had a handful of customers before I even had a business name or a website. Looking back, that level of anti-perfectionism was challenging for me, but I'm immensely proud of myself for diving in headfirst and taking the leap.

I highly recommend that you do the same. Every step of building a business comes with new challenges. I'm now three years into my journey, and every month presents a fresh set of things to worry about and learn from. It's something you have to get accustomed to, but it's incredibly rewarding. Working independently can be much more lucrative than being employed by a business or agency, and it also comes with less risk of being 'fired'—the only way you get 'fired' is if you give up.

So, consider failure not an option and keep moving forward

Where can we go to lean more about you and your business?

Here are some links you can go to learn more:

HelloSEO Official Website: https://helloseo.com/

Jade’s Instagram: @jadefromhelloseo

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