Someone Helping Friends For 9 Years For SEO Never Got Paid

I have been doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for the last 9 years and manage 6 sites for friends and 7 GMB listings. My problem, is I don't get paid for this. I went out and got Google certified, Hubspot Certified and Bright Local Certified to prove to a big firm that I do have some knowledge in this. And still can not get a job?
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Why don't you start charging?

Skaff ✍️ » Raghunathan
No one sees the value in it. I have 8 number 1 listings in a site and they said that's neat.
Hardy Β» Skaff
Stop doing work for people who don't see the value in what you do. Work on your own sites and get yourself some paying clients. Get that money you deserve!
Skaff ✍️
Raghunathan Β» Skaff
Yeah. Tell them you no longer have the time if they're not willing to pay you. Don't waste your energy on people who don't value your work.
Smith Β» Skaff
Have you asked your friends to pay you, or are you waiting for them to offer to pay you? Write to them and tell them the value of what you have provided. Tell them that you need to start charging a fixed amount- and a fixed date of commencement. tell them it's discounted from your normal fees and see who pays/stays.

Why you didn't build your own business? 9 years of experience, you could achieve at least 4 figures per month.
Why not use your friends as references and start promoting your services.
You might need new friends.
I've done both in house and agency work for US companies. I can tell you know that they dgaf about your little SEO mini agency or managing friends' pages.
You need to show you know how to work with others, interface with corporate clients, know consulting best practices and lingo, project management, and reporting to stakeholders.
Agencies don't want someone coming in with their hotshot methods. You need to show you can use their tools and practices and support whatever the agency does and most importantly, who's in charge.
Those hubspot things don't matter at all unfortunately. They'd rather hire an intern who now knows all the internal practices, communications, reporting, workflows of the company than someone who has taken 7 GMB listings to the top. They can teach you all of that. What they can't teach is finding someone who will work well with others.
Source: I was in same boat and totally changed my approach and got job at a boutique consulting firm.
Bro no no no no. Stop doing free shit right now. Get some testimonials, and get yourself some clients. Stop being a door mat and level up.
I don't wanna sound harsh man by the way, but I think you need to snap out of it, pay attention to what everyone is saying. This could be a great day for you.

Skaff ✍️ » Corey
Thanks man, I have come to that as well. When I told one guy I got him 8 Page one spot one and one featured snippet. He said neat…I was like really?

This is because business owners do not know what SEO is, how it works, or see any value in what they don't understand. Instead, if you say you can make businesses #1 in Google, show case studies of how you did it (without any technical information that could confuse them), you have something no web developer can do. Showcase how your SEO skills made them more money, increased their website visits, increased sales. Then partner with agencies as an SEO consultant (just go to Indeed, take all their tests, and apply for about 50 SEO part time SEO jobs per day for about two weeks). After a few weeks, you should get a handful of legitimate part time gigs. Watch how they sell their clients value of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), study their marketing funnel and approaches. Send out white label emails to agencies, try to partner with web developers you know letting them do web and you doing SEO, and ask to meet with a handful of legitimate business owners (furniture warehouses, doctors, lawyers, accountants, restaurants, pubs) and discuss how you can make them #1 in Google, show them your case studies in a fun, easy to understand, very brief pitch deck. Wash, rinse, repeat. If you dig what my tips, act on them and let me know what happens.

Skaff Β» Davi
I actually did, and applied for 25 jobs so far.
Davi Β» Skaff
Good for you. Indeed has probably the most jobs, but requires taking tests, that employers of course can (and probably will) use to grade you as a potential candidate. I have a "super freelance jobs list" I sell on my site for freelancers along with tips that I used to use myself if you're interested. It's a massive list of freelance job sites, including categories, and ideas for strategies. If you're interested, just Direct Message (DM) me.


If you didn't get paid, now still you have lots of opportunities.
First of all, you don't need those certificates to show a big firm that you have knowledge.
A company or business owner would only ask you about your recent or previous clients reports.
If you have the details that how you manage them, what's the strategies you applied, and what's the return you got. If you tell this everything + show that you stated , you're done.
I started with almost zero. Now we have lots of clients, we manage bunch of GMBs and websites for agencies.
Only One thing I do is, when someone interested to start a business with us, I show them our strategy, current clients and reports that how we increasing their business that's it. I'm getting hired.
So it's not that hard though βœ…
Good Luck πŸ˜‰

Skaff Β» Jubair
That was my thought as well. Thank you

What would it take to get paid from your current clients?
What would it take to get more client? Paying clients at that.
Any part time SEO work you can take on?
What if you could expand into web marketing? Would that open up more opportunities?

Skaff Β» Bradley
Tried to explain to one guy that I have 8 Page one spot one and one featured snippet. That this is gold and he said that was neat. Just don't see the value in it to pay ya bud. Me…ok…
Bradley Β» Skaff
Did this guy wanted to do SEO? Did he know what it was?
Skaff ✍️ » Bradley
Yeah he knows he ranks number one for a bunch of key words. But in his mind, he thinks it does not generate business. I said where do you think the calls come from then? A flyer in the market?
Bradley Β» Skaff
Lmao. That's kind of funny. Gets ranked in SEO yet doesn't see the value in it.
I bet he think he can do it all again. "I struck gold before, why couldn't I do it again?"
Robert Β» Skaff
That's why you need to be able to prove that your work provides verifiable leads and/or sales. You do this with tracking, because simply showing increase in traffic and Search Engine Result Page (SERP) for many businesses doesnt mean shit. Leads and sales talk and everything else is to many BS. Can you Direct Message (DM) me some of these sites and what words they rank for? Id like to review what you have done, and then I can help put you on a money making path.

Too many people in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but only a few succeed. SEO is about strategy, execution & communication. Identify what you are good at. You need luck & a decent budget. An hacked site or a wrong link can derail your plans. Your clients need to be patient & collaborative in nature.


Mant companies don't like to hire full time workers with people that freelance on their spare time because they will lack time to work for them. I quit my old job because of that. They simply came to say its them or us. I was earning more as a freelance with my clients than at my actual job so I quit. If you are really giving your friends good results, stop looking for a job. Start selling your services to other businesses. Go to your friends with who you are working for free and ask them for a video testimonial, go and record it yourself so there is no delays. Ask them to give refer you to their friends or people they know who might hire you. It's ok to work for free sometimes, but that does not mean that you can't get something in return. Make them make it worth for you. Show similar business what you are doing for your friends and sell them your service. I used to work for a tour operator and when I quit I went to all the competitors to show the results I made and I got hired by a couple of them. Start selling into that niche because you have experience with their customers.

Skaff Β» Fraga
Just joined Upwork but I see a lot of, I want page one spot one. Here is 5 bucks.
I joined and never invested time there because of that. Same with Fiverr. Actually I had used Fiverr to get people do stuff for cheap and use it in my clients projects. I started freelancing full-time about 5 years ago. It was a bit hard at first specially since I hate going door to door selling or cold calling but it worked. Many no's but the few yes worked quite well. Some were really cheap "bad" accounts but soon people started to recommend me and now all my clients are recommendations. I think free accounts are not that bad, sometimes you don't get nothing but having the portfolio helps in sells and the cheap and free accounts can be pushed into referring you to better clients. I think that free accounts and cheap clients are necessary to climb. Big paying clients usually don't risk their money if they can't be sure they will have some business of ouf it. That's why I suggest to find similar business to your current clients/friends. If they have a restaurant go to a restaurant a few blocks away or in the area and tell them I'm working for this restaurant that you may know, I have brought them X amount of clients, they say that they have more customers, I can do the same for you. I have experience with marketing restaurants with people in this area. Or you can go to a local butcher shop or shop, it's kind of close in the niche. Always say you are charging and tell your friends to say they are paying you what you want to charge. If they get a reference call, which freelancing is usually not common, in my country at least, you have the backup. I wish you lots of luck!
Skaff ✍️ » Fraga
Thanks man, appreciate it
A startegy I used to do when I was starting too was only if I see the client interested but hessitating not because of the lack of money, but because they didn't know me or something not money related, offer them two or three months half price to try the service. Then the normal price or the cancelation of the service. If they don't want to pay because of the lack of money then don't waste your time, if that's not the issue with a couple of clients coming in they can see that their investment will return.
Skaff ✍️ » Fraga
The one guys site I manage has 8 Page one spot on Search Engine Result Page (SERP) and a featured snippet and he said oh that is neat. And I am like really bro? Neat?
Fraga Β» Skaff
There is people who simply don't get it and that's fine. Sometimes you can't educate them. Start aiming for better clients and leave the one who are anchoring you. Sometimes it's sad seeing your hard work and having to say bye but seeing the inflation is harder πŸ˜‚ we need to keep looking for us at the same time we keep looking for our clients. If you are managing so many free clients it mens you love what you do so now it's time to make a hobby your main income.
Skaff ✍️ » Fraga
Amen man


What exactly were you doing in the past 9 years of doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Just managing your friends' sites and GMB's for free?
1. I would start by checking if you brought results for any of those sites and GMBs you're managing. If you did – then why aren't you getting paid? Tell those guys that you have other clients that are ready to pay for your services and that you would rather monetize your time rather than waste it for free.
2. Package all of your results into a portfolio proving that you can get results for clients
3. Why do you need to work for an agency at this point? You already have 13 clients (or less, idk if the GMBs are the same people with the sites), if you can convert 2 of them into paying clients, that's a start.
4. Register on Upwork and start building up your profile. Finally start getting paid for your services.
5. Get 5 full-time clients that pay you $500/month and that's a start
All of the above is assuming that you have actually mastered SEO and are able to bring results to clients.
If not, starting at an agency as an intern or junior SEO is always a possibility. Given that you have 9 years of experience, you could even pretend for an SEO Manager position if you can explain what you've been doing all those years.
Don't be afraid to start small at an agency, you usually get promoted pretty quickly if you show results and are a team player (and can live with corporate BS). Junior SEO -> Senior SEO -> SEO Manager: this can all be done within 3 years.

Skaff Β» Morgan
I have my own site and put an article out this morning and is already number one spot for keyword on yahoo and duck duck go. Have yet to index with Google. One site I manage has 8 number one spots and a featured snippet and that guy said that was neat. But can not pay ya for it.
Morgan Β» Skaff
Good stuff!
Yeah, tell those guys that you aren't working for free anymore and focus on your websites + getting paying clients.
Before leaving your current clients, make sure to take screenshots of Google Analytics, Google Search Console (GSC), and Ahrefs positions proving your results. Don't include any specific data like URLs or site names, a graph showing constant growth over time is proof enough.
Skaff ✍️
Thanks man.

you can do lead gen or start affiliate sites.

Skaff Β» Khan
Actually was just thinking about that. I built a lead gen site years ago for rehab and it was a beast 578 pages. And a shit load of calls. But the guy buying the calls hung up at 57 seconds to get out of paying me. So I said f this. And killed it
Khan Β» Skaff
It happens since there are some cheapskates in every industry but that was only 1 guy, there must have been dozens if not hundreds of people/sellers ready to buy leads. You could have tried someone else.
Skaff ✍️
I actually called one of the biggest down in Florida and he said na…so I tried calling places for about a month and they all said no. Trust me, I did not want to kill 8 months of work.
Morgan Β» Skaff
Why would you shut down a site bringing traffic and leads?
There are always businesses ready to pay for hot leads. If you couldn't find any at that point, I'd have just added ads and monetized the site that way. Or renting the site to a company working in this industry, or selling it.
So many opportunities! πŸ˜ƒ
Skaff ✍️ » Morgan
Yeah looking back I was dumb as shit, but iw as so frustrated at that point of trying and trying. And then get a great thing going to get screwed over. I have the patience of a hand grenade. So killed it
Nathan Β» Skaff
That's a great sounding site! Are you going to fire it back up? With all the real estate frenzy going on in FL these days, might be time!
Skaff ✍️ » Nathan
I doubt it, took me 8-9 months to build. It was a beast of a site. 539-579 pages.

Life tip: No one cares about certifications, diplomas, resumes, etc. – they care about past performance and results. That's why it's so hard to get your foot in the door in anything, without a track record it's hard to get work. I started with my own sites, then got one client as a side job, within a year I had more work than I could handle from referrals. That's when you start niching down … but that's for another conversation.

Skaff Β» Chandler
My thoughts as well before the certificates. I have built and ranked well over 50 sites. And have 8 Page one spot one SERPs for one site alone. And the guy who ownes the business just could care less.
Arthur Β» Skaff
Learn to show the monetary value of your results. How many additional leads could those 8 page one SERPs generate for the business? Learn to speak the language of money.


I have this speech with interns looking to break into the business that have no portfolio to lean on.
Work for free at first. Not because you're doing them a favor. Because you need to show some success and learn on other peoples dime.
Once you've got a year or enough for a case study or two now you have ammo to support your experience and you no longer have to say you don't have any.
What to do with the friends who gave you this opportunity? The selfish thing to do would be to just be straight up and be like I gotta pay the bills bro… here's my family rate.
The nice thing to do would be to find some other intern like person, show them the ropes, and let them get what you got. Everyone happy!
Hope this helps…
A lot of good advice on here. Unless I missed it, I would recommend you actually have a portfolio of work you can share. If you've never worked in-house or at an agency, how do they know how well you work with others or clients? How do they know you understand how to perform technical site audits, competitive keyword analysis, and formulate action plans?
The best way is to create a body of work, where you can share your chops and know how.
Are you also interested in taking an entry level associate/jr SEO position? Not saying you're doing this, but if not, don't let your ego get in the way of opportunity. I used to work in a call center for a very large digital marketing agency. I was making $5-6K in commission on average each month + $10/hr, which came out to about $70K a year. Not bad, but I wanted to do more than inbound sales reading the same scripts every day. The company had a junior content outreach position (link building) and was willing to train internally. I did my research on the role, which led me to discovering SEO and how vital it was and was going to be for companies of any size. Realizing the potential, I applied.
The job paid a salary of $38K…I ignored the dollar amount and focused on the opportunity. I stayed in that role for 3 years, and after getting as much training as I could from the company, I landed my first full-time SEO gig and was off to the races. This was 6 years ago, and today I'm interviewing for six figure SEO Manager/Director positions.
Unless your financial obligations require more, make sure you're humbling yourself and focusing on the opportunity vs the $$. The $$ will come. Opportunities are harder to come by.
Tell your friends to start paying you.. don't do work for free. From your other comments you've clearly got the case studies so just start looking for work on places like upwork and build and rank your own site showing your case studies too.
You need to learn how to quantify the value of your SEO results into $ in revenue for people to actually care
Well yeah, if you're doing the work for free, why would they pay you? Use your work to build your portfolio, case studies, testimonials, etc. Also, start charging, never do free work. Don't undersell. They know what you're capable of for free, imagine what you could do for them if they paid you.


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