In the SEO industry, there are tons of consultants. Hiring a consultant is usually a great thing for short-term solutions but it doesn’t give the benefits of long term growth that most small business owners are looking for. If you just want to be a quick fix guy, charging flat-fees for consulting may work, but more and more small/medium sized business owners are becoming more aware of the limited effects this has on their marketing campaigns. Working as an equity partner on the other hand, may prove to be a more beneficial arrangement for both parties.
Why Partnering Works
Being an SEO, you know there are rapid changing events happening all the time. That’s the nature of the internet right now. What you do for a client right now is not going to help them in the long haul. It requires constant attention. The model of consulting does not fit with the model of the internet. Consultants are usually brought in for a quick fix. But being an equity partner, you determine how much you make, and this may prove to be an appealing situation with a small business owner. You should stop thinking of how much to charge per month put rather what percent of an 8x increase in revenue you can share with the right partner for you.
Who Shouldn't Do This
But this relationship may not be of advantage to if you are an SEO that does minimal work. If you’re incentive is to add a few links each month that you use for every site that you work with and then compile a fancy looking report from Google analytics that shows basic things a middle school kid could figure out on their own, obviously you don’t have the invested effort to participate in such a relationship. These are the snake oil SEO firms that rip off companies because of the business owner’s lack of knowledge in the SEO sphere.
By partnering with a company and investing your skills into their future growth, both you and the company can come on top. The company will see that you are truly interested in helping them grow and can be an appealing factor in deciding who to go to with their SEO.
You’ll want to make sure that the company you are going to invest your time and skills in will have the chance to grow immensely. And making sure that limitations that will be put on you by company officials are spelled out before making the deal will help make sure that the growth you can achieve isn’t limited as well.
Bottom line: You have to decide which structure works for you. If you’re a flat-fee consultant that won’t deliver flat-fee results, then maybe that’s the way you should work it. But if you want to invest in a company and be a part of its growth, being an equity partner may be your best shot.