To manage clients expectations means setting clear goals for what your services can do for your clients and how you will implement them.
It’s also about setting boundaries as to what your service is and isn’t to prevent clients from asking you to do more than what you’re offering.
Finally, handling expectations is to be transparent about your services so clients know what’s happening as you work behind the scenes.
Let’s go more deeper.
How To Manage Clients Expectations
To start managing your client expectations, you need clients to sign a contract you’ll draft about the services you will render.
The contract will define all the work you’ll provide for clients and establish the terms of the project. It aims to answer all the questions the clients have regarding the following:
Terms and conditions
Discuss what the client should expect from you (a clear description of deliverables) and vice versa (ideally, upfront payment and the final half of the amount once the client approves the deliverables).
Scope of the project
Establish tasks to prevent clients from piling you with functions not included in your initial agreement.
Include warranties (basic “promises” that you and the client must fulfill during the duration of this contract) and liability (explanation telling clients that you are accountable for the work you need to deliver as stated in the contract.
But once that’s complete, you cannot be held responsible for any undesirable outcomes resulting from your deliverables.)
Establish the stipulations of the payment terms.
Include a clause that allows you or the client to exit the contract without breaking the terms and conditions.
The contract may vary from case to case, but these are the basic terms you need to include in your agreement.
From here, you can tag and update the client regarding each task to update them.
Establishing clear communication channels between you and clients outside of back-and-forth emails enables you to manage their expectations further.
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Hiring VAs & Apprentices
If you keep grinding and working as an SEO freelancer by following the process above, expect to make good money from lots of steady clients.
At this point, you now have the clout and experience as a freelancer to attract job opportunities without searching for them.
You have the luxury to turn clients down if they don’t pay you premium prices upfront because you have your current clients to fall back on.
While all of this is good, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels just yet. There’s still more you can do to squeeze the most out of your career as an SEO freelancer.
You should consider leveling up to generate more clients and income for yourself while working less.
The first step to take is by hiring.
You normally have two options when you want to make your first hire because otherwise, it gets very expensive.
- Either you hire a VA, or
- you hire a local apprentice you can physically train up.
The purpose of a VA is to make your job much easier.
If you have menial and repetitive tasks that are taking you away from the main tasks at hand, you can assign them to the VA so you can move on to other tasks on your to-do list.
The key to finding a VA who will help you get the job done is to define what they will do for you and how they will do it.
You can simply follow the processes above and share them with them via video format to see the exact way of doing them.
Also, make sure to delegate tasks that don’t require critical thinking.
Those tasks are reserved for you since you’re explicitly paid for providing your expertise and knowledge about SEO.
Only assign them tasks that they can complete even without SEO experience.
Task Shortlists Sample
Below is a shortlist of tasks discussed above that you can delegate to your VAs:
- Publishing blog posts
- Sending outreach emails to prospects
- Monitoring social media and scouring job boards for opportunities
- Doing keyword research
- Link prospecting
- Graphic design
From here, you need to find the right person for the job.
Hiring Your First VA
Among the many places you can hire VAs, OnlineJobs is one of the best and most popular ones out there.
Sign up as an employer so that you can post a job opening for the VA position.
When creating the job post, make sure to be as descriptive as possible.
- Describe who you are,
- what your business is about, and
- what you’re looking for in a VA.
While you can create a job posting with a free account, you won’t be able to see who applied to your job and what their credentials are.
To view them and make an informed decision, you need to pay at least for the Pro plan at $69/month.
The site will also approve your job posts immediately, compared to the two-day wait with the free program.
Similar to securing client projects, you will need to create a contract for the VA to get the ball rolling.
Setting clear expectations and setting boundaries from the start paves the way for a successful partnership moving forward.
Once you’ve found your VA, you can invite them to your ClickUp and assign them tasks.
Take this opportunity to learn how to work as a client to someone.
The tasks you will assign to your VA aren’t directly related to your client’s work and, therefore, shouldn’t impact your income.
And also there’s less pressure for you to get the VA up to speed immediately.
You can even teach the VA at your own pace, starting with non-SEO tasks.
Eventually, if you’re confident of the VA’s skills and work ethic, you can slowly but surely train them to do some of your SEO work if they are interested.
At this point, what you want to focus on is delegating tasks so you can free up time for yourself.
Part of being a successful SEO freelancer is working smart and getting the job done for clients. That includes training the right people to help you do the job.
As you get comfortable being a client for your VA, you can scale up your freelancing practice even higher.
Aside from hiring another VA, you can post jobs on OnlineJobs.ph hiring link builders, content writers, and others who will help you round out your SEO services.
This way, you don’t have to lose prospects and clients because you don’t offer the SEO services they need for their website.
Your new hires will help do the tasks for you to proceed or continue working with them.
At this point, you’re no longer just a freelancer working for clients but are now a business with people working under you.
It is a sign that you’re scaling up with the potential of earning even more than ever before.
At the same time, you’ll have to dedicate more time to managing people to ensure that they do an excellent job for your clients.
The things you learned while managing your VA should give you a headstart on working the new hires into your processes.
You also need to personally train them to help them understand how you would do things your way.
Clients see your name, so you need to set standards regarding the quality of work they will do for you.
Positioning Yourself for Next-Level Freelancing
The idea of next-level freelancing is that you begin to completely outsource or automate specific tasks to the point where they require minimal input.
As an example, a large majority of you doing local client SEO is probably either spending a ton of time building citations yourself or spending hefty amounts on BrightLocal subscriptions.
SEOBuilder (No affiliate link, I just like the service) has citation building and citation clean-up services that just require you to fill out the company’s details, which you can turn into an SOP for a VA to do and just add credit to their dashboard.
Likewise, you can totally automate your outreach link building through PitchBox and VAs – Most link-building services will charge you at a minimum of 3x what a link would cost to build yourself.
This is where you need to review your business’s individual tasks and see the most efficient course of action for each of them, this may change over time as new tools or ideas become available to you.
This is also where networking comes in huge.
You’ll start to learn less and less from courses and guides and need to start building a network of like-minded individuals around you.
Meetup.com, Facebook Groups, Slack/Discord Communities, WhatsApp/Telegram Groups, etc all have physical events, as people just talk more in person. And when they’ve had a drink.
Transitioning Your Skillset Into Other Projects
There is going to be a fair amount of downtime in being a freelancer, and eventually, once you’ve gotten to a certain level, you’re going to want to have your own properties to invest in any way
I don’t know a single successful SEO freelancer that doesn’t have some sort of website project or partnership going on in the background.
Generally speaking, most freelancers start affiliate sites.
You know there’s going to be other SEOs to compete against, as well as the fact that you can test out new theories, strategies and tools.
You can also look at partnering with businesses, either on a revenue share model or becoming an actual shareholder based on your work.
If you wanted to upgrade your lifestyle, you can swap SEO services, audits or consultations with other businesses
Think car rental companies, real estate agents, jewellers, lawyers, accountants, surgeons, personal trainers, life coaches and more…
These businesses are also great sources of lead referrals themselves.
You can also use your freelance business to bankroll your own business – Most of the richest SEOs I know use SEO as a way to get business and leads for their other businesses.
If you’re genuinely passionate and interested in SEO, making money and a living out of it genuinely isn’t that difficult.
Of course, it helps to have some things in life already setup for you, I can’t say that being a British man doesn’t have some additional benefits in comparison to a lot of others in the world.
That all being said, I managed to do it all before most would consider me a “real” adult
I remember turning up to in-person clients and people thinking I was there for work experience or apprenticeships, not billing hundreds of pounds per hour.
As always, you should be creative, focused and hard-working… That’s how you succeed.
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