As an SEO consultant, if you are paid by the hour or by project, your earning potential is always limited by the number of hours worked.
And as soon as you stop working, the money stops flowing.
Even if you manage to work more efficiently or increase your tariffs, there will always be a cap on your income. How do you get over this wall?
Roland Fraiser suggests that you start getting paid for the value you bring to your customers to overcome this limitation and generate higher revenue.
“Don’t let your genius be someone else’s retirement.” -Roland Fraiser
On a recent episode of The SEJ Show, we had the privilege of welcoming Roland, an award-winning podcast host, Stanford University advisor and director of six of Inc.’s Fastest Growing Companies.
Roland shared some fascinating insights into alternative payment models and how advisors and agencies can initiate the transition to creating wealth and income.
Why equity advice is the smart way to get paid
Roland emphasized the importance of not solely relying on traditional compensation models such as flat fees, hourly payments or revenue sharing.
These models are not sustainable from a quality of life perspective as they require continuous work to generate income.
Instead, Roland suggests that consultants and agencies avoid the “dollars for hours” trap and find ways to convert their efforts and the value they provide into equity.
The concept is to use your knowledge, skills and contacts to negotiate compensation that reflects your long-term contributions and the increase in business value.
If your contributions continue to benefit the company, you deserve to be rewarded with a share of the profits or equity.
How to find advice on investment opportunities
Paying out in the form of equity requires some effort. Negotiating these payment models takes time, and if you’re not careful you may not see any immediate revenue.
Roland learned this lesson firsthand:
“When I started in this field a long time ago, I made several mistakes and ended up with shares in twenty companies but no money. Most of the time, companies either didn’t make profits or reinvested them for growth, leaving little to distribute… So I put in a lot of work without making an income. It taught me the importance of having both income and wealth.”
To avoid this trap, Roland recommends the following steps:
- Focus on companies with existing cash flow and profitability rather than startups.
- Identify areas where you can have a significant impact and add value to the business.
- Quantify the value you can bring, e.g. B. Cost savings or revenue generation.
- Calculate the percentage of value you can add to the overall value of the company.
- Approach the business owner with a clear proposal, emphasizing the lasting value you can provide.
- Negotiate terms and consider factors such as milestone-based or KPI-based compensation if needed.
- Present your contribution as an ongoing investment that increases the overall value of the company.
- Determine the concrete evaluation and agree on the conditions that reflect your added value.
One of Roland’s top tips is to maintain open communication with the customer and make sure you keep your promises to build trust in the relationship.
Position yourself as an equity advisor
Unlike hourly or project revenue models, equity payment models require preparation, including branding, strategic positioning, and demonstrating the value of comprehensive services.
1. Transition from SEO to growth strategist
In order not to be limited to a specific role or expertise, it is important to establish a clear brand and define the desired positioning.
You need to go beyond just identifying yourself as an SEO specialist.
Instead, try to be perceived as a strategic partner that offers a broader range of expertise for greater value and opportunity.
2. Build strategic alliances
Partner with professionals who provide complementary services to enhance your value proposition.
Working with experts in different fields allows you to take a holistic approach to problem solving and demonstrate a broader range of skills to potential clients or employers.
3. Create a unique brand identity
Throughout the episode, Roland emphasized the importance of branding in shaping a prospect’s perception.
It’s crucial to define a differentiator that unifies your different areas of expertise, he says. Choose a specific focus or specialization within the broader growth landscape, such as AI for demand generation.
This niche selection allows you to differentiate yourself in a crowded market by presenting yourself as a problem solver with unique insights and approaches and offering exceptional value.
4. Brand expansion content strategy
After establishing a focused brand identity, consultants can incrementally expand their content strategy to cover broader topics within their area of expertise.
For example, Roland Fraiser moved from being recognized as an “acquisition guy” to exploring related areas like exits and fundraising.
This progressive expansion demonstrates its continued growth and adaptability while maintaining its original brand positioning.
4. Communicate your value and goals
Equity advice is all about your ability to convey your value and long-term goals to your clients.
From the start, share your intent to deliver exceptional results and build lasting partnerships.
And do not hesitate to express your desire to participate in a company. Roland says this accomplishes four things:
- The customer realizes that having you as a partner is an option.
- Show customers they believe in you.
- Shows that the customer is willing to invest in themselves.
- The customer understands your goals.
It also demonstrates your long-term commitment, brings to the fore the value you offer, and can be the foundation of a solid long-term relationship.
For the right SEO, marketing professional or agency, alternative compensation models such as stock ownership or part-time management positions can be the ideal way to take your career (and income) to the next level.
Looking for more tips and insights from Roland on how to get started with equity advice? Be sure to check out Episode 308 of The SEJ Show.