One of the fastest-growing skillsets on the marketplace is SEO and Website Design. Today we meet someone who not only tackles freelance web design jobs but also works as a freelance SEO expert…Ethan Benge.
Ethan has been with the FreeUp family for over two years and will share a little about how he became a Website Designer and an SEO freelancer and how he makes it work for his booming biz…Let’s take a look!
I was born in Riverside County, CA, but spent most of my adolescence in Columbus, Ohio. I moved to Tampa, FL for several years (where I discovered FreeUp), but now travel full time while running my business in a fully converted Skoolie with my wife, Brittany.
Travel has always been a big passion ever since I took my first tour duty in South Korea while in the army. I love to experience culture, eat unique foods, and hike in the most beautiful locations. Running my business from home and all online allows me to do this, which is fantastic.
Although creating a website is a lot of work while I travel, I have a lot of fun doing it. I really enjoy design, creating something out of nothing, which is really how my business started and is going now.
Being passionate about your work is essential, and it shows because you take extra care to get the project done right. Finding clients when you’re a freelancer isn’t always easy though.
One of the hardest things when you start freelancing, is proving to clients to hire you with so much online competition. When you start on a new platform, you won’t have past project reviews, star ratings on their platform, or much of anything else other than what you did outside of using the platform.
Starting fresh makes things difficult; however, it’s not like that with FreeUp, which is one of the things I love most about the platform and really helped me to grow in the beginning. I have been freelancing for over three years now, and it was a big part of how I grew my business in the beginning.
It allowed me to gain as many customers as I needed just about whenever I wanted. It kept me from ever worrying about not having enough clients and still does!
In a brief overview, Social Benge is a digital marketing agency for small businesses. However, I specialize in and enjoy being an SEO consultant and freelance website designer the most.
Those skills are where I have focused and spent the majority of my time. My business offers other services, such as social media management and paid ads management.
Before Social Benge, I initially was just working as a freelancer part-time. I told myself I would eventually go full-time and start a business but I guess I didn’t quite have the courage to do it at first.
Then the pandemic hit, and a lot of businesses shut down, including the one that I was working full time at. It was at this point that I knew I had to take this as an opportunity and start the business. It has been growing rapidly ever since, and I have no regrets except that I didn’t do it earlier.
Because of my previous experience of picking up side jobs here on FreeUp, I knew that I could use the platform to fuel my business full time, which it did!
In the beginning, I was able to pick up as many clients as I essentially wanted. Now we have a lot of referrals and direct requests but still continue to work with FreeUp to pick up new clients.
The platform makes it easy, stress-free, and anyone on the platform is serious about hiring someone, so I never have to worry about it being a waste of my time (which happens a lot on other platforms).
I love how easy it is to use and that it is really straightforward. There are no hidden fees or anything like that (for both me the freelancer and the clients I work with), which I really appreciate. It makes it a lot easier to budget and plan when I know exactly what I am going to be spending.
The clients on the platform are also serious about hiring someone, so I never have to worry about it being a waste of my time. This is not the case with other freelancing platforms where I often have to spend hours chatting with clients that ultimately never hire because they weren’t necessarily serious about their projects.
Lastly, I love the freedom that it provides for me to do what I love most, which is travel. Which being able to work remotely and quickly pick up clients, I wouldn’t be able to travel the way that I do.
There are so many things that I have learned since I started freelancing, but I think the most important ones really have to do with mindset. You can have all of the skills in the world but without the right mindset, you won’t get anywhere.
I have also learned how to better manage my time and work more efficiently. But, most importantly, I have learned to be more confident in myself and my abilities, which has led to me being more successful with my freelancing work.
To become a great web designer or SEO Consultant, you really understanding the client’s needs and wants is key to success. It’s not just about doing what you think looks good or what you would do, but taking the time to learn about the client and their business and then incorporating that into your work. This creates a much better result for both the client and yourself. It also builds trust.
When a client is looking for an SEO Consultant, some things I like to talk about with clients are their business, their goals for the project, what they are looking for in terms of design or results, and any other specific details that they may want me to know. This helps me get a better understanding of their business and what they are hoping to achieve with the project.
Have an outline ready to go with your clients about what you need to know in order to provide them with the best possible results.
From there, I usually also ask for their logo, branding colors, and any other important images or documents that might help me in designing the project. It’s always helpful to have as much information as possible upfront so that I can hit the ground running when starting work on the project.
Also keep in mind that SEO for small businesses in a local area is handled differently from SEO tactics used for a larger company that is based solely online.
Be confident in your skills and abilities, and be willing to put in the work to learn about the client and their business. These freelancing tips will help you create better results for them and yourself.
It’s also important to be efficient with your time and work smart, not just hard. And always stay organized! There is nothing more frustrating than losing track of a project or having to scramble to find something that you misplaced. Having a good system in place can help prevent this from happening.
Use platforms such as:
These are going to be a Godsend and really keep everything running smoothly as they should!
Make sure that when you pitch to a new client that your pitch is hand-tailored and unique. Talk about yourself, but also make sure you talk about their project and even bring up something specific that they mention in the request.
Lastly, choose a niche and run with it. Find a specific area and market that you can focus on. Again, having a finely tuned skill set is much better than being a jack of all trades but not really specializing in one specific thing.
One of my favorite projects that I have worked on was for a client who was starting a nonprofit. They had a lot of ideas and were really passionate about them but didn’t know how to execute them.
They came to me for help, and I was able to take their ideas and turn them into a reality. It was so rewarding to see the final product and how happy the client was.
The nonprofit now has a new website that allows artists to offer their art for sale and donate all proceeds to a charity of their choice. Since then, the website has launched and is selling beautiful art all around the U.S.
It was a great experience working with them, and I learned a lot from it. I think that’s one of the best things about freelancing; you always have the opportunity to learn and grow as a designer.
Another great success we have had recently was with a luxury villa in the Virgin Islands. We recently were hired to create a new website and optimize it.
Within three months of launching their new site and with one of our SEO plans, they went from having a DA of 0 to a DA of 10, over 100 backlinks, ranking for over 400 keywords, and bringing in a significant about of traffic. Needless to say that the client is thrilled, and we’re having a blast helping them grow rapidly.
Being a freelance Web Designer and SEO Freelancer is simple with FreeUp.
Ethan has given us insight into what it takes to be a successful freelance web designer and SEO freelancer on the FreeUp platform. With this unique insight, you can start applying some of these tips to your freelancing game today!
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