Becoming an SEO freelancer – The Knowledge Panel Episode 36

What does it take to become an SEO freelancer? And how do you run a successful SEO freelance operation? This month the Knowledge Panel show sees Genie Jones interview Natalie Arney, Nick LeRoy and Lukasz Zelezny.

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Want to Read Instead? Here is a Summary

In the latest episode of the Knowledge Panel podcast, industry experts Natalie, Lucas, and Nick delve into the world of SEO freelancing, sharing their journeys, essential skills, and strategies for success. If you’re considering stepping into the realm of freelancing or seeking to refine your approach, this insightful conversation provides valuable insights.

Introducing the Experts:

Natalie Arnie is a freelance SEO consultant based in Brighton, UK, with a focus on all things freelancing. Lucas, who has spent two decades in London, brings his expertise in sharing valuable tips. Nick, a seasoned freelance SEO professional with 15 years of experience, hails from Minnesota, USA.

Embarking on the Freelance Journey:

Each expert has a unique journey that led them to become SEO freelancers. Nick, who faced an unexpected job loss, embraced freelancing as an opportunity to rewrite his career path. He overcame challenges with unwavering determination and used his past experiences to fuel his success.

Natalie, on the other hand, transitioned to freelancing just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. With a contracting role that evolved into a freelancing opportunity, she capitalized on her timing and the shift in the industry’s landscape.

Lucas’s journey involved a desire for greater work-life balance, inspired by the birth of his daughters. His years of preparation, including building a personal brand through conferences and networking, positioned him to confidently step into the world of freelancing.

Essential Skills and Qualifications:

The experts collectively emphasize several essential skills and qualities for successful freelancers:

Expertise: Freelancing is not the place to learn from scratch. Having a solid foundation of SEO knowledge is crucial.

Communication: Effective communication with clients and decision-makers is pivotal. Explaining SEO nuances and demonstrating the value of your services requires clear and persuasive communication.

Business Development: While SEO expertise is paramount, freelancers need to market themselves effectively. Business development skills, including understanding client needs, are indispensable.

Courage: Freelancers must possess the courage to stand by their convictions, challenge clients’ misperceptions, and offer alternative perspectives.

Approaching Clients and Building a Client Base:

Building a solid client base is a multifaceted process that demands creativity, perseverance, and networking.

Nick’s well-established personal brand and network proved invaluable when he made the leap to freelancing. Utilizing his SEO for Lunch newsletter, active social media presence, and existing connections, he was able to tap into a supportive network of potential clients.

Lucas echoes the importance of networking, especially within the SEO community. Leveraging LinkedIn, he was able to connect with potential clients and fellow professionals, enhancing his visibility and credibility.

Natalie highlights the significance of being available and visible within your niche. Being an active participant in relevant communities, like LinkedIn groups, can help you position yourself as an authority and attract potential clients.

In the rapidly evolving field of SEO, freelancers need to adapt their strategies continually. From utilizing online platforms to attending conferences, consistent networking and visibility are key.

Are you considering taking the plunge into the world of freelance SEO? This blog post is here to offer insights and advice from seasoned SEO freelancers who have successfully transitioned from traditional jobs to freelancing. While the journey may not be without its challenges, the rewards and opportunities in the freelance realm are abundant.

Why Freelance?

The allure of freelance SEO work is multifaceted. Flexibility, the potential for greater income, and the ability to choose your clients and projects are just a few of the benefits. Freelancing empowers you to take control of your career and shape it according to your goals and values. However, before you dive in, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of what lies ahead.

Building Your Client Base

Starting as a freelancer may seem daunting, especially if you’re not sure where to begin with clients. The experts emphasize that you don’t need a massive financial safety net to get started. Instead, focus on building strong relationships, providing quality work, and leveraging the connections you already have. Networking, attending events, and being visible online are all effective ways to attract clients.

Managing the Transition

The transition from a traditional job to freelance work involves more than just switching to remote work. You’re stepping into a world where you’re your own boss, and that requires a shift in mindset. Freelancers need to set boundaries, establish a work routine, and prioritize self-care to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Mental health should be a priority, and seeking support when needed is crucial to long-term success.

Staying Informed in the Ever-Changing SEO Landscape

Keeping up with the ever-evolving SEO landscape is a crucial aspect of freelance success. But as our experts highlight, it’s important not to get overwhelmed by constant updates and changes. Following industry newsletters, engaging in communities, and attending conferences can help you stay updated without drowning in information overload.

Proud Moments and Successful Projects

One of the most rewarding aspects of freelancing is the opportunity to work on projects that truly matter to you. Our experts shared some of their proud moments, which were often centered around making a difference for brands they admired or working on projects that align with their passions. Freelancers often find that their work becomes more meaningful when they can choose the projects they’re passionate about.

Advice for Aspiring Freelancers

If you’re considering making the switch to freelance SEO work, here are some key takeaways from our experts:

Don’t feel limited by financial concerns. You can start freelancing with just a few clients and gradually build from there.

Consider gaining experience in an agency or in-house role before transitioning to freelance to build a strong foundation.

Be prepared to invest in your SEO knowledge and skills continually. The industry is always evolving.

Focus on building relationships and connections within the SEO community.

Prioritize your mental health and set boundaries to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Celebrate your milestones and achievements, no matter how small they may seem.

In the end, the journey to becoming a successful freelance SEO professional is unique for each individual. But with determination, a commitment to learning, and a passion for the work, you can build a thriving freelance career that offers both personal and professional fulfillment.


Transitioning to an SEO freelancer requires a combination of skills, self-confidence, and adaptability. While each expert’s journey is unique, their collective advice centers around expertise, communication, business development, and the courage to navigate challenges. Building a strong personal brand and a supportive network can greatly contribute to a successful freelancing career.

Whether you’re considering freelancing for the first time or looking to refine your existing approach, the insights shared by Natalie, Lucas, and Nick offer valuable guidance to help you thrive as an SEO freelancer.

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