Working as an SEO freelancer vs working in-house at an agency is very different. The only thing the two have in common is that you’re working in SEO. But everything else is different – the hours, the venue, the people around you and much more.
I’ve worked in both scenarios. I’ve been a freelancer where I’ve managed my own clients, and I’ve also been an SEO specialist at an agency, where I’ve managed their clients.
It’s really going to come down to what you’re looking for. Do you prefer working in an office and being around people? Or do you prefer working for yourself, setting your own hours and working from a different location every day? I’ll break down the pro’s and cons for each.
Working as a Freelancer
- Provides freedom. Work on your own time
- Manage your own clients and build your portfolio
- Learn how to gain and manage clients
- Work from a different location if you want to
- Choose what kind of projects you take on
- Work to your own deadlines
- Get a 100% cut from the client
- No limit on your salary
- Always by yourself
- Don’t have the advantage of working in a team (if you’re a solo freelancer)
- You do all the work
- You have to get clients and do the SEO
- You have to make sure you are continually getting new jobs
Working in an Agency
- Around like-minded people
- You only have to do the work and not client acquisition
- Employee benefits
- Solid experience, especially on a CV
- Ability to work on big accounts (provided it’s a big agency)
- Ability to learn from those around you
- Get told what to do
- Get told what to work on
- Have set hours you have to work in
- Get a very small cut of what the client pays
- Can’t build a portfolio for yourself
- Capped at a certain salary
- Can lose your position at a moments notice
Do you actually need ‘Agency’ experience?
It’s a good question. There are agencies out there that will provide experience you can’t get from anywhere else. But is that experience crucial to running a successful SEO career? The answer to that is subjective. SEO is a skill you can learn online and provide to your own clients.
Both options provide pros and cons. You could try both and see what you enjoy more. But it ultimately comes down to one thing – do you want to work for yourself or for someone else?