If You're Good At SEO, Why Would You Work For Someone Else?

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I've read a few articles by Mike King and I’ve been very impressed with his writing ability that follows the “show not tell” style.  By this I mean that the words he chooses are descriptive enough for people to “see” what he is writing.   Then, he inserts visually appealing elements into the post to polish it up.  You can find a few examples of his work here and here.   He is truly on top of his game in the field of inbound marketing and more specifically content marketing. After checking out the above posts, I’m sure you would agree that he is clearly a thought leader in the field of SEO and Inbound Marketing.  My question is why wouldn’t he and others like him,  be building out various businesses (read E commerce, Lead Gen, Adsense and Affiliate Marketing)  and ranking their own sites instead of working for/at an agency? Why would you want to work on building authority, links, and ultimately the bottom line of someone else's company when you are clearly a top level inbound marketer?  The only thing I can come up with is that time spent working for cash from clients provides a higher ROI on your time than the work would itself if done independently. This could be due simply to the fact that there are so many bad SEO’s out there that aren’t performing for clients that a skilled marketers time is so highly valued that the time is more wisely  invested for cash now rather than the future returns that it might provide.  I can definitely see this being the case after reading a study that seomoz put out about the average pay for SEO’s which you can find here. A second option could just be peoples different perspectives on lines of work and what people want out of life.  I’ve been working on my ecommerce site and for the past 4 years and as of last month I only made $1,100.  I’m sure it’s safe to say that Mike is making 10 to 20 times that amount at his position but with a such skill why build a business that will continue to pump out  leads in the form on search, social and the links themselves simply to generate more work for you to do in the form of working with clients.  The other approach would be to create those leads and direct them to webpages that would convert the traffic into sales. In the end I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here and the motivation for the post was strictly out of respect for the skill and work that he does, I just don’t understand the thought process and allocation of time maybe it comes down to Passion vs Profit.  Any Thoughts?

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