How to start a digital marketing business from scratch in 2023

Are you tired of the 9-5 grind, commuting to work, and missing out on quality time with your kids? Do you dream of starting your own business and being your own boss? Well, you’re in luck because today we’re going to talk about how to start a digital marketing business from scratch in 2023!

Now, you might be thinking, “But I don’t know anything about digital marketing!” Trust me, you don’t need to be an expert to get started. All you need is a passion for learning, a willingness to put in the work, and a bit of guidance to help you along the way.

So, if you’re ready to take the leap and start your own digital marketing business, grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine, I won’t judge), and let’s dive in!

My personal journey to $6k in new business per month

When I first started Steinmann Group, I had no idea what I was doing. I learned through trial and error, making mistakes along the way and constantly tweaking my approach. 

It wasn’t until I invested in several key courses that I saw a real shift in my focus, mindset, and results.

Once I had a better understanding of the digital marketing industry and what my clients really needed, I started putting what I learned into practice. I focused on building strong relationships with my clients, delivering high-quality work, and constantly seeking out ways to improve. 

And you know what? It worked! Before I knew it, I was closing $6,000 of new business a month in retainer clients, and my business was really taking off.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure about how to get started, just remember that every successful business owner has been in your shoes at some point. 

As a full-time mom and business owner, I know firsthand how difficult it can be to juggle work and family life. But let me tell you, starting my own business was the best decision I ever made. Not only did it give me the freedom to work on my own terms, but it also allowed me to spend more time with my kids and be there for all the important moments.

And I want that for you too! So with that, let’s dive into the exact blueprint I used to start my digital business from scratch. 

Step 1: Find Your Industry of Focus through your passions

First things first, let’s do some introspection. Take a deep breath, grab a pen and paper, and start jotting down everything that you’re interested in. From hobbies to talents, write down anything that makes you feel alive.

Don’t hold back! Once you’ve got your list, take a step back and look for any patterns or themes that emerge. These could be clues to what you’re truly passionate about.

Look in your search history

Next, let’s get a little sneaky. Take a peek at your search history. What topics have you been researching or reading about lately? Anything that keeps popping up could be a sign of your interests and passions. 

Look at your purchases

While you’re at it, take a look at your purchases too. What have you been splurging on? Are there any particular products or services that you can’t get enough of? Repeat purchases? These could be related to your passions as well.

Reflect on your past experiences

Now, let’s reflect on your past experiences. Think about the moments in your life that have been the most fulfilling. What did you enjoy the most about those experiences? What did you dislike? These reflections can give you insights into what you’re truly passionate about and what you want to avoid.

Reflect on your education and what makes you an expert in things

Your education and expertise can also be a clue to your passions. Think about the subjects you excelled in during school. What knowledge or skills do you have that others don’t? These areas of expertise can give you a sense of what you’re passionate about.

Reflect on the triumphs

And let’s not forget about your triumphs! Take a moment to think about the obstacles you’ve overcome and the achievements that you’re most proud of.

Is there an opportunity to encourage someone else and build a solution that you wish you had? These successes can inspire you to pursue your passions and make a difference in the world.

When it comes to your passions, ask yourself if they have the potential to help others or if they’re just for personal gain. If your passion has the potential to benefit others, it can provide even more motivation and purpose in your work and protect you from burn-out. 

Step 2 – Establish your niche

Remember that paper from earlier where we wrote down some general industry areas that we think might be a good fit for our skills and passions? Well, it’s time to use it to help narrow down our niche.

  • Figure out which of the industries you listed have the most pain points: See which industries are experiencing the most significant problems and whether you have the skills to help solve them.
  • Check which industries have the most money to spend on their pain: Find out which industries have a high level of disposable income and are willing to invest in solutions to their problems.
  • Think about whether you have any relevant experience: If you’ve got experience in the industry, that’s a big plus! Use it to show people you know what you’re talking about and build trust with potential customers.
    • If you’re lacking in industry experience, consider bringing on board team members who can help provide credibility to your business. A way I’ve done this with SG was by contracting out people from Upwork with relevant experience in my niche. By bringing them on as team members, I could (with integrity) say that my company’s members had experience working with large clients in my niche space, which helped me gain confidence when going out and marketing. 
  • Look for gaps in the market: Figure out where there are gaps in the market or opportunities for a unique solution to problems.
  • Assess your passions and interests: Choose an industry that aligns with your passions and interests to make sure you’ll enjoy what you’re doing.
  • Test your ideas: Before diving in, test your ideas with a small group of potential customers to make sure there’s interest in your business concept.

Step 3 – Figure out their pain

Here are some additional strategies and resources to help you identify an industry’s pain points:

  • Forum sites: Forum sites like Quora and Reddit can be great resources for identifying an industry’s pain points. These platforms allow you to ask questions and engage with industry experts and enthusiasts who can provide insights into the challenges and pain points they’re experiencing. Here’s how you can use forum sites to identify an industry’s pain points:
  • Search for industry-specific topics: Use the search function on Quora or Reddit to find discussions related to the industry you’re interested in. Look for topics that have a lot of engagement, such as likes, comments, or shares.
  • Read through discussions: Take the time to read through the discussions and comments on these topics. Look for patterns in the challenges and pain points that people are describing.
  • Ask questions: If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, consider asking a question yourself. Be specific about the pain point you’re trying to address and ask for insights or advice on how to solve it.
  • Engage with the community: Engage with the people who respond to your question or comment on the discussions you’re reading. Ask follow-up questions and provide your own insights and experiences.
  • Industry publications: Look for publications specific to the industry you’re interested in, such as trade magazines or industry blogs. These publications often cover the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities within the industry.
  • Industry reports: Many industry organizations and research firms produce reports that provide in-depth analysis of the industry, including challenges and opportunities. These reports can often be purchased or accessed for free on the organization’s website.
  • Competitor analysis tools: Use online tools such as SEMrush or SimilarWeb to analyze your competitors’ websites and marketing strategies. This can help you identify gaps in the market that your business can fill.
  • Customer reviews: Check customer review websites such as Yelp or Google My Business to see what customers are saying about the industry and the pain points they’re experiencing.
  • Social media: Use social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with industry experts, follow industry hashtags, and participate in industry-specific discussions.
  • Market research surveys: Use online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey or Typeform to conduct surveys with potential customers and industry experts to gather feedback on their pain points and challenges.

By checking out all of these different resources and tools, you can get a real sense of what problems are going on in the industry that need solving. Once you figure out those pain points, you can start thinking about how your business can help fix them, which leads us to our next section. 

Step 4 – Tailor your digital service to their pain

When you’re looking to tailor your service to an industry’s pain points as a whole, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that you’re providing the right solution. Here are some tips:

Determine the best digital marketing solution: Once you know the pain points, consider what kind of digital marketing solution will best address them.

For example, if the company is struggling with low website traffic, you could recommend search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to increase visibility and drive more traffic to their site.

Alternatively, if the company is struggling with lead generation, you could recommend email marketing or social media advertising to reach a wider audience and capture more leads.

If you don’t have the skillset to do certain things, contract it out! I have found great success with Upwork and found some teammates that stuck with me for 5+ years through it. Here’s a guide on how to hire on Upwork

Here are a few examples of digital services that solve real-world company problems:

  • Content marketing: By creating valuable blog posts, articles, and other types of content, you can help a company establish themselves as an industry leader and attract new customers.
  • SEO: By optimizing a company’s website for search engines, you can help them rank higher in search results and attract more organic traffic.
  • PPC advertising: By running targeted advertising campaigns on platforms like Google or Facebook, you can help a company reach new customers and increase conversions.
  • Social media marketing: By managing a company’s social media presence, you can help them connect with their audience and build brand awareness.

In summary, solving pain means more money in the bank for everyone involved!

Step 5 – Choose a Retainer Model to scale fast

When you’re trying to scale your business quickly, choosing the right pricing model can be crucial. That’s where a retainer model can come in handy, and honestly my business wouldn’t have been where it was without it. Here’s why:

  1. Predictable income: When you have clients on retainer, you can count on a steady stream of income each month. This can help you plan your cash flow and make sure you have the resources you need to grow your business.
  2. Long-term relationships: Retainer clients are typically looking for ongoing support and are committed to working with you over the long term. This can help you build strong relationships with your clients and create a stable foundation for your business.
  3. More efficient use of resources: When you have a group of retainer clients, you can plan your workload more efficiently. You’ll know exactly how much work you have each month and can allocate your resources accordingly, which can help you scale more quickly and effectively.
  4. Upsell opportunities: Once you’ve built a strong relationship with a retainer client, you may be able to offer additional services or products that can increase your revenue even further.

In my business, I choose to move away from one-off projects and focus on packaged retainers. By focusing all my time on selling retainers vs. one-off projects, I was able to build strong relationships with each client and create a predictable income stream for my business. 

Step 6 – Package your service offerings

Creating packages for your services is crucial to making it easier to sell to your clients.

Hinge Marketing (a business consulting company) surveyed over 500 professional service firms and found that 62% of those that offered packaged services reported an increase in revenue, and 61% reported higher perceived value from their clients.

Now, when it comes to offering three-tiered packages at different price points, it’s all about psychology. Offering three different packages allows you to appeal to a wider range of clients. Some clients may be looking for a basic, low-cost option, while others may be willing to pay more for a premium service.

By offering three different options, you give clients the ability to choose the level of service that best meets their needs and budget.

Additionally, this strategy can also help you steer clients towards the package that best suits their needs, while still increasing the overall value of your service. Studies have shown that offering three options can actually increase sales, as it gives clients a clear understanding of the different levels and value of service available to them.

Here are a few examples of companies that offer three-tiered marketing packages for digital services:

  1. Hibu – Hibu offers three different packages for small business digital marketing services, including website design, SEO, social media advertising, and more. Their packages range in price from $99 to $599 per month.
  2. WebFX – WebFX offers three different levels of digital marketing services, including web design, SEO, PPC advertising, and more. Their packages range in price from $1,200 to $7,200 per month.
  3. Thrive Internet Marketing Agency – Thrive offers three different levels of digital marketing services, including web design, SEO, PPC advertising, and more. Their packages range in price from $600 to $2,500 per month.
  4. Ignite Digital – Ignite Digital offers three different levels of digital marketing services, including web design, SEO, PPC advertising, and more. Their packages range in price from $1,500 to $5,000 per month.
  5. Disruptive Advertising – Disruptive Advertising offers three different levels of digital marketing services, including PPC advertising, social media advertising, and more. Their packages range in price from $2,000 to $10,000 per month.

Overall, offering three-tiered packages is a great way to increase revenue, appeal to a wider range of clients, and help steer clients towards the best package for their needs.

Step 7 – Pricing your service offerings

Pricing can be kinda tricky because it really comes down to experience and trust in your brand. If someone’s gonna shell out a pretty penny, they need to trust your service is gonna deliver.

In my company, when offering website maintenance packages, I was able to get a strong conversion at the $500/mo-1500/mo price point. For advertising, I was able to get $1500 monthly ad management fee with adspend on top of that. 

But don’t just take it from me – here’s a list of competitive monthly retainer fees for different digital marketing services in 2023:

  • Social media management: $500-$5,000 per month, depending on the number of platforms managed, frequency of posting, and level of engagement.
  • SEO services: $500-$5,000 per month, depending on the scope of work, the number of targeted keywords, and the level of competition.
  • PPC advertising: $750-$10,000 per month, depending on the complexity of the campaigns, ad spend, and the platforms used.
  • Email marketing: $500-$3,000 per month, depending on the size of the email list, frequency of campaigns, and the level of automation.
  • Content marketing: $1,000-$10,000 per month, depending on the scope of work, the number of assets produced, and the level of promotion.
  • Web management: $500-$5,000 per month, depending on the size and complexity of the website, the level of maintenance and security required, and the frequency of updates.

Keep in mind that these numbers are ballpark figures and might not be the same for every digital marketing business out there. However, offering a variety of packages at different prices can make your services more accessible to businesses with all sorts of budgets.

Plus, having transparent pricing and clear package options makes it easier to pitch your services and bring in more consistent cash. 

Step 8 – Do Research on Competition

Let’s face it, competition is tough, but it’s also a necessary evil. You need to know what your competitors are up to, what they’re selling, how they’re solving problems, and at what price points. This is the best way to figure out gaps in the market and where you can swoop in and be better than them. 

You can also use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to analyze their website’s SEO performance, which can give you an idea of the keywords they are targeting and their overall search engine ranking. This can help you identify opportunities for improvement in your own website’s SEO.

Additionally, researching your competitors’ pricing and business models can help you determine what price points are reasonable for your industry and what kind of services are most in-demand. This can help you tailor your own offerings to better meet the needs of your target audience.

To develop a unique brand while gleaning from your competitors, you need to identify what makes your business unique and what sets it apart from your competitors. Take note of your competitors’ branding strategies and see what works and what doesn’t work for them. Then, take inspiration from their strengths and incorporate it into your brand.

There are several options for creating logos, both free and paid.

For free options, I recommend Canva, which has a crazy easy-to-use interface and tons of customizable templates. I’ve personally created all my logos on Canva. 

If you don’t have time to DIY, paid services such as 99designs or Fiverr offer access to professional designers who can create a custom logo for your business based on your specifications. These services typically offer several design options to choose from and allow for revisions until you are happy with the final product.

Step 10 – Put it all together in a business plan

Having a business plan is essential because it acts as a roadmap for your business. It helps you to focus on your goals, identify potential obstacles, and develop strategies for overcoming them. Here are some things that a typical business plan includes:

  • Executive summary: This is a brief overview of your business, including your mission statement and goals.
  • Company description: This section provides more detailed information about your business, such as its legal structure, location, and history.
  • Market analysis: This is where you research your industry, target market, and competitors to identify opportunities and potential challenges.
  • Products or services: Describe what you’re offering and how it meets the needs of your target market.
  • Marketing and sales strategy: This section outlines how you plan to promote and sell your products or services.
  • Financial projections: Estimate your revenue and expenses for the first few years, including startup costs, ongoing expenses, and potential profits.
  • Funding requests: If you’re seeking funding from investors or lenders, explain how much you need and what you’ll use it for.

When you have a business plan, you have a clear understanding of your business and what you need to do to make it successful. It also helps you communicate your vision to others, including potential investors, partners, and employees.

Step 11 – Tie things together Legally

Taking the necessary steps to protect your brand and your assets is essential. Here are some things to keep in mind:


 Check trademarks to make sure your business name is available and consider getting a trademark. This helps prevent any legal issues down the road. Good companies for free trademarks include LegalZoom and Trademarkia.


Register for an LLC to protect your personal assets and create a separate legal entity for your business. ZenBusiness offers a free LLC formation package (plus state fees), which I encourage you to check out.

Small businesses insurance

Get small business insurance to protect your business from unexpected accidents or liability issues. The Hartford is a great option for digital marketing businesses, but other popular options include Progressive and Hiscox. The cost of insurance varies depending on the type and amount of coverage, but on average, it can cost around $50-$200 per month.

Accounting software

Use accounting software for easy invoicing, tracking expenses, and knowing how much estimated tax to pay. QuickBooks Self-Employed is a popular choice, but other options include FreshBooks and Wave.

Don’t put the cart before the horse before you tie up loose ends legally! You don’t want to get yourself in a situation where your business and assets are not protected – or worse, you personally. 

Step 11- Create a website that is hyper-tailored to your niche and their pain

Creating a website that is hyper-tailored to your niche and their pain can be a game-changer for your business. By speaking directly to your target audience and addressing their pain points, you can increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and generate more leads and sales.

We’ll go over the steps you can take to create a website that is hyper-tailored to your niche and their pain, as well as some host and platform recommendations based on what is most popular.

Define Your Target Audience and Their Pain Points

Before you can create a website that is hyper-tailored to your niche, you need to know who your target audience is and what their pain points are. Spend some time researching your target audience and getting to know them better. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are their biggest pain points and challenges?
  • What are their goals and aspirations?
  • What motivates them to take action?
  • What kind of content do they consume?
  • Where do they hang out online?

Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, you can start thinking about how to tailor your website to their needs.

Design Your Website with Your Target Audience in Mind

When designing your website, it’s important to keep your target audience in mind. Your website should speak directly to them and address their pain points. Some tips for designing a website that is hyper-tailored to your niche include:

  • Use language and visuals that resonate with your target audience.
  • Focus on the benefits of your product or service rather than the features.
  • Use social proof, such as testimonials or case studies, to build credibility.
  • Make it easy for your target audience to take action, such as by including clear calls-to-action.

Choose a Hosting Provider and Platform

Choosing the right hosting provider and platform is essential for creating a website that is hyper-tailored to your niche. Here are some recommendations based on what is most popular:

  • Hosting Providers: Bluehost, SiteGround, and WP Engine are popular hosting providers that offer reliable hosting services and good customer support.
  • Platforms: WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace are popular platforms that offer a range of features and customization options.

Customize Your Website with Plugins and Themes

Plugins and themes can help you customize your website and make it more effective at addressing your target audience’s pain points. Here are some recommendations for plugins and themes:

  • Plugins: Yoast SEO can help you optimize your website for search engines, while Contact Form 7 can help you create contact forms for lead generation.
  • Themes: Divi, Astra, and GeneratePress are popular themes that offer a range of customization options.

Test and Refine Your Website

Creating a website that is hyper-tailored to your niche is an ongoing process. Once your website is up and running, it’s important to test and refine it to ensure that it is effectively addressing your target audience’s pain points. Some ways to test and refine your website include:

  • Using A/B testing to test different versions of your website and see which performs better.
  • Analyzing your website’s analytics to see which pages are performing well and which could be improved.
  • Soliciting feedback from your target audience to see how you can improve your website to better meet their needs.

By following these steps and making use of the recommended hosting providers, platforms, plugins, and themes, you can create a website that is hyper-tailored to your niche and their pain. This can help you generate more leads and sales and grow your business more effectively.

Step 12- Get clients

There are two main ways to get leads to your business: free and paid. I personally had great success with free and built most of my business with outbound email marketing. 

Free marketing

There are plenty of free ways to get your name out there and start generating leads. Here are some tried-and-true methods:

  1. Social media marketing: You probably already have a personal social media account, so why not use it to promote your business? Start by creating a business page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Then, post engaging content that showcases your products or services. Use hashtags to reach a wider audience and engage with your followers to build relationships.
  2. Content marketing: If you’re a talented writer or have a knack for creating compelling videos or graphics, then content marketing might be your thing. Create a blog or YouTube channel where you share valuable information related to your business niche. Not only will this help establish you as an authority in your field, but it will also attract potential clients who are interested in what you have to say.
  3. Outbound prospecting: Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or send an email to potential clients. Cold calling and cold emailing can be effective if done correctly. Make sure to research your prospects beforehand and tailor your message to their specific needs. 

The best part? These methods won’t cost you a dime. So, put yourself out there and start getting clients today!

Paid marketing can be an effective way to generate leads for your digital agency, but it can get super expensive.  Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Google Ads: With Google Ads, you can create ads that show up at the top of search engine results pages when people search for specific keywords. This can be a great way to get your agency in front of potential clients who are actively looking for your services.
  2. Facebook Ads: Facebook Ads allow you to target specific audiences based on factors like age, location, interests, and behaviors. You can create ads that show up in people’s news feeds or on the right-hand side of the Facebook page.
  3. LinkedIn Ads: LinkedIn is a professional social network that can be a great place to advertise your agency. LinkedIn Ads allow you to target specific audiences based on factors like job title, company size, and industry.
  4. Retargeting Ads: Retargeting ads are ads that target people who have already visited your website or interacted with your agency in some way. By showing ads to people who are already familiar with your agency, you can increase the likelihood of them becoming clients.
  5. Sponsored Content: Sponsored content is content that you pay to have promoted on websites, social media platforms, or other digital channels. This can be a great way to get your agency in front of new audiences and establish your expertise in your niche.

Remember, paid marketing can be pricey and get out of control fast if you aren’t an expert, so it’s important to track your results carefully and make adjustments as needed to ensure you’re getting a good return on investment.

I recommend checking out Udemy’s courses on paid advertising to grow your business. It helped me wrap my head around the concept a lot to make sure I wasn’t burning money.

Step 13 – Scale

One of the most important parts of running a successful digital agency is being able to deliver your services efficiently and effectively. To do this, you need to have systems in place to streamline the process and avoid burnout. Here are a few tips for establishing a system to deliver your digital service at scale:

  1. Line up contractors: If you’re working alone, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and burn out. Consider lining up a team of contractors to help you take the load off. This can include web developers, graphic designers, copywriters, and other professionals who can help you deliver your services more efficiently.
  2. Find ways to systemize your service: Systemizing your service means creating processes and procedures that allow you to deliver your services consistently and with high quality each time. This can include creating templates for emails and proposals, standardizing your project management process, and implementing a project management tool that you can use to stay organized.
    • The three most popular project management tools are Asana, Trello, and Asana is known for its flexibility and powerful features, while Trello is popular for its simplicity and visual approach to project management. offers a highly customizable platform that allows teams to manage complex projects with ease.
  3. Use technology: There are a variety of tools and software available that can help you streamline your processes and deliver your services more efficiently. This can include project management tools, time tracking software, and communication tools like Slack.
  4. Standardize your service offerings: It’s important to have a clear understanding of what services you offer and how they will be delivered. This can help you streamline your processes and avoid confusion with clients. Standardizing your service offerings also helps to ensure that you are delivering high-quality services consistently.

By taking the time to establish a system to deliver your digital service at scale, you can avoid burnout, deliver your services more efficiently, and scale your business.


Starting a digital marketing business has been one of the best decisions I’ve made as a mompreneur. Not only has it allowed me to work from home and have more flexibility with my schedule, but it’s also been incredibly fulfilling to help other businesses grow and succeed.

Through trial and error, I’ve learned so much about the industry and I hope to share that knowledge with others through this blog. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your business to the next level, I hope my tips and insights can be helpful on your journey! You got this!

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