Well, to start with you should have a site and it should be highly optimized. That alone should get you some traffic and some leads. I mean, yes, there are quite a few of us out here, but how many are really professional?
If it's just you, I'd avoid the larger companies completely. There are very demanding, have staff members who read a book or a few articles and are now "near-experts" who will make your life hell. Also, they may deny you FTP access and may even insist on making site changes them selves. The chances that your recommended SEO appears on the site as you intended is way slim.
So then you have to deal with the client's disatisfaction with the results, when the work was never done as you specified in the first place! You have to cover your butt 4 ways to Sunday, and even then, you may not be able to meet their expectations.
Go for the small business owner who has no SEO. Set their expectations to something you are sure you can meet, OR EXCEED. Do a good job, do a little extra, like finding a site that will take a listing specificly for their industry.
Answer their questions and take care of them and it will pay off in the long run.
Also, most web design firms are clueless about SEO. See if you can get them to refer clients, or RESELL your services. Offer to do their site in exchange for a link to your site.
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(edited by: Travoli at 11:25 pm (gmt) on Dec. 28, 2001)