How to Inquire for Equity and Get Paid for What It’s Worth

Whether you are paid as an SEO consultant by the hour or by the project, your earning potential will always be limited by the number of hours you work.

And once you stop working, money stops flowing too.

Even if you manage to work more efficiently or increase your rates, there will always be a maximum limit to your income. How do you jump that wall?

Roland Fraiser suggests that you start getting paid for the value you provide to your customers to overcome this limitation and unlock greater profits.

“Don’t let your genius be someone else’s retirement.” –Roland Fraiser

On a recent episode of the SEJ Show, we had the privilege of featuring Roland, an award-winning podcaster, advisor to Stanford University, and head of six of Inc.’s fastest-growing companies.

Roland shared some exciting insights into alternative payment models and how consultants and agencies can begin the transition to building wealth and income.

Why equity consulting is the smart way to get paid

Roland stressed the importance of not relying solely on traditional compensation models, such as flat rates, hourly pay, or revenue sharing.

These models are not sustainable from the point of view of quality of life because they require continuous work to generate income.

Instead, Roland suggests that consultants and agencies avoid the “dollars per hour” trap and find ways to transform their efforts and the value they provide into capital.

The concept is to leverage your knowledge, skills, and connections to negotiate compensation that reflects your long-term contributions and business value growth.

If your contributions continue to benefit the business, you deserve to be rewarded with a share of the profits or principal.

How to Find Consulting for Capital Opportunities

Getting paid in equity requires a bit of effort. Trading these payment models takes time, and if you’re not careful, you may not generate immediate income.

Roland learned this lesson firsthand:

“When I started in this field a long time ago, I made several mistakes and ended up with shares in twenty businesses but no money. Most of the time, companies were either not making a profit or reinvesting it to grow, leaving little to distribute… So, I was working a lot without any income. It taught me the importance of having both income and wealth.”

To avoid this pitfall, Roland recommends the following steps:

  1. Focus on businesses with existing cash flow and profitability rather than start-ups.
  2. Identify the areas where you can significantly impact and add value to the company.
  3. Quantify the value you can bring, such as cost savings or revenue generation.
  4. Calculate the percentage of value you can contribute to the total value of the company.
  5. Approach the business owner with a clear proposition, emphasizing the ongoing value you can provide.
  6. Negotiate the terms, considering factors like compensation based on milestones or KPIs if necessary.
  7. Present your contribution as an ongoing investment that increases the overall value of the business.
  8. Determine the specific valuation and agree the terms that reflect its added value.

One of Roland’s most important tips is to maintain open communication with the customer and make sure you keep your promises to build trust in the relationship.

Positioning yourself to consult for equity

Unlike project-based or hourly revenue models, pay-as-you-go models require preparation, including branding, strategic positioning, and demonstrating the value of offering end-to-end services.

1. Transition from SEO to Growth Strategist

To avoid being limited to a specific role or experience, it is essential to establish a clear brand and define the desired positioning.

It must go beyond being identified solely as an SEO specialist.

Instead, try to be seen as a strategic partner, offering a broader range of expertise for greater value and opportunities.

2. Build strategic alliances

Align with professionals who offer complementary services to enhance your value proposition.

Collaborating with experts in different areas allows you to take a holistic approach to problem solving and demonstrate a broader range of capabilities to potential clients or employers.

3. Create a unique brand identity

Throughout the episode, Roland emphasized the importance of branding in shaping a potential customer’s perception.

Defining a differentiator that unifies your various areas of expertise is crucial, he says. Choose a specific focus or specialization within the broader growth landscape, such as AI for demand generation.

This niche selection allows you to stand out in a crowded marketplace by presenting yourself as a problem solver with unique insights and approaches, bringing exceptional value to the table.

4. Content strategy for brand expansion

After establishing a focused brand identity, consultants can gradually expand their content strategy to cover broader topics within their expertise.

For example, Roland Fraiser went from being recognized as the “acquisition guy” to exploring related fields such as exits and fundraising.

This progressive expansion demonstrates its continued growth and adaptability while retaining its initial brand positioning.

4. Communicate your value and goals

Equity consulting relies on your ability to communicate your value and long-term goals to clients.

From the start, share your intent to deliver exceptional results and build lasting partnerships.

And do not hesitate to express your desire to obtain participation in a company. Roland says that doing so does four things:

  1. The client realizes that having you as a partner is an option.
  2. Customers show that they believe in you.
  3. It shows that the client is willing to invest in himself.
  4. The client understands your objectives.

It also demonstrates your long-term commitment, brings the value you provide to the forefront of their minds, and can be the foundation for a strong, long-term relationship.


For the right SEO, marketing professional or agency, alternative compensation models such as equity or fractional C-Suite positions can be the ideal way to take your career (and income) to the next level.

Looking for more tips and ideas from Roland on how to get started advising on stocks? Be sure to check out Episode 308 of the SEJ Show.