Years ago, you could get away with not having an online presence because your competition doesn’t. But today, customers expect at least a website and an active social media account. The further beyond that (such as investing in SEO, for example), the better. Plus, having an online presence when your competition doesn’t is just about the most obvious and easiest way to get far ahead of them.
The answer, at its basis, is largely what I convey in a great majority of my books about search engine optimization and online marketing. It all boils down to one simple concept: add tremendous amounts of value to the world. The more value you add, the more successful you become. Essentially, you have to do the most amount of work (initially at least) for the least return. Not the other way around.

There are many entities that need Internet marketing, but only budget a small amount for the work. If you’re willing to volunteer or offer a discounted rate, you can find projects. Non-profit entities and political campaigns need marketing help, but don’t have much money budgeted for the work. These types of organization may present an opportunity for you.
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