Debating Whether to Self-Teach SEO: Thoughts?

Hey guys, I’ve been stressing about the idea of shelling out thousands to an agency for SEO, only to end up disappointed like I have with some marketing agencies in the past. So, I’m considering teaching myself SEO instead.

Have any of you gone down that road? If so, how long did it take you to get the hang of it all? And did you manage to get your site ranking on the first page of Google for your key terms?

Also, any recommendations for YouTube channels or online courses that cover all the bases? I’m open to both free and paid options. Appreciate any advice you’ve got!