Unlimited earning potential.
That's what I think about, when it comes to running a freelancing business.
OK, this doesn't mean you'll become a millionaire anytime soon, but, if you play your cards right, you should earn enough for a comfortable living.
And yet most freelancers still don't achieve their true earning potential.
They get more experienced by the day, they do better work with each project they work on and still there's more money to be made.
Let's see the 5 ways we could earn more money as freelancers:
Raise your rates
One of the biggest problems many of us have: keeping rates too low.
Sure, one of the best ways to ensure you get as many clients as possible, is to drop the prices. Most clients are happy to save a buck.
And yet, by keeping our rates low we leave money on the table and work ourselves sick.
Back in 2009, as I was starting freelancing full time, in the first 3-4 months I had to work 14-16 hours/day just to earn enough to cover for my bills and taxes. That's not a lifestyle to be desired. Before getting myself into the hospital, I finally started raising my rates. This meant less work and bigger payouts.
To this day I still have to keep reminding myself I have more than a decade of web design experience, so I should price my services better, but it's a conscious effort and am getting better at it.
Create a passive income stream
As freelancers we trade our time for money.
Which is great, especially when you get a good rate and a lot of great clients to work with.
But the problem with this is that, if you cannot work, you cannot earn.
This is why most experienced freelancers have a separate income stream that allows them to earn money 'in their sleep'.
OK, this sounds better than the reality, but you get my drift.
Enter the passive income projects:
- blogs that earn you advertising revenue (and also get you work, if you are smart enough to also promote your services and establish yourself as an authority);
- courses - just like our freelancing course;
- website templates - premium themes that allow you to earn a side income;
- stock images - for those who can 'rock' a camera;
- e-books - people buy them and you earn money;
- plugins & platforms - if you are a talented programmer, there's a lot of money to be made with these etc.
These are just few ideas to get you started.
What they all have in common is that, once set up, you can earn a side income.
There's a downside though: all these need time/effort/money to be created. A successful blog is not created overnight, an online course takes months to develop, the same goes for themes or plugins.
But, if you do invest the effort and create the 'right' stuff, there's money to be made on the side.
Don't stick to one specialty only
OK, if you're a student in our freelancing course you'll think I've lost my minds: I teach you the importance of finding a well paying specialty and even focus on a niche and now I'm telling you to develop outside these.
There's reason to my apparent madness: while it's great to really focus your marketing efforts and try to establish your expertise in a certain niche, don't just do that.
I'm a web designer for instance, usually creating high-converting websites for my clients.
But I'm also doing SEO, content marketing, not to mention I teach people who to run their own successful online business.
And, while 99% of the web projects I work on are on WordPress, I still know how to create a forum theme or create a responsive design for a custom platform, for example.
Not only you have access to more jobs than just your niche/specialty, but you can also switch to something more fun or lucrative. You might start as a healthcare copywriter, only to find out you've 'transitioned' into a web designer.
Learn to delegate
Ouch, this one hurts.
For control-freaks such as I, delegating is a huge issue.
We feel like we're the only ones capable of doing stuff, no one can do it better.
And, fortunately, we're not perfect.
I've slowly delegated some tasks in the past months and was very pleased to notice that in some cases I wasn't actually doing the better work.
Not only did I get the job done even better than I'd have done it, but it allowed me to free up some more time to focus what needed doing in my ever-growing task-list.
While there are still tasks I'd never consider delegating (managing my emails for instance, even if it's one of the things many VAs are assigned to do), there's a lot of stuff that can be handled by someone else.
Learn to be productive
For years I boasted about how much I work on a daily basis.
Ever since I started web design (2002) until I had my daughter (2014), I'd spend at least 8 hours/day (weekends included) on my web design business. And not only 8 hours. There were days when all I did was sit at my computer and learn web design or do work for my clients. Even 16 hours/day.
And for years I thought that's the MAIN secret to becoming successful online.
OK, don't get me wrong, I did earn well enough and also had improved my skills exponentially, but it took me a while to understand that more hours is not the secret: more FOCUSED work is what gets you at the top.
2015 was a tough year for my business and self.
Being a mom for my daughter (one year old back then) was already a full-time job in itself. And, on top of this, I still wanted to work 8 hours/day on my web business.
And I couldn't, which almost made me implode with anger.
I was displeased at my husband for not doing this and that, for not seeing how much I struggle to be the perfect mom and business woman.
It was wrong.
He works hard and he's also very involved with our daughter.
And it wasn't enough.
After really building a lot of resentment for moths, I finally realized it's impossible to still give my daughter full attention (which is my priority) and put an entire 'work-day' into my biz.
So it became simple: I cannot work for 8 hours. I can work for about 2 hours/day. That's it.
Instead of just being angry for not getting my work time back, I learned how to really focus my efforts and achieve as much as possible in this short amount of time.
- I closed down most of my websites - I used to run various projects online. Now I am very focused and kept only the projects that get me money and/or clients.
- I deleted a lot of useless tasks - my task-list is pretty slim now. I don't have tens of tasks. I also prioritize like crazy.
- I work - when I get the time to work, I don't watch TV, I don't listen to the music, I don't play. I just sit down and do the tasks I need to.
Weird enough, while my time to work has decreased (or at least I finally admitted it's not gonna get more than this at least for a while), my business picked up speed.
I got some more clients, not to mention I also found enough time to build an entire course about freelancing (do all the work on it: research, writing, web site design, planning etc.). For someone who has only 2 hours/day to work, it's not that bad.
What are the strategies you think could earn you more income as a freelancer? What's worked the best for you?