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From sharing learnings with different creators to discovering and negotiating model offers, these communities are a treasure trove for influencers {and professional} creators.How I Increased My Freelance Writing Income By 79% Percent in a Single Year (and How You Could Too)

Are you a freelancer trying to develop your earnings? It may be powerful to know the place to start out. Maybe you’ve fallen into snug freelancing routines with shoppers you’ve been working with for months or years. 

That form of stability is nice … however it could possibly additionally preserve you trapped. Perhaps you’ve stopped questioning your assumptions about how lengthy writing an article will take, as an example, otherwise you haven’t raised your charges in ages since you’re nervous about shedding a shopper.

I’m going to take you thru the methods I used to extend my freelance earnings from one 12 months to the following. This isn’t a narrative about “how you can 10x your earnings” or “how I went from rags to riches in a single day,” … however as a substitute, I hope, a extra sensible and achievable have a look at how you can considerably enhance your personal freelancing (or small enterprise) earnings. 

Let’s begin with the top in thoughts: these methods led me to go from roughly $39,200 USD [£30,744] to roughly $70,500 USD [£55,266] in a single 12 months. That’s a 79 % enhance. I did this round a standard, on a regular basis life, with a partner, children, hobbies, and plenty of different issues I didn’t need to compromise.

Right here’s what I did … and the way you are able to do the identical, whether or not you’re just getting started otherwise you’ve been freelancing for years.

Step 1. Set Clear, Particular Earnings Objectives

I’ve been freelancing for over 16 years now, and I’m embarrassed to confess that for a lot too a few years, I didn’t have a selected earnings objective in thoughts. I used to be overlaying all my payments, and on the whole, I used to be pleased to easily make the identical quantity I’d been making in my day job after I was in my early 20s.

A lot later, I noticed this can be a widespread drawback for freelancers and solopreneurs when I came across this piece by Naomi Dunford of Ittybiz. She defined:

In case you can’t appear to interrupt a sure quantity (and particularly if that quantity is suspiciously near your previous day job wage), you’ve bought an higher restrict drawback.

Methods to Do It

Determine what you made final 12 months (final calendar 12 months or earlier tax 12 months, no matter is sensible for you). Then, set the next objective for the approaching 12 months. Intention for one thing difficult however sensible: perhaps a 25 % or 50 % enhance, and even one hundred pc extra, if you happen to’re going to have the ability to work extra hours.

Let’s say you made $30,000 final 12 months. You would goal for $45,000 this 12 months. It’s a big enhance, however removed from an not possible one.

Observe: Personally, I set earnings targets for the calendar 12 months, however for the needs of this publish, I’ve given my earnings enhance right here based mostly on tax years (for me within the UK, that’s April 6, 2021–April 5, 2022, vs. April 6, 2022–April 5, 2023) as that’s how my detailed information work out.

Step 2. Know What WON’T Work for You

In my enterprise, I may doubtlessly make more cash by subcontracting: loads of freelancers do, and that is how Kat Boogaard achieved some extremely spectacular figures as a contract author, scaling her business to make over $300,000.

However for me, proper now, I just like the simplicity of being a one-person enterprise. My husband works away among the time and has a lot much less flexibility than me: I actually like having the ability to plan my work round simply me, taking time without work for our youngsters as wanted. 

There are many methods I may enhance my freelance writing earnings … however these aren’t trade-offs I’m keen to make at this level in my life. Again earlier than I had children, as an example, I used to be pleased to work on weekends; now, I keep away from night and weekend work.

Methods to Do It

Resolve what your personal “strains within the sand” are together with your freelancing. Maybe you need to preserve weekends (or a minimum of one weekend day) fully free from work. Perhaps there are particular kinds of freelancing work you gained’t tackle – I do know freelancers who gained’t write items about weapons, say, or tobacco. 

There are many methods to make more cash inside the boundaries which can be wholesome for what you are promoting and for you as an individual. 

Step 3. Break Down Your Annual Earnings Objective Into Smaller Chunks

When you’ve bought your earnings objective, you’ll want to interrupt it down into smaller chunks with the intention to work out if you happen to’re on observe or not at any given time.

After I first began doing this, I used to separate up my objective purely mathematically. If I wished to make, say, £40,000 in a 12 months and wished to work 40 weeks (children are in class for 38 weeks of the 12 months within the UK), then that may imply incomes £1,000 per week. But it surely quickly turned clear that not all weeks can be precisely the identical.

Now, I have a tendency to interrupt down my objective by quarter, then month, then week. So, as an example, within the first quarter of 2024, I knew I’d have much less freelancing work than traditional, so I set a decrease objective for Q1 vs Q2. 

How I Increased My Freelance Writing Income By 79% Percent in a Single Year (and How You Could Too)

Methods to Do It

Normally, plan to make a bit much less within the first few weeks or months of the 12 months. You’ll step by step invoice extra as you convey on new shoppers, elevate your charges, or get higher at utilizing your freelancing hours effectively.

Take into consideration occasions of the 12 months if you’re prone to have trip, household commitments, or different duties affecting your freelancing time. For instance, the ultimate quarter ends on Dec eleventh, because it's my birthday on Dec twelfth, and I wish to preserve work to a minimal for the remainder of the calendar 12 months.

Right here’s how your 12 months would possibly break down for a $60,000 earnings objective:

  • Q1 (Jan-Mar): $13,000 (build up earnings)
  • Q2 (Apr-Jun): $16,000
  • Q3 (Jul-Sep): $18,000
  • This autumn (Oct-Dec): $13,000 (time without work for Thanksgiving and Christmas)
How I Increased My Freelance Writing Income By 79% Percent in a Single Year (and How You Could Too)

You’ll be able to then break down this objective by month, by week, and by day. You don’t have to set this all out at first of the 12 months (actually, I like to recommend you don’t!) As an alternative, see what’s developing week by week and plan accordingly.

Step 4. Monitor All Your Freelancing Time

I bought severe about monitoring my time throughout 2022 – and that is the one change that I imagine made the most important distinction to my earnings that 12 months.

Monitoring my time confirmed me:

  • A few of my work was netting me near $200/hour. Different work was bringing in additional like $120/hour. Understanding that made it simple to know which shopper’s work to prioritize.
  • Some duties took longer than I assumed they did (like getting ready invoices). Earlier than monitoring, I usually mentally discounted this type of admin time, forgetting to actually plan for it in my week.
  • I labored fewer hours than I assumed, normally simply 15-20 hours per week. 

The act of monitoring my time inspired me to concentrate on billable duties, like finishing articles for shoppers, moderately than non-billable work, like writing emails. This paid off rather well when it comes to my earnings within the medium time period, although now, in 2024, I’m including in additional time on advertising and networking once more so I can proceed to develop my enterprise.

Methods to Do It

There are a great deal of totally different apps that will help you observe your time. Having experimented with a couple of, I discover that Clockify is one of the best match for me.

How I Increased My Freelance Writing Income By 79% Percent in a Single Year (and How You Could Too)

In case you don’t need to use an app, you would possibly wish to attempt monitoring your time utilizing a spreadsheet in 15- or 30-minute intervals. 

Step 5. Ringfence Your Working Hours

I’m positive I’m not the one freelancer who finds that if you’re working from dwelling, and also you don’t have set hours (or a boss), it’s very simple for all types of non-work duties to creep into your day.

Whether or not it’s popping to the shop for a lacking ingredient for dinner, switching the laundry to the dryer, or chatting to a pal on the cellphone, you would possibly discover that your working time is getting interrupted or chopped up.

Some flexibility is not any unhealthy factor; actually, it would effectively be why you selected to freelance within the first place. However flexibility can turn out to be an issue if you happen to’re continually including only one other thing into your day … that means that you simply’re shedding hours of productive time over the course of every week. 

Methods to Do It

You would possibly discover that it helps to:

  • Have particular “begin” and “cease” occasions on your freelance day. (My day is book-ended by my children’ begin and finish occasions in school.)
  • Have time allotted elsewhere for non-work admin and chores, so these don’t find yourself creeping into your work day. 
  • Hold your work to-dos and your life to-dos in separate to-do lists. That might imply two lists inside one app (or paper planner), otherwise you would possibly even use two totally different apps.

Step 6. Increase Your Charges if You Haven’t Executed So Just lately

One of many causes my freelance earnings rose was as a result of a shopper who accounted for an honest chunk of my earnings elevated by pau from $0.20/phrase to $0.25/phrase. 

I used to be fortunate I didn’t need to ask in that occasion, however I’ve usually put up my charges and have by no means had any pushback. Final 12 months, I raised one other shopper’s charge from $0.13/phrase to $0.15/phrase.

You would possibly discover these charges are fairly totally different! Don’t be afraid to set totally different charges for various shoppers based mostly on what the work includes. As an illustration, my higher-paying shopper’s work required much more analysis than the lower-paying shopper’s work, and it additionally usually meant tackling requested edits.

Methods to Do It

Elevating your charges as a freelancer might be daunting: you may be nervous about shedding a great shopper. Bear in mind, this can be a regular a part of doing enterprise, and your shopper could be very prone to take it fully of their stride.

I discover that it’s easiest to tackle newer shoppers at the next charge after which step by step elevate the speed for older shoppers to match. I goal to provide shoppers a minimum of a full month’s warning that my charge can be going up.

Step 7. Use Timers to Hold You Centered and Productive

In addition to monitoring my freelancing time, I additionally use timers to maintain me centered … chances are you’ll discover this a bit an excessive amount of, however it’s undoubtedly value a attempt.

I usually set my timer for 15 to half-hour, which helps me keep laser-focused. After the timer goes off, I’ll both set it once more for a similar job, swap to one thing else, or take a break.

Typically, I’ll goal to finish a sure job (e.g., drafting a piece of an article, writing an overview) earlier than the time goes off – I undoubtedly discover this helps me pace up and work extra effectively. I additionally use the timer at factors the place I may be scuffling with my focus.

Methods to Do It

I exploit a bodily timer dice (I at the moment have the TickTime Cube) or set a timer on Alexa. You would use your cellphone … however I discover I simply get distracted within the act of setting the timer if I spot a brand new notification!

In case you’re struggling to focus otherwise you’re procrastinating about beginning an enormous job, setting a 10-minute timer and promising your self you’ll focus for these 10 minutes may also help you get transferring.

Step 8. Attempt Creating and Promoting Digital Merchandise

A small proportion of my earnings – about 3.5 % in 2021 to 2022 and simply 0.9 % in 2022 to 2023 – was from promoting my very own digital merchandise. 

How I Increased My Freelance Writing Income By 79% Percent in a Single Year (and How You Could Too)

How I Increased My Freelance Writing Income By 79% Percent in a Single Year (and How You Could Too)

This wasn’t a very important earnings stream, however it did end in an earnings enhance in months the place I wasn’t doing a lot freelancing (I usually run Summer time and Winter gross sales, as an example, as that matches with after I’m taking a while off from freelancing).

In 2024, I’m specializing in rising this facet of my enterprise: it’ll give me much more flexibility and a larger incomes potential, plus I like creating my very own merchandise. As a part of this, I’m engaged on rising my newsletter list to construct a bigger viewers of potential prospects.

Methods to Do It

There are all types of digital merchandise you might promote: assume ebooks, e-courses, templates, printables, apps, and extra! You’ll want some form of on-line platform of your personal – that could possibly be a web site/weblog, Instagram account, Fb group, e-mail listing, or wherever that you would be able to promote your merchandise to your followers.

Step 9. Hold Experimenting With New Strategies to Develop

All of the above steps helped me enhance my freelance earnings considerably … however I didn’t need to cease there! Through the 2023-2024 tax 12 months, I did a few extra issues to proceed to develop, albeit extra step by step. You would possibly need to give these a attempt, too.

Taking On Further Freelancing Duties

Typically, you would possibly be capable of up your earnings by taking up an additional job for an current shopper. One in every of my freelance writing shoppers requested me if I may format and add weblog articles for him, as this was an actual bottleneck in his course of.

I agreed to do that at an hourly charge and created a complete guidelines to observe, so it turned an easy, low-energy, and low-stress job. Not solely did this imply extra billable work for every article I wrote, it additionally meant I may write extra articles, as I used to be preserving the pipeline of latest posts flowing.

Methods to Do It

Choose a shopper you get pleasure from working with and ask if there are any further duties you might tackle. Some potentialities are:

  • Writing briefs for articles so the shopper doesn’t have to prep these
  • web optimization optimizing articles in accordance with the shopper’s preferences
  • Making ready e-mail newsletters or social media posts based mostly on an article 

Working With an Accountability Coach

I didn’t fairly meet my earnings objective for the 2022 calendar 12 months. In November 2023, I began working with an accountability coach, Blake Stratton. I discovered teaching invaluable to assist me push to satisfy my earnings objective in 2023: specifically, it helped me do higher at ringfencing my freelancing time and at avoiding distractions.

Methods to Do It

Teaching is an excellent technique to spend money on your self as you develop what you are promoting – but when one-to-one teaching isn’t reasonably priced, you might have a look at peer assist. Which may imply becoming a member of a supportive on-line group or working with an accountability buddy, the place you share your targets and mutually assist each other.

Dealing with Elements Exterior Your Direct Management

All of the above concepts are ones you might replicate or management. However some adjustments may be outdoors your direct management. You do nonetheless have some affect over these.

As an illustration, within the 2023 to 2024 tax 12 months, I landed a brand new higher-paying shopper due to a former colleague who was now in a advertising/modifying function. You’ll be able to’t pressure one thing like that to occur – the provide got here out of the blue, for me – however you can also make it extra possible.

As an illustration, you might:

  • Sustain with previous contacts and let folks know if you happen to’re searching for extra work
  • Write visitor posts to get your identify on the market (notably if you happen to can write for blogs that your ultimate shoppers are prone to learn)
  • Keep good relationships with editors and shoppers who would possibly cross your identify on to people who find themselves searching for a author

Your Plan for Rising Your Freelance Writing Earnings Over the Subsequent Yr

Are you prepared to extend your freelance writing earnings? Let’s run by way of a very powerful steps from above to get you began.

  1. Set your earnings objective. Intention to be each bold and sensible! Solely you already know what which means in your circumstances. It may be a 25 % enhance, a 50 % enhance, or perhaps a 100% enhance in your earnings from final 12 months.
  2. Break down your objective by quarter, then by month, so you already know if you happen to’re on observe.
  3. Search for the simplest wins first: ones that don’t require working any further hours. That might imply:
    1. Enhancing your focus, so that you’re getting extra completed in the identical period of time.
    2. Monitoring your time so you’ll be able to see precisely which gigs are value probably the most to you per hour.
    3. Elevating your charges so that you make more cash for a similar quantity of labor.
  4. When taking up further work, begin together with your present shoppers: that is simpler and quicker than looking for brand-new shoppers. Provide to tackle extra of the identical (e.g., six articles monthly as a substitute of 4), counsel further duties you might sort out, or ask in the event that they know anybody who wants a author.

You can also make an incredible residing as a contract author. My earnings in 2024 seems to be set to place me inside the highest 10 % of staff within the UK regardless of working part-time hours – by no means greater than 20 per week – and taking a variety of time without work throughout college breaks. It took me 16+ years to get to that time, however you might do it a lot quicker utilizing the concepts above. Even simply implementing one or two of them may make an enormous distinction to the place you might be in a 12 months’s time.

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