Easy methods to Use DMs for Networking (+ Actual-life Examples from 7 Writers)

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Easy methods to leverage direct messages to construct your community, whether or not you’re seeking to discover new prospects or construct your private model. You may additionally discover templates and actual examples which have labored for professional writers.How I Increased My Freelance Writing Income By 79% Percent in a Single Year (and How You Could Too)

Are you a freelancer seeking to develop your earnings? It may be robust to know the place to begin. 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 will probably additionally maintain you trapped. Perhaps you’ve stopped questioning your assumptions about how lengthy writing an article will take, for example, otherwise you haven’t raised your charges in ages since you’re anxious about dropping a consumer.

I’m going to take you thru the methods I used to extend my freelance earnings from one 12 months to the subsequent. This isn’t a narrative about “tips on how to 10x your earnings” or “how I went from rags to riches in a single day,” … however as an alternative, I hope, a extra life like and achievable have a look at tips on how to considerably improve 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 % improve. I did this round a traditional, on a regular basis life, with a partner, youngsters, 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 Revenue Targets

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 specific earnings aim in thoughts. I used to be masking all my payments, and on the whole, I used to be completely satisfied 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 it is a widespread drawback for freelancers and solopreneurs when I came across this piece by Naomi Dunford of Ittybiz. She defined:

When 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.

Easy methods to Do It

Work out what you made final 12 months (final calendar 12 months or earlier tax 12 months, no matter is smart for you). Then, set the next aim for the approaching 12 months. Intention for one thing difficult however life like: perhaps a 25 % or 50 % improve, and even 100% extra, for those who’re going to have the ability to work extra hours.

Let’s say you made $30,000 final 12 months. You would intention for $45,000 this 12 months. It’s a major improve, however removed from an unattainable one.

Observe: Personally, I set earnings targets for the calendar 12 months, however for the needs of this publish, I’ve given my earnings improve 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 might doubtlessly earn more money 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 a few of 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 might improve 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 youngsters, for example, I used to be completely satisfied to work on weekends; now, I keep away from night and weekend work.

Easy methods to Do It

Resolve what your personal “traces within the sand” are together with your freelancing. Maybe you need to maintain weekends (or at the very least one weekend day) utterly free from work. Perhaps there are specific forms of freelancing work you received’t tackle – I do know freelancers who received’t write items about weapons, say, or tobacco. 

There are many methods to make more cash throughout the boundaries which might be wholesome for your enterprise and for you as an individual. 

Step 3. Break Down Your Annual Revenue Purpose Into Smaller Chunks

When you’ve bought your earnings aim, you’ll want to interrupt it down into smaller chunks so to work out for those who’re on observe or not at any given time.

Once I first began doing this, I used to separate up my aim purely mathematically. If I wished to make, say, £40,000 in a 12 months and wished to work 40 weeks (youngsters are at school for 38 weeks of the 12 months within the UK), then that will imply incomes £1,000 per week. But it surely quickly grew to become clear that not all weeks can be precisely the identical.

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

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

Easy 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 steadily invoice extra as you carry on new shoppers, elevate your charges, or get higher at utilizing your freelancing hours effectively.

Take into consideration instances 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 maintain work to a minimal for the remainder of the calendar 12 months.

Right here’s how your 12 months may break down for a $60,000 earnings aim:

  • 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 may then break down this aim by month, by week, and by day. You don’t must set this all out at first of the 12 months (in actual fact, I like to recommend you don’t!) As an alternative, see what’s arising week by week and plan accordingly.

Step 4. Monitor All Your Freelancing Time

I bought critical about monitoring my time throughout 2022 – and that is the one change that I consider 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 consumer’s work to prioritize.
  • Some duties took longer than I believed 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 believed, often simply 15-20 hours per week. 

The act of monitoring my time inspired me to give attention to billable duties, like finishing articles for shoppers, fairly than non-billable work, like writing emails. This paid off very well by way of 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.

Easy methods to Do It

There are a great deal of totally different apps that can assist you observe your time. Having experimented with just a few, 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)

When you don’t need to use an app, you may 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 residence, and also you don’t have set hours (or a boss), it’s very simple for all kinds 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 telephone, you may discover that your working time is getting interrupted or chopped up.

Some flexibility isn’t any unhealthy factor; in actual fact, it’d effectively be why you selected to freelance within the first place. However flexibility can turn into an issue for those who’re continuously including only one other thing into your day … that means that you simply’re dropping hours of productive time over the course of per week. 

Easy methods to Do It

You may discover that it helps to:

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

Step 6. Increase Your Charges if You Haven’t Achieved So Lately

One of many causes my freelance earnings rose was as a result of a consumer 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 should 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 consumer’s charge from $0.13/phrase to $0.15/phrase.

You may 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. For example, my higher-paying consumer’s work required much more analysis than the lower-paying consumer’s work, and it additionally usually meant tackling requested edits.

Easy methods to Do It

Elevating your charges as a freelancer will be daunting: you is likely to be anxious about dropping a great consumer. Bear in mind, it is a regular a part of doing enterprise, and your consumer could be very prone to take it utterly of their stride.

I discover that it’s easiest to tackle newer shoppers at the next charge after which steadily elevate the speed for older shoppers to match. I intention to offer shoppers at the very least a full month’s warning that my charge can be going up.

Step 7. Use Timers to Preserve You Centered and Productive

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

I sometimes 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.

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

Easy 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 telephone … however I discover I simply get distracted within the act of setting the timer if I spot a brand new notification!

When you’re struggling to focus otherwise you’re procrastinating about beginning a giant job, setting a 10-minute timer and promising your self you’ll focus for these 10 minutes can assist you get transferring.

Step 8. Strive Creating and Promoting Digital Merchandise

A small share 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 lead to an earnings increase in months the place I wasn’t doing a lot freelancing (I typically run Summer time and Winter gross sales, for example, as that matches with after I’m taking a while off from freelancing).

In 2024, I’m specializing in rising this side of my enterprise: it’ll give me much more flexibility and a higher 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.

Easy methods to Do It

There are every kind of digital merchandise you may promote: assume ebooks, e-courses, templates, printables, apps, and extra! You’ll want some form of on-line platform of your personal – that may very well be an internet site/weblog, Instagram account, Fb group, electronic mail record, or anyplace that you would be able to promote your merchandise to your followers.

Step 9. Preserve Experimenting With New Strategies to Develop

All of the above steps helped me improve 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 steadily. You may need to give these a attempt, too.

Taking On Further Freelancing Duties

Generally, you may have the ability to up your earnings by taking over an additional job for an present consumer. One among my freelance writing shoppers requested me if I might 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 comply with, so it grew to become a simple, low-energy, and low-stress job. Not solely did this imply extra billable work for every article I wrote, it additionally meant I might write extra articles, as I used to be holding the pipeline of recent posts flowing.

Easy methods to Do It

Decide a consumer you get pleasure from working with and ask if there are any additional duties you may tackle. Some prospects are:

  • Writing briefs for articles so the consumer doesn’t must prep these
  • search engine optimization optimizing articles based on the consumer’s preferences
  • Getting ready electronic mail newsletters or social media posts based mostly on an article 

Working With an Accountability Coach

I didn’t fairly meet my earnings aim 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 aim in 2023: particularly, it helped me do higher at ringfencing my freelancing time and at avoiding distractions.

Easy methods to Do It

Teaching is an excellent technique to spend money on your self as you develop your enterprise – but when one-to-one teaching isn’t inexpensive, you may have a look at peer assist. That 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 Outdoors Your Direct Management

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

For example, within the 2023 to 2024 tax 12 months, I landed a brand new higher-paying consumer due to a former colleague who was now in a advertising/enhancing function. You may’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.

For example, you may:

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

Your Plan for Rising Your Freelance Writing Revenue Over the Subsequent 12 months

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

  1. Set your earnings aim. Intention to be each bold and life like! Solely what which means in your circumstances. It is likely to be a 25 % improve, a 50 % improve, or perhaps a 100% improve in your earnings from final 12 months.
  2. Break down your aim by quarter, then by month, so for those who’re on observe.
  3. Search for the best wins first: ones that don’t require working any additional hours. That would imply:
    1. Enhancing your focus, so that you’re getting extra executed in the identical period of time.
    2. Monitoring your time so you possibly can see precisely which gigs are price essentially the most to you per hour.
    3. Elevating your charges so that you earn more money for a similar quantity of labor.
  4. When taking over additional 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 per 30 days as an alternative of 4), counsel additional duties you may deal with, or ask in the event that they know anybody who wants a author.

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

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