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

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

Easy methods to leverage direct messages to construct your community, whether or not you’re trying to discover new clients or construct your private model. You will 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 trying to develop your revenue? It may be robust to know the place to start out. Maybe you’ve fallen into comfy freelancing routines with purchasers you’ve been working with for months or years. 

That type of stability is nice … however it could 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 shedding a consumer.

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

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, children, hobbies, and lots of different issues I didn’t wish 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 selected revenue aim in thoughts. I used to be masking all my payments, and normally, I used to be completely happy 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 spotted this can be a widespread downside 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 outdated day job wage), you’ve received an higher restrict downside.

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 sensible 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 one hundred pc extra, when you’re going to have the ability to work extra hours.

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

Be aware: Personally, I set revenue objectives for the calendar 12 months, however for the needs of this publish, I’ve given my revenue improve right here primarily based 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 data work out.

Step 2. Know What WON’T Work for You

In my enterprise, I might probably 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 children as wanted. 

There are many methods I might improve my freelance writing revenue … however these aren’t trade-offs I’m keen to make at this level in my life. Again earlier than I had children, for example, I used to be completely happy to work on weekends; now, I keep away from night and weekend work.

Easy methods to Do It

Determine what your personal “traces within the sand” are together with your freelancing. Maybe you wish to maintain weekends (or a minimum of one weekend day) utterly free from work. Perhaps there are particular kinds 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 inside the boundaries which might be wholesome for what you are promoting and for you as an individual. 

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

When you’ve received your revenue aim, you’ll want to interrupt it down into smaller chunks so to work out when you’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 (children are in class for 38 weeks of the 12 months within the UK), then that may imply incomes £1,000 per week. However it quickly turned clear that not all weeks could 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 common, 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

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

Take into consideration instances of the 12 months whenever you’re more likely to have trip, household commitments, or different tasks 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 revenue aim:

  • Q1 (Jan-Mar): $13,000 (build up revenue)
  • Q2 (Apr-Jun): $16,000
  • Q3 (Jul-Sep): $18,000
  • This fall (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 possibly can then break down this aim by month, by week, and by day. You don’t must set this all out initially of the 12 months (in actual fact, I like to recommend you don’t!) As an alternative, see what’s developing week by week and plan accordingly.

Step 4. Observe All Your Freelancing Time

I received critical about monitoring my time throughout 2022 – and that is the one change that I consider made the most important distinction to my revenue 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. Realizing that made it simple to know which consumer’s work to prioritize.
  • Some duties took longer than I assumed they did (like making ready invoices). Earlier than monitoring, I typically mentally discounted this type of admin time, forgetting to essentially 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 give attention to billable duties, like finishing articles for purchasers, reasonably than non-billable work, like writing emails. This paid off rather well when it comes to my revenue within the medium time period, although now, in 2024, I’m including in additional time on advertising and marketing 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 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)

When you don’t wish 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 whenever you’re working from residence, 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 buddy 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 would nicely be why you selected to freelance within the first place. However flexibility can develop into an issue when you’re always including only one thing more into your day … that means that you just’re shedding hours of productive time over the course of every week. 

Easy methods to Do It

You may discover that it helps to:

  • Have particular “begin” and “cease” instances in your freelance day. (My day is book-ended by my children’ 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. 
  • 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 may even use two totally different apps.

Step 6. Elevate Your Charges if You Haven’t Achieved So Just lately

One of many causes my freelance revenue rose was as a result of a consumer who accounted for an honest chunk of my revenue 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 typically 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 purchasers primarily based 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 typically meant tackling requested edits.

Easy methods to Do It

Elevating your charges as a freelancer may be daunting: you is likely to be anxious about shedding a very good consumer. Keep in mind, this can be a regular a part of doing enterprise, and your consumer could be very more likely to take it utterly of their stride.

I discover that it’s easiest to tackle newer purchasers at the next charge after which progressively increase the speed for older purchasers to match. I purpose to provide purchasers a minimum of a full month’s warning that my charge might be going up.

Step 7. Use Timers to Hold You Targeted and Productive

In addition to monitoring my freelancing time, I additionally use timers to maintain me targeted … you might discover this a bit an excessive amount of, but it surely’s undoubtedly price 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 activity, swap to one thing else, or take a break.

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

Easy methods to Do It

I take advantage of a bodily timer dice (I presently 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 an enormous activity, setting a 10-minute timer and promising your self you’ll focus for these 10 minutes might help you get transferring.

Step 8. Strive Creating and Promoting Digital Merchandise

A small share of my revenue – 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 revenue stream, but it surely did end in an revenue increase in months the place I wasn’t doing a lot freelancing (I usually 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 facet of my enterprise: it’ll give me much more flexibility and a larger incomes potential, plus I really 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 clients.

Easy methods to Do It

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

Step 9. Hold Experimenting With New Methods to Develop

All of the above steps helped me improve my freelance revenue considerably … however I didn’t wish to cease there! Throughout the 2023-2024 tax 12 months, I did a few extra issues to proceed to develop, albeit extra progressively. You may wish to give these a attempt, too.

Taking On Further Freelancing Duties

Generally, you may be capable to up your revenue by taking over an additional activity for an present consumer. Certainly one of my freelance writing purchasers 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 observe, so it turned a simple, low-energy, and low-stress activity. 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 maintaining the pipeline of recent posts flowing.

Easy methods to Do It

Choose a consumer you take pleasure in 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
  • web optimization optimizing articles in accordance with the consumer’s preferences
  • Getting ready e mail newsletters or social media posts primarily based on an article 

Working With an Accountability Coach

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

Easy methods to Do It

Teaching is an excellent solution to spend money on your self as you develop what you are promoting – but when one-to-one teaching isn’t inexpensive, you may take 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 objectives and mutually assist each other.

Dealing with Components Outdoors Your Direct Management

All of the above concepts are ones you may replicate or management. However some modifications is likely to be exterior 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 because of a former colleague who was now in a advertising and marketing/modifying function. You possibly can’t drive one thing like that to occur – the supply got here out of the blue, for me – however you can also make it extra seemingly.

For example, you may:

  • Sustain with outdated contacts and let folks know when you’re in search of extra work
  • Write visitor posts to get your identify on the market (significantly when you can write for blogs that your ideally suited purchasers are more likely to learn)
  • Keep good relationships with editors and purchasers who may cross your identify on to people who find themselves in search of a author

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

Are you prepared to extend your freelance writing revenue? Let’s run by means of crucial steps from above to get you began.

  1. Set your revenue aim. Intention to be each formidable and life like! Solely what meaning in your circumstances. It is likely to be a 25 % improve, a 50 % improve, or perhaps a 100% improve in your revenue from final 12 months.
  2. Break down your aim by quarter, then by month, so when you’re on observe.
  3. Search for the simplest wins first: ones that don’t require working any additional hours. That might imply:
    1. Enhancing your focus, so that you’re getting extra accomplished in the identical period of time.
    2. Monitoring your time so you may 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 purchasers: that is simpler and quicker than trying to find brand-new purchasers. Supply to tackle extra of the identical (e.g., six articles per 30 days as a substitute of 4), recommend additional duties you may sort out, or ask in the event that they know anybody who wants a author.

You can also make a fantastic dwelling as a contract author. My revenue in 2024 seems set to place me inside the highest 10 % of employees within the UK regardless of working part-time hours – by no means greater than 20 per week – and taking loads 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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