How I Elevated My Freelance Writing Earnings By 79% % in a Single 12 months (and How You May Too)

Home » How I Elevated My Freelance Writing Earnings By 79% % in a Single 12 months (and How You May Too)

Right here’s what I did to extend my freelance writing revenue in a 12 months and the way you are able to do the identical.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 powerful 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 sort of stability is nice … however it will probably additionally hold you trapped. Perhaps you’ve stopped questioning your assumptions about how lengthy writing an article will take, as an illustration, otherwise you haven’t raised your charges in ages since you’re nervous about dropping 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 reasonable and achievable take a look at how one can considerably enhance your individual freelancing (or small enterprise) revenue. 

Let’s begin with the tip 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 traditional, on a regular basis life, with a partner, children, hobbies, and plenty 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 Earnings Targets

I’ve been freelancing for over 16 years now, and I’m embarrassed to confess that for much too a few years, I didn’t have a specific revenue objective in thoughts. I used to be overlaying all my payments, and normally, I used to be completely satisfied to easily make the identical quantity I’d been making in my day job once I was in my early 20s.

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

Should you can’t appear to interrupt a sure quantity (and particularly if that quantity is suspiciously near your outdated day job wage), you’ve obtained an higher restrict drawback.

The way 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. Purpose for one thing difficult however reasonable: possibly a 25 % or 50 % enhance, and even one hundred pc 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 purpose for $45,000 this 12 months. It’s a major enhance, however removed from an unimaginable one.

Word: Personally, I set revenue targets for the calendar 12 months, however for the needs of this submit, I’ve given my revenue 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 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 day without work for our youngsters as wanted. 

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

The way to Do It

Determine what your individual “traces within the sand” are along with your freelancing. Maybe you wish to hold weekends (or at the very least one weekend day) fully 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 earn more money throughout the boundaries which are wholesome for your corporation and for you as an individual. 

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

When you’ve obtained your revenue objective, you’ll want to interrupt it down into smaller chunks to be able to work out for those who’re on monitor or not at any given time.

Once I first began doing this, I used to separate up my objective purely mathematically. If I needed to make, say, £40,000 in a 12 months and needed to work 40 weeks (children are in class for 38 weeks of the 12 months within the UK), then that might 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 illustration, within the first quarter of 2024, I knew I’d have much less freelancing work than standard, 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)

The way to Do It

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

Take into consideration instances of the 12 months once you’re more likely to have trip, household commitments, or different obligations affecting your freelancing time. For instance, the ultimate quarter ends on Dec eleventh, because it's my birthday on Dec twelfth, and I prefer to hold 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 objective:

  • Q1 (Jan-Mar): $13,000 (build up revenue)
  • Q2 (Apr-Jun): $16,000
  • Q3 (Jul-Sep): $18,000
  • This fall (Oct-Dec): $13,000 (day 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 objective by month, by week, and by day. You don’t have to set this all out initially of the 12 months (in truth, I like to recommend you don’t!) As a substitute, see what’s arising week by week and plan accordingly.

Step 4. Observe All Your Freelancing Time

I obtained critical about monitoring my time throughout 2022 – and that is the one change that I consider made the largest 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. Figuring out that made it simple to know which consumer’s work to prioritize.
  • Some duties took longer than I believed they did (like making ready invoices). Earlier than monitoring, I usually mentally discounted this type of admin time, forgetting to essentially plan for it in my week.
  • I labored fewer hours than I believed, 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, somewhat than non-billable work, like writing emails. This paid off rather well by way of my revenue 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.

The way to Do It

There are a great deal of completely different apps that can assist you monitor your time. Having experimented with a couple of, I discover that Clockify is the most effective match for me.

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

Should you don’t wish to use an app, you may prefer 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 once you’re working from house, 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 good friend on the cellphone, you may discover that your working time is getting interrupted or chopped up.

Some flexibility is not any unhealthy factor; in truth, it’d properly be why you selected to freelance within the first place. However flexibility can grow to be an issue for those who’re consistently including only one thing more into your day … that means that you just’re dropping hours of productive time over the course of per week. 

The way to Do It

You may discover that it helps to:

  • Have particular “begin” and “cease” instances to 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. 
  • Maintain 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 completely different apps.

Step 6. Increase 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 usually put up my charges and have by no means had any pushback. Final 12 months, I raised one other consumer’s fee from $0.13/phrase to $0.15/phrase.

You may discover these charges are fairly completely different! Don’t be afraid to set completely different charges for various shoppers based mostly on what the work includes. As an 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.

The way to Do It

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

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

Step 7. Use Timers to Maintain You Centered 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, 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, change to one thing else, or take a break.

Generally, I’ll purpose to finish a sure job (e.g., drafting a bit 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 could be fighting my focus.

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

Should 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 might help you get shifting.

Step 8. Attempt Creating and Promoting Digital Merchandise

A small proportion 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 vital revenue stream, however it did lead to an revenue increase in months the place I wasn’t doing a lot freelancing (I typically run Summer season and Winter gross sales, as an illustration, as that matches with once 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 prospects.

The way to Do It

There are every kind of digital merchandise you possibly can promote: assume ebooks, e-courses, templates, printables, apps, and extra! You’ll want some sort of on-line platform of your individual – that may very well be a web site/weblog, Instagram account, Fb group, electronic mail listing, or wherever which you could promote your merchandise to your followers.

Step 9. Maintain Experimenting With New Strategies to Develop

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

Taking On Extra Freelancing Duties

Generally, you may be capable of up your revenue by taking up an additional job for an current consumer. Considered one of 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 fee and created a complete guidelines to observe, so it turned a simple, low-energy, and low-stress job. Not solely did this imply further 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.

The way to Do It

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

  • Writing briefs for articles so the consumer doesn’t have to prep these
  • search engine marketing optimizing articles in response to 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 revenue 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 fulfill my revenue objective in 2023: specifically, it helped me do higher at ringfencing my freelancing time and at avoiding distractions.

The way to Do It

Teaching is an excellent solution to spend money on your self as you develop your corporation – but when one-to-one teaching isn’t reasonably priced, you possibly can take a look at peer help. 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 help each other.

Dealing with Elements Exterior Your Direct Management

All of the above concepts are ones you possibly can replicate or management. However some adjustments could be exterior your direct management. You do nonetheless have some affect over these.

As an 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 position. You possibly can’t pressure one thing like that to occur – the supply got here out of the blue, for me – however you can also make it extra probably.

As an example, you possibly can:

  • Sustain with outdated contacts and let individuals 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 best shoppers are more likely to learn)
  • Keep good relationships with editors and shoppers who may go your identify on to people who find themselves searching for a author

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

Are you prepared to extend your freelance writing revenue? Let’s run via an important steps from above to get you began.

  1. Set your revenue objective. Purpose to be each bold and reasonable! Solely you realize what which means in your circumstances. It could be a 25 % enhance, a 50 % enhance, or perhaps a 100% enhance in your revenue from final 12 months.
  2. Break down your objective by quarter, then by month, so you realize for those who’re on monitor.
  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 executed in the identical period of time.
    2. Monitoring your time so you’ll be able to 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 up further work, begin along with your present shoppers: that is simpler and sooner than trying to find brand-new shoppers. Provide to tackle extra of the identical (e.g., six articles monthly as a substitute of 4), counsel further duties you possibly can deal with, or ask in the event that they know anybody who wants a author.

You may make a fantastic dwelling as a contract author. My revenue in 2024 seems 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 a whole lot of day without work throughout college breaks. It took me 16+ years to get to that time, however you possibly can do it a lot sooner 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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