You have to be smart and creative if you want to make money freelancing.
It is projected that at least 43 percent of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers this year. In other words, the freelancing landscape is going to get increasingly competitive and you will be required to adapt your approach to freelancing to earn well.
That said, you can still freelance profitably in 2020. In this article, we’re going to discuss six ways you can earn more as a freelancer.
Make money freelancing by doing the following
Most of the following ideas are easy to implement, and you only have to do them once, yet they can pretty much double your freelancing income ASAP.
1. Optimize your productivity
One of the easiest ways to earn more as a freelancer is to improve your productivity, and one of the simplest ways to be more productive is to use a dual monitor setup.
There are numerous advantages to using a dual monitor. As a freelance writer, for example, you can easily research and write at the same time with Google search opened in one screen and your Word processing application opened in another. Instead of having to minimize windows and reopen them each time you want to research or verify information related to what you’re writing, you simply move your mouse seamlessly between screens.
Besides using a dual monitor setup, you can also consider using distraction-prevention apps like StayFocusd to limit your daily access to sites that easily distract you, particular social media. Once the set time is expired, you’ll be blocked from accessing any site on the blacklist for the rest of the day.
If you can improve your productivity twice or thrice, and are able to ensure you have enough clients to work with, then you’ve pretty much doubled or tripled your earnings.
2. Specialize and niche further
While the freelancing landscape gets increasingly competitive and might result in reduced income for the average freelancer, there is a category of freelancer whose income won’t negatively be affected: specialized freelancers.
In fact, highly specialized freelancers working in industries ranging from law to marketing and tech can earn an average of $165 to $255 hourly.
Whether you’re a freelance writer, a freelance designer, a freelance web developer, or a freelance legal consultant, it might seem smart to want to serve a general audience based on a belief that it gives you access to more people. It is important to realize, however, that your opportunity to earn more serving the same clients everybody else is serving is limited.
Instead, by focusing on niching and building up your skills to help you further specialize, you make sure that – despite the increasing pool of freelancers – your skills and service is a bit scarce, enabling you to command higher rates.
3. Take advantage of more opportunities to land jobs
The harsh reality of freelancing is that you’ll seldom earn the bulk of your income from a single client. However, some clients may sign a retainership agreement with you so you don't have to worry about looking for freelance writing jobs. But those gigs don't last . forever.
It’s unhealthy for you to rely on just one source for your income as a freelancer, no matter how profitable that source is. Besides the fact that income from this source can dry up at any time, it significantly limits your earning potential.
Instead, try to come up with as many opportunities to land freelancing jobs; this includes cold pitching, referrals, social media, bidding sites, and taking advantage of a list of online writing jobs for freelance writers.
4. Upsell and cross-sell existing clients
It's important to recognize the necessity of upselling and cross-selling existing clients. While some clients are willing to pay well, depending on the nature of the job, you may be limiting your earning potential. However, you should learn to upsell your skills and services to clients with whom you are closely connected. Doing so can help you earn much higher amounts than you're used to for the regular services you provide.
If you do not upsell or cross-sell your services to existing clients, that doesn’t mean they will no longer be requiring the service. They will simply be using another freelancer. Plus, it’s much easier for you to sell additional services to existing clients than it is for you to get new clients.
Depending on the nature of services you offer, come up with a list of additional services you can offer to existing clients and pitch them the services. For example, if you’re a freelance writer doing blog posts for clients, you could offer to do additional services including press releases, email newsletters, landing page copy, guest posts, and a lot more.
5. Get more social proof
Social proof can turn an situation where you're severely undersold into something much more lucrative. For example, a potential client reached out for help with blog posts for a blog launch, with articles going live at an under minimum-wage rate. Not long thereafter, a personal feature on Huffington Post went live, and the potential client saw the feature, reached out again, and offered double what he initially offered. This experience shows just how powerful social proof can be; someone who adamantly insisted on paying so little all of a sudden saw the social proof, thus turning value rate twice of which it was before.
There are many ways you can get social proof as a freelancer:
Be featured on and interviewed in leading publications
Guest blog for leading and authoritative industry publications
Showcase your most high profile clients. This can really help if you’ve worked with clients highly regarded in your industry. This sends a clear message, “If client XXY trusts this freelancer then he/she must know what he/she’s doing!”
Highlight key successes you’ve helped some of your clients achieve
Any of the above will serve as good social proof, and more power to you if you’re able to use a combination of two or more.
6. Increase your rates
Often, the only thing you need to do to earn more as a freelancer is to simply ask for more. It sometimes doesn’t get more complicated than that.
You'll often read stories of freelancers who make six figures annually and might wonder what they do to earn such money. Six-figure freelance writer Carol Tice provided the following (paraphrased) advice: [Do not charge] your clients so low. Charge more!
It's as simple as that; you need to be demanding more from your clients. Gradually raising your rates can increase your freelance earnings multiple fold.
Try to research what rates are like in your industry and compare them with what you’re charging your clients; are your rates standard or lower? Often, you’ll be surprised to discover that you’re charging three or four times less than you’re supposed to be charging. In such instances, you simply have to demand more from your clients.
As you can see, earning much more as a freelancer shouldn’t be too complicated. Effectively applying one or two of the above ideas can potentially double your income. Applying all of the above tips will significantly improve your freelance income down the line.
With all of this information at your fingertips, it's time to look for the right freelance platforms for your unique needs. Find the right one for you on G2.