Editor’s Note: Adding freelance work to your portfolio of offerings can be a great boon to solopreneurship at any stage. It can supplement your income, position you as an expert and open up new networks. But there’s an art form to freelancing, and executed poorly a foray into freelancing could mean an overall drain on your resources. The following tips are from Debra Gordon, TMM member and veteran freelance writer, who took her freelance work full-time 14 years ago and has been steadily earning 6-figures.
Increase Your Freelance Income
- Charge a project rate, not an hourly rate. The market will only bear so much on an hourly basis. And you only have so many hours in the week to work – which limits your potential earnings. But with an hourly rate you have nearly unlimited earning potential. For instance, there is no way I can charge $500 an hour. But I can charge $500 for 500-word blog. It takes me an hour to research and write (ok, yes, I’m fast). So now I’m getting $500 an hour. Even if it takes you two hours, that’s $250/hour.
- Develop a niche. The more you know about a topic, the faster you get and the more money you make (see Tip 1 above).
- Work smarter, not harder. That means using software tools to increase productivity. But it also means working on your schedule. For instance, I’m a morning person. So I’m at my computer by 7 am, I work until 10:30 am, then head to the gym for an hour. After lunch, I work about another hour then I hit the proverbial wall. That’s when I take a 45-minute nap. Refreshed, I work another couple of hours and then stop for the day. I also schedule all my out-of-the-office appointments for late afternoon so they don’t interrupt my day.
- Develop passive marketing streams. That means getting assignments through your website/blog/LinkedIn profile/Mogul Mom, etc., as well as through referrals. And remember, those referrals should be coming not just from current and past clients, but from other freelancers you know.
- Know your value. If you think you’re only worth 10 cents a word, or $30 an hour, or, like a potential client that just contacted me, are happy to write a 500-word blog for $50, then you’re never going to get to six figures! Identify what you, and you alone, bring to the table for your clients and make sure they know it.