5 ways to earn more as a freelancer
In 2007 I started my marketing career as a freelancer. I did Joomla websites (later WordPress), print, webbanners – whatever you needed, I delivered to stay alive.
A tough start, but I guess a lot of people start their self employment that way. Whatever it takes!
Now I’m the co-owner of a digital agency doing some of the same things, but more specialized. Still relevant for a freelancer (and a digital agency). Let’s get to the point before I get too nostalgic
This post’s about how to make more money based on what I’ve learned in the last 10+ years.
Choose a focus area and become the best
Starting out it seems like a good idea to branch out and do everything. You need AdWords, Facebook ads, business cards and a flyer? Great, more money, right?
Getting clients can be tough and to stand out you need to focus and be something specific instead. Be the SEO guy, the go-to Facebook consultant or whatever you want to focus on.
As soon as you focus, it will be easier for you to reach potential clients and it will also make it easier for them to find you.
By doing this, you will also become an expert and that means you can set higher prices for your service.
Productize a service
Higher prices are nice of course, but it still puts a roof on your earnings, because you bill for your hours.
Billing by the hour also makes you vulnerable to price sensitivity. It puts the focus on your price instead of the value you provide. This can cap your earnings. Bummer 🙁
But there’s a solution!
Productize your service instead. Add-ons like reporting, proactive advice, strategy etc will add value to your main service and make it easier to earn more than an hourly rate.
Now potential clients can’t compare your service 1:1 with your competitors. You can’t just look at the price. This has a few lovely effects:
- You discourage clients that only think about expenses and not value, from using you
- You are not competing on price, but on value
- Upselling will be easier with add-on services
Right! Now you have a focus, you have a product (or more) now we come to where it really takes off:
Make it a subscription
When I started out each month was a hard reset. Off to get new assignments and meet the month’s quota (If I wanted to eat, which I very much did).
After a few years I teamed up with my Mimer Metrics co-founder, when we made our digital agency.
One of the first things we did was to make our productized services subscription based. AdWords and Facebook Ads. Instead of selling it as one-offs or project based, we sold (and still sell) it as an ongoing subscription.
We don’t have any binding period and our clients can cancel from month to month. This keeps us on our toes and focused on delivering value each month. And that’s why we have very few cancelations.
With subscriptions our clients get an ongoing sparring and feel secure knowing we’re there for them.
So get those subscriptions going. It’ll be one of the best things you will ever do for yourself and your clients.
Here’s one of the tougher things to do, but you’ll thank me once you get it done.
Invoice those subscriptions the first of each month upfront. Stop reading this and go do it now!
Did you do it? No cheating!
Good! cashflow is everything and invoicing upfront can be the difference between failure and a thriving business. Even when clients pay late (there’s always some, grrr) you’ll get the money before next month’s bills.
We do it and no one complains. You may feel it’s a bit too aggressive, but it’s not and you just need to do it for the sake of our own future.
Start invoicing now to boost your cashflow
This is more icing on the cake if you have completed the first steps. When a client can’t afford a subscription or just need minor things done, sell them vouchers instead.
We sell 10 or 20 hours at a time for clients to use. You could do 50 or 100. Depends on your situation.
The beauty about this is that we get to invoice upfront. Remember the cashflow part? Prepaid hours remove some of the barriers for further work and make clients happy and assure them you are standing by their side when they need help.
Hope you could use some of these tips. We learned it the hard way and I still see a lot of freelancers struggling with making a living. Implement these 5 things and your on your way to a better work life 🙂