A common goal for most freelancers is to become financially independent, but work stability is often the most significant barrier to doing more work. Creating a balance between earning extra money and schedule flexibility isn’t out of reach. Rather than just working longer hours to make up for low-paying clients, try these x income-gaining methods to earn more long-term.
Idea 1: Always Use a Contract
Contracts aren’t just useful for maintaining legal compliance. They also ensure that you get paid on time with the rate you proposed at the beginning of the project.
With a contract, you can set your rates as high as you want, and the client won’t have the authority to lower them. Contracts also protect you if a client decides to stop paying you or is consistently late at invoicing.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go to a lawyer to draft up a legally binding contract; just use one of Bonsai's freelance contract templates for an easy-to-use, editable document.
Idea 2: Increase Your Rates
Every year a freelancer should increase their rates by approximately 5-10%. You can increase this rate further, especially if you’re starting to appear in major publications, but don’t be surprised if current clients won’t pay that amount.
You have to decide whether or not you want to raise your rates across the board, give discounts to frequent clients, or only charge a higher amount for new customers. If you’re unsure what amount clients will pay for in your niche, research and compare with what other freelancers are charging and offer slightly less.
Idea 3: Gather Social Proof
Clients want a freelancer with experience, but it’s challenging to get experience if you can’t find any work. There is a solution to this riddle: gather social proof. For example, if you’re a freelance writer, reach out to HARO for a feature quote, contact blogs for a guest post, or showcase high-profile clients on your website.
All of these methods for gaining social proof sends a clear message that you’re trustworthy and highly regarded. One minor feature in a top publication like Vogue, Washington Post, or Huffington post can triple what your clients are willing to pay.
Idea 4: Work in a Highly Specialized Niche
Not all niches make the same as others, but at the same time, not all niches are accessible to you without a degree. Specialized freelancers will make more money as long as they have the skills, education, and samples to back up their worth.
Starting with a general audience is the perfect way to get plenty of clients fast, but it won’t give you any authority in those industries. General freelancers are also a dime a dozen which is enough justification for some clients to pay you less. If your skills are scarce, you can command higher rates and find more work.
Idea 5: Find More Than One Freelance Client
The harsh reality about freelancing is that your income streams can dry up at any time, no matter how reliable clients seem. During the beginning stages of the lockdown, many freelancers lost their jobs due to growing concerns about job security. Thankfully, job shortages didn’t last long, but not all freelancers earned back lost clients. It’s essential that you are always looking for new freelance jobs, even when you’re flushed for cash, by actively applying or maintaining your website.
Idea 6: Optimize Productivity
All freelancers should have a schedule outlining the deadlines of each project so they can focus on getting work done instead of wasting time figuring out the details. Task batching is beneficial for anyone working from home who needs to finish similar tasks quickly.
Having a schedule and staying productive isn’t the same as working yourself to death. It’s important to take breaks and only take on as much work as you can handle. However, if you’re noticing work piling up, you can outsource administrative tasks to avoid interruptions during the day.