The great thing about being your own boss is being able to give yourself a pay rise. Here’s 11 ways to make sure you’re earning more this year than you did last year.
1. Focus on high-value jobs
Over time, you’ll learn which jobs pay the most, without taking the most amount of time. And you’ll also start to identify the clients that ask for the world, but aren’t prepared to pay for it.
Navigating this, and focusing on the high-value jobs, is crucial to earning more.
Collaborating with other freelancers on jobs can have a huge impact on how much you earn. Even one or two opportunities to team up with a freelance colleague can lead on to ongoing partnerships, and the ability to pitch yourselves as a dup to new clients.
So make the most of the opportunity to network, particular in groups such as The Freelance Collective, where everyone is of a similar ilk.
3. Be strategic about your worth
Rachel Smith of jobs board for freelancer writers, Rachel’s List, says strategically picking up high-paying clients is the key. You can research these companies and brands and LinkedIn, she says.
“Approach the content managers, editorial managers, heads of marketing, or whoever is head of the department you want to work with, and send them a letter of introduction. Follow up. Comment on their posts. Start building those relationships, and get back to that strategy thing – be consistent about it,” Smith says.
4. Streamline your work processes
If you’re bogged down in a million tasks that actually take you away from that thing you do that actually earns you money, it’s time to look for efficiencies in your business.
Outsourcing your marketing, or simply listing on The Freelance Collective, for example, can be a simple marketing tool – and it costs less than $200 a year.
Other ways to streamline your processes includes using a Virtual Assistant, outsourcing elements of the work to a fellow freelancer, finding shortcuts in your work processes and adding a calendar to your website so clients can book in a time to chat about an upcoming project.
5. Implement a pay rise
It’s pretty simple. Now that it’s the new financial year, put your rates up. Even a 10 per cent rate rise will have a decent impact on your earnings by the end of the year.
Send a simple email to each of your clients letting them know about the rate rise, perhaps 4 weeks before you intend to implement the increase.
Trust us, if you’re doing your job well and you’re valued, it’s highly likely that they won’t even flinch.
6. Add another service offering
If you add another string to your bow, you could potentially double the workload you’re doing with your existing portfolio of clients.
Have conversations with your clients about what other skills they need to hire a freelancer for, or send out a simple survey. You might be surprised how easy it is to source extra work from your current clients.
Other options to increase your income are offering mentoring sessions to freelance peers, or selling a simple product on your website and other websites, such as daily planners, for example.
7. Source more work from your current clients
If you can handle more work, why not take the time to approach your current clients and offer to handle an additional regular project for them? If you’ve already proven your value with them, this should be a pretty easy sell.
8. Invest in good accounting software
A decent system that enables you to keep track of invoices, payments and expenses and helps with calculating your BAS (if you’re liable for GST) is worth it’s weight in gold, according to Sydney freelance PR, Fiona Hamann.
The principal of Hamman Communication says the benefit is that you can keep track of your cash flow and ‘course correct’ if need be with a good system. (She uses Aussie platform, Rounded).
“Excel is too fiddly. I like the dashboard on Rounded, that supplies everything I need at a glance, and my income increased massively in the first year by simply using the dashboard to see where I was at.”
9. Invest in tools
You’ve got to spend money to make money. And investing (within your budget) to make your business more efficient will always stand you in good stead.
“Whether that’s project management software or graphic design or stock photography packages, media monitoring or a media data base, or even accounting packages. These things give you an advantage over competitors and make you more efficient, giving you more time to focus on growing the business,” Hamann says.
10. Invest in a website
You can quickly build your own simple site on platforms like Wix, Weebly and WordPress. And having all your contact details and the like in one place is the best way to be landing those high-value clients we all want.
“Also, get a Google business listing and encourage clients to post reviews, which boosts your ranking,” Hamann says.
She recently got a client through a Google search, who then went to her site and contacted her that way, and she responded immediately. “The client confessed they were testing me to see how responsive I was to website contacts,” she says.
11. Be professional
Draw up a standard contract that includes payment terms, project scope and penalties for late payments. “A contract looks professional, but also gives you something to fall back on if clients are late paying, or refuse to pay,” Hamann says.
For example, she has added a clause that enables her to charge back the total cost of engaging a debt recovery firm for non-payment. Unless this is in the contract signed by the client, you can’t usually do that,” she says.