Working for yourself has many perks, not least having the freedom to work to your own schedule and on the projects you choose. But freelancing has some challenges too, and while securing new clients, marketing your work and chasing invoices is important, it can take up valuable time.
Although drawing in new custom is important, it can occupy time that could be spent actually earning your crust. Finding clients is a freelancer’s responsibility, but there are other things you can do to improve your income.
A good accountant can help look after your books, but here we explore other ideas to keep the money coming in and your bank balance looking healthy.
Secure the right clients
As a freelancer, it may be tempting to secure as many clients as possible, especially if you’re trying to improve your income. However, taking the time to target clients who you are able to maintain long standing relationships with may serve you better in the long run. Additionally, persuading current clients to give you more projects is more time efficient than marketing your services to new clients altogether.
Securing clients who you believe will also gain a lot from working with you can also help improve your income. You may begin by working on one project, but once a client has seen your work, they may ask you to do additional tasks elsewhere in the business, which can prove to be lucrative.
Raise your fees
If you’re looking for ways to improve your freelancing income, it pays to reassess your rates every so often. While you may worry that higher fees may lose you work, remember that you are running a business and your rates should therefore reflect your abilities and the time you put in. Avoiding selling yourself short and reconsidering how much you charge can instantly improve your income.
If it makes you feel more comfortable, speak to your current clients before you put up your fees. If they are pleased with your work and want to maintain a relationship with you, then they will approve your increased rate.
When it comes to attracting new clients, remember that your fees will reflect your abilities. While you may be worried that your increased rates could deter some new clients, it may well help you secure them too, as they may deem higher rates to mean a high standard of service.
Understand your clients targets and goals
Going the extra mile for a client can feel time consuming and less cost effective than churning out as many projects as you can. However, having a deeper understanding of your clients’ needs and goals can help improve your income as well as your client relationships.
Helping clients achieve their targets may help you secure more work with them in the future, especially when they begin to see visible results that they can relate to your contributions. This may also mean they have more money to play around with, which can go in your favour when it comes to reassessing your pricing.
Add more strings to your bow
As a freelancer you’ll inevitably have a specific area of expertise, but building on your skillset is another great way to improve your freelancing income. Adding to your offerings may not only improve the work you do for your current clients, but may also open doors elsewhere too. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box by venturing into different areas of the same field, as being creative and open minded will help you secure more work in the long run. You can also approach existing contractors for a mutual digital offering in the same niche as yourself.
Adding to your training and qualifications may also help you improve your income. While the expense of further training can be off putting, it will inevitably pay off when you are able to take on projects you were otherwise under qualified to carry out.
Adding to your CV and skillset will also give you a good enough reason to increase your fees when the time comes.
Create a work schedule and stick to it
The freedom that comes with working for yourself can be liberating. You can work to your own schedule and in your own environment, and if you’re successful you can often pick and choose the projects you want to work on.
However, having such freedom can have its limitations too, especially if you struggle with self discipline. Without the restrictions of an employer, you may find yourself procrastinating and wasting precious time that could be spent earning.
Setting yourself daily goals and forming a normal working routine or set hours in the same way you would if you were employed full time will help guarantee a steady stream of work and keep the money coming in.
Determine how many hours a week you realistically need to work to achieve your income goals, then create a schedule and stick to it. Working out when you are most productive can also help improve your income in the long run too.
It’s important to identify the things that distract you from working as well, be it social media, daytime TV or the temptation to go for that long leisurely lunch. Clawing back the time you spend elsewhere and using it to work will prove financially beneficial.
Finally, sell yourself
As a freelancer, recommendations from your clients can be hugely helpful when it comes to securing new contacts and therefore improving your income.
However, it’s important to be confident in your abilities and sell yourself. Show people what it is you can offer, how well you can do it and what they will get for their money.