4 Mar 2019
There’s no doubt that working for yourself can be one of the best ways to earn a living, and as a freelance writer, I will always advocate for being your own boss. But as with most small businesses, it’s easy to start coasting and forget about growth.
Making more money as a freelancer and solopreneur is definitely a challenge, especially if you have no idea where to begin or how to ask for more. Depending on your financial goals, with a little effort it’s certainly possible to increase your income between 10-50% (or potentially more) in just one year.
Whether you want to drastically increase your earning potential or just want a boost your monthly income, the following strategies are designed to give you the confidence and knowledge to start asking for more.
Add to your service offerings
One of the best ways to increase your income is to offer more options to your clients and charge them for this extra work. For example, if you primarily write blog posts for a client, you might consider asking if they need help with their marketing emails or social media posts.
If you’re worried that you don’t have the skills or knowledge to do certain tasks, plenty of online courses out there can teach you everything to deliver this work to your clients.
According to Rebecca Jee from Open Colleges, “the world is continuously evolving and you need to keep up with it… you want to make sure that you’re not relying on training you may have done several years ago.” This advice goes for us small business owners too, as it’s easy to get left behind if you aren’t staying ahead of the game.
Remember, your client may not even be aware that you can do different types of work for them, so it’s worth highlighting your skillset and approaching them with an offer.
Provide more value by upselling
Upselling is a very popular marketing technique that can help increase your income with little effort. If you don’t necessarily want to add more services, you can provide a package to clients with various add-ons for increased value.
For example, offer a 500-word article for $X with the option for article promotion on social media at an additional cost, or offer optional interviews/quotes from experts. This can reframe your service to clients by making them see the tangible value in what you provide in a clear way.
Measure client results
It’s not always easy to measure results, especially if you don’t have access to your client’s analytics but if you can gain access, it’s definitely worth taking a look into.
If you can prove the value your work provides (through clicks, SEO ranking, eBook downloads, etc) you’re in a much better position to ask for a rate increase.
Otherwise, if you have a good relationship with a current client and don’t want to increase your rates, you can always approach new clients with case studies and charge them a higher rate.
Differentiate yourself through specialization
It’s well known that specialists across most industries enjoy greater earning potential than generalists. That’s because they have developed the skills to solve specific problems that other professionals cannot, which means less competition and the ability to increase rates.
As a writer and solopreneur, it’s a good idea to start marketing yourself as an expert in a certain niche (such as health, sport, business, or technology). Clients will then see you as someone who can write on something with authority, which can make you significantly more valuable.
If you think choosing a niche will significantly limit your potential pool of clients, try to reframe it as being a “specialist” rather than just narrowing your focus. You can take on work outside of your niche, but being a specialist can make you more attractive to certain clients, too.
Spend more time on higher-paying clients
This one might seem obvious, but when you’re working on multiple projects it’s easy to prioritize work based on urgency rather than what’s better for business.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t do your most urgent tasks first, but consider whether you are spending your time as effectively as you could. It’s not unfair to say that higher-paying clients are worth more of your time than those who aren’t paying as much—this is just how business works.
If you’re scrambling to work through deadlines for low-paying clients, try to find a way to limit your commitment to them, or alternatively raise your rates!
Revise your rates every year
Many freelancers are afraid of raising their rates in case they scare clients away. I am guilty of this too—especially for clients I have built long-term relationships with.
However, you must realize that it’s normal to increase your rates every year. Most businesses raise their prices to stay on top of market fluctuations, inflation, and so on. Remember that you gain more experience over time, and this alone makes you more valuable and capable of charging more.
You may only have to increase your rates by 10%, but this small percentage can really add up over the years.
And there you have it!
While the examples I gave in this article were primarily for writers, these strategies can work for any solopreneur, whether you’re a virtual assistant, social media manager or digital marketing specialist. The key is to start thinking outside the box and work out how you can do more for your clients and your business as a whole.