As an experienced freelancer, you know the ins and outs of your business like the back of your hand. You’ve already tackled the scary stuff, like the initial leap into full-time freelancing and the push to learn the basics of taxes for the self-employed. But if you’re ready to earn more money freelancing, there are a few key steps you need to take.
Like everyone else, you’re still limited by the amount of time in a day. How can you leverage your skills and knowledge to increase your bottom line without working more hours? Here are six steps you can take to make your business more profitable.
1. Discover a Complementary Niche
As an experienced freelancer, you know the value of choosing a niche. A niche can showcase you as an expert in your field, and allow you to offer specialized services.
Once you feel like you’ve mastered a particular focus area and developed your expertise, a great way to make your business even more profitable is to discover a new niche. Expand your pool of services, and choose a new focus area that supports your current one. Doing so allows you to expand your service offerings in a meaningful way — empowering you to become a one-stop-shop for your existing customers and new prospects.
2. Generate Passive Income
As a freelancer, you often exchange your time for money. But since your time is capped, your income is often limited, as well. To make your business more profitable, the next step is to generate passive income.
Passive income is usually anything that can be scaled and grown without a constant outpouring of effort, time or money. Once you get a passive income stream set up properly, it should only require regular check-ins to keep it going smoothly.
Here are a few ways you can generate passive income as a freelancer:
Digitize your services. Turn your services into digital products that you can sell online. For example, an artist could take high-quality images of his paintings and upload them to Society6.
Create online courses. Not only will others looking to break into the same industry value your expertise, but you’ll establish yourself as an authority within your niche — and clients will take notice.
Write an e-book. Create a product you know others in your industry will value by considering whether it’s something that would’ve helped you when you first started out.
3. Refresh Your Portfolio
Your portfolio is a living, breathing example of the work you do and the expertise you can offer potential clients. It’s vital you keep it refreshed and updated as much as possible, especially as your skills evolve.
When done right, your portfolio can regularly bring in new leads every month without much effort on your part. Set a monthly reminder to freshen up your portfolio with more up-to-date professional items, like a new headshot and your latest samples.
4. Revisit Your Pricing and Service Packages
What’s the simplest way to earn more money freelancing? Raise your prices. You may hesitate at the thought, but as your knowledge and skills grow over time, it’s important to increase your rates to get paid fairly for the expertise you provide.
You can also reevaluate your packages, potentially removing some offerings that generate more work than profit, adding in new skills and reorganizing to earn more money without working more hours. Focus on what you do best and the most popular service you offer, and rework everything else as needed.
“I’ve learned there’s only so much I can do effectively on my own,” says Maddy Osman, an SEO expert from The Blogsmith. “I focus on what I’m best at and hire help for specialized needs and even administrative assistance. Now, I work less hours and make more money for my business.”
5. Prioritize Marketing and Networking
There’s one rule all freelancers have to live by: “Always be marketing.” Whether it’s contributing to news sources through a site like HARO or getting booked on podcasts, marketing is the best way to consistently earn more money freelancing.
Amy Beardsley, an expert freelancer from Early Morning Money, urges you to “network like your life depends on it.” To make your business more profitable, you have to constantly put yourself and your name out there to help potential clients find you.
Make marketing and networking a line item in your monthly business budget so you can spend money when necessary. By including marketing in the budget, you’ll feel better prepared to jump on an opportunity to network, like a conference that comes up in your area.
6. Pay for Fewer Distractions at Home
It’s easy to focus solely on how to earn more money freelancing and completely forget about the personal side of being a business owner. Balancing your personal and professional life isn’t always easy.
One way you can achieve a better work-life balance is by controlling the distractions at home. If you work out of a home office and you’re faced with daily household chores and tasks, this is essential. Remember: Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you’re not working.
“I outsource other things that distract and take me away from work,” says Kayla Sloan, an experienced virtual assistant. “I have a cleaning lady [who] cleans my house. I hired a college student to run errands, get groceries, etc. It takes household tasks off my plate and out of my mind so I can focus more on running my business.”
Boost Your Bottom Line
As an experienced freelancer, you can’t be afraid to invest a bit of money upfront to see a return on investment in the future. Discovering a new niche or generating passive income both take time and effort, but it’ll likely all pay off in the future.
Likewise, outsourcing household chores or administrative work in your business costs money monthly, but it can give you back a ton of your time — which can be spent hammering out ways that will make your business even more profitable.