7 ways to maximize your freelance earnings

Mar 17, 2021

If you love the idea of being able to grow your brand and earn money while working location independent, freelancing is the best option. The market is increasingly looking to work with freelancers for different projects.

According to a study conducted by Upwork and Freelancers Union:

  1. 75% of Freelancers say they won’t trade their freelancing work for other jobs
  2. 60% of Freelancers say they made more money from their freelancing work than from their previous jobs
  3. Freelancers contribute about $1 trillion to the American economy, or about 5% of the total GDP.
  4. The price range for freelance jobs ranges from $5 to $10,000.

Freelancing takes time to grow into a successful business, but the location freedom and unlimited earning potential make freelancing a worthwhile pursuit. It takes time to prove your worth to clients and convert them into repeat customers.

Here are seven ways to maximize your earnings as a freelancer.

1. Learn New Skills & Polish the Existing Ones

Approximately 40% of freelancers choose to further their personal development. Without skills, there is no freelancing. So before you dive into this business, polish your skills. Once you have mastered one skill, continue to expand your skill set as it will help you maximize your revenue from current clients.

Let’s explore this further with a few examples:

If you are a blog writer, you can also learn how to use a CMS like WordPress or specialize in helping people create a strategy to enhance their search results.

If you are a video editor or someone who creates a web design for websites, you can also learn to design unique images using Canva and integrate tools like Clipchamp or Movavi for professional-looking videos; these tools can help you enhance your offering.

If you are a copywriter, you can also learn other digital marketing tactics like helping clients get organic traffic or mastering paid traffic methods. When you solve adjacent pain points, your current clients will be able to get everything in one place. Finding relevant related problems within your niche and offering customers these solutions is one of the surest ways to maximize your earnings as a freelancer.

2. Believe in the Power of Social Media

There are 3.8 billion users on social media, representing a massive audience where you can market your skills. You may have heard that “people buy into what they can see” — without networking and social media marketing, you’ll never get enough visibility.

Social media channels, especially Facebook and LinkedIn, are a few places where you can find many local and international clients.

On Facebook, build up a strong profile clearly explaining your niche, services, and contact details. Consider joining relevant freelancing groups as well. Facebook has increasingly promoted its Facebook Groups for better engagement.

LinkedIn is another great platform that offers the largest community of professionals. If you have not considered promoting your services on LinkedIn, you may be missing an enormous opportunity to maximize your earnings as a freelancer.

Be sure to get creative in your posts by not just adding text but including visuals as well. Use images and videos to teach people new things or make thought-provoking data easier to understand. You can do this by:

· Designing infographics (using simple tools)

· Crafting personal stories and anecdotes and tying them back to your offer

· Creating how-to videos (teaching the audience areas of your skillset)

3. Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate

Approximately 57% of people are unable to accurately estimate their assertiveness during a negotiation. Pricing structures are challenging in freelancing. Many freelancers will ask the question: What should I charge to maximize my earnings?

The answer is simple: When you have a newer portfolio, you can work for lower rates to build your reputation. When you have proven case studies and testimonials, the game changes. Look to increase your pricing to meet the market value of the service you are providing.

Consider your payment options:

· Upfront Payment - Get paid for your services before you do the work

· Payment After Services - This is the most common way to get paid. It helps if you have a contract in place.

· Membership Model - Get paid as a monthly service

· Payment and Retainer Model - Get paid over multiple months

Keep in mind that the most straightforward way to increase your earnings as a freelancer is to get more work or increase your prices. Negotiate with the clients on the final pricing and create custom offers.

4. Cut Down on Unnecessary Expenses

Did you know that 82% of small businesses fail because of cash flow issues? It is common for freelancers to spend more when they earn more. Do not fall into this trap.

The simple solution to this problem is to focus on your savings, make a list of unnecessary things that you can live without, and use a tool to help you manage your budget.

Personal Budgeting Tools:

· Quicken - One of the most popular and established budgeting tools

· YNAB (You Need a Budget) - Increasingly popular budgeting tool

· EveryDollar - Dave Ramsey helped create this app for his audience

· Mint - Free tool to see all your banking accounts in the same place

Eliminating frivolous expenses is critical to maximizing your earnings as a freelancer. And yes, this includes both professional and personal spending. You should be even more careful if freelancing is your primary source of income.

5. Be Disciplined

Discipline is the key to success. If you cannot stick to a schedule and consistently meet deadlines, you can never become successful as a freelancer. 77% of freelancers state they have an overall improvement in their work-life balance when they begin their journey, but remaining disciplined is integral to your wellbeing.

If you get more done in the evening, free yourself to work at night and start working on a schedule that makes sense for your lifestyle. Remember, freelancing gives you the freedom to work in your comfort zone, but if you lack discipline and waste your time, this can become a detriment to progress.

6. Use DIY Techniques to Market Your Business

Just about 45% of freelancers offer skilled services. It’s important to ensure you stand out from the pack with your marketing efforts. As a freelancer, you don’t have to spend money on paid marketing. All you need to do to enhance your exposure is get in front of your target audience and showcase your skills.

If you use any of the major freelancing platforms, look at leveraging the traffic from these platforms to find opportunities. You can minimize your ad spend by getting clients on these platforms and later seek to convert on referrals.

However, continuous marketing on social media and outside of these freelance marketplaces is also important to building additional traffic sources for your brand).

Also, consider paid marketing when you have the budget to speed up your business — but ensure you have a good foundation before you spend any marketing dollars.

7. Think Big

Freelancers earn an average of $28 an hour, which is more than roughly 70% of employees in the U.S. economy. Take it seriously! Freelancing is not a waste of time. Instead, it is an amazing alternative to a 9-to-5 job. Establish business goals, give focused time to freelancing daily and take time to market your business.

No matter how much competition is out there, if you have skills and you know how to promote your services, you can excel in this business.

So think big. Don’t just stick to one path; find more and more clients using a variety of marketing strategies. Having multiple returning clients means that you'll have multiple income streams.

When you become successful in acquiring clients, focus on working with customers who trust your skills and are ready to pay more.

Conclusion

Some of the above-mentioned tips may seem simple, but believe me; they are not always easy to implement and are often the most ignored.

Achieving success in freelancing is quite addictive. When you taste it once, you want more.

You can prove your worth as a freelancer if you focus on solving other businesses’ needs in a way that is effective and timely. So work smart and stay concentrated. Happy freelancing!

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send us your blog post.

Wesley Cherisien

Wesley Cherisien is a speaker, trainer, entrepreneur, and tech investor who has written articles, books, and training guides for Fortune 500 companies, consultants, and authors in multiple industries.