Imagine if by implementing a few key strategies you could boost and even double your freelance writing income. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Well, it’s possible, and it’s not difficult to do.
I want to give you specific tips you can put into practice today that will help you build your income until it doubles. I have personally used these strategies and they all work.
1. Ask for Referrals
A lot of my freelance writing gigs came through my existing clients, not from searching for new ones. Once they paid me, and their project was complete and they were happy, I followed up and asked for referrals.
To ensure success with the referral method, remember these tips:
- The right timing. It’s best to ask at the end of a project, when the client is pleased with your work.
- Ask after praise. When you’re self-employed, wondering where your next job is going to come from is not uncommon. So if you want to ask for referrals before a project is complete, wait until you get some praise. Did you get great feedback halfway through the project? This is a perfect opportunity to respond, “Thank you so much. It’s so great of you to say that. And if you know of anyone else that could use my services, that would be wonderful. I’d really like to work with another client like you.” Everyone loves a compliment, so more times than not, they will respond.
Keep a list of these clients, so on holidays you can shoot them a nice email wishing them a happy holidays. This will jar their memory of your work and spur them into hiring you again.
Give your clients incentives. They are earning a living as well, so consider an affiliate program.
For your clients that you haven’t spoken with in a while, offer them something that is enticing. “For every new client I get through your referral, I’m giving an Amazon gift card.” Or you could give them their choice of a charitable donation, a gift or even free services. If nothing else, they know you’re serious about your business and that you are a sharp businessperson.
3. Increase Your Rates
Many writers wrestle with this one because they don’t believe they are worth increasing their rates or they are afraid of losing clients.
If you’ve been working for 6 months or a year and your rates are at or below industry average, it’s time to bump them up!
Next, calculate how much you want to earn for your “target hourly rate.”
- A quick rule of thumb would be to calculate this way: Choose a target income for the year. As an example, let’s use the figure $50,000. Add to that fixed expenses, taxes, social security, health insurance and supplies and any other business charge.
- Take your income target, which is $50,000 plus expenses and divide it by 1,000 billable hours, which is about 20 hours per week of work.
Let’s say your expenses come to $1,000 a year, which will make your targeted yearly salary $51,000.
$51,000 / 1,000 billable hours = $51 / hour
This would be the approximate amount of money you would need to make per hour that you are writing (20 hours a week) to earn $51,000 a year.
Your billable hours will be different than mine, but I find that 20 hours is a good average amount to work with if you put in full-time hours (40 hours a week). You will be spending the other 20 hours on tasks such as client communication, looking for work, updating your website and marketing your services.
Billable hours represent only the hours you are actually working on client projects and not answering emails, marketing, writing samples, networking and other business-related tasks. So the result of this calculation will yield your target hourly rate.
- This rate is flexible and you can adjust it higher or lower. You can even take some lower-paying jobs you might enjoy as long as you also add some that pay a higher rate. It’s your business and you can do whatever you want. But, the main thing to remember is not to sell yourself short!
4. Improve Your Writing Skills
It’s easy to stay at the same skill level for a long time, but this is not something I recommend. It’s vital to continue to practice and improve your craft.
Simply writing for your clients will help you improve, especially if you are working with an editor. But, I also recommend brushing up on your skills on the side. The better your writing, the higher rates you can command.
When an athlete wants to become an Olympian, he practices every day. A writer isn’t any different. Practice really does make perfect. Write a blog. Create sample articles for your website. Write anything and everything and soon your writing skills will allow you to command more money from your clients.
5. Change Your Mindset
I speak about mindset frequently in most of my material and my videos. Why? Because, it’s that important!
Mindset isn’t a concept that should be overlooked or disregarded. I know some people might think it isn’t necessary, but on the contrary, it is one of the most important things you can learn as a freelance writer.
It never fails that whenever writers come to me who are struggling with earning money, most of the time it starts with their mindset, and when they change that, their whole perspective changes which positively affects their outcomes.
There are two types of mindsets, fixed and growth.
- A person with a fixed mindset considers all of their abilities and skills they currently have as permanent or fixed. People with this mindset believe that the past is the author of their future and they hand off any and all responsibility for what they do and who they become to God or nature or the universe.
- With a growth mindset you believe that you can learn anything, be anything, accomplish anything and your future is created by your effort, persistence and perseverance. Yes, it demands you leave your comfort zone, but the rewards are great and the fulfillment feels amazing.
Do you have a fixed mindset?
There are some easy tools that you can use to identify any thoughts that have their genesis in a fixed mindset. And when you identify them, you can reverse them.
- Identify your fixed mindset “voice.” As you approach something that is new to you, listen to your thoughts. Perhaps you’re hearing, “I can’t do that” or “I don’t have that kind of talent.”
- You have a choice. Recognize that you can interpret setbacks and criticism differently than you might at this moment. As you face challenges, hear the fixed mindset voice but talk back to it.
- Speak to your fixed mindset. A fixed mindset voice might say something like, “If you don’t do that, you will be a failure.” To approach it with a growth mindset, say something like “All successful people have failed at some point in their life. Failure helps me grow.”
Here is another example:
Fixed mindset voice: “You could do this if you were more talented”
Growth mindset voice: “That’s not right at all. Even the greatest sports heroes and Olympians invested effort to arrive at their level of success. But, they all started somewhere.”
Are you getting it? It’s all up to you. You can do or accomplish anything you set your mind to.
If you think your mindset may be holding back your freelance writing career, this is a good post to read.
Take the First Step
These 5 strategies are some of my most effective methods to increasing income and I hope you take advantage of them.
Start with #5 and begin working on changing your mindset and then move on to the rest. Once you are able to view your freelance writing business with the correct mindset, the rest will be easier to implement.