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6 Ways to Make More Money as a Freelancer

6 Ways to Make More Money as a Freelancer

I’ve been freelancing for many years, and in that time I’ve worked with a variety of people, learned a lot about myself, and had to figure many things out on my own, including what to charge and how to deal with rude clients, among others.

Ultimately, the most important lessons I’ve learned have been about how to maximize what I can do to make more money and become better in my niche and field. Use the lessons I’ve learned to take your freelancing to the next level, make more money, and become a superstar freelancer.

1. Make Yourself Look Good

There are a few ways to make yourself look great as a freelancer, and one of the first places to focus on is your online portfolio. If you don’t have one yet, make one now. This will give potential clients a quick and easy way to see what you’ve done, what you can offer and more. I personally use About.me.

Don’t just throw a website together, though. Spend time using this as an opportunity to highlight your absolute best work and the skills and experience that sets you apart from others.

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If you don’t have a website or online portfolio page like those on About.me, make sure your other freelance profiles are up-to-date and make you look good. Get testimonials/reviews on sites like Upwork, Elance, and 99Designs and add portfolio items and details where possible.

Make More Money: Always send a link to your portfolio to prospective clients, and highlight three key features of your work in the email itself. Some people will want to click through and dig around, while others just want a snapshot. This helps you catch all opportunities.

2. Focus on a Few Niches and Excel

Take time to find your niche. If you can become the go-to person for small business e-commerce photography in retail, for example, you’re suddenly set apart from other general freelance photographers. This gives you leverage when talking about opportunities with a client because you can likely cite experience you have that’s specific to their needs.

Make More Money: Take hold of your niche and use your experience to be more authoritative during initial conversations and negotiations: “Well, when I worked with Client X, we found that photos with a white background lead to more purchases…” If you’re knowledgeable about their industry, the client will feel better about bringing you on board.

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3. Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

A lot of times I get emails from people who have seen my work and want to see what I can offer them, but this can be a scary email to receive. While it’s exciting to get a new freelance prospect, in cases like this, the bar is already set very high thanks to the great work you’ve already done.

Suddenly, doubts creep in: “Can I actually do this? What if I fail?” A whopping 31 percent of American adults polled cited fear of failure as their top fear—I, and probably you, are no exception. Don’t let this hold you back because it can if you let it.

Make More Money: Turn that fear around and ask yourself: What if I do pull this off? It could lead to more opportunities, maybe even extended work with that one particular client. This is an opportunity to rise to the top, not hold back.

4. Know When to Prioritize

No opportunity is a bad opportunity, but some likely make you more money than others. When working with clients, take stock of how valuable this freelance gig is to you; this could be based on how much you’re getting paid, how big their brand is (and therefore the exposure you’ll get), etc.

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On days when you’re overwhelmed with work, use this as a way to prioritize the work that will be most valuable to you in the long run.

Make More Money: Set expectations up front based on this prioritization. If you know you could deliver results in two weeks, but you aren’t getting a lot out of the relationship, tell them to expect results in four weeks. If a better opportunity comes along, you have more time to devote to it. If not, and you complete your task in less than four weeks, you look even better.

5. Know Your Worth

As a freelancer, I know how hard it is to turn down an opportunity. We can all use a little extra cash, and there’s always that glimmer of hope when you see a prospect email come through, “Oh, maybe this will lead to something big!”

However, taking work that doesn’t pay you what you deserve based on the work you do will not only be frustrating for you but takes up time you could be using to find better freelance gigs.

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Make More Money: Always take at least 24 hours to decide if you want to move forward with a new potential client. When you step away and weigh the pros and cons, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision that will likely lead to making more money.

6. Always Start High

When quoting a price for your work, always start high. If they want to work with you, it’s doubtful that they’ll come back and say, “That’s too much, we’ll look elsewhere.” More often, the case is that they’ll come back with a price or range that they can pay and then you can decide if that is worth your time.

Freelancers have a tendency to undervalue their work to get more clients, and that’s the wrong way to think if you want to get to the next level.

Make More Money: Every project will likely have different requirements, so never create a one-size-fits-all pricing model to go off of—this pigeon holes you into a strict pricing bracket, rather than one that’s fluid and flexible. Consider what you’ve charged for similar projects to start narrowing down the appropriate fee.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. And that’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task but if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps:

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal (let alone financial) without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream. And this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it is for. It could be anything like kid’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

2. Keep Them Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said – “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

4. Short Term vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach towards achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It is important to bifurcate goals in short term and long term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as short term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short term vs long term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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5. To Each to His Own

The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

By now, you would be ready with your financial goals, now it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 step process –

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough; and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self realization is the best form of realisation and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different bucket so that you know which bucket is eating the most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pump up your savings rate.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and then manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement is to put the savings on automatic mode i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (for example – mutual funds, retirement corpus etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Rise Again Even If You Fall

Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

5. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make Savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

So the key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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6. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

Therefore in order to stay the course, it is advisable that you keep yourself surrounded with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

7. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

So if you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energised to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot more easier for you to follow you and track your progress.

At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

8. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

Just like “no one is born a criminal”, no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference.

Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

It is here where that classification will help.

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So as a general rule, for all your short term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less as compared to equity instruments.

10. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding,

Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.

So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

Start investing early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

11. Measure, Measure, Measure

All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

Do measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

The Bottom Line

This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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