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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 June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

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