We all want to make more money, right? We want to be able to take the vacations we want, when we want, we want to buy the food we like, the clothes that fit right, and pay for the best education (for our kids) that money can buy…

The problem is, how do you do that when you’re working for yourself? Sure, you could take on more clients, but how long before you’re running yourself ragged, burnt out and frustrated, because you’ve got to many clients? What then?

Money isn’t everything, granted, but it definitely helps to be able to not have to worry about it.

“So how do you do that, Lise?” I hear you asking…

By following my own sage advice 😉 While it’s tempting to simply take on a few more clients to get more moola, there are actually smarter, easier ways to do this. Wanna know how? Read on…

How to Make More Money as a Solopreneur

First, let’s start with a quick checklist of what it takes to make more money, then we’ll delve into these a bit more below:

  • Create a winning pitch/proposal/email
  • Charge per project, not per hour
  • Set up retainers (monthly charging) where possible
  • Outsource when you can't do all the work
  • Communicate quickly and efficiently (during work hours)
  • Get a deposit upfront, BEFORE you start work

#1: Create a winning pitch/proposal/email

This is the part where things get real — now you have to decide if you’re going to present things in a way that looks smart and business-like to your prospective clients.

You want branding, your colours, your website details, contact details etc included in your pitch. I use Freshbooks to provide an estimate to my clients and within that, I include a link to the proposal that they can then download and view at their leisure.

Your proposal and your estimate/pitch should look similar, ie same logo, colours, fonts because this is what makes you stand out and brands you as you.

What you need to include in your proposal is as follows:

  • Headings to make it easier for the client to skim through and read the parts they care about most
  • Address the key points of the project they are looking to fill, including how you will meet these objectives
  • Showcase any portfolio items that are similar to what they are looking for
  • Let them know you are willing to jump on a Skype call or meet them in person (where applicable)

Feature Download: Get your own copy of Lise's winning proposal template that she uses to land ongoing (retainer) clients. Help ensure you're getting the right clients by providing them with the right information. (Download Now)

Once you’ve perfected your proposal and estimate, it won’t be difficult to find the right clients.

#2: Charging per project, not per hour

This is something that a lot of freelancers start off doing — charging by the hour. This is perfectly fine for the first 6 months, while you find your feet and figure out if this is something you want to continue doing, but beyond that, you want to get into the habit of charging per project.

Why?

Because when you charge by the hour, you leave yourself open to having to justify why you spent so much time on one thing, but not on another. Your client doesn’t need to know the in’s and outs of what you’re doing when you work, but when you charge by the hour, that’s exactly what you end up doing.

Sites like Upwork.com will provide you with two options to charge a client, hourly or a fixed price. Initially, some hourly jobs are ok, but for long-term success, save yourself the hassle and charge by the project.

If the scope of the project changes or you need to make adjustments, then you can let the client know that these types of things will be charged at an hourly rate, and make sure you stipulate that in your contract.

#3: Setup monthly retainers

Where possible, you want to transition your clients into a monthly retainer. This is the key to being successful and allowing you to budget your income and expenses accordingly. If you do more than two jobs for a client, suggest transitioning them to a monthly retainer and go from there. This works really well for instances where you doing things like creating blog posts, social media management, graphics, accounting etc.

#4: Outsource when you can’t do all the work

This is about working smarter. When your business gets to a point (and it will) where you’ve got a ton of work on, you can begin to outsource parts of the job to other freelancers. If you choose to do this though, you’ll need to factor in their costs as well.

Outsourcing can be a great way to go if you want to focus on other projects or pursuits but you want to maintain the level of income you’ve reached to date.

I’ve been utilising outsourcers for over 2 years now, and it has allowed me to focus on other areas of my business while still maintaining clients and other projects.

A word of warning, if you do go down the outsourcing track, make sure that you’re tracking them right from the start. I use Trello to keep track of my outsourcers and to set tasks for each person. Everything is communicated to them via the task they are responsible for, and they keep me updated by moving tasks around to “in progress” or “completed”.

#5: Communicate quickly and efficiently

If you want to keep your clients happy (translation: paying you) then you need to get very good at communicating with them. Always be upfront about everything from the beginning. Outline expectations and deadlines in your contracts and set definite work hours, so that your clients know when you’re available and when you’re not.

If you don’t do this, it can lead to you answering emails at 10pm at night or dealing with an issue on a Sunday afternoon when you should be enjoying a day out on the lake with your family.

Be firm, clear and concise. Then everyone know’s where they stand.

#6: Get a deposit upfront BEFORE you start work

This is a biggie and will ensure that you don’t lose any money. Incorporate this into your client contracts and shoot for 20-30% upfront.

I like to take it a step further and let clients know that this is a non-refundable deposit, so should they decide to cancel the project, I have been paid for the effort of providing a proposal and setting aside time in my schedule for their project.

It’s a great way to ensure that your client’s see you as a legitimate business and that you won’t take crap from anyone.

The bottom line to making more money as a freelancer is making sure that you’re working with the right clients, that you have solid processes in place and that you’re charging the right rates. If you don’t, then you’ll end up burning the candle at both ends while you take on client after client to make ends meet.

Don’t buy yourself another job, create the life you want and only work with clients that accept your terms.

Feature Download: Get your own copy of Lise's winning proposal template that she uses to land ongoing (retainer) clients. Help ensure you're getting the right clients by providing them with the right information. (Download Now)

Do you have any ideas or tips to add to the list above? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Lise Cartwright
Lise Cartwright

Founder of Hustle & Groove and your creative business strategist. If you want to get notified of new posts just like the ones you see here, then make sure you join the awesome H & G community — Join Now!

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