As I welcome a brand new year, I’m thinking about goals I want to set and big plans I want to accomplish. But my hope is to make 2017 different than past years. I don’t just want to earn a living as a writer, I want to actually reach my income goals, max out my retirement accounts and pay off all my business debt.
If you have similar big goals, that go beyond the beginner-level writing aspirations, and are truly ready to earn more money writing this year, then listen up! Here are 10 proven things I’ve done, or am currently doing, to earn more money as a freelance writer.
1. Prioritize your dream clients
Finding your dream client is an awesome accomplishment, but keeping that client happy is an entirely different strategy. While some freelance experts may advise you not to play favorites with your clients, we all know that the ones who give us great projects and always pay promptly are the ones we favor.
Do whatever it takes to prioritizes your dream clients above everything else on your plate. Submit those assignments ahead of the deadline and turnaround any edits within 24 hours.
Respond to their emails first, and accept additional work as it becomes available. In other words, by becoming their best freelancer you’ll become more reliable and ultimately earn more money.
2. Ask your network
Just ask. Seriously, if you’re looking for better paying freelance writing work just ask for it. Reach out to your network via email and share the specifics of your situation and the kind of clients you’re hoping to gain.
I make my living connecting freelancers to the best gigs, and I can count on one hand the number of times a freelancer has emailed to ask me if I know anyone who fits the bill.
Another great tactic is to ask for work in Facebook groups. Inside the Careful Cents Freelancer’s Club we constantly strive to make the best connections so freelancers can find work, and clients can get work off their plates. You could be losing out on awesome opportunities simply because someone in your network doesn’t know you’re looking for a gig.
3. Invest in proven courses
Over the years I’ve profiled other successful freelance writers who make their living “doing this online thing”. Reading other individual strategies and listening to their honest advice is one of the best ways to experiment and test out earning more money as a freelance writer.
In fact, I recently profiled Holly Johnson and how she went from earning a few thousand dollars a month to over six figures a year! Once you have the foundation of making a living writing, it can be difficult to push past that next level.
I know this struggle all too well. But thanks to the amazing tips that Holly offers in her Earn More Writing course, I was able to double my freelance monthly income in 2016. Interested? Check it out for yourself.
4. Improve your workflow
Obviously the faster you write, with fewer mistakes, the more money you’ll make in an hours time. As a freelancer currency is your time so it’s in your best interest to refine your workflow and practice everyday on improving your craft.
Here are some resources I highly recommend to help you improve your writing efficiency.
- Kickstart Your Content workbook
- How to Write the Perfect Blog Post template
- Use Asana to Capture Ideas tutorial
5. Try different niches
For most of my writing career I’ve worked with small startups and budding businesses in the finance space. I enjoy getting to work on passion projects that help people get out of debt, become more organized and save money for things they love.
While this work is fulfilling it doesn’t always pay well and startups usually go under, get bought out, or rebrand, within a couple of years. This whole process usually breaks my business heart and leaves me broke and without a purposeful project.
If you’re in the same boat, try expanding your writing niche and clientele to other industries, businesses or even corporations. Each one will have pros and cons but you can spread out the risk by having a diversified portfolio of work.
6. Avoid traditional job boards
My mission for this blog is to help freelancers stop using traditional job boards. While I have seen some successful cases of using sites like Upwork, I also hear all the horror stories and frustrations that come along with this platform.
Instead of applying to hundreds of jobs that pay pennies, make 2017 the year you branch out and try alternative freelance job boards. The top 3 sites I recommend to find more work as a writer include the following.
- LinkedIn Jobs
If you’re looking for more ideas, follow the #nomorejobboards tag to check out my list of the top resources I recommend to find gigs outside of traditional job boards.
7. Outsource your way to more money
Outsourcing has always been a big part of my business plan. Even in the beginning stages, when my blog was still a side hustle I was outsourcing work to a virtual assistant. An assistant editor can become a huge asset to your freelance writing income.
Here’s what I mean. You should be focusing on the parts of freelance writing that you enjoy most, whether that’s pitching the ideas, researching, producing the actual content, or editing the final submission.
Any of the freelance work you don’t like, or that take way too long to perform, should be outsourced to someone else. Start small, with projects you’re comfortable with.
You can even work with a budding writer or editor and pay them an hourly rate of $15-20. This is very reasonable and will still be budget-friendly. Outsourcing can free up the time you need to seek out higher paying gigs, or complete work on projects that produce an income.
8. Be proactive about money
While this doesn’t directly help you bring in more money, being proactive about your income will give you a goal to work towards. And as the saying goes, “How will you know where to aim if you don’t have a target?”.
Be proactive about your income goals and check-in with them every month. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I stop tracking my income diligently and then start up again. Give it try and you’ll see.
I use several apps and tools to track my freelance business income.
The above graph is a screenshot from Spruce Metrics, a brand new tool that’s currently in beta. However, I also use GoDaddy Bookkeeping on a monthly basis and absolutely love the mobile app income percentage graphs.
9. Give editors what they want
Give editors what they want and you’ll secure yourself well-paying work far into the future. I like to think of myself as a robot freelancer who delivers excellent work, on time, each and every week.
I was chatting with one of my clients earlier in December and he mentioned how they were so thankful that they can count on my assignment being submitted every Monday. Because of my outstanding work, they want to give me more work starting in January. Obviously, I accepted!
This is what you should aim to do; produce awesome work that abides by the editorial guidelines, is free of grammatical errors and is submitted on time. Every. Single. Time.
If you give editors and content managers what they want, they’ll give you more work (even subconsciously) over other writers on the team.
10. Offer different payment options
Duh! It’s obvious that if you want to earn more money you need to streamline the way your clients can pay you. Offer as many payment options as possible while still requiring that you be paid digitally or via direct deposit.
In my five years of freelancing experience, I’ve found that nearly an equal number of clients prefer PayPal, direct deposit and credit cards as their form of payment. So be sure you offer all of these options so you aren’t missing out on money.
If one of your New Year’s goals is to earn more money as a freelance writer, try these tips. These are all tried and proven techniques that I’ve personally used in my own freelance writing business.
Got another tip to share? Leave a comment with your best ideas!