One of the undeniable benefits of freelancing is your ability to control your earning potential. There is no salary cap or company budget holding you back from earning the money you need. However, that doesn’t mean it comes easily. How do you scale your freelance business to give yourself the income you deserve? It takes strategy. You need to make smart business decisions to avoid burning yourself out and throwing the towel in altogether. Have a little patience and make some strategic decisions so that you can grow your freelance business in the new year.
First off, make sure you are being realistic with your financial goals. Do you want to make a 500k next year? YES, but despite what “gurus” tell you, you most likely won’t pull in half of a million dollars through some “simple” solution. You have to decide what moves are right for you so that you can sustainably grow your business.
Fair warning to the eager freelancer: do not attempt all of these strategies at once. Start with 1-2 and get comfortable with the change. Watch your revenue and see if you are, in fact, increasing your earning potential. Stay consistent in one area before trying to tackle the next.
So here are our eight great strategies that will help you scale your freelance business. Successful implementation will give you the space to grow with fewer roadblocks along the way.
The most straightforward way to earn more year over year is to increase your rates. Raising your rates is simple enough with any new clients, but when should you increase rates with ongoing clients?
Consider raising your rates if…
Generally speaking, raising your prices by 10% to 25% is considered a good practice. The first of the year or after you’ve worked with a client for one year are both solid benchmarks for when you should negotiate higher rates.
By focusing your attention on one or two areas of expertise, you’ll be able to confidently raise your rates and attract more clients. This could look like mastering a specific software, focusing on serving e-commerce businesses, or choosing one skill over trying to do it all. There are multiple benefits for you when you specialize as well. It can help you get faster and more efficient at your work. You can feel less stressed or overwhelmed. Plus, becoming an expert in your field builds confidence and job satisfaction. In the end, you will be able to position yourself as an undeniable asset to any potential client.
The opposite of specialization could also work to help you scale your freelance business. Depending on your industry, there may be knowledge gaps you can fill. New trends, software, or apps may be in demand, and learning them well can make you the ideal choice for new work. Examples of this would be:
If you choose to learn a new skill, make sure it is something that is worth investing your valuable time in.
Social media marketing is a great way to not only build your business, but also create a community of fellow freelancers and entrepreneurs. Choose what platform you’d like to grow on for the year (be sure it’s where your clients are too) and focus on consistently posting valuable content. Get comfortable showing your face and connecting with people while sharing your knowledge and services. Remember: you can’t grow your business without talking about it–so use social media to its full potential and share what your business has to offer.
When your calendar is completely filled with client work and calls, it may be in your best interest to hire help. This can come in two different forms:
There are advantages to either choice so you must decide what you would like the most help with. Would you prefer to spend your time finding and talking with more clients and overseeing the work being completed for them? Or would you rather free up your time so you can get your high-importance tasks off your to-do list?
Once you decide which route you would like to take, you can check out sites like Upwork or Fiverr to connect with potential hires. Or if you are part of any networking communities like Facebook or LinkedIn groups, you can seek out the right people there as well.
There are some ways to scale your freelance business that are considered slightly more “passive.” This means that ultimately they should be able to continually bring in revenue, even after you’ve introduced them. As a freelancer, you may not have a physical product that you can sell, but there are plenty of opportunities to create a valuable digital product that you can sell on social media, your website, or sites like Etsy.
A great digital product gives the buyer the ability to achieve a specific goal on their own. This can come in the form of tutorials, templates, or other instructional materials.
Your industry will help determine what the right digital product may be. Examples of digital products in these industries include:
This is just a start, but creating a digital product can bring in extra income without having to take on more client work.
If you really enjoy the idea of selling a digital product, but feel like you just have more to say, then consider creating a course. Creating a course allows you to share more information, and charge a much higher price than a digital product. This can be a lucrative way to scale your freelance business. You can create a more dedicated and invested audience surrounding your business and your course. This audience may be more likely to purchase other courses or digital products from you in the future.
Naturally, building a course has a larger time and resource investment up front. However, if you use a good marketing strategy, your course will continue to bring in more revenue without having to consult with clients one-on-one.
If you are still unsure of how to scale your freelance business, seek out a consultant or business coach. This is a common practice for successful entrepreneurs. There is so much value in having a mentor for your business. Once you’ve connected with a business coach that matches your business style and values, you can hire this person to help you navigate your next move. They can give you valuable counsel on what type of growth you will be able to sustain and what type of work you might most enjoy.
Social media might be the best place to start when looking for a business coach. Search your favorite platform for someone you like. Oftentimes they will have resources available on their profile or website that can give you a sense of what it might be like to work with them.
If you are considering a large investment in a coach, be sure to ask them for references from previous clients. A great coach will happily connect you with them so you can better understand what the coach’s services are like and if they are a good fit.
Every little improvement in the right direction is a huge step for a small business. As a freelancer that usually means it all comes down to you, so celebrate your success!
As your friendly online bookkeeping software, we remind you to check out your P&L (Profit & Loss) Statement a few times a year to see how you are doing. The end of the year is a great time to look back and see how your revenue and expenses compare to the year before. Be mindful that growth takes time and your business will grow in its own unique way.
For more help scaling your freelancing business, try hiring a bookkeeper to keep your finances in check. We love helping freelancers like you take their businesses to the next level. Spend less time bookkeeping and more time earning money.