Don’t sell yourself short. Learn how to charge top-dollar for your project work and increase your take-home pay.
Scale Up to High-Paying Projects
Whether you call yourself a freelancer, a contractor or a consultant, doing project-based work is a great way to make a living. Unfortunately though, many solopreneurs fail to realize their full potential.
Most fall into the trap of charging clients too little, and end up struggling to make a success of their career. They barely have enough money to pay the bills, let enough to cover vacations, unexpected expenses and breaks between jobs.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. When you approach charging for your work in a professional manner, you can often double or even triple your earnings—and serve your clients better at the same time.
1. Create a Compelling Value Proposition
The first step is to select a niche where you can deliver excellent outcomes for your clients—outcomes with real monetary value. If you are a freelance writer, for example, you are unlikely to reach a six-figure income writing blog posts and articles.
But if you specialize in direct-response copywriting, your level of compensation can be transformed. A good sales copywriter can deliver millions of dollars in revenue for clients. So it’s easy to justify top rates and still have very happy clients. This is why top copywriters regularly earn high six-figure (or even seven-figure) incomes.
2. Don’t Charge for Your Time…Ever!
Selling your expertise by the hour is the worst way to bill your clients. Nobody cares how much time you spent working on a project. The only thing that matters is what you achieved—and how much value you delivered.
Move away from charging by the hour or day, and bill by the project instead. This is perhaps the biggest single step you can take to increase your freelance income.
3. Be Professional
Impressions really do count, and the way you present yourself can make a real difference to your perceived value. Clients appreciate freelancers who act in a professional manner.
Present yourself as a business partner who can be trusted to deliver quality work on time, every time. This will set you apart from the vast majority of freelancers, positioning you as a valued consultant rather than just a hired hand.
4. Select Better Clients
Remember that you don’t have to take every job that comes along, and you probably shouldn’t. Clients are definitely not all equal, and you need to choose customers who will help you achieve your goals.
For example, advertising for work on a platform like Fiverr opens you up to all kinds of low-ball propositions.
In order to find better clients, opt for specialized platforms that are better suited for your specific industry. There are even some online educational platforms like Aventive Academy that specialize in helping graphic designers navigate their freelancing careers and attract high-quality clients.
Choose your clients carefully and you will set yourself on the road to success.
5. Get More Clients!
Another huge mistake freelancers make is having too few active clients. It’s common for one high-paying volume client to make up the vast majority of a freelancer’s income. That’s fine until the sky falls in and that customer stops commissioning projects. Many freelancers end up going broke in this situation.
Avoid this outcome by always having multiple clients who are actively sending you work. That way, no-one can hold you hostage, and you never have to worry about your main revenue stream drying up.
6. Market Continuously
The best way to ensure that you always have multiple projects on the go is to market consistently. Even when you are busy, you should still be prospecting for new business and developing relationships with prospects.
This strategy will allow you to evade the boom-bust cycle that plagues the world of freelancing. When you always have new projects on the horizon, you can be selective about which projects you undertake. And that will help you focus on the most profitable work for the best clients.
7. Stamp Out Scope Creep
When negotiating contracts, ensure that the scope of your work in the project is clearly spelled out. Very often, the client will move the goalposts, extending the amount of work you are expected to perform. This is the dreaded ‘scope creep.’
When this happens, you must be able to refer to your contract and define clearly what your agreed commitment is. If the client needs more work done, then you must charge for the additional work at an agreed rate.
8. Fire Your Worst Clients
Some clients are fantastic to work with, and you hope to do business with them for years to come. Others turn out to be a real challenge in many different ways. These are the clients who:
- Haggle over minor costs
- Want endless revisions
- Expect you to jump at their command
- Constantly change project requirements
- Generally have unrealistic expectations
Don’t be afraid to fire such clients and replace them with better ones. In fact, it’s a good practice to get rid of your worst 10% of clients each year and replace them with quality clients who value your work more.
9. Offer Complete Solutions
One way to offer greater value to clients is to team up with fellow professionals to offer a complete team to clients.
If you are a freelance art director, you might collaborate with a copywriter to form a creative team. This is of real value to clients such as ad agencies, who will appreciate the ability to bring a team on board with a single phone call. If you add in other services such as production, then the value increases again.
10. Be Easy to Contact for Urgent Work
Clients often need work done in a hurry, even at the biggest corporations. When that happens, it’s only fair that you should get paid extra for making yourself available at short notice. This is an easy way to top up your earnings for the month with some high-paying projects.
To get this kind of work, you need to be contactable when the need arises. Make sure your clients know how to contact you by phone, email or the messaging platform you are most active on.
Make Six-Figure Freelancing a Reality
When you deploy these strategies, you will see an immediate increase in your income and set yourself on the road to a high-income future. If you want to make a six-figure income, then that goal will become well within your reach.
As well as earning more money, you will find yourself working with better quality clients on more interesting and rewarding clients. You will feel valued and appreciated, and new career opportunities will naturally follow.
So stop struggling with low-paying clients on frustrating projects. Apply these 10 simple strategies to lift yourself to transform your freelance income—starting today!
This is a guest post by Rob Palmer from GoFreelance, which helps people create a location-independent income so they can go anywhere, do anything and be anyone.