When you first start doing business as a freelancer, there’s one big concern that seems to consume you: landing enough clients to generate decent income. Trust me – I remember those beginning stages all too well.
But as you begin to get your name out there and gain a good reputation as a freelancer, finding clients and projects becomes easier and easier. Your income continues to increase and – if you’re lucky – you find yourself in a position where you have almost too much work to handle on your own.
This is exactly where I’ve found myself lately. And while I know that there are plenty of newbie freelancers out there who are currently rolling their eyes and writing me off as nothing but fortunate, this situation can be just as much a curse as it is a blessing.
You see, I’d like to see my income continue to grow.
I’m young, and I don’t want to accept that I’ve already reached an income plateau in a career that I plan to be in 30-plus more years.
However, there are only so many hours in a day for me to complete billable work, especially when there are so many other aspects of freelance work that fill up my plate.
So lately I’ve been pondering one big question: how can I scale my freelance business? What’s the best way to keep growing – ideally without the insane hours I’ve been working lately?
There's no single black-and-white answer that works for everyone, but here are a few considerations I’ve been thinking about:
1. Bring a Partner Onboard
Admittedly, this idea seemed a little unconventional to me at first. Freelancing is such a competitive field – wouldn’t it be stupid to bring another writer into my business?
However, the more I thought about it, the more it started to make sense. I’m passionate about helping other freelance writers start their own businesses, and this would be a great way to take somebody under my wing and help her learn the ropes of freelancing.
I’m still mulling over what exactly an agreement like this would look like, but I imagine that this person would help with more of the prep tasks that go into my writing assignments – researching and reaching out to sources, for example. And perhaps every now and then, a client would agree to let her do some actual writing.
Again, I’m still fuzzy on the specifics. But considering that the prep work often takes longer than my actual writing process, I think having somebody onboard to help on that front could be super beneficial.
2. Outsourcing Administrative Tasks
If my entire day was filled with writing, I’d be happy. But as any freelancer will tell you, there’s a lot more to running your own business.
You need to invoice and track your income and expenses. You need to answer emails, coordinate phone calls, and keep track of deadlines. They seem like small things, but they can take up a surprising amount of time.
I’ve heard of many freelancers taking on a virtual assistant to help with these administrative tasks. They pay this person as an independent contractor who takes care of the logistics of running a business so that the freelancer can have more time to focus on her creative work.
There are even a few apps – AND CO, for example – that accomplish this same thing. So I’ve been thinking about finding a way to get some of those pesky everyday duties off my plate.
3. Raising My Rates
This is the one option that would allow me to increase my income without needing any extra manpower: raising my prices.
I know it’s a natural thing for freelancers to do once they’ve been in business for a while.
Still, I’m a little nervous about increasing my rates – especially for my existing clients.
If I decided to implement this, I think I would start by quoting slightly higher prices for new clients. Since I don’t exactly need the work, it wouldn’t be a big deal if they decided my rate was too high and passed me up. But if they accepted, I’d have a higher-paying gig under my belt.
I’d eventually adjust my rate structure to make things even across the board. But regardless of how I did it, this could be a good place to start earning more without increasing my expenses.
A Final Thought
Figuring out how to grow my freelance business is exciting, but it’s also challenging. Hopefully implementing one of these tactics (or maybe even a combination of all three) will help me continue to scale without sacrificing the quality of my service.