We don’t need to tell you, but being freelance is great: the freedom it gives you, the control you have over your time and – hopefully – the money it brings in. But for those times when the cash isn’t forthcoming and you’re wondering how on earth you’re going to pay next month’s bills, here are some ways you can earn more in 2022.

1. Teach and educate

Your skills are valuable and it’s likely that, as a freelancer, you’ve developed specific ways of working that others could benefit from. The longer you’ve been in your trade, the more likely it is that your experience will be useful to those just starting out. You could impart knowledge to others via a YouTube vlog, or even package up a complete course and sell it on Udemy. If you’re good with words, write a "How to" eBook. Non-fiction guides can be created in relatively little time, but have the potential to earn you a passive income for years to come. Check out Freelance Academy to learn essential freelance soft skills.

Quick action: Brainstorm your skill set to pinpoint areas you could offer your expertise in. Look beyond your most obvious abilities – your time management or networking skills may be something you can share with others more readily.

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2. Upsell

If you’re an editor freelancing for an agency but also offer translation services, these secondary skills may be useful to them too – but only if they’re aware you offer them. A simple email or direct mail to clients could work well here. A lot of freelancers are starting to diversify more and more by offering a range of services. Some categorise these services on different pages on their website, whilst others keep them entirely separate. However you choose to promote your multiple array of services, see if your existing clients require your other services. 

Quick action: Change your email signature to reflect all of the services you offer, so that your contacts know at a glance exactly what you can bring them.

3. Expand your network 

This one is so important, but it’s easy to action. It’s all about using what you’ve already got (great clients) to find what you need (more great clients). Simply ask your clients if they know anyone else looking for similar services, and request that they introduce you. You’ll usually find that clients who are happy with the work you do for them are more than willing to refer you to their friends and colleagues. A simple post on LinkedIn can also work well here. It’s also worth dropping an email or phone call to clients and contacts you may have from the past – perhaps even those you studied with – to update them on your current offerings. Who knows? They might just need someone like you this year.

Quick action: Write a newsletter-style email to all of your clients announcing that you’re looking to expand your client base and reminding them of your services.

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4. Go niche

Our 2nd tip, above, touched on offer multiple services, but what about narrowing your service? Specialising in a particular field is a fantastic way of being able to charge more, and increase the likelihood that you'll be chosen for certain jobs. Think of it this way: if you needed a freelancer to create images for your cookery book, would you prefer to employ a specialist food photographer or a general photographer who has shot food, fashion and weddings? Having a niche doesn’t necessarily mean you’re restricting yourself – it means you can better target the right type of clients and offer them a service that’s more specific to their needs. It can seem counterintuitive to go niche and really scary but if you get it right, you can clean up in your chosen sector. 

Quick action: Before you decide on a specialism, research the market to get a feel for the work available in that field, and what rates you could offer. If most of your clients are coming from a specific sector, explore the possibility of branding yourself, your site and your online presence in that area. 

5. Reevaluate your rate

It can be tempting to keep your hourly or daily rate low so that you’re more appealing to new clients – but are you short-changing yourself? Look at increasing your day rate, allowing you to be more productive with your time. You might find you get a better quality of client. Good times to do this are at the start of the calendar year and at the beginning of the new tax year, in April.

Quick action: Calculate how much you’re spending on tasks that don't attract any cash, such as emailing clients or cleaning your paintbrushes, so you can take this into account when charging by the hour. Time-tracking software like Toggl and Due are useful for this.

6. Branch out

One of the beautiful things about freelancing is that it doesn’t matter how you make your cash. If you’re trying to make a living as a children’s entertainer and managing to get some work at the weekends, there’s no reason why you can’t spend Thursday evenings walking the neighbour’s dog for extra cash. As long as developing your preferred business remains your main focus, you're free to earn money in all manner of different ways.

Quick action: Write a list of everything you’ve ever earned money from, and decide which things could still earn you cash today.


Article with thanks to Insurance Octopus.