5 easy ways to grow your freelance business

These 5 strategies won't magically make clients appear, but they will give you a foundation to intentionally pursue sustainable growth for your entrepreneurial dreams.
5 easy ways to grow your freelance business
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Freelancers don’t get raises. If you want to make more money and make a name for yourself in your industry, you are the only one who can make it happen.

While this may feel like an overwhelming amount of responsibility, there’s a silver lining. You have full control over your career and business. No one can define what it means to grow your business. You hold all the power.

To help you get started on the next part of your journey, we’ve outlined five easy strategies to grow your freelance business. These are just some of the many ways you can intentionally pursue sustainable growth as an independent creator.

Add these 5 simple freelance habits

The journey you take to build your freelance business looks less like a map and more like GPS software. Your route reflects your priorities and current circumstances, adjusting and changing as needed.

There are a million ways to do it and it’s totally up to you.

For example, growing your freelance business may look like:

  • Hiring employees to increase your earning and workload capacity
  • Increasing your income by taking on more work at higher rates
  • Increasing your income by raising your rates and maintaining or decreasing your workload
  • Expanding into new industries and niches
  • Creating courses, resources, and other sources of income

Or something entirely different. Growth simply means hitting the goals you set. It’s not what you do, but how you do it, that matters. With the tips below, you can determine which goals you want to pursue and how you want to reach them.

1. Track your income

One of the best ways to grow your business is to set financial goals.

For example, the first time I set a financial business goal, I aimed to make at least $1,000 per week or $4,000 per month. Tracking my weekly income helped me stay on target, but it also made the experience less stressful. I knew when leaner weeks were offset by more plentiful weeks and when I needed to line up more work. 

After years of income insecurity, I was confident in my financial certainty.

You can have the same experience, but only if you keep track of how much you’re making each month. If you don’t monitor your income, you won’t know if you’re making enough to reach your goals. Even worse, you may not know that you haven’t made enough to cover taxes and other expenses until the end of the year.

Tracking your income empowers you to make smart, informed decisions about your business. You can use this information to:

  • Confidently take a vacation because you know you’ve made enough to cover the lost income
  • Set rates that enable you to meet your goals
  • Make sure your income offsets your expenses
  • Determine when to pursue new work
  • Create strategies to increase or maintain your income

Make income tracking a regular part of your weekly routine. Every time you reach a milestone, you can then set a new goal that pushes you to expand your business. Knowing exactly where your business stands today can empower you to make better decisions for its future.

2. Increase your value

Adding a new skill or service increases the benefits you can offer and makes your business more valuable to potential clients. These extras help you stand out from the competition, increasing your chances of getting new work. Since you’re offering more value, you can also charge these new clients more for your services. 

You can use your new skills to widen your client pool as well. Reach out to businesses that are specifically looking for that service or only considering candidates with those skills.

As you expand your toolbox, consider what clients are looking for. Think about the skills clients have asked about or the requirements you’ve seen on job postings. 

Sometimes, you just have to be willing to take a chance. One client asked if I’d be willing to work with an SEO expert for some SEO writing, something I’d never done before. I not only got paid for learning these skills but was able to apply them to future projects. 

At the same time, you might not even need to add a new skill. A fresh tool may be enough to boost your value. Get a subscription for an SEO tool to enhance your content and its results. Use Photoshop instead of Canva for more control over your designs.

The more value you add over time, the more in-demand your business will be.

3. Raise your rates

This might be one of the most obvious strategies, but it’s far from the easiest. Most freelancers, myself included, struggle to know how much to charge in the first place. Add in the fear of losing clients or not getting work at the new rates and you can see why raising your prices is a struggle.

Still, if you never get past the discomfort, your business will never grow.

When you charge more for your work, you can make more money without increasing your workload. You can use this extra time to take on more work, expand your skills, or explore other interests.

In fact, <tweet-link>when you reach capacity and can’t take on any more work, that’s a sign that it’s time to raise your rates.<tweet-link> 

Additionally, higher rates communicate higher value. Clients don’t want a bargain freelancer, they want the best. And they’re willing to pay top dollar for it. Plus, when you’re building a portfolio for your freelance business, every successful project is leverage for even bigger opportunities.

There are several ways to raise your rates, including:

  • Picking an annual income goal and dividing that amount by the number of hours you want to work each week and the number of weeks you want to work that year
  • Increasing your current rates by 5 or 10 percent every time you get a new client
  • Increasing your rates with all of your clients on a regular basis or as-needed
  • Experimenting with different rates

You might lose some low-paying clients as you charge more, but that just creates space for new projects at your higher rates. Remember, you hold the power, not your clients. Don’t let them guilt you or wear you down to a lower price than you deserve.

4. Learn from other freelancers

Knowing that you should take steps to grow your business is one thing. Understanding what those steps are is another beast entirely.

Thankfully, you’re not alone.

Every successful freelancer has been in the same place you are. They’ve had to find ways to grow their businesses, which may or may not have worked. Even if you aren’t on the same journey, you can learn from their successes and mistakes.

You just have to ask.

Join a Facebook or Reddit freelance community to network with other independent workers. You can take a course or buy resources from freelancers who offer their knowledge in a more formal setting.

Podcasts are another bountiful resource. There are numerous shows that provide helpful advice, either specifically for freelancers or about business in general. Find one you love and learn all you can from it. It won’t cost anything but time.

If you admire a freelancer or their work, reach out. Let them know why you enjoy their content. Ask if they’re open to a mentorship or a conversation over a cup of coffee.

When I recently connected with another freelancer, for instance, I got both an offer to chat and an invite to an upcoming course she’s teaching. All it took was an email and the courage to send it.

Along with sharing their experiences and giving advice, these freelancers may be able to connect you with resources like that course. You may even get more work from this relationship.

The bottom line is freelancers are a generous people. You may not get everything you hope for, but it never hurts to ask. 

5. Develop better systems

Maybe you have all the right ideas, but you’re not seeing the growth you expected. In this case, you might need to adjust your approach.

All too often, it’s not that you have limited potential, but that you’re using the wrong processes.

Maybe you need a better way to invoice so you don’t forget to collect payments. Perhaps you need a weekly planning period to stay on top of your tasks. You might need to invest more time or money in advertising.

Evaluate the way you work to identify areas that need improvement. Think about how you manage your administrative tasks, finances, marketing, schedule, and actual work. Pinpointing systems that decrease productivity or organization will show you where to focus your efforts.

As you find new methods for running your business, don’t forget about an important piece to this puzzle: self-identity.

If you believe you’re disorganized, incapable, or a failure, you’ll make decisions that reflect these beliefs. But believing the opposite will have the same effect. Never forget all of the things you’ve done and the wins you’ve achieved to get to this point. 

Growing your business is hard, but you’ve done hard things before. With the right strategies and resources, you can do them again.

Better systems start with the tools you use

Freelancers who don’t stay on top of their business needs can’t achieve their full potential. Use Hectic to save time and effort on all of the things you need to run your business. Simplify invoicing, contracts, time tracking, proposals, meetings, and so much more with one built-for-freelancers tool.

Better yet, get all the tools you need to start, manage, and grow your freelance business for free.

No matter how hard it may seem, you are capable of building a thriving freelance business. Sign up today for free to start building the business you’ve always dreamed of.

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Emily Finlay
Emily Finlay is a freelance copywriter who thrives working with a great team and moonlights as an amateur home baker. Throughout her career, she’s had the pleasure of working with clients of all sizes, from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Aunt to eight nieces and nephews, she loves freelancing for the time it allows her to spend with her family and friends. When she’s not puzzling over the perfect word, she enjoys taking long walks, geeking out over her many interests, and trying new decorating techniques for cakes and cookies.
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Hey, Freelancer.
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