If you really want to make a lot more money as a freelancer, you don’t have to drive yourself crazy working an enormous number of extra hours. Nor do you have to struggle to bag an A-list client who is willing to pay the rates you’ve dreamed of charging.
No, if you want to make more than you’re making right now (from the circumstances you’re in right now), you can take these three “uncomfortable” strategies to heart – and to the bank. You won’t like ’em – but you’ll be glad you read ’em. Let’s pull back the curtain and see how to squirm your way to better pay…
Squirming Can Be Very Good For You
As a human being, there are things that you know you should do – that you need to do – but you haven’t, because some limiting belief, insecurity or worry is holding you back from taking action. Unfortunately, those limiting factors won’t go away on their own. You’ll need to face them head on and confront your personal demons in order to break past those roadblocks that have been holding you back from earning more.
Chances are, you mentally “change the subject” when you think of these must-do items, simply to ease your troubled mind. Let’s bring them to the forefront so you can start knocking them out, one by one.
Tip #1: Track Your Actual vs. Estimated Time And See What You’re Really Up To
You tell yourself that you’re doing your best and that you’re not wasting time … but can you prove it? You could if you tracked your time, but most people don’t. The excuses start flowing easily … it would slow you down … it’s a hassle … it’s not a high-value activity.
I’ll call bull**** on those excuses. When you list out your planned schedule for the day and actually track how well you stick to it, it doesn’t slow you down. In fact, it speeds you up because you’re more aware of having to get your 10am-11am task knocked out so you can focus on the 11am one without running over schedule.
As far as it being a hassle, so is brushing your teeth, but you do it anyway because it has a minty-fresh payoff. Tracking where your time actually goes has immediate payoffs too – it helps you improve your estimating ability (critical to a freelancer), helps you reset yourself when you’ve gone off course, and helps let you see where you really stand when it comes to managing your time.
And that’s what makes this uncomfortable – tracking where your time actually goes reveals every spot in your day where you waste time, get distracted or work below your rockstar levels … and the truth hurts. It’s so much easier to avoid thinking about it. But if you “cowboy up” about it and try it – even for a week – you’ll see an instant improvement that lets you get projects done faster (which means you can fit more of them in without racking up extra hours). Give it a shot.
Tip #2: Make The Time To Take Care Of All Your Back Burner Goals
As a freelancer, it’s easy to get sucked into the swirling vortex of must-find-more-work. It’s what you need to do to survive, but you want to do much more than survive. You want to thrive, and you know what you need to do … but you just haven’t made the time to do it. There’s the blog you want to start (or make better). There’s the product you’ve been meaning to work on. The skill you’ve been meaning to improve. All those things that could boost your income … but so many of them falling victim to the tyranny of the urgent.
Think about it – if you haven’t “gotten around to it” in the last six months … what makes you think you’ll do it in the next six months? It’s not as if time is going to magically free itself up. These back burner goals won’t get done on their own. If you want to do these “gotta get to” projects that can boost your income, you’ve got to consciously decide to free up X number of hours a week to dedicate to making progress on them.
It’s uncomfortable, yes. It may mean that you set aside your lunch hour three days a week and focus on your goal while you nosh on a one-handed bag lunch (mmm, sandwiches). It may mean you block off four hours every Saturday or Sunday to show you mean business. It may mean you set the DVR to record the rest of the season of Lost so you can focus on something more meaningful on a weekly basis.
It’s uncomfortable. That’s why most people will never do it, and will face every January 1st hoping “this year will be different.” Be more than that. Get a little uncomfortable and invest your time in things that will increase your earning per hour of time you spend on your freelancing business. Which brings us to our last tip …
Tip #3: Raise Your Damn Rates, Already (Or Pull In More Per Project)
Too many freelancers underestimate what their services are worth, and it bites them hard. Are you working for less than what you think you are worth? Why? Look inside and ask yourself what the deal is … are you just intimidated by others who are more established than you are? We’ve all been there. Are you afraid to turn off clients? That’s a normal anxiety to have.
I could give you a dozen reasons why you should raise your rates (or find ways to get paid more per client), but it’s been well said elsewhere time and again. So I urge you to make this your most important priority this year. Not because you should be greedy, or hyper-focused on money, but because you should be as fairly compensated as possible for the rockin’ work you do, and not have to toil one hour longer than necessary to create the life you want for yourself.
Uncomfortable? Hell yes. Double hell yes. (Is that even a real sentence?) But if you summon up the courage to ask “how can provide more value for my clients and make them happy to pay more for it?”, it will change everything. Everything. But you gotta be willing to get uncomfortable and run like hell towards where all the rewards are.
You’ve Read This Far, Now Start Getting Uncomfortable (And Profit!).
Out of these three tips, which one resonated the most with you? Which inspired you? And most importantly, what the hell are you going to do about it? Leave your mark of courage in the comments below, and be sure to subscribe to this blog to keep getting real-world tips like these.
You know what to do,
Follow Dave Navarro as he pushes past his comfort zone in the $1000 Freelance Smackdown! with Self Made Chick Christine O’Kelly.