As a freelancer business owner, you probably DO want bigger bottom line–you just may not know how to get one. In case you don’t know, in a nutshell your bottom line is the money left over after you meet your expenses. (Who wouldn’t want more of that?)
In this post I share five easy tips to help you increase your freelancing bottom line. Feel free to share your own tips for improving the freelancing bottom line in the comments.
Tip #1: Lower Costs
This is the classic way to improve your bottom line and probably the most obvious. If you want to keep more of the money generated by you freelancing business, lower your expenses. Here are just a few freelancing expenses that you may be able to reduce:
- Phone systems–Phone prices have been dropping and phone services often run specials. Shop around and you may find that you can find a better deal. Don’t overlook VOIP phone options, which are often quite reasonable.
Integrated VOIP can be more cost effective and efficient than traditional phone lines.
- Subscriptions–Most freelancers subscribe to one or more professional publications and they may also subscribe to professional online services as well. These costs can really add up. Ask yourself which subscriptions you really use and which services you don’t use. Drop anything you aren’t using to cut your costs.
- Hosting service–This is another service that is very competitive and therefore it is often possible to find a good deal. Before switching services, however, make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Read over the service agreement of your current provider and any new provider you are considering carefully.
- Software tools–Before you shell out big bucks for an expensive software program, check to see whether there is a free or open source version available. Some of the better open source packages rival their more expensive counterparts.
You can probably think of additional expenses that are specific to your own situation.
One caution: sometimes a lower cost for something also means lower quality. When reducing your freelancing expenses be careful not to cut anything that might compromise the freelancing service and/or products that you provide to your clients.
Tip #2: Increase Efficiency
Another great way to improve the bottom line is to work more efficiently.
Almost all of us get distracted from time to time and distractions can lead to wasted time, which can really cut into your bottom line. Fortunately, distractions can be overcome. Here are a few tips:
- Schedule your time. Stick to your schedule. Set an alarm if you need to.
- Limit your access to time-wasting sites. One freelancer that I’ve heard of uses a separate PC for the “fun” stuff and another for work.
- Use one of the many apps like focus booster (free) or Concentrate to stay on task. (Those are just two of the many tools available.)
Another efficiency killer is disorganization. Make sure that you are organized, both online and off.
Take a look around your office. Is your physical space neat and pulled together or is it chaos? If your office is a mess, take the time to straighten it up.
Also, make sure that you have an online system for keeping track of important information such as emails, passwords, and client project files. You need to be able to find your information quickly.
Tip #3: Focus on Quality
Quality sells. If you want a healthy bottom line as a freelancer, it’s a good idea to make high quality one of your selling points.
Quality helps your bottom line because freelancers who deliver high quality products or services are able to charge more. Clients are willing to pay more for freelance work when they know that they won’t have to worry about rework or missed deadlines.
Freelancers who focus on quality also tend to have more satisfied customers since they can spend more time with their clients than those who market their services based on price or speed. Satisfied customers lead to more testimonials and referrals–which in turn leads to more business.
Tip #4: Branch Out
Are you maxed out with as much work as you can possibly handle?
You might think that having a full schedule means that your freelancing bottom line profits have hit a ceiling, but it really doesn’t have to be that way. When stores and restaurants want to expand their businesses they branch out, and you can too.
Rather than trying to do everything yourself or regularly turning projects down, consider outsourcing some of your smaller and simpler projects. Find one or two freelancers in your field who you can trust to do a good job and offer them the opportunity to subcontract with you on some of your overflow.
Of course, if you outsource projects, then you will need to take some precautions. Here are some things to be careful about:
- Reputation. Your reputation relies on the quality of your work. If you outsource work, that includes the quality of work of your subcontractors. You may want to check over their work (at least at first) to make sure that they have met project specifications.
- Cost. Since you want to work with qualified professional freelancers, you will need to pay them a fair rate for the project work that they do for you. You will also need to bill a little bit more to your client to cover the cost of the time that you will spend managing the project.
- Time. Outsourcing works best with projects that have a more flexible time schedule. You want to allow yourself enough time so that you can notify your freelancer and check their work when they are done. Of course, if a rush job cpmes up you may wish to charge extra or handle it yourself.
Tip #5: Diversify
My final tip for improving your bottom line is to diversify your freelancing business. Look for additional services or products that you can offer to your clients.
This can be done in one of two ways:
- You can add services and products that are related to your field. For example, a writer who offers editing services.
- You can add products and services that are complementary to your field. For example, a graphic designer who also provides web content.
If you choose to provide complementary services, you may wish to partner with or come to a reciprocal agreement with a freelancer in another field.
There are many ways to increase your bottom line as a freelancer. These are just a few of the easiest methods.
Can you think of any additional ways to increase your profit?
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