The Mathematics of Freelancing


Whether you liked math in school, or not, there is a basic mathematics in freelancing that determines whether you succeed or fail.

If you’re a freelancer, it’s vital that you get this math right.

In this post, I’ll identify some specific areas of freelancing that are affected by math. I’ll also ask you to share your own stories.


The Mathematics of Community

The first area of mathematics that you must get right is the area of community. Your community is made up of your friends and contacts.

The fact is that, to some extent, it’s all about the numbers. Here are some examples of how mathematics affects your freelancing community:

  • As your community gets larger, the greater the number of potential clients you know.
  • A large community means a large number of contacts who can possibly put you in touch with a potential client.

Although, I do have to say, community is not necessarily all about numbers. Quality does count. However, the fact is that if you know very few people then the mathematical likelihood of you finding work through your community is small.

Another area related to community that is also affected by the mathematics of freelancing is marketing.

The Mathematics of Marketing

Marketing is also partly about mathematics. The equation is simple. The more people who receive your freelancing message, the more clients you are likely to have.

Also, keep in mind that applying for gigs is a numbers game. Here are some more examples of how mathematics affects marketing:

  • You (probably) won’t get every freelancing gig that you apply for. (At least, I don’t.) However, if you keep on sending out those inquiries, you should be able to keep yourself fairly busy.
  • Many freelancers send out an application, or two, and then quit in frustration when those specific positions don’t pan out when in fact, they just didn’t apply for enough opportunities. (Don’t let this happen to you.)

Once you’ve figured out the mathematics of marketing, you will need to understand the mathematics of pricing.

The Mathematics of Pricing

Pricing is one of our most popular post topics on Freelance Folder. It seems that many freelancers struggle with this specific aspect of their business.

However, like the other freelancing areas, pricing also boils down to an understanding of mathematics. Here are some mathematic applications for freelance pricing:

  • Generally speaking, the lower the price you charge the greater the number of hours you will have to work to earn the same amount.
  • An opportunity with a high dollar amount attached to it isn’t necessarily a good opportunity if the amount of work required is too great.

Obviously, you need to charge a competitive rate for your freelancing services, but you also need to charge a rate that allows you to turn a profit–which requires that you understand some math.

The Mathematics of Profit

Which brings me to the last area of freelancing affected by mathematics that I’m going to discuss today: profitability.

In order to stay in business, a freelancer must earn a profit. To earn a profit, it’s important to make sure that the amount of money that your business takes in exceeds that amount of money that your business spends.

It’s a simple equation. It means:

  • You must keep good records of the amount of money that you take in.
  • You must keep good records of the amount of money that you spend.

Your Turn

Freelancers who don’t understand the mathematics behind these crucial areas are at a distinct disadvantage.

Of course, there are many other areas of freelancing that are even more obviously related to mathematics such as bookkeeping, billing, and tax preparation. I deliberately didn’t include those areas here because most people already understand that math is involved.

Can you think of some other ways that mathematics and numbers have affected your freelancing business?

Share your answer in the comments.

Image by SidewaysSarah