Ah, to be a new freelancer, full of grit and joy to be working for themselves, but struggling to figure out how to make money freelancing. A tale as old as time!
A lot of people start freelancing because they have a passion and want to spend more time doing that thing. Weaving, writing, cooking- whatever it is, they want to do more of it but need to make money while doing it.
They grab the social media handles, take some photos for their website, and let everyone in their life know they’re freelancing now. And then…what comes next? How can you actually make money freelancing?
Too many freelancers let themselves fall into the ‘I’m a creative, not a business!’ idea, and too often that just bites them in the ass. Are you making money? Do you want to do this for awhile? You’re a business. You should act like it.
The Freelancer’s Starter Guide
A successful freelance business comes with more than a can do attitude. The first thing you should do is create a real business structure. Whether that’s an LLC or a DBA as a sole proprietor, you should decide on what type of business formation you want to be and then build systems around that.
Confused by what those letters mean? They stand for different business designations. LLC means Limited Liability Company and DBA stands for Doing Business As. We cover exactly how to open either type of business in the Bravely Freelance Starter Guide. The guide is 10 chapters, 2 spreadsheets, and 2 videos that takes you through how to open and run a successful freelance business from start to finish.
From there, you need to be able to price and sell your services at a rate that allows you to live, and ideally, to thrive. Articles at $20 a pop, or photography clients at $40 each, are probably not going to cut it.
More on how to make money freelancing:
So you gotta ask yourself; am I charging enough to live on? And if my prices are already feeling high, am I delivering what I promise to my ideal clients? Because you can be the best graphic designer in the world, but if you’re only talking to other graphic designers who don’t actually NEED YOUR HELP, you’re also gonna be the brokest graphic designer in the world.
We talk about pitching clients as well as cover the exact formula you need to follow to price yourself for profit in the Bravely Freelance Starter Guide.
You Definitely Need Systems
The sooner you can implement systems into your business, the better. You’ll save time, you’ll make more money, and you’ll reach more people if you have the right systems. Here are the first three you should set up.
Email list: You should be collecting people’s email addresses. Not so you can spam them with useless shit! Be very clear on that. Email is personal and when someone agrees to give you their email, make sure you treat it with the respect it deserves.
You can use Mailchimp for free for up to 2,000 subscribers. I did that when I first started. Then I switched to ConvertKit and I love it. Yes, it costs me money each month. In my humble opinion, it’s so worth it. It’s easy to use, easy to set up email funnels that do marketing for me, and easy to track the stats on who opens, clicks and buys from my emails.
Email is central to everyone’s lives, so it should be central to your business. Not everyone is on social media, and even if they are, not every social media post gets seen thanks to the ever changing algorithms. Email is crucial for building a connection with your audience and to actually making money.
Track Your Money: So, so many people don’t track their money. As a freelancer, you need to track things like which clients pay well, which pay on time, and how much they pay. Then you need to lean into the clients that do all three, and drop the ones who don’t.
In our Freelancer Guide we include an income tracker spreadsheet, where you can do all the tracking your business needs. Here’s a little peak.
Why is this important? It lets you see how much you’re bringing in, which clients are actually profitable for you, and when you actually received the money. It’s also going to make doing your taxes SO MUCH EASIER.
Market Yourself: Marketing is so much more than posting on Instagram or putting together a website. As a freelancer, you need to be consistently marketing yourself and positioning yourself for the next job. You make money freelancing when you market yourself regularly.
What does that mean? It means showing up, reminding people of why you’re great at what you do, and highlighting how they can get in touch with you.
New freelancers struggle with this because they’re spending most of their time completing their work. Marketing falls to the wayside in the flurry of emails and creating their final product.
Set aside time to come up with a marketing plan and assign yourself marketing to do items each week. Keeping yourself visible means the money keeps flowing!
I work with people as a business coach, so if you’re looking for hands on help with all this stuff, click here! I can help you create a business and marketing plan that turns into business systems and money in your bank account.