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How can I make more money as a freelancer?

  1. Offer complementary services
  2. Increase your volume
  3. Create a resell program
  4. Raise your prices
  5. Bill extra for top services

There are two primary ways creative agencies and freelancers typically boost their profits. First, you can acquire more clients.

While this is a reliable method, it has plenty of drawbacks. Finding new customers usually takes time and effort, which significantly cuts into your bottom line. New client relationships are also notoriously tricky. You must set proper expectations, identify potential obstacles so you can avoid them, and figure out their preferred communication and work styles—all within a short period of time.

The second option is often far more preferable. Rather than expanding your customer base, grow the lucrativeness of every agreement. In other words, sell more to each client.

Wondering how to do so? Read on for five creative ways to make every contract more profitable.

1. Offer Complementary Services

Providing multiple products or services to your customer is a win-win. Obviously, you benefit by making more money. But they benefit too; centralizing their purchases means they have to deal with one less agency or freelancer, meaning they’ll save precious hours and energy.

If you know a client uses a different vendor for a product or service you offer, ask, “If you could change something about your current [purchase or supplier], what would it be?”

This question gives you the chance to probe for areas of dissatisfaction or potential improvement.

Consider offering “add-on” discounts. For example, suppose you design social media ads for a client. You might give them a 30% discount on banner ads to incentivize them to switch this project to your firm.

2. Increase Your Volume

If your clients love your work, they’ll probably be happy to receive more of it. People typically form agreements before they’re truly confident about the quality of what you’ll produce—once they’re familiar with your output, revisit the contract. Incorporate the ROI of your product to remind them why more = better.

To give you an idea, imagine you send a client two infographics per month. You’d say, “Telehealth generates approximately 200 leads from every infographic. What if we experimented with an infographic each week? You may double your monthly leads.”

3. Create a Reseller Program

Your customers are the perfect people to resell your work. After all, they’re well-versed in your work and can speak confidently about your professionalism, work ethic, and reliability.

Plus, a major portion of their network probably has the same needs as they do. Their network is a great source of future clients.

Of course, you still need to give customers an incentive for helping you expand. If their audience relies on a product or service like the one you offer, consider asking them to resell yours for you.

For instance, say you’re an SEO specialist. One of the agencies that hires you for SEO work primarily sells to SMBs who need help optimizing their websites for search. You could ask the agency if they wanted to add SEO help to their roster of services. In exchange, you’ll give them a 20% cut of all the new agreements you sign.

Even if you don’t share a market with your clients, they can still be a valuable referral source. Describe the type of business you’re looking for—i.e., high-end restaurants and bars less than six months old—then ask if they know anyone who fits the bill. Offer to pass along a set amount every time they successfully connect you, or alternatively, 10% of the first purchase.

4. Raise Your Prices

Raising your rates generates extra income without a corresponding increase in work. Who doesn’t like that?

Understandably, most people find the idea of asking their clients for more money pretty nerve-wracking. They also suspect their request will be denied.

And it will be—unless it’s proposed in the right way, under the right conditions.

The right way means explaining why your service or product has become more valuable since you originally gave them a quote. The right conditions means your service or product actually become more valuable, which means you can’t pull a fast one on your client and increase your prices one month after you signed a contract.

Although the appropriate time to ask for more varies depending on the industry, your relationship with your client, and the nature of your service or product, it’s generally a good idea to wait five months at the minimum.

Also keep in mind you shouldn’t increase the original price by more than 30%. If you currently charge $500 per landing page, don’t go higher than $650.

When it comes to the request itself, here’s a good template to follow:

“I’ve really enjoyed working with you these past X months. Since we started, I’ve [acquired A specific skills, become experienced with B, achieved C impressive results for client’s business]. With that in mind, would you be open to a new rate of Y?”

5. Bill Extra for Top Service

Many clients will happily pay more for peace of mind or a speedier turnaround on assignments. Give your customers the option of priority support and/or shorter deadlines.

To illustrate, assume you build ecommerce sites. Your regular contract includes a set amount of maintenance work; however, it doesn’t include any provisions for emergencies. You ask your biggest client, “Would you be interested in priority support? For $X a month, I’ll respond to any issue reports within eight hours—so you won’t have to worry about losing valuable income while your website has problems or isn’t accessible.”

If this add-on isn’t applicable to you, offer rush deadlines for an additional fee. Maybe you normally send work to your client a week after you receive the project brief, but for $100 more, you’ll do it in three days.

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