How to Give Yourself a Pay Rise As a Freelancer

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Make that Aesop money.

Glass jar with $50 Australian bills

Afternoon naps. That’s got to be one of the top perks of those who freelance. Oh, and working at a cafe-of-choice with a steady stream of freshly brewed lattes. But you know what else makes freelance life awesome? Knowing that it’s possible to earn more than what you were making in your full-time job.

It doesn’t happen by making any diva-like demands for more money, but it does take a lot of hustle. What it comes down to is approaching your freelance work as a business. Here’s how I’ve done it.

Step 1. Ask yourself: How much do you want to earn?

The first place to start is with your end goal in mind. Do you want to earn $90K this financial year? $100K? $150K? Another number with a ridiculous number of zeros at the end? Do you want that income to also cover four weeks of annual leave as well? (Or more, you’re the boss!) Do you want to put money aside for super?

Say your goal this year is to make $90K with one month off to hike Machu Picchu, plus an extra 9.5 per cent for super. Your monthly income target, before tax, is $8,959 (to work this out, add your salary together with the 9.5% super, then divide the amount by 11).

Step 2. Work out how you can meet your monthly target

Now that you know how much money you need to be earning each month, how can you meet that goal? If you’re a photographer, you might know from previous experience that you need a certain amount of wedding jobs and corporate work to balance out your more creative projects that don’t pay as much money. If you’re a writer, you might need to do a combination of copywriting for clients and print magazine articles to offset the lower rates of online.

If you’re a photographer, you might know from previous experience that you need a certain amount of wedding jobs and corporate work to balance out your more creative projects that don’t pay as much money.

Work out how many of these jobs you’ll need to do to, and the best combination considering the time it takes, to meet your target. For example, you might discover that as much as you love writing for websites, doing too many of those jobs won’t help you meet your target, so you need to increase the amount of copywriting you do.

Step 3. Hustle, hustle, hustle

By now, you should have an idea of the number of jobs you need to do to meet your salary expectations. This is where the hard work comes in because you’ll likely need to pitch new business and find new leads. Don’t be shy about letting people know you’re available for work. Remember, we’re thinking of freelancing as a business, so this is the marketing component.

Once you’ve exhausted your contacts, you could also try global freelancing platforms like Upwork or websites specific to your industry, like Rachel’s List for those who work in the media. Other ways to hustle include building your social media profile, guest blogging, advertising and speaking at events. Anything to get your name out there.

Step 4. Keep track

As nerdy as this sounds, spreadsheets are awesome for keeping track of your business. When you book in work for a client, add the job and amount to the spreadsheet so you can see how far away you are from reaching your monthly target. It will also help you to see if you have any quiet months ahead, which means you won’t find yourself stuck with no money coming in, because you’ve accounted for those quiet times sooner. On the other end, you also might be surprised to learn that you’ve smashed your goal, and so you treat yourself to a long weekend away. Now, that might be an even better perk than an afternoon nap.

Read More: Should You Ditch Freelancing For The Security Of Full-time Work?

Visit Lizza Gebilagin’s personal website.

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