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How to grow your freelance business

6 min read
John Coomer

If you’re one of the growing army of freelancers out there, you’re probably wondering how to grow your freelance business in a sea of competition.

More and more people are choosing freelancing as an option.

Technology gives freelancers the freedom to work anywhere, anytime, for anyone.

Freelancing is part of the growing ‘gig’ economy. It’s attractive for anyone who wants to work for themselves — either full-time or just to earn a bit of extra money on the side.

In this article, we’ll look at seven tips you can use to grow your freelance business.

Tip 1: Get your pricing right

Charging the right amount for your time is crucial. Be careful to avoid setting your prices too high or too low. Both can affect your chances of growing your freelance business.

If your hourly rate is too low for the type of freelance service you’re providing, you’re not earning as much for your time as you should be. You’ll either earn less for the time you spend on your business or you’ll have to work harder to make the money you want to earn.

Blue vintage car in a repair shop

Setting your price too low could mean you’re simply undervaluing your time.

On the flip side, if your prices are set too high, you’re probably missing out on clients. They’re likely to be going to your competition instead.

Research your competition to understand what price you should be charging for the type of freelance service you provide. Set that price and then focus on getting your marketing right and doing a great job for the people who hire you.

Tip 2: Do a great job for your clients

Whatever line of work you’re in, one of the best ways you can grow your freelance business is to do a great job for anyone who hires you. There are two major benefits of doing that:

Your clients will be more likely to hire you again

Generating repeat business is a great way to grow your freelance business without needing to spend money on marketing.

Word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied clients costs you nothing. Always do a great job for your clients and encourage them to give you a plug to their network of contacts.

This is a great way to grow your freelance business by getting NEW clients.

You can encourage both referrals and repeat business by offering referral discounts.

Tip 3: Get your marketing right

Of course, you can’t just rely on your existing clients to help you grow your freelance business. You’ll also need to spend some money and time promoting your freelance services.

How much you need to spend (and where you need to spend it) will depend on the type of freelance work you do and your target market.

For example, potential marketing options for your business could include:

  • Creating a website if you haven’t already and you’re just starting out.
  • Sprucing up your web design to be more impacting if you already have a site.
  • Social media marketing via sites like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Google Ads

Research where any of your successful competitors are spending their marketing dollars and then do it better, if you can.

Related: The A to Z guide of website building

Hourglass sitting next to coffee mug with computer in backgroundTip 4: Tackle time management

If you’re running a freelance business, you’re charging for your time. That means managing your time effectively is crucial.

If you can do your freelance tasks in less time because you have efficient processes in place, you’ll have a competitive advantage when you quote to get work.

You’ll be able to do more (and earn more) in the same amount of time.

In addition to having efficient processes in place, make sure that you set realistic goals and deadlines for yourself to make the best use of your freelance time. All of your time is potential earning time!

Related: How to be more productive in the time you have

Tip 5: Hire subcontractors

Depending on your field, there may come a time when you simply can’t do more work yourself. Hiring subcontractors can be a great way to grow your freelance business, provided you hire well.

Good subcontractors can both free up your time and expand the overall capacity of your business. Again, these things will allow you to do more and earn more.

Make sure that any subcontractors you hire:

Have the necessary skills to do the tasks you need done

If they don’t, their work will either reflect poorly on your freelance business or you’ll need to spend more time checking and fixing it. And that will waste your time and reduce your earning capacity.

You can learn more about how to hire successfully by reading this post.

Charge a price that makes it worthwhile for you to hire them

It needs to be profitable for you to hire subcontractors, otherwise there’s no point in doing it. They should enable you to earn more in your freelance business.

Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website to see what you're required to pay subcontractors.

Tip 6: Implement a subscription business model

A subscription business model could be an option, depending on the type of freelance service you provide. It’s where you charge clients an ongoing fee for regular access to a service or product.

For example, a web developer could sell a certain number of hours of website updates per month for a recurring fee.

Subscriptions can be a great way to help you generate regular (and growing) revenue, rather than having to rely solely on one-off, irregular client payments for the freelance services you provide.

You can also grow your freelance business by making use of popular freelance sites as a source of new clients. Some popular choices include:

Person typing on an iPhone
Spend time creating your profile to improve your chances of getting a job.

People post a diverse range of jobs that they need done on sites like these. The jobs are categorised by the sites into different types of services.

You peruse the available jobs and bid to do those that match your skills.

If your bid is successful, these sites take a percentage of the job fee as a commission (which can be up to 20%, depending on the platform). You should factor that fee into your job pricing to make sure you’re earning enough for the service you’re providing.

Growing a freelance business: in summary

Freelancing is becoming more popular but you need to be smart about how you grow your business. You can use these tips to increase the quantity or quality of projects coming in. Experiment to find the ways that work best for your specific business.

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