How I Grew My Freelance Writing Income
After a five-year stint as an worker, I went full-time as a contract author in January 2020. I’d been laid off from a short-lived job in December, so I scurried to search out work and took any assignments I used to be provided.
I made sufficient to make a dwelling within the first few months, nevertheless it was properly under the wage I’d made as an worker. After two months of scavenging for work — and accepting the fact that I used to be working a full-time freelance enterprise — I grew to become extra picky in regards to the assignments I’d tackle in an effort to spice up my earnings and save my sanity.
In April, I almost doubled the earnings I’d made in every of the prior three months.
An surprising Google product grew to become tremendous helpful in serving to me work out the very best stability of labor to create the enterprise I needed: my Google Calendar.
How I exploit Google Calendar to optimize my freelance writing enterprise
Right here’s how I’ve used time blocking in Google Calendar to rapidly improve my freelance earnings and reduce my stress over the previous yr and a half.
Block time for every project
As an alternative of simply retaining a working to-do record of labor, I block time in my calendar for each project I settle for.
That makes it very easy to see whether or not I’ve the bandwidth to take one thing on when it’s provided. No time within the calendar earlier than the requested deadline? Say no.
Including assignments to my Google Calendar lets me see my workload alongside scheduled conferences or occasions, so I keep away from unintentionally taking over deadlines that conflict with a day filled with consumer calls — or over-scheduling consumer calls throughout every week filled with assignments.
That is vital: I don’t put assignments in my calendar primarily based on due dates. I block time primarily based on “to-do” dates.
Which means I estimate what number of hours it’ll take to finish an project (in my case, both writing or modifying), and I block that many hours within the calendar forward of the deadline.
Report precise time to finish work
No matter how I’m being paid for an project, I preserve observe of the hours I spend engaged on it. My Google Calendar time blocks make that simple as a result of I can regulate them if I spend roughly time on one thing than anticipated.
Holding observe of my time helps my enterprise in two methods:
- I get higher at estimating how lengthy it’ll take me to finish work, so I do know precisely how a lot work I can tackle every week.
- I can rapidly see which shoppers take up probably the most or least of my time. (🤓 Professional tip: Colour code consumer duties on the calendar to make this simple to see at a look!)
Calculate earnings per hour for each consumer
As a result of I understand how a lot time I spend on each process, I can work out how a lot I’m incomes per hour from each consumer, even those that pay by the phrase or deliverable.
For those who don’t pay an hourly price, I take the quantity I earned for the duty and divide by the variety of hours I spent on the duty.
For instance, if I took 5 hours to write down a $250 article, that works out to $50 per hour.
Calculating an hourly price creates a degree technique to examine all of my shoppers, whatever the sort of work or pay construction.
That is how I discovered — to my shock — writing is way more profitable for me as a freelancer than modifying.
Prioritize high-yield shoppers
As an worker in media corporations, I’d been working as an editor. After beginning as a employees author, becoming an editor was the pure development to degree up, acquire extra accountability and improve my wage.
So I sought modifying gigs once I transitioned to freelance work. I used to be excited once I landed some common shoppers, together with one gig that promised round 20 hours of labor per week — half my roster stuffed in a single fell swoop!
Then I acquired a couple of writing assignments.
As a result of I used to be accepting all the things, I took on some writing shoppers with fairly low per-word or per-article charges. I figured they’d assist fill in round my anchor modifying consumer.
Till I did the mathematics.
Even with low charges, I used to be incomes far more per hour from writing than from my hourly modifying shoppers.
That’s partially as a result of I work rapidly, and hourly charges punish effectivity. But it surely’s additionally as a result of shoppers have a skewed bar for hourly charges, typically measuring them in opposition to what they’d pay an hourly worker.
It’s lots more durable (in my expertise) to ask for $50 per hour than to ask for $250 for an article that’ll take 5 hours to write down.
As soon as I spotted this development, I prioritized discovering writing work and dropped my hourly-rate modifying gigs one after the other — beginning with my 20-hour-per-week anchor consumer.
Dropping that consumer and the assured work felt just like the dumbest transfer I may make simply a few months into scrambling to make a dwelling after being laid off. But it surely paid off. I greater than doubled my common hourly price after that and earned almost twice the earnings in Q2 of 2020 that I’d averaged within the first quarter.
One yr later, prioritizing round my earnings per hour has helped me double that month-to-month earnings once more — with common hourly earnings round three to 4 occasions what I’d been charging that “anchor” modifying consumer in early 2020.
Schedule work primarily based on earnings objectives
Once you’re first beginning as a freelancer, setting income goals might be difficult. How have you learnt what to purpose for earlier than your potential?
You’ll be able to set that quantity in lots of methods: primarily based in your wage from a earlier job, masking your fundamental bills, or hitting an arbitrary goal that seems like success to you, like earning six figures.
Nonetheless you resolve to do it, I like to recommend setting earnings objectives, as a result of they’ll information the way you spend your time.
I’ve a weekly earnings goal primarily based on how a lot I wish to earn this yr, divided by 48 weeks (leaving 4 weeks of trip, sick or psychological well being days). Combining that concentrate on with time blocking my assignments makes it tremendous simple to remain on observe — and regulate my workload or consumer roster once I’m off track.
The tactic additionally makes it simple to present myself permission to work on facet tasks, like my newsletter for writers, with out worrying in regards to the unbillable hours.
Right here’s how that works: As I block time for assignments within the week to return, I add up my anticipated earnings for every project. As soon as I’ve sufficient assignments on the schedule to hit my goal for the week, I cease.
If I solely must work by Wednesday to hit my goal? That’s two days free to get pleasure from a protracted weekend or make progress on a facet undertaking!
If I fill all of the work hours in my week and fall wanting my earnings goal? I’ve to judge and re-balance the assignments I’m taking over from every consumer to ensure I’m not filling my time with low-rate work.
Why Google Calendar for enterprise?
You’ll be able to observe your hours and block time for work utilizing nearly any planner or calendar technique you need, on paper or on-line.
I exploit Google Calendar as a result of:
- It’s what I exploit to schedule all the things else. All of my conferences routinely present up there, so it is smart to schedule my work in the identical place.
- I might be “busy” throughout work blocks. Creating calendar occasions for my blocked work occasions lets me present up as “busy” to stop individuals from scheduling conferences throughout these blocks.
- I can preserve observe of all the data I want for an project. Google Calendar lets me add notes and reside hyperlinks into an occasion’s description and fasten Google Docs and different belongings on to the occasion, so it’s simple to make use of for private undertaking administration.
- It comes with notifications. I can set occasion notifications, so I’ll get a ping when it’s time to maneuver onto the subsequent project. If I’m not prepared to maneuver on, it’s a superb reminder to regulate an occasion’s time to maintain observe of my precise time spent.
Utilizing this method has helped me keep on high of my freelance work, whilst I’ve added extra shoppers and extra irregular work. It’s helped me work out what sort of work is the very best match for my abilities and objectives, consider the worth I get from shoppers, and optimize my consumer roster and workload to extend my earnings and create the sort of enterprise that matches the life I wish to reside.