10 Smart Ways To Grow Your Freelance Business In 2019

grow your freelance business in 2019
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Hey there bosses!

This year flew by didn’t it? I feel like I say this every year but it did fly by, right?

In any case, this year has been super eventful for me.

  • I found out in February I was losing my job as a post-doctoral scientist
  • I was able to run my business full-time as a writer.
  • And then at the end of November I started a position in the biotechnology industry that draws both on my experience as a scientist and my skills as an entrepreneur. I even get to work remotely and control my schedule! Mind you, 

So to say 2018 has been eventful is a gross understatement!

Anyway, as I began to think about what I would like to see in 2019 for myself and my business, I also began to think about what we all can do to get our businesses ready for the new year.

Whether you’re new to the world of freelancing or you are a veteran, these tips will help you get your biz in shape and profitable in the coming year.

10 Smart Ways To Grow Your Freelance Business In 2019

Attend or plan to attend in-person events

In 2017, I started attending a local entrepreneurial meetup here in San Diego. During one of the meetings, one of the ladies there mentioned that she was starting a blog for her business and needed help. I reached out to her after that meeting and we started a working relationship. I have been writing for this client since March this year and over the last six months, that relationship alone has yielded over $3000 in income- from ONE client.

Never underestimate the power of local events that are relevant to your freelance business. 

A lot of us who work online tend to just stick to the online life and don’t get out there to find clients. But there are people willing to pay you serious $$$ if you will make the effort to connect.

If you want to hear me go into detail about how you can leverage in-person events to get clients, you will want to watch this video.

Hone your skills

Getting better at your skill or adding a new skill set to what you already possess, will make you more valuable.

This year for instance, in addition to freelance writing, I also made a decent income proof-reading books for self-published authors.

And if you don’t have skills, learn some! In this post, I share 20 skills you can learn and turn into an business in the next 90 days or less!

Determine how much you need to make to cover your expenses

This one is for all of you out there who want to turn freelancing into a full-time gig in the coming year.

One of the things I learned very quickly when I was about to lose my job was that, if you can figure out how much it costs you to live, you will be able to live a comfortable life as a freelancer.

What do I mean? I mean you should really sit down and determine exactly what your monthly costs are and what it will take for you to make a full-time living with your freelance business. We’re not talking “guesstimates” here; we’re talking about sitting down and writing things down!

You will need to figure out the following:

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Food costs
  • Health insurance – If you have a job that covers your health insurance, it is easy to forget this but this needs to be a high priority! 
  • Car insurance
  • Transportation costs
  • Cost of daycare if you have children
  • Utility costs – electricity, water, internet, phone
  • Oh and don’t forget taxes. My husband is a bookkeeper and usually suggests putting away 20% of your business income for taxes. 

If you can properly calculate these costs and thus set a goal on how much income you need to make each month in order to cover these costs, you will have a much easier time.

Plan your days

I learned this lesson from Holly Porter-Johnson. Holly has been a freelance writer for the last five years and makes well over $15,000 each month in her freelance business. 

In her course, Earn More Writing (I highly, highly recommend this course. Check it out here), Holly talks about planning your days and protecting your time. If you are going to build a full-time income from your freelance business, this is important.

I personally have a calendar where I enter in the work I have to do for that day or week. And when it is time for me to work, I do my best to focus on working and not falling down the social media rabbit hole.

Another way to think of this is to set a daily income goal. 

And so for instance, if you want to $5000 per month and you plan on working 6 days per week, you would need to divide $5000 by 24 days; and that would be how much you need to make in order to reach your daily income goal. 

In this case, the goal would be to make $208 per day.

Use every opportunity to build relationships

Most successful freelancers are where they are because they are good at building relationships.

I am not saying you need to be the biggest extrovert. I am an ambivert – I have a really strong introverted side to me but when there is the need for me to mingle and interact, I can do that too. Left to my own devices however, I would stay indoors forever and interact with nobody! Haha.

Building relationships that can benefit your business is a matter of letting people know who you are and what you do. I have gotten a lot of freelance work just because I had a cordial relationship with person A. And since person A knew that I was a writer, when they came across people needing my help, I was top of mind.

So use every opportunity you get- online and off- to build relationships. You never know whether that one connection you make will become the big break you’re looking for. 

Ask current clients for referrals 

If you have clients, ask them for referrals. If you’re doing a great job and/or clients have told you that they enjoy your work, once way to get more work is to ask them for referrals.

All you need to do is ask.

Ask current clients if they have more work

If you are available to take on more work, go ahead and ask your current clients if they have any other projects they would like you to work on.  

Remember that one client I got from an in-person event in San Diego? Recently she let me know that she was creating another website for an extra business and therefore would need my help creating content. That is extra money in my bank account!

Ask current clients for testimonials you can display on your website

Testimonials are a great way to convince people to work with you if they don’t know you personally.

If you haven’t already, ask your current clients for testimonials that you can display on your website.

Speaking of which, you do have a website, right?

It’s 2018. And while you could indeed get away with not having your own website, having a professional website makes you look, well, professional.

Don’t forget passive income

A long time ago, I wrote about why I thought freelancing was better than relying on passive income. A handful of people asked me if I was against passive income after they read that post.

I have never been against passive income and I even say that in the post. I have however found that it is faster to make money online if you provide a service than if you solely rely on passive income streams.

Now, as freelancers, we can get into that place where we just focus on surviving month to month. Being able to cover your expenses for the month is a great feeling.

However, we will not remain young forever. Additionally, there are times when you may simply not be able to work because of illness or some other event.

Your income doesn’t have to suffer just because you’re not working. So in planning your freelance career think about the long-term as well.

Passive income comes in many forms and will be the topic of another post. But I want you to think of ways you can fund passive income streams with your freelance money.

Closing Thoughts

Getting your freelance business ready for 2019 is a must if you plan on succeeding.

Which one of these resonated the most with you?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Whether you're a newbie or a veteran, here are 10 smart ways you can grow your freelance business in 2019.