There will come a time in your business, whether freelancer or business owner, where you’ll need to make more money. As a freelancer, you may find the bills are getting harder to pay. As a business owner, perhaps you’ll want to hire more staff or move to a bigger facility. Or a hundred other reasons. But if you’re already having a hard time making ends meet, it really possible to make more money?
If you already have a successful client acquisition system and sales funnel in place, the information in this post will be familiar. But if your client roster hasn’t changed or you haven’t made any new additions to your services since you first began, read on.
Let’s Make Some More Money!
Solution 1: There’s a simple and immediate answer to making more money from your work. Ready? Raise your prices. There’s no need for more clients and your topline revenue immediately sees a boost.
Now I know what you’re thinking. A lot of people are reticent about upping their costs. The fear is losing clients because their out-of-pocket costs increase. But here’s the thing about business (freelance or not): the price you’re charging must be a fair exchange of your time and value. In my previous post about things I wish I knew before freelancing, I detailed how many video editors and creative pros grossly under-sell themselves. If you’re in this boat and trying to make a living, you need more clients at that reduced rate to get by. Raising your prices means you make more with fewer clients.
Here’s another reason to consider raising your prices: inflation goes up about 3% a year in the US. If you’re not raising your prices periodically, you’ll quickly find yourself in a market where the dollars you’re paid don’t go as far. Regular employees routinely receive cost of living adjustments to their salaries. Don’t overlook giving yourself one from time to time.
Even if raising your prices cause you to lose clients, never fear. I have found that the clients that go because of a price increase usually weren’t worth keeping anyway.
Solution 2: Refine your marketing messages. As video-editors and creative pros, we all understand the value of storytelling and getting the right message across in our work. The same goes for the ads and promotional materials we use about ourselves, from our elevator pitches to our portfolio sites. Refining these marketing messages so they’re succinct, memorable and natural, as well as congruent across all your marketing streams is vital to word of mouth strategies as well as to more elaborate ad campaigns. Even if you’re using Facebook and Twitter ads to boost a post, be sure that your new clients will see the same consistent message about what you do and what you provide from your profile content to the website link they visit.
Solution 3: Find more clients that look like your existing clients.
Now let’s suppose you’ve already set your prices at a point consistent with your local market, and your current clients are more than willing to stay with you, and yet you still need to make more money. And your marketing message is consistent, but you’re still not bringing in the work you need. Now what? You can't price gouge your loyal customers by raising prices even more. The solution is to find more clients. But how to do this without wasting lots of money to find them?
Some people do not like spending money on advertising and prefer to rely on word of mouth. It’s challenging to see advertising dollars go out each month without clients coming to buy, however if this is the case it’s usually a not a problem with lack of shoppers. It’s a problem of bad targeting.
It goes without saying that you should make sure your marketing message gets in front of the right people. Yet how many blanket mailings do you get in your mailbox every week? Those companies are hitting every person in your neighborhood with the same message, whether they might need the service or not. While it is a cheap way to get a message to as many eyeballs as possible, how many times do you throw the mailing away because it’s not for you? Don’t make the same mistake while targeting potential clients. Instead, study who you already work with.
Many of us are familiar with the concept of 80/20: for example, that 80% of our business comes from 20% of our clients; or the fact that we’ll spend 80% of our time on 20% of the work, etc. While this is a fascinating natural allocation by itself, there’s much more to 80/20. Harnessing 80/20 is the fastest way to make more money. To do this for making more money, take some time to study the 20% of your top paying clients. Who are they? What do they need? What makes them need you? Now we can use that data to go find more folks like them.
The easy part of this is that most of us tend to work with the same kinds of needs and the same kinds of people. It doesn’t take long to find out what your top clients have in common about how they purchase and what products they use, what services they tend to need, and how often. Once you have that data, use it to target your ads, matching critical data points to get your message in front of the right eyeballs.
Finding more clients that fit the same description as your top 20% is the sure-fire way of finding happily paying clients that will fit well with your services.
Solution 4: Offer something else. Many of our clients are more than happy to work with us. They love our services. They love our quality. They love our creativity. Yet the reason they don’t spend more is because you don’t offer them an opportunity to.
Let me explain it this way: Let’s say my video editing company only offers by-the-hour video editing, no matter what kind of video. Doesn’t matter if it’s just reformatting something to fit on Instagram, or if it’s creating a highly detailed and stylized promo/documentary video.
Now let’s say that one of my clients is a local coffee shop. I worked with them to make a promo video about the shop that now resides on their web page. They paid the value of the video, but it still ran them almost $1500 to do it. That same coffee shop would love to put out more videos on social media, but they can’t stomach the idea of paying my hourly rate on a simple video who’s shelf life can be pretty short. They’d love to let me cut the footage coming from their iPhones, but my own costs are prohibiting.
I could shrug and say I only edit by the hour. But I’ll be leaving money on the table. And I guarantee you some other prospecting video editor will see it and make it--possibly even taking my client with them! So what are my options?
The best thing is to create a new product at a different price point to offer my client. If I prefer to be paid by the hour, maybe I offer a special rate for doing videos just for Facebook and Instagram. Or maybe I do videos like this for a small fee, no fuss. By offering a product in a different price range, I give my customer more opportunity to buy.
This also works on the other side of the spectrum: having an even higher quality or premium product those clients can purchase. While not every one of your clients will take advantage of this, there will come one who will.
These are just four different solutions to make more money in your business. Learning to see the value in your work, and then offer it and package it in different ways is a skill. Every successful business, whether freelance or not, is continuing to refine, define, and offer value to their customers and clients. You’re never “done” with this. It is part of the climb to success.
What other solutions have worked for you to make more money? Let me know in the comments!
For more on leveraging the power of 80/20 in your business, I highly recommend you read “80/20 Sales and Marketing” by Perry Marshall.