Most freelancers make the same rookie mistakes that result in getting paid way too little for your valuable work. Learn how to avoid them, charge higher rates, and make more money freelancing this year.

Freelancing is a viable option for starting a side hustle. Once you figure out how to make more money freelancing it could even turn into a full-time gig; it did for me!

Unfortunately, many people get into freelancing and are given a lot of really bad advice about how to make more money.

In an effort to help you boost your freelancing income this year, and to help you avoid the mistakes I made, here’s how you can make more money freelancing in the coming year.

Specialize in something

If you want to make more money freelancing, you’re going to have to drop the jack of all trades bit and narrow down your niche.

Once I started focusing on career-and money-related writing and only looked for those kinds of clients, I began to make more money freelancing.

I’ve closed writing deals in an hour because my writing brand has become known for career, entrepreneurship, money, and lifestyle design. If I find something outside of those categories, I don’t even bother.

This may seem like you’re limiting yourself, but it’s actually strategic. Clients pay more for experts and specialists. This is true in the corporate world and it’s true when you’re freelancing.

Don’t quote potential clients off the bat

I’ve experimented with a lot of different ways to make more money freelancing. Here’s one of my favorite secrets: If a prospect does not ask me for my rates right away, I don’t tell them.

In fact, sometimes I put the ball in their court just to feel them out. There have been instances where I’ve been surprised by clients who wanted to pay me three times what I would have quoted!

And by the way, if a prospect gets back to me with a low ball number, I know pretty quickly not to continue wasting my time.

Get smart about job boards

Back in 2010 – 10 years ago now – I tried every giant freelance marketplace board there was. The end result was that people wanted to pay me poverty rates for my work.

At the time I thought $4 for a 500-word article was normal. After all, we all hear things like “you have to work your way up” and “you take what you can get in the beginning.” Furthermore, we’ve been told our entire lives that arts like writing don’t make any money, so when we see low rates at the beginning of our journey we assume it’s okay.

Again, this goes back to valuing ourselves. If we don’t value our work no one else will. Want to make more money freelancing? Stand up for your value each and every day.

As a side note, this isn’t to say that all writing job boards are bad. In fact, some are actually pretty good if you know where to look. For instance, I’ve gotten awesome writing deals from job boards like ProBlogger, The Freelance Writer’s Den, and FreelanceWriting.com’s Morning Coffee Newsletter. You can also use services like IFTTT to send you freelance gigs from job boards. There are some great new online marketplaces—like Fiverr—that allow you to offer your services worldwide. And don’t let the name fool you—people will pay much more than $5 if you can offer them quality services in return.

So in reality, this warning should read that not all job boards are created equal and to stop wasting time on the ones that pay peanuts. 

Summary

If you’re serious about your side hustle objectives and want to make more money freelancing this year, create an action plan to:

  1. Refine your niche. You can’t specialize enough. The more you do, the more you can charge for your work.
  2. Raise your rates. Stop quoting low rates because you’re afraid the client will say no. Always negotiate.
  3. Look beyond job boards. They may be necessary to get your first few gigs, but tapping your network—along with referrals and repeat customers, will always pay more.

Read more:

About the author

Total Articles: 9
Amanda Abella is a business coach to millennial entrepreneurs and the author of the Amazon bestselling book Make Money Your Honey.

Article comments

We invite readers to respond with questions or comments. Comments may be held for moderation and will be published according to our comment policy. Comments are the opinions of their authors; they do not represent the views or opinions of Money Under 30. Comments have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser, nor are they reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our partners. It is not our partner’s responsibility to ensure all posts or questions are answered.
3 comments
A.Makarfi says:

Nice post. Specialising in a freelance writing niche is definitely the best advice out there. It makes you look like an expert.

Joseph Hogue says:

Great tips! I absolutely agree, the more you specialize, the more value you get. When it comes to raising rates, clients will appreciate having a heads up. Be open. Clients you already have recognize the quality of your work, so they won’t really mind paying more, just let them understand why.

Great advice, thank you! I’ve found the same thing with refining my niche and specializing–it’s tempting to try and focus on/be an expert in everything, but it’s not tenable. You’re spot on that it’s much better to identify your true strengths and promote yourself in that discipline.