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Want to make more money freelancing? Here are some tips for when you don’t have a ton of time.
Running a freelance business takes time. And if you’re a busy mom, you probably don’t have time to work on a full-time basis.
Just thinking about putting forty hours a week into my business makes my head hurt.
Which means a part-time freelance business is best for me during this season. In fact, I typically spend only a couple of hours on client work each week, and a couple on my own blogs. That’s not much time!
If you’re only working a couple of hours a week, you really need to make the most of that time. Here are the strategies I use to maximize my part-time freelance business to make more money, broken down into bigger steps you can take.
Check Your Rates
If I’m going to take time and attention away from my kids, it sure better be worth it.
I can typically earn over $70 an hour writing. My VA rate is lower, but it’s still more than I was earning per hour as a teacher.
Find your sweet spot for your rates where you don’t charge more than people are willing to pay, but not so low that it’s not worth it. Not every client will be a good match. And that’s okay.
You can turn down lower paying work if it’s not how you want to spend your time.
Yes, you will need to take lower paying gigs when you first get started. But, make it your goal to ensure your rates make it up to where you want it. Don’t stay with beginning paying gigs for years!
There are plenty of places looking for quality freelance jobs. If one opportunity doesn’t work for you, keep pitching!
Quick Tip: Remember you’re likely getting paid as a contractor for any freelance work. This means taxes aren’t taken out, and you must pay those on your own. Always calculate taxes into your desired income, to make sure you still walk away happy.
Be Picky on Your Clients
Rates aren’t the only way to judge a client. As a freelancer, you have the ability to pick and choose who you work with.
Search for clients who respect your boundaries. Clients who value what you do.
Not every client is a good one!
I really enjoy working with each of my current clients. It’s taken some time to get here, but it’s a great place.
Strive to build your business with clients you love working with. Don’t be afraid to let a client go (after you’ve finished what you agreed to) if it’s not a good match.
Life is too short to constantly deal with cranky editors, people who expect you to be on call 24/7, and those who think anyone can crank out a piece of content so there’s no need to pay for quality writers.
If you are stuck with a client you don’t like, start making alternate plans now. Search for more writing gigs, find a stop gap client to help make up the difference, cut some spending – there are options to help you get out of a bad situation.
Don’t Let Work Pile Up
If I forget to update my income tracker for a couple of weeks, it takes a long time to sit down and figure everything out.
Conversely, if I make sure and tackle it at least weekly it’s a fairly simple task.
Paperwork is the same way. If I take care of filing and sorting right away, it doesn’t take forever to process when I finally get around to it.
I’d rather spend 5 minutes on a task a little more often than be buried and have it take hours.
This also goes for sending invoices. Don’t forget to invoice your clients – there are typically no automatic direct deposits in the world of freelancing. If you want paid, you need to send invoices in a timely fashion.
I use Wave and really love this free invoicing platform.
Learn to Work With Interruptions
When you put this many people together in one house, there’s going to be interruptions. Life happens. Babies poop. Toddlers spill. Teens need help solving an algebra problem.
Being able to stop what you’re doing and jump back into it a little bit later is an essential skill for freelancing mamas.
Learn to do much of your work with interruptions.
Make a list of tasks to do when the kids are awake, and ones to do during quiet time or when everyone else is sleeping.
Then pick the right tasks when you have time to work. Do your non-focus work with kids awake when you could be interrupted, and focus work at night.
If you’re struggling, here’s a post with more details:
How to Freelance in Noise
Look for every bit of efficiency you can squeeze into your biz.
You’ll also want to work quickly in your other tasks too, not just your business.
Get the dishes knocked out quickly instead of complaining about them. See how fast you can work with your kids to clean the house. Race the clock. Get things done!
If your house is a mess, a quick clean only takes 15 minutes and can make a huge impact.
Make the Most of Your Found Time
It doesn’t take a long time to post a social media update.
Or update an old post for SEO purposes.
Or find potential clients to pitch.
There are plenty of tasks you can tackle in 15 minutes or less. The key is being prepared to work when those free moments arise. Here’s a post I wrote with ways to grow your business in tiny baby steps.
Knock out a couple of these everyday, and your part-time freelance business will start growing before your very eyes and you’ll make more money freelancing!
You can also always be thinking about your next writing project. Think time is a great way to make the most of your time when you actually get a moment to sit down and work.
Integrate Your Kids
When you’re working you miss your kids. When you’re with your kids, you know there are things for your freelance business you could be doing.
Combining the two is a great way to make the most of your hours.
Integrate your kids into your business. There are plenty of tasks that kids can help with!
Put your kids to work with you, and come together for a common goal.
If your kids aren’t yet on board with your business, and they don’t understand what you’re doing when you sit down at the computer, it’s time to read this post:
When you all work as a team to accomplish family goals, it can be such a life changing experience.
Of course, you’ll have to make sure your freelance business is a family friendly one. If your kids are going to be helping or even just looking over your shoulder, you want to make sure what they see is something you don’t mind them looking at.
Your brain doesn’t have unlimited space. When you’re so busy answering minor questions or thinking about what’s for dinner, you simply don’t have the brain power to grow your business.
Survival mode isn’t very pretty, or productive. (Trust me, I’ve been there before!)
It’s much better to have a plan. Actually a lot of plans. Know what’s for dinner (and breakfast and lunch) with a meal plan. Figure out who does each chore. Keep track of when you deep clean each room.
These plans will keep you sane!
If you’re looking for help minimizing your decisions, check out my 32 lesson course Balancing Diapers and Deadlines. It’s written just for busy freelancing parents who are struggling to get it all done.
Use a planner and get the ideas out of your head. You may be able to keep track of one or two recurring deadlines in your brain, but if you have more than that you’re more likely to drop the ball on one or another.
Simplify everything. Fancy isn’t better, fancy just takes more time. Eat simple meals. Use simple products for cleaning that can be used in more than one place. Select simple projects for your kids even if you don’t think they’re Pinterest worthy.
Everything you simplify gives you more time to make more money with your freelance business.
Look for Recurring Work
Constantly searching for more business takes a lot of time and effort. It’s much better to find recurring work that you can count on each month.
Of course you never know when a particular contract will end, so you don’t want to stop pitching completely. Otherwise you risk getting caught in the freelance feast famine cycle.
But, when you aren’t doing it for each and every assignment, life is so much easier!
Find good clients who are looking for weekly or monthly content, and wow them with your work so they keep coming back to you.
Flesh Out Your Pitches and Ideas
I’ve discovered that pitching with details makes it much easier to write the assignment when it’s granted.
When I’m brainstorming ideas, it’s easy to throw out a title. But, by the time I actually start writing that post I may have completely forgotten what direction I was going in.
Now, I try to pitch details. If I’m pitching my idea of “5 Movies with White House Scenes in Honor of the Election Season” I take time to write down the five movies I was planning on including.
That cuts down my time considerably when writing, and saves me research.
Even if the company I’m working for doesn’t want those details, I type them up in a Word doc for myself. Then I just send off the proposed article titles.
So if you have a great idea, take a couple of minutes to flesh it out before you forget!
Growing a Part-Time Freelance Business Still Takes Effort
There’s no magic formula to growing a business. It takes time, and a lot of hard work. These strategies are some of the ones I’ve used to help me grow over the past few years.
For even more ideas, please download the PDF below – it’ll give you 100 tiny tasks you can do to help you make more money on a regular basis.
100 Quick Ways to Grow Your Freelance Business
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Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.