The Proven Way to Run a 6-Figure Freelancing BusinessFeatured

So you want to run a six-figure freelancing business? I can remember the time when that felt like a pipedream. I also remember when even making a few thousand dollars a month from freelancing sounded too good to be true. Miraculously, I’ve gotten to the point where taking home six figures from freelancing (after expenses) is pretty easy. I can do this working just thirty hours a week. I’ve built my business while being a sole provider for a family of four while my husband was in graduate school. Along the way, I’ve figured out the exact combination of smart decision-making and structured hustle to make this dream a reality. Keep reading to find out exactly what you need to do to turn your freelance business into a six figure income.Choose a profitable nichePeople often ask me how I make over a hundred thousand dollars a year writing from home. As a SaaS copywriter, one of the jokes I tell is that I write copy for software companies, not the ice cream store down the street. While it’s true that working for global tech brands is extremely profitable, there are plenty of freelancers who make six figures working with local businesses like dentists and restaurants. When you’re starting out, choose a niche that is likely to be profitable for you (and hopefully one that you’re passionate about). As you go along, you’ll learn the attributes of clients with higher budgets. For example, I avoid working with SaaS businesses that don’t have either revenue or funding. Uplevel your services to make them more valuableAs you move through your freelancing career, seek out ways to make your services more valuable to your clients. Here are some ideas:Add related services that yield better results. If you offer social media management, you could include community management services for your clients as well. Manage more pieces of the puzzle. If you run paid ads for clients, you could also manage their graphic designers and copywriters to make everything hands-free for the client.Provide reporting. For any type of service, you could always offer better reporting, such as details around the results or even the status of the project. Improve your skills. Educate yourself with courses, coaching programs, books, and certifications so that you are truly one of the best at what you do. Create a bold personal brand that your target client will loveEven if your business name is not your personal name, you’ll still need a personal brand as a freelancer. After all, the clients will be hiring you, not a faceless agency. The style of the brand you create should depend on your industry or niche, but as a rule of thumb, typically the bolder the better. Bold colors. Bold fonts. Bold statements. Why? You need to stand out. There are thousands of freelancers offering the same services. Come up with one memorable tagline for your website and social media profiles, and keep your brand colors consistent too. Push yourself out of your marketing comfort zone (occasionally)Freelancing is often uncomfortable. No one is going to hand you a paycheck. You need to sell your services, execute on them, and collect payment.One of the best hacks is to occasionally do the hard work that attracts higher paying clients and makes it easier to sell your services. For example, you might improve your website, or be a guest speaker at a summit, or host a webinar. These things are often challenging (especially if you’re pressed for time or are shy), but they pay off by separating you from the pack. Trust your intuition and learn from prior mistakes to avoid red-flag clientsYou will get burned. If you’re working with great companies and clients, this won’t happen often. But it will happen. A client will ghost you. A payment won’t come through.Over time, you’ll sharpen your intuition and get better at spotting red flags. In general, clients with low budgets are often the hardest to work with because they are very small business owners who really can’t afford to hire someone, but also don’t have the time. By working with larger companies, you’ll avoid some of this mess. No matter what, always trust your intuition. Even if you don’t have a “sensible” reason for not wanting to work with someone. Your gut is always right.Protect your time like your business depends on it (because it does)Freelancing is a bit like juggling. You need to keep all of the important balls in the air. Getting clients. Service clients. Upselling clients. Marketing your business. Saving for taxes. Networking. The list goes on. There will be many demands on your time. You’re going to need to protect your time fiercely. Clients may ask for help that is outside of scope. Be very clear on what’s included in the project and don’t be afraid to upsell when they ask for something else.At the same time, newbie freelancers might email you asking for advice. You can politely point them in the direction of a favorite blog or book and tell them that you don’t have time to answer further questions. Or, you can set a 20-minute daily limit for networking and answer questions during that time. Relationships matter. Just be sure that you’re spending your networking time on platforms that will benefit you (such as LinkedIn or Elpha), instead of getting stuck doling out free advice. Building a successful freelancing business that yields six figures in take home pay is absolutely doable. While the journey is sometimes tough, it’s worth it. What challenged you once upon a time won’t challenge you anymore. With each new hurdle you jump comes higher earning potential. Dayana Mayfield is a freelance SaaS copywriter who works with the world's top SaaS brands and a publicity coach for service providers who want to stand out online and grow their personal brands.
Great advice. Thanks
You are so welcome!
Makes sense!! Thanks for the advice and encouragement!!
You are so welcome, I hope this helps!
Thank you for being so specific in your advice. Love it! So helpful.
Haha you are welcome -- definitely learned most of this the hard way 🤣
Thanks for the advice. I think one of the hardest things to do is figuring out how to get your first couple of clients. Can you talk a little about how you got yours?
For sure. I was really lucky that my first client came to me via a referral. I emailed everyone I knew telling them I was starting a copywriting business. After that, I got a lot of clients from Upwork. Then I started getting a lot from LinkedIn. And then I SEO-optimized my website so now I get leads from search traffic.
That makes sense. Thanks for the reply!
This post is so helpful. I'm curious how many clients (especially bigger tech companies) you usually take on at a time? How do you figure out how to take on the right volume of work to do a good job and make the right amount of $?
This is a great question, and honestly I'm lucky to have too many leads and too many clients as a problem right now. The way I've figured it out is to work 4 days a week, I can do 8 things. So 8 things could be 5 blog posts and 3 website pages. So I make a Trello board with one column per week, and when it gets to 8 things for that week, then I know the next thing coming in has to get pushed out. I schedule about a month in advance. I do overbook myself sometimes but I'm getting better at not doing this. I refer work to other copywriters every week because I have too many leads. That's also why I started my second company -- because I'm creating a scalable/course business model.
Thanks for sharing this valuable piece of advice. @dayanamayfield
You are welcome :)
Thanks @dayanamayfield really good info here.
Thanks! That's great to hear
Dayana, this is great and I couldn't agree more with a lot of points that you've made. I often find it tough to reach out to new clients when I'm already supporting one but decided to dedicate min. 1 day a week to BD activities from January on. I also agree about pushing yourself out of the comfort zone, and providing more value. I think writing content is a great way of doing both. It definitely takes a lot of time and discipline but is rewarding longer-term.Thank you for sharing this, I have bookmarked this!
Awesome! Cold email outreach was a HUGE game changer for my business. I have 3 free cold email templates here: thanks for bookmarking this. That means so much!
Thank you, I will have a look over the weekend!