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How to make 6-figures in your first year freelancing?

Whether you are a freelance writer, graphic designer, website developer, marketer, or virtual assistant, you can make 6-figures as a freelancer in your first year of freelancing.

How to make 6-figures in your first year freelancing?



Whether you are a freelance writer, graphic designer, website developer, marketer, or virtual assistant, you can make 6-figures as a freelancer in your first year of freelancing.

I aim, as a freelancer with twenty years of experience, to help you skip the steps of mediocrity and get to the good stuff quickly. Marking the elusive 6-figures as a freelancer that everyone focuses on as their first milestone as a freelancer.

Here is what I would do to become a six-figure freelancer in my first year if I had to start right from zero all over again:

  1. Write profiles to get me found on LinkedIn and Upwork

  2. Add all of my services on Fiverr

  3. Apply to all freelance platforms

  4. Build a website with a portfolio and payment ability

  5. Send 20 proposals and apply to 20 projects daily

There is no "one way" to get to six figures with your freelancing business. For example, you're not just going to aim for $50/hour USD and try to get 40 hours of freelance work with one client.

Here is what it will look like:

  • +$20-30/hour for up to 30 hours per week

  • +$1000/week in flat rate projects

Earning six figures during your career doesn't just start with higher paying clients. Everyone wants the "whale" of the client to pay them exactly what they think they're worth, which is rarely the case with any freelance business I have seen during my career.

Your freelance services will be spread over several income channels:

  1. Your hourly rate

  2. Flat rate projects

  3. Monthly retainers

Choose your freelance niche, then expand your freelancing skills

Making money and a steady stream of income is necessary to make six figures freelancing.

Selecting whether you want to be writing copy, designing logos, or developing websites can come with time. As a freelancer you will wear many hats, you'll be a salesperson, a project manager, a freelancer, and an assistant to your clients on every project.

From my personal experience I think that if you hone in on one line of work you will pidgeon hole yourself and not be able to satisfy the wide range of projects that your current clients and potential clients expect.

Think of your project as a pathway, with each step going to a particular freelancer, the writer writes, the designer design, the developer develops, but what if you could do more than one? As you grow with experience you will be able to do more for each client, which will in turn increase your lifetime value.

Here is a range of freelance niches to choose from to hit your six figure goal:

  1. Graphic Design

  2. Copywriting

  3. Website Development

  4. Digital Marketing

  5. Social Media Management

  6. Virtual Assistant

Focus on your job success to hit your income goal

Charging premium rates or aiming for only high paying clients won't work.

Since we're talking about money, you're here for income, and I believe that a lower hourly rate, combined with flat rate services and monthly retainers, is the way to hit that income goal and earn six figures as a freelancer, regardless of your niche.

Quantity does beat quality in this case, if you are looking for only high paying clients you will have complex projects that will most likely cause immense stress. It is far better to have large quantities of work you find enjoyable which you can complete without burning out.

Avoiding burn out is a bonus to your bank account as it allows you to continually work over a long period of time. Hard work can often push you to the point where you break and make mistakes, mistakes that high paying clients aren't expecting for their high level of pay.

  • Quantity over quality

  • Multiple smaller projects over single large ones

  • Combine flat rate, hourly, and monthly retainers

Can I earn six figures in my first year freelancing?

Spoiler alert. Yes, of course you can earn this amount of money in your first year.

$100,000 is a great initial goal and many freelancers aim for this as their "I have made it" goal. By finding clients and getting regular assignments you can hit the six figure mark within the first year as you develop the skills you need for success.

Freelancing success can be achieved whether you're writing, designing, or just helping your client with daily tasks. In a world that has gone remote, there are a wide variety of skills that are in demand for freelancers.

The key is to pick the job you want to do, develop supporting skills such as sales and project management (which you will have to do any way) and learn how to sell them in hourly, flat rate, and monthly retainer pricing strategies.

Here are the steps to building your freelance business:

  1. Pick the freelancing career you want

  2. Develop supporting skills as you go

  3. Learn how to charge hourly, flat rate, and monthly retainers

Freelance Coaching with Scott Luscombe

How to find clients to build a six-figure freelance career?

How do I land high paying freelance customers?

This isn't the question you should be asking! Instead you should be trying to figure out how to get 20-30 semi-regular clients and 3 regular clients. This will greatly enhance the stability of your freelancing and make it feel like a real business.

When you work with a wide range of other businesses, you diversify your portfolio of clients, if one drops out that's sad, but it won't kill your freelance business. I have always kept a roster of 20-30 clients, with about 200 now on my client list.

This increases my stability as a freelance writer, designer, marketer, and freelance coach. Yes, there are annoying things like self employment taxes, but these are just costs of doing business.

When you have a large client list, your anxiety of being fired melts away, and opens up your creativity as your stress ends and you can focus your brain power on the work you want to do and the goals you want to achieve personally and for your family.

With an income that is distributed over a number of clients, you will be getting paid almost daily. This leads to more motivation and more work when you see that you are earning more money than many of your peers.

Here's how to build your client list:

  1. Focus on 20 semi-regular clients that hire you once every month or so

  2. Aim for 1-3 regular clients that you do weekly work

  3. Distribute your payment terms so that you have regular income

What is your career advice to freelancers?

Don't focus on what is popular, aim at what you want to do as a six figure freelancer.

You're going to be working for a long time as a freelancer. Unlike a "regular 9-5 job" you will always have freelancing and as you get new clients you will start to realize that freelancing is a real business.

Whether you're freelance writers, designers, developers, marketers, or assistants, you can earn more money than you think. Becoming a six figure freelancer isn't a far away goal only reserved for a few successful freelancers, it should be a natural step in your career.

As a six figure freelancer you can achieve your six figure money goal while writing, designing, developing, marketing, or assisting to create the life you want in a matter of months, instead of decades. When you create the life you want, your bills feel easier to handle, and your lifestyle grows to fit the pay you earn along with your wants and needs.

  1. Choose a freelance career that you are interested in doing for life

  2. Supplement your freelance business with a 9-5 job to earn even more money

  3. Six figure freelancer isn't a far away goal, you can achieve it this year, from anywhere in the world with just an internet connection

How to make 6-figures in your first year freelancing?

Then, pick one of these:

Coaching for Freelancers
Freelance Success Shortcut Book
Freelance Pitch and Proposal Template
Third, try these:

Become a freelancer writer today!
Build your freelance site free!
Tools for pro freelancers!

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