I freelance as a consultant in a specialist field, and I decided last year that I need to focus more effort on earning more money doing this, rather than getting distracted with side-hustles.
- I suddenly realised a very basic truth about my expanding my existing work - that even though I had a good reputation to build on and had always successfully relied on word of mouth, people didn't necessarily know my availability. Duh. So I updated my CV, sent it to a few likely contacts, and built a website advertising my services. Beginner's stuff, admittedly, but obviously necessary and it bore results. Within a few weeks I was having interesting lunches and finding out about potential new work. I found Ramit Sethi's blog invaluable for advice on this.
- I started to read a bit more about how to work freelance. I found a few useful blogs, such as Freelance Advisor and Freelance Folder, which had some pertinent information. I realised I have to be my own CFO, CTO, Head of Sales and Marketing and coffee boy, and that if this is something I want to carry on doing, I need to find sustainable ways to deal with this.
- I started diversifying my output. Instead of only working on a consultancy basis, I started to look at specialist information products that I could create. I gave a workshop at a local university and plan to do a residential weekend in the future. These are not particularly well paid but I enjoy teaching, they expand my skill set, and I will make connections. And who knows, maybe one day I'll run a webinar or create some monetised YouTube content on my specialised area.
- Finally, I started to professionalise my own internal systems. I started to be more systematic about keeping track of all my work contacts, and how to keep them updated on my availability and portfolio. I started setting myself earnings targets and tracking my progress towards them. This was astonishingly motivating, considering it was just me putting some made-up numbers into an Excel worksheet and making a chart or two.
Taking my career seriously is an interesting experience for me, and part of me still wants to write a novel, dabble in complementary health and so on. But having this focus is definitely good for me ... and for our bank balance.