6 Habits of Six-Figure Freelancers

What does it take to turn your side-gig of freelancing into a well-paying career? The simple answer to that question is pretty obvious -- it takes hard work and dedication. Freelancing isn’t some get-rich-quick scheme, as anyone who has been at it long enough will tell you. But there are ways to ensure your freelance career path can lead to financial success and cashing in on the freedoms that come with being your own boss.


We’ve gleaned a few tips from successful, six-figure freelancers to help you take advantage of all the perks while meeting those salary goals you set for yourself.


1. Know Your Value.

It might seem obvious that the way to make more money is to charge more, but it’s not that easy for some people to set rates where they should be. Decide what you need to make per month or year, and use that to work out what hourly rate gets you to that goal. Then, don’t be afraid to charge clients that rate. For freelancers who have been at it a while, when was the last time you raised your rates? The only way to get a raise is to give it to yourself. Don’t be afraid of losing clients. When you do good work, people understand that appropriate compensation is essential.


2. Learn When to Say No.

Do you say yes to every job that comes across your desk, even if it pays less than your set rate? Don’t be afraid to turn down a job that pays less than your worth. Free up that time for better-paying jobs that will come your way.


3. Curate Your Reputation.

Turn in good clean work on time. One of the ways to improve your cash flow is to have regular clients, and people are more likely to be repeat customers when they know they can count on quality work. For clients that assign you multiple jobs, consider working out a contract or retainer so you can plan for future projects and a guaranteed income.


4. Make Time for Networking and Marketing.

Keeping up with your social media accounts, making regular blog posts, and taking time to attend networking events are all important in getting new clients and assignments, but we all fall prey to letting the marketing aspect of freelancing take a back burner when we’re busy with a project. Successful freelancers know to keep marketing a top priority, even when work is plentiful.


5. Find Your Focus Strategy.

Those new to the freelance world might look forward to setting up a laptop in bed and working in pajamas all day. As luxurious as that might sound, it’s not the road to productivity. It’s much easier to focus if you set up a designated place in your house for an “office” space. If you have a hard time working at home, find a place that can serve as a pseudo-office, such as a coffee shop or the library.

Improving productivity also means setting boundaries. Turn off your phone or put it in another room if you’re tempted to use it to text friends or check Instagram. Let people know your work hours are sacred, not time for signing for neighbors’ package deliveries or volunteering for every community board. That being said, make time in your work schedule to take breaks. A dedicated 30 minutes for lunch away from your desk or a quick walk around the block can clear your brain and help you be more productive at work.


6. Become a Life-long Learner.

Continuing education isn’t just for people with employers to pay for it. Sign up for newsletters from experts in your field, register for classes and seminars, and read articles or journals to stay up to date with your trade's newest trends and tools.