The simple 4-step strategy that helped me go from making $40,000 a year as a freelancer to over $110,000

  • Jamie Johnson kept hitting a plateau of around $3,000 a month in income after years of trying to grow as a freelancer.
  • She shared with Business Insider the four steps she took to meet new clients, expand her business, and increase her income to almost $9,000 a month.
  • She recommended writing down how much money you want to earn by the end of the month or year — create and track a daily income goal that can realistically get you there.
  • Send at least 10 freelance pitches a day and write down your daily income on a calendar to keep you motivated.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When I was just getting started as a freelance writer, earning an extra $1,000 per month felt like a huge deal. I was honestly just excited that clients wanted to pay me to write for them.

As I gained more experience and started working with more clients, I began to recognize the incredible income potential that existed.

But a couple of years into my freelancing business, I hit a major plateau. 

I was consistently earning around $3,000 per month and couldn't seem to get past that point. My goal was always to earn six figures, but I couldn't figure out a way to make it happen.

Then I had a breakthrough and everything shifted in my business. I went from making a few thousand dollars per month to earning almost $9,000 in May 2019.

Here are the four steps I took to make it happen.

1. Write down exactly how much money you want to earn

The first step to earning more money is to write down exactly how much you want to earn. Notice I said to write down what you want to earn.

I don't want you to write down the minimum amount you need every month to keep the lights on. I don't want you to write down what seems realistic or feasible based on your experience. 

Write down how much money you want to see in your bank account by the end of the month.

I've found that most freelancers don't do this. Instead, they become very focused on the minimum amount of money they need to bring in just to scrape by every month. 

The problem is when you focus on "just getting by," that tends to be the only result you ever achieve. 

Whereas when you focus on what you want, your brain can start looking for ways to make it happen. 

2. Come up with a daily income goal

Once you know what you want to earn, it's time to sit down, do the math, and come up with a daily income goal. Your daily income goal is the amount of money you need to earn per day to reach your yearly goal. 

For instance, let's say your goal is to earn $100,000 per year. That works out to about $8,333 per month. 

If you typically work five days per week, then you'll need to earn roughly $400 per day. You can do this by writing two $200 blog posts per day, for example, which is a very reasonable rate for a freelance writer to charge. 

As long as you hit your daily income goal, then you'll always know you're on track to hit your monthly goals. 

3. Pitch a minimum of 10 clients per day

Now that you know what your daily income goal is, you need to get busy finding enough work to make it happen. To do this, I recommend sending at least 10 freelance pitches per day. 

Ugh, I know. I hate pitching potential clients, too, but it's a necessary part of being a freelancer. And it's the one thing that nobody wants to do.

I talk to freelancers all the time who want to know the "secret" to finding more work or finding better-paying clients. 

There is a magic formula to finding clients — it's called "pitching more people." Ask more clients to hire you and you'll find more work. It's that simple. 

And there's no shortage of places to look for freelancing work right now. I check LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook groups, and freelancing job boards daily. 

Here's the email I typically send:

Hi [name],

I hope your day is going well!

My name is [your name] and I'm a [your location]-based freelance writer. I offer [types of services you offer] to [your niche and the types of businesses you work with].

I recently came across your site and wanted to reach out to see if you are interested in expanding your writing team. I'm confident that I could be a great addition to your team and help with any overflow of work.

I'm including a link to my writing portfolio so you can get a sense of my writing style.

I'm looking forward to hearing back from you and discussing this further.

Best,
[Your name]

[Portfolio link]
[Website link]

4. Track your daily income on a calendar 

The final step is to get out a calendar and write down how much you earn every day. Let's say that it's Monday and you wrote one $300 blog post and another $100 blog post.

You're going to want to write down those numbers on your calendar and then add up your daily total. You'll do this every day for the rest of the week.

Then at the end of the week, you'll write down your weekly total for the work you did. And at the end of the month, you'll write down your monthly total.

Hang this calendar up in your office where you can see it throughout your day. Look at it often and take some time to feel good about the fact that you're meeting your daily income goals.

This final step is very simple, which is why it's the one you'll be the most tempted to skip. Don't do it — I believe tracking your daily income is what makes all of the other steps come together. 

Writing down your daily income is going to hold you accountable and it'll help you stay on track. You'll start to see that when you hit your daily income goals, the months and years take care of themselves. 

We all have off days where we don't meet our income goals. Heck, I've had off months! But I've tracked my daily income goals for over a year and a half now and the results speak for themselves. 

I went from earning $40,000 per year as a freelancer to earning over $110,000 over the past year. Is taking five minutes out of your day worth those kinds of results? 

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