According to data from the 2012 Freelance Industry Report, the two biggest challenges freelancers face are finding quality clients and breaking out of the fear of the feast or famine cycle — with 37 percent of freelancers experiencing these challenges. This data was also recently corroborated by Contently’s recent State of Freelancing study.

Pretty much every study agrees that freelancers’ number one challenge is with securing enough quality, fair waged work. Generally, the way freelancers attempt to solve this problem is by trying to get more clients. With studies estimating a significant and consistent boost in the number of freelancers, trying to get new clients to earn more income isn’t a sustainable business model. With competition rapidly increasing, you have to become adept at how you get the type and quality of work you would feel best working with.

The solution, then, is to earn more without necessarily having to get new clients. Here are some creative ways to double your rates without getting new clients:

  1. Reach Out to Old Clients

Past clients are a goldmine for your extra freelance work, yet many freelancers have formed the habit of ignoring past clients. Many freelancers feel that once a project is completed with an existing client, that is the end of the work for them. If the client has more work they will ask, right? Not necessarily. Your former clients may have currently available work, but you are not right on their mind at that moment. Many freelancers simple ignore the client once one job is done and that’s the end.

If projects and deadlines are nearing completion and you need some quick cash flow, or if you generally want to earn more without getting new clients, perhaps the best way to do this is by contacting existing clients. Here are some of the benefits to this approach:

  • These clients already know you and the great, dependable work you have done for them. This, then, is not a new sales job where you need to sell yourself and your work to convince a new client.
  • You’ve probably settled modalities of work — such as invoicing, contracts, payment terms, etc. — and do not need to go through the hassles of working this out again. Win – win because you both hate this bother.
  • You already know the nature of their work and you are comfortable with this clients requirements and work schedules. They know your quality and so there is a greater chase of your work being quickly approved.

Doing this client recall is simple: Compile a list of clients you haven’t worked with in over three months and send a warm and friendly email to them asking if they have work for you at the moment. The below template may help:

Hi [client name],

I hope you are well and that things are going smoothly at your end.

It’s been awhile since we last worked together, and your projects were some of the most fun ones for me to work on. I wanted to touch base to see if you have any work for me at the moment? 

Take care.

Regards,

[your name]

I always put my personal contact information after my name so this client doesn’t have to go searching for it. They can text, call or email right that minute because your info is here, readily available.

  1. Negotiate Your Rates With Existing Clients

Research shows that we are averse to change due to the uncertainty it induces. As a result, we love to keep things exactly as they are — even if a change will make things much easier and better for us. The same applies to freelancing. It also influences our fear of wanting to negotiate with existing clients; what if they don’t agree to our rate increase?

If you’ve been working with a client for a while (one year or more) and the client loves your service, this might be an opportunity to earn more without necessarily having to break an arm and a leg. Simply email your clients telling them you have raised your rates and that you really appreciate their business.

Raising your rates by 20 percent across board means a 20 percent increase in income without doing too much extra. Here are a couple of tips to justify raising your rates:

  • You’re constantly investing in yourself and are making advancements in skills and ability. Your client is enjoying this. You need to raise your rate to make it worthwhile and ensure you’re able to continue.
  • You can add a little extra something whenever you raise your rates (e.g., a freelance writer might add two email outreaches for every article) to make the client feel that he/she is gaining something.

Don’t just suddenly raise your rates. It is important to give forewarning and notify your clients in advance so they are ready for the changes when it finally happens.

  1. Request Existing Clients to Hire You for Other Projects

Another often untapped way to earn more income without getting new clients is by requesting and inquiring of your existing clients if they have other projects for which you are qualified to work.

For example, if you are a graphic designer hired to do logos, instead of letting your work end there, tell your client that you can do banners, ecover design and more. If you are a freelance writer hired to do press releases, tell your client that you can do blog posts and landing page copy.

A simple email like the one below can do wonders:

Hi [client name],

I hope you have been enjoying my [logo/writing/design] work. Your projects are always fun for me to work on, so I hope you find them as pleasing as I do. If at anytime you have feedback or need my improvement on anything,  please don’t hesitate to let me know.

I also wanted to inquire if you have any [banner/ecover/blogposts/copywriting (any other work you can do)] work for me? I would be happy to help you with this.

It’s always a pleasure working with you and I look forward to working with you both now and in the future.

Best Regards,

[your name]

Again, remember to add your contact information here. You want this client to text, email or call you right then – maybe on the run from their cell phone – and they can if your info is here.

Conclusion

The solution to more work and more income isn’t always to get new clients. Sometimes, you can earn much more with your already happy existing clients. Hopefully you found the above tips helpful.

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