Every freelance writer has goals of earning more. The reasons vary, but the end goal is the same: work smarter, not harder.

As a freelancer starting my fifth year, I have put in countless hours trying to earn enough to pay the bills. Some months are better than others, as other freelancers will agree. After much trial and error, I have come up with a plan to step up my game. I want to share it with you so that you do not have to work as hard as I have.

Before I get started, I would like you to take a moment to write down your goals for the month. This will help you gain some perspective on the steps you will need to take. Your goals could be personal, business or a combination of the two. To be most effective, prioritize so that you can concentrate on reaching the most important ones quicker. For example: you are currently earning enough to pay the bills, but you want to earn more this month to start saving for a summer vacation with your family.

Based on the example above, I will lay out a plan for you to achieve your goals. Keep in mind I am basing the steps on the example for ease of explanation, but the steps may be taken to suit your individual needs as well.

Step 1Increase your productivity

This does not mean you have to work longer hours; the idea is to do just the opposite. Spend a half hour brainstorming at the beginning of your workday – this will set you up for content material. By not having to look for ideas of what to write throughout the day, you are able to spend more time writing and will be finished sooner. 

Conducting your research for your articles in the same session also will give you more time to write later. Look at your list (from brainstorming) and do some research (if necessary) on the topics. If your ideas are topics very familiar to you, you can skip the research and get right to the heart of the matter.

Step 2Spend time marketing

This is often overlooked by freelancers, but it is crucial to success. If you don’t tell others what you do, then how are they to know? Program your Twitter and other social media accounts to make posts throughout the day. Keep in mind not all of your followers are in your time zone (or even your country), so stagger them over a 24 hour period. You can provide links to online content you have written, or even retweet (or share) posts by others. The idea is to be seen by as many people as possible. You never know when an opportunity may present itself for a writing gig or publishing contract. Offering freebies to followers is a nice touch. Generally a half hour per day is all you need to spend programming your social networking sites, which gives you more time to concentrate on writing.

Step 3 – Diversify

If you are always being asked about what you do and the steps you take to do it, write a book about it. I have found that eBooks work great for this, and making them available on a variety of platforms is beneficial. One of my latest works is an eBook I wrote about selling digital content on Sellfy and I have sold copies all over the world. I wrote it once and it keeps paying me royalties with every sale. 

In addition to eBooks, you could create a gig on Fiverr (or some other like site). In order to make more money and spend less time doing it, create a gig that you can repeat with minimal effort. Factor in the time it will take you to deliver your gig; if it takes too long you will not be doing yourself any favours. For example, I have a book promotion gig available. It only takes me a few minutes to grab the code and add it to my website, thus allowing me to do several in an hour.

Keep track of the income you have earned from following these three steps and use it for that vacation (or whatever it was earmarked for). It won’t take long to increase your bottom line when you utilize the steps and get into a routine.