Photo Credit: Markus Spiske via Unsplash
To better “enforce” this often difficult habit, I split up my day. Mornings go to creating assets, and afternoons go to doing my “job,” which is billable project work for consulting clients. A corollary benefit of protecting my mornings has been more focused afternoons. I simply have to ship stuff by my evening cut-off. And because I had a smaller number of effective, billable hours, I had to raise my rates. Guess what? I didn’t lose any clients!
I’ve also had to get more creative with fulfillment. I now actively scan my work queue for tasks, activities, and projects that I can delegate, as quickly as possible. I can pay other people to be “in the weeds” so that I can work on my business, not in my business.
For example, I often hire other writers to do research and compose first drafts. First drafts can represent the most time consuming and least rewarding phase of the project. I’m at my best during the final phase of editing and polishing.
Yes, I am excellent at raw production. But the writers I hire are good enough, and they make it possible for me to say yes to more projects and turn them around faster.
My clients are happy. My subcontractors are happy to have me as a client. My bank account is happy.
And I only have to do the parts that I enjoy the most.
8 Ways for Creatives to Make More Money
Hiring subcontractors is just one of several ways to make more money:
- Hire subcontractors. You can find talented creative professionals who can do your projects nearly as well as (or better than) you. If you know where to look, you can find folks who will charge you only a small percentage of what you charge your clients. Recruit some help, and do “quality control” before sending stuff to your clients for review. You’ll find that you sleep better when you have a deep roster of people who can pinch hit (and hit a home run).
- Hire employees. You can make more money by increasing the available number of billable hours. Even if hiring a full-time employee requires a lot of training, you’ll smile six weeks from now when you can forward a client request to your new guy or gal and say, “Do this.” You can then get back to creating assets while you make money from hours you’re not working.
- Increase your hourly rate. If you can bill fewer hours and still pay the bills, then you can spend more time on diversifying your business. When is the last time you raised your rates? If it’s been more than 12 months, then I suggest acting on this one immediately. Fact: I’ve never lost a client after raising my rates. If you do a good job at communicating the value of what you do, you won’t either.
- Teach what you know. Create a paid-access mastermind group, email newsletter, or membership. My friends Nate and Jon and I created Kicktastic. We realized that we could help more people if we found a convenient way to deliver fun business training.
- Create products or services. I built a portfolio of over 20 iOS and Android apps. That “side project” translated into over $250,000 in sales. If you’re not interested in apps, then you could quickly create an information product, such as a guide or video series, and deliver it digitally to customers via Gumroad or SendOwl.
- Sell retainers. Getting your business out of feast-or-famine mode is one of the best ways to get back to dreaming big about the future. Believe it or not, some of your clients would probably be open to giving your more money, more often. Do you see unmet needs? Do you see untapped potential? Come up with a plan for your favorite clients, and then pitch them on a retainer relationship for making it happen. This is also a great way to make more money and keep your contractors or employees happy and loyal.
- Negotiate equity stakes. A friend couldn’t afford to pay my full fee for app development so we negotiated an equity stake in the app’s revenues. She was able to compensate me fairly this way, and I was able to say yes to an exciting project that would have been difficult to justify as a regular gig.
- Sell other people’s stuff. Awhile back, I signed up as an affiliate for an app training program. One of the men who purchased the program through my affiliate link was a complete stranger from South Africa. You never know what kind of money other people can make you until you try. That one product launch netted my business $3000 in commissions.
Has selling your skillset gotten in the way of your lifestyle goals? Have you capped your earning potential because you only had blocks of hours to sell?
Rethink how you deliver the most value to your clients, and you may discover new opportunities to create assets and make more money while building a business you love.