How to Make Six Figures a Year as a Freelancer

How to Make Six Figures as a FreelancerOne of the strangest beliefs about freelancing is that it either makes you a ton of money or nothing at all.

I’m not the only one who used to think this. 

A lot of people have this misconception that “making money on the internet” is either scammy or completely impossible.

So naturally, when I quit my very comfy (and well-paying) accounting job, to build an online business, my family thought I was crazy. 

On paper it doesn’t make a lot of sense to leave the safety of a job to invest time into a business that makes half the income. 

But that’s the whole point when it comes to building a lifestyle business — it’s an investment, one that you work hard to make pay off.

Thankfully, you don’t have to go at it alone. There are many successful online entrepreneurs who are already making good money from freelancing.

Real Entrepreneurs Who Make Six Figures Online

Carol Tice: Makes Six Figures from Her Freelance Writing Business

Carol Tice

Carol Tice

Resident freelance writing expert Carol Tice shares how she made six figures in 2011 just from writing. She even breaks down what percentage of her income was made from each type of project and includes some key takeaways any writer can benefit from.

Ash Ambirge: Makes Six Figures from Her Copywriting Business

Ash Ambirge

Ash Ambirge

She may not be a conventional copywriter, but she knows her stuff. Ash (as she’s called on her blog) created a consulting business that offers informational products and programs, and in 2011 she crossed the six-figure income mark.

Jon Morrow: Makes Half a Million Dollars Blogging

Jon Morrow

Jon Morrow

Yep, you read that right! Jon Morrow set out to prove that anyone can make money blogging, and in 2012 he made over $500,000 from his brand new blog. On top of that, he doesn’t even have the use of his arms, legs or hands. So we have no excuse not to be successful if we apply ourselves!

Greg Miliates: Makes Six Figures from His Consulting Business

Greg Miliates

Greg Miliates

Greg started his consulting business in 2007 and has been his own boss ever since. His approach is anything but traditional and in 2012 he made well over six figures. The cool thing is he teaches his clients how to go from employee to consultant so they can start achieving their financial goals too.

Natalie Sisson: Makes Six Figures from Her Social Media Business

Natalie Sisson

Natalie Sisson

Like blogging, making money with social media seems too good to be true. But Natalie Sisson proves naysayers wrong by bringing in six figures, while traveling the world living out of her suitcase.

How to Make Six Figures as a Freelancer

All of these successful entrepreneurs applied many of the same business tactics to reach the level of success they’ve achieved, but it’s not unreachable for anyone who’s willing to put forth the effort.

If you’re interested in investing your time and energy into an online business to make six figures as a freelancer, here’s how to apply their strategies.

1. Set a date and create a plan.

The first thing you’ve got to do is create a roadmap, a plan of action, for what you want to accomplish and how you plan to get there.

Before I could quit my job, I set a firm date for when I wanted to make the leap. Then I started working with a business coach so I could make sure I had the right amount of income and preparation to make the a successful transition to being my own boss.

Whatever your dream is set a date then create a plan. Once you have that goal in front of you, all you have to do is take daily steps to reach it. Next thing you know you’ll be well on your way to making six figures.

2. Choose the right niche or specialty.

If you’re worried the field of business you want to go into is already saturated with competition, you’re probably right. And that’s okay! You can still be confident there’s no one out there with your specific experience, skill-set or ideas so don’t let that stop you.

However, it’s crucial you choose the right niche based on those facts. Some experts will tell you to find what you’re passionate about, but I say you need to find your obsession.

You’ll be sleeping, eating and breathing your business so it needs to be something you can constantly think about and dedicate your life to. You have to go beyond just passion because passion can quickly fade. An obsession rarely goes away; in fact, it does quite the opposite.

3. Be prepared to work hard.

Making your dreams a reality takes hard work and dedication — there’s no way around it. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell states it takes 10,000 hours (or just over 10 years) to reach a mastery level of success in any field.

Pouring that amount of time and energy into something will without a doubt produce extraordinary results. Likewise bringing in six figures as a freelancer is going to take a lot of work but will have a big payoff.

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to learn a new skill, a new language or a new business, you’ll have to work non-stop to reach that kind of goal.

4. Treat it like a real business.

A huge mistake a lot of freelancers make is they don’t take their businesses seriously. They start out freelancing to make some extra money, to pay off debt, or to earn money for a nice vacation.

But if you’re seriously trying to create a lifestyle business, where you have control over your income and your time, you’ve got to treat your freelancing like a real business. This means applying the right systems, figuring out when it’s time to incorporate, and hiring the right kind of help.

If you want to command a high dollar amount, you’ve got to show you mean business by being serious. No one wants to pay a part-time freelancer six figures! They want someone who is as dedicated and passionate (i.e. obsessed) about their work.

Are you making six figures as a freelancer? What’s your advice for would-be six-figure entrepreneurs? On your way to six-figures? What’s your next step in making it to that level?

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Last Edited: March 8, 2014 @ 11:07 pm
About Carrie Smith

Carrie Smith is an ex small business accountant who now helps freelancers and entrepreneurs get out of debt and organize their lives, so they can fund their dream business. Find her on Twitter @carefulcents.

Comments

  1. TiceWrites says:

    Hi Carrie — nice post! Thanks for including me. Hopefully if you stack up enough of these together, people will see it’s a real deal.

    #4 is the one that seems to trip everyone up. Among freelance writers, it seems to be a dream about creativity and muses and rainbows…and eventually they realize they’re getting screwed and need to start thinking about contracts and negotiating and payment terms and boring stuff like that. Then, they start earning!

  2. It’s always inspiring to see freelancers who are doing so well. No doubt, freelancing (and also those who work for residual income) have some of the best chances to make that kind of money – most working for large corporations do not.

  3. Freelancing like all other businesses requires not only determination, planning, and funding it also requires the knowledge that it will take almost three years to break even and be able to see that business venture through its successful continuation.  What might be an instant success could also be short lived.  In reality  the individual who can see the business to a realized profit and keep it going must be able to keep their hands on the pulse of what is current and what the readers or buyers want to read or buy.  Would this not be true?  If (with today’s economy) the individual has no money to invest (such as I have realized….the lack of funds) but still have a goal of being the owner of my own business, I have to make deliberate steps to realize my dreams and goals.  I am disabled and have little chance to work in any company with the degrees I have received over the past six years, mainly because of restrictions that are in place to “limit my practice.”  I also have a Masters in Professional Counseling but the state I live in has restricted my “scope of practice.”  In Nevada a Clinical Professional Counselor who is licensed cannot practice in the counseling profession.  But this point of fact has not stopped me from my goal of opening a mental health clinic in my community.  I still press on to the ultimate goal of being the owner/operator of this mental health clinic.  I am also active in working with the Nevada Mental Health Counselors Association (NVMHCA) in helping others like me who want to be counselors to be able to practice by lobbying in the government to change and/or remove the restrictions for the counselors who want to be a generalist counselor.  I am also over 50 years old, which is no deterrent to reaching the goals I have set.  My life is (in my opinion) is more organized than most people I know; however, I am missing a vital part of reaching my set goals…..that is the funding to get my goals  in motion.  There is also the issue of credit…….like the small percentage of individuals my credit really is not as good as it could be after my divorce, couple that with the refusal of having any credit cards in my name and the credit ratings are very low because there is nothing to rate when there are no credit cards to create a rating on paying bills, and other things that are listed.  The freelancing I would like to do is secondary to my primary goal of the mental health clinic in my community, so this being said………..How can I use this to help me reach my primary goals?  Then not having any money to put into or invest into another business when I cannot even invest any money into my primary goals?

  4. This is a fantastic article! Thanks for the inspiration. I’ve just recently withdrawn from a PhD program and started writing online through sites like Odesk and Elance – I’ve realized that I can make $50+/hr doing what I love (studying and writing about business). It really is great!

    I’m currently writing about my own journey in this area at moneynomad.com. Perhaps one day it’ll be as great of a blog as ptmoney and related sites.