I ran into a few hurdles on my journey to scaling my freelance business from zero to six figures in 10 months.
Today I want to share the four biggest lessons I learned with you.
And let me tell you, these are some of the lessons I wish I had known from the start. They would’ve made my path to six figures a little bit easier. But now you can skip the part where you have to learn them the hard way.
Because these four lessons can help you start generating consistent revenue in your business fast.
I’ve seen a lot of sides to this business, from starting out as a freelance virtual assistant who specialized as a social media manager to running a six-figure Facebook ads business.
And I know that whether you’re just setting up a freelance business or you’ve already been working with clients but hit an income cap, these four lessons will help you create systems that can help you avoid these pitfalls and scale your business even faster.
1. Create Simple Systems in Your Freelance Business
The first lesson I learned is one that I truly believe is life-changing for every freelancer.
And that’s to keep things simple. If you know me, you already know I’m all about simplicity in your business. Because when we keep our systems simple—and our marketing simple—the easier it is to manage your business.
So what do I mean by simple? For one thing, I only used four tools to scale my business to six figures.
And I used active marketing, like responding to job opps and starting conversations with business owners, rather than passive marketing, which meant putting my energy into trying to be on every social media platform.
When we create simple systems, it’s not only easier for us to scale our businesses, but it’s also better for our clients. The reality is clients who enjoy working with you are more likely to become repeat business—and they’re also more likely to refer you to other amazing clients.
Plus, the coolest thing about being a freelancer is that we don’t need all the things in order to scale a business to six figures.
You don’t need to pay for branding or a fancy website to scale your freelance business.
While I recommend you create a freelance business website, all it takes to one get up and running is one page. Your website should explain your services and include a place for your calendar, where clients can book a discovery call. That’s all you really need!
But here’s the thing:
When you’re building your systems, you might feel pressured to have beautiful proposals and a fancy calendar tool before you are ready to work with dream clients. (I know I like pretty things, so I can totally relate!)
But the truth? I’m here to tell you that you don’t need the fanciest proposals to sign clients. And you definitely don’t need to upgrade to the latest calendar tool. Keep it simple—I scaled way past six figures without fancy proposals.
In April 2019, I earned over $20,000 in revenue that month for the first time. It was the biggest month I’d ever had in my business at that point. But let me tell y’all, every proposal I sent out that month was literally black and white text.
Nothing fancy. My proposals said: “Here is what I do, and here’s how you pay me.”
Today, my proposals look different because I had a designer create them for me. But upgrading my proposals didn’t happen until after I had already hit six figures. Everything does not have to look pretty for you to get hired, because clients really don’t care about that stuff when it comes to your services.
They just want to know:
- What are you going to offer them?
- What are you going to take off the table for them?
- What are they not going to have to worry about?
Basically, clients want to know that you’re going to make their life better by hiring you. And when you make their customer journey simple and stress-free, it’s easy for potential clients to see that more clearly.
That’s a win-win for you and your clients.
2. Building Relationships Is Everything
The second lesson I learned is that relationships are everything.
And I’ll be honest with y’all, I am not someone who builds tons of relationships or is really focused on the idea of networking. I’m not trying to be the most popular person out there—that’s just not important to me.
But what I’m really all about is building deep relationships with others. I’m talking about relationships that go beyond Instagram feeds and YouTube channels because I love connecting with people on a deeper level.
For instance, I only look to a handful of people for advice in my business.
When I listen to business podcasts, I’m listening to the same 2-3 podcasts every week, and that’s because those people are in line with my values. Those are also the same entrepreneurs that I purchase courses from when I want to learn a new skill to grow my business.
Why? Because they’re in line with how I like to run my business and where I want to be.
Think about it like this:
- Who are you listening to for advice?
- What podcasts do you come back to again and again?
- What courses are you consuming?
Make sure those align with your vision for your business and your life. Because here’s the thing, when we hear too many people telling us to do too many different things, our minds can get a little foggy.
And the three people that I listen to all have similar beliefs and trainings. I’m not hearing two totally different marketing strategies, but pretty much the same core marketing strategy taught in different ways. I really believe that’s one of my reasons for success. My mind isn’t clouded by all the noise out there—I keep my circle small but deep.
But another relationship we need when we work online is internet friends. While working from home is amazing, I realized a few months into scaling my business that it can be such a lonely world sometimes.
So one thing I did was build deeper relationships with other business owners. I was five months into business when I hit $6,000, and I realized I needed to connect with other women in online business.
I posted on a Facebook group I was in and said, “Hey, I’m looking for a handful of other businesswomen who are looking to scale to $10,000 in the next six months.”
Specifically, I wanted to connect with women who were already making $3,000 per month and were willing to hop on a weekly check-in call. I already knew what I needed from this group. And that was support from each other to reach our goals.
We formed a small group, and those relationships were so important to my growth. That group started in October of that year, and by January, I had my first $10,000 month. Now all of us are earning over $10,000 per month in our business. And it was so fun to grow together!
So, I like to keep my circle small and go deep. Sometimes all you need to do is create those relationships where you support each other because it’s truly so special when you’re growing your own freelance business.
3. Don’t Base Your Pricing On One Person
So far, we’re keeping things simple, and building relationships is everything. The third lesson I learned is something that I think every freelancer needs to know:
Don’t base your pricing on one person’s comments.
Here’s what I mean. Let’s say you get on a discovery call, and it’s going great. You’re so excited because you have a really good feeling about landing this client. And then, the client asks you how much you charge.
When you tell them your rates, they respond with:
“Oh, that’s too expensive.
“I just had a call with someone else and they’re $100 cheaper.”
“That’s how much this is going to cost me? I don’t think that’s in my price range.”
And then what can happen is you get into this awful cycle of thinking your prices are too high vs. worrying about how you’ll scale your business if you don’t charge these prices. Sometimes it can turn into a downward spiral.
But this is the thing I want you to remember:
If you have clients that are already paying you at your prices, then people will pay your prices. It’s really that simple y’all! At the same time, if you don’t have clients yet and you keep hearing feedback that your prices are high, let’s take a step back and reevaluate.
Are your prices really too high? Or is there a piece of the marketing that you’re not showing the value you’re bringing to justify your prices?
From what I’ve seen, it’s usually not about pricing at all. It’s more likely a hang-up in the discovery call process.
My point is we can’t let one person’s comment dictate our business decisions. That was a big lesson that I learned while growing my business, and I think it’s one we can all relate to. As freelancers, we’re probably all guilty of questioning our pricing sometimes.
It’s just what we do. Even when I got to the point of having a waitlist, I still had potential clients tell me I was out of their budget. I find myself thinking, “Oh my gosh, have I outpriced myself? Am I too expensive?”
But the reality is I have people paying the same prices!
It’s okay when these doubts about pricing come up sometimes. The key is that we just have to catch ourselves when it happens and reframe those thoughts.
4. You May Stop Doing All the Things
Finally, the fourth lesson I learned while scaling to six figures in 10 months is that doing all the things will get you nowhere.
If you know me, you know that I’m super passionate about streamlining your business. And that’s because I had to learn this the hard way y’all! Here’s the deal, we hear a lot of entrepreneurs and marketers saying that we need to be everywhere.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard that before you can scale your business to $10,000 months you need to…
- Be making videos
- Grow an Instagram following
- Learn TikTok ads
- Be active on LinkedIn
- Post to your Facebook
- Write weekly blog posts
- Start a podcast
- Create consistently
Phew, I’m tired just thinking about all of that!
But guess what? As freelancers, we don’t need any of that. If you take a look at my Instagram from the first year of my business, it’s garbage. If you look at my Facebook Business Page back then, it’s also pretty much garbage.
I kept hearing how important video was so I launched a YouTube channel in January 2019 and put out a few episodes. Then I realized, “Holy cow, a lot goes into YouTube!”
So, I quit making YouTube videos.
No matter if you’re working as a virtual assistant, freelancer, or social media manager… you don’t have to use all of these platforms! While we can use social media to scale our business, the most important thing to remember is that we’re actively marketing ourselves instead of passive marketing.
(Want to learn more about marketing minutes? Check out my blog post, where I dive deeper into the difference between active marketing vs. passive marketing and share the four things I tracked to hit $10,000 a month in my freelancing business!)
One of the things I love about freelancing is that we don’t need to be posting content for content’s sake. It’s so freeing. In markets like course creation and influencer ones, they must be super active on social media to succeed.
We don’t have to do that. In freelancing, we’re so fortunate that we’re not getting hired by clients because we have 10,000 followers on Instagram.
Now, doing all the things is not only about marketing on all the platforms. It’s also about your services. So one thing to consider is how many different services you’re offering.
In the first few months of my business, I was doing all the things. I was a Pinterest manager, I offered organic Facebook marketing, and even Instagram marketing for a while. You name it, I did it.
But then I decided it was time to elevate my services. So I started niching down. Once I pivoted away from organic marketing, I offered two services for clients: Facebook ads and sales funnels.
The only problem? It didn’t take long before I realized funnels weren’t my jam. Not only were they taking up a lot of my time, but they also weren’t bringing me any joy.
So I dropped my sales funnel services and started specializing in one service—Facebook and Instagram ads. Now, I also offered Facebook ad intensives, which was just two hours of me reviewing clients’ Facebook ads over Zoom and giving them a strategy to put in place.
But everything was still all around Facebook and Instagram ads.
So consider it this way. If you’re offering multiple services to clients like email marketing, social media, and general admin tasks, I recommend you start thinking about how to streamline your business. What can you release? What isn’t making enough money?
Rather than offering 10 different services, let’s simplify things. Maybe you offer one or two services—three max. Because the truth is if you’re offering all the things, you will never be known for anything.
Doing all the things just isn’t going to scale your business quickly.
Instead, we have to look at two things:
One, we look at our numbers. So that’s taking a look at our revenue and expenses to see what services are bringing in money and what are not. If it’s not bringing in money, it’s probably time to cut it.
Two, we really evaluate our happiness level. While we’re not always going to love every part of our job, we should love what we’re doing most days. Because if you don’t love it, why are you doing it?
Let’s face it, I love Facebook ads but there are days that I’m not feeling it. And that’s just part of life. But I can honestly say that 99% of the time, I love running Facebook ads—and that’s truly why I do it.
What I didn’t love was building sales funnels, so I stopped doing them. So, what services are you offering?
If you’re doing all the things, this is your sign that you may stop!
Let’s Take Action
So let’s recap the four lessons I learned scaling my business from zero to six figures in 10 months:
- Keep it simple
- Build deep relationships
- Don’t base your prices on one person’s comments
- Stop doing all the things
Clearly, these were all things that I struggled with at the beginning of scaling my business to $10,000 in revenue a month. And I know that a lot of my students have shared with me that they struggle with some of these things too.
I think these lessons are so important no matter what your business is, especially as entrepreneurs who are freelance business owners. Because we’re just so fortunate that we can keep our business as simple as possible, but still have a lot of growth.
And these were lessons that took me a while to learn.
I hope that by sharing them, you can learn them faster so you can start scaling your business faster and soar into those six-figure years. Now, let’s go on and do the dang thing!