Ever felt overwhelmed by all the different ways you can grow a freelance business?
Shiny object syndrome is no joke! But the truth is scaling starts with simplifying. And I’m here to tell you that you don’t need all the bells and whistles to grow your freelance business to 10K months.
For example, you don’t need:
- A VA
- Instagram reels
- Professional photo shoots
- Or a fancy new logo
If you’re ready to learn how to make the kind of monthly income that will change your family’s life, this freelancing guide will help.
In this post, I’m giving you my tried-and-true framework for scaling with simplicity in your freelance business. You can make this happen without a team—and without doing all the things.
This is one of my favorite topics y’all. And it’s one that we dig really deep into over in my Serve Scale Soar membership program. So today, you’re in for a treat.
Let’s get started!
Can You Really Scale a Business With Simplicity?
Absolutely. I’ve not only used this method to hit consistent $10K months in my business, but I’ve taught it to thousands of freelancers, virtual assistants, and social media managers.
The same strategies I’m about to share with you are the ones hundreds of my students have used to hit six figures per year in their businesses.
And it’s the same simple system that even more students have used to get from zero to their first $50,000 in their business and all the way up to $80,000 or more per year in revenue.
This freelancing guide works for beginners and experienced service providers.
Plus, this is still a framework that I use in my business today. It’s all about going back to the roadmap and focusing on activities that move the needle in your business.
Now, let’s jump into this 4-part framework: Scale With Simplicity.
Package Pricing Formula: How to Charge for Freelance Work
The first step in my framework is pricing your freelance services.
But before you can dig into your package pricing, you have to take a step back. The key to setting your prices actually starts with getting clear on who you serve—and how you serve them.
No matter if you’re…
- Just figuring out how to get started as a freelancer,
- You’ve been in business for a while but are feeling stuck,
- Or you’re ready to pivot and switch up your services
…it’s never too late to revisit the foundational pieces of your business and figure out, “Who the heck am I serving, and how am I serving them?” The truth is, you’ll always be going back to this step as you continue growing and scaling your business.
Once we’ve got that part down, we can dig into our package pricing. But hang on a minute. Before we go into that, I want to say one thing about pricing:
Hourly rates are not the best way to scale.
I will say this every day, all day long. Think about it this way: if you’re charging your clients hourly, you’re probably working way too much for too little. You’ll eventually burn out. And the better (and faster) you get at doing the work, the less you’ll make.
Plus, we only have so many hours in the day!
Whether you’ve been in business for two years and charge by the hour—or you don’t have any experience and you’re thinking about how to get into freelancing—now is the time to switch to package pricing. (Learn more about packages vs. hourly pricing here).
Package pricing is when you bundle individual services or tasks together into one package. For example, if you’re a social media manager, you might have a monthly package that includes:
- Monthly content calendar
- 20 posts per month
- Hashtag strategy
- Social media copy
- Custom creative
- Monthly reporting
Then you would set one price for that package. So how do you decide on a price?
To be honest, you might get the pricing wrong the first time you offer a package. You may work a lot more than you should on that first project—but this is where you take it as a learning lesson and adjust your rates the next time you offer that package to a client.
And you know what? I charged a client $1500 the first time I built a sales funnel. It was a pretty complex funnel, and I realized about halfway through, “Oh my gosh, I’m probably making $15 an hour on this project.”
But I learned so freaking much building that funnel y’all.
Today I charge a minimum of $5000 for the same type of funnel. It was definitely a learning experience for me, but the cool thing is that I still got paid to learn. You’ll learn how to nail your prices so much faster when you switch to packages!
So, we’re looking at three things whenever we talk about the Package Pricing Formula:
- Who do you serve?
- How do you serve them?
- What do your packages look like?
Next, it’s time to look at setting up your systems for success.
Creating Systems for Scalability
After your prices are set, you’re ready to think about your systems.
Systems are so stinking important y’all. Especially, if you’re someone who wants to scale your business without hiring a team because systems help streamline your business.
(That’s another reason why I recommend selling packages vs. charging hourly because they will help your systems run that much smoother!)
So when we think about systems, the first one we should be focusing on is our onboarding system. What happens before—and after—clients book a discovery call?
The cool thing about building systems in your freelance business is that you can use software and tools to help them run. That way, you’re not spending a lot of time in the backend of your business.
For freelancers, I recommend using four tools to manage your clients. I’m big on running a lean and profitable business, so these tools I’m sharing with you will only cost you between $40-50 per month.
Let’s take a closer look!
Honeybook or Dubsado
Every freelancer needs a good CRM. This is how you’ll send your clients contracts, invoices, and everything else you need to successfully kick off a project.
There are two CRMs that I recommend: Honeybook and Dubsado. (Note: If you’re outside of the US, you can’t use Honeybook but you can go with Dubsado!)
So what’s the difference between these two tools? (click here to learn more about which one is right for you).
Personally, I’ve used both and think they’re great. But Honeybook is more simple to set up and get going compared to Dubsado. If you want more options for customized CSS—like beautiful, custom proposals—then Dubsado is the better option. It really just depends on how tech-savvy you are but I say, pick one and roll with it!
(By the way, I have affiliate links that can help you save on either tool. If you’re using Dubsado, you can enter “serve” at checkout to save 20% using my link. If you’d rather go with HoneyBook, you can get 50% off for one year through this link.)
Inside your CRM, you’re going to have your contracts, canned email templates, and client portal. This software is how you’ll communicate with your clients. No matter which one you use, everything is in one place where clients can go to find anything they need.
It’s amazing y’all. Your CRM will help you scale your business and create a wow-factor onboarding experience for clients!
The second piece of software that I recommend you get is a project management tool.
Now, there are so many different types of project management tools out there y’all. I love ClickUp. But I also know ClickUp can be a bit too robust and overwhelming for some of you.
Whether you use Asana, Trello, Monday, Notion, or ClickUp… that’s totally fine! The most important thing to remember is that you actually use a project management tool in your business.
One of the biggest mistakes I see freelancers make is missing tasks. Things get overdue or they fall off the map entirely because that freelancer didn’t assign the task with a deadline in their project management tool. And the trick is you have to use this tool every single day. It’s like I always say, “If it doesn’t have a date, it doesn’t get done.”
Honestly, the only tab that I always have open on my computer is ClickUp. Because you have to use your project management tool if you want to succeed with it—but it’s super common for people to sign up for an account and never use it.
If it’s not a habit yet, sometimes it just takes training yourself to use it consistently. Make it a point to show up every single day that you’re working and start with your project management—you’ve got this!
Next, I recommend using Google Drive. It’s a universal place to keep all of your docs and assets for client work. Even better, it’s completely free for you to use.
Your clients can drop any assets you might need (think research, logos, content, etc.) into a Google Drive folder. You can also upload all of your finished work into the same folder.
For free, you get 15GB of space in Google Drive. Plans start around $1.99 per month if you need more storage, so it’s a super cheap expense!
Lastly, you’ll need a Zoom account. The good news is that I probably don’t need to explain Zoom since most of the world already has an account these days.
But this is where you’ll take discovery calls and client meetings unless you decide to use your phone. With Zoom, you can use a free account but they have a paid option for ~$15 per month.
So let’s say you’re using Honeybook/Dubsado, ClickUp, Zoom, and Google Drive for your systems. Your total expenses are going to be around $50 per month (more or less depending on which CRM you go with, but they’re super close in price).
The amazing thing is you can set up all of the systems you need to build a 6-figure business for around $50.
Marketing Minutes™: How to Become a Fully Booked Freelancer
The third part of your system for scaling is marketing minutes. There are two steps to this but first, let’s talk about the difference between passive and active marketing.
People sometimes get tripped up on this, but it’s super important to know why not all marketing is the same.
- Active marketing might look like responding to a job offer or sending a potential client a video pitch that says you’d love to work with them.
- Passive marketing is more like posting on social media and crossing your fingers in hopes that someone responds.
There’s room for both types of marketing in your strategy, but we want to spend the majority of our marketing minutes focused on active marketing.
That’s step one. The second is mastering your discovery calls.
Have you ever spent 45 minutes on a discovery call and not been hired by the client? Or have you ever given away strategy for free on a discovery call?
Believe it or not, your discovery calls should be no more than 15 to 20 minutes. If you can master a 15-minute discovery call—and increase the number of clients you convert on your calls by at least 50 percent—this is where the magic starts to happen.
It’s the point where your business will truly grow.
Because less time on discovery calls means less work to get clients. And once your systems are in place, you’ll be able to onboard clients that much faster.
A common mistake freelancers, virtual assistants, and service providers make when they’re trying to scale is focusing too much on revenue. In my Scale With Simplicity framework, I’m going to tell you to focus on discovery calls instead.
When we focus on the actions that’ll get us to our goal, we’re more likely to hit our goals way faster than just telling ourselves, “I want to do $10,000 this month.”
Instead, let’s say you start tracking your discovery calls. You run the numbers and figure out you have a 50% conversion rate for landing new clients, but you also see that you need two new clients this month to reach your $10K goal.
That means you need to have four discovery calls, which you’re going to do through your marketing minutes. Then you’ll hit your revenue goal when you land those two clients.
Each month we’re focusing on two things—our marketing minutes and discovery call conversion rate.
Because getting clients is how you scale a freelance business. To land clients, we have to market to them, hold discovery calls with them, and convert them on those calls.
When we think about how to become a successful freelancer and what they do differently, we need to think about how they look at setting goals.
Elevate Your Services: How to Land Your Dream Freelancing Clients
Let’s do a quick recap of the first three steps to my Scale With Simplicity framework.
At this point, we’ve mastered:
- How to charge for freelance work with package pricing
- How to set up our systems so we’re not stuck in the back end of our business
- How to reach our revenue goals with active marketing and discovery calls
Once you’ve got these parts down, it’s time to elevate your services. But how?
There are a few different ways. For instance, you could start offering premium services. If you’re a social media manager, you might learn how to start running Facebook ads. A website copywriter might become a conversion copywriter who offers sales pages for online course launches. Or an executive virtual assistant might want to become an OBM (online business manager).
Those are all great paths to becoming a premium service provider.
But what if you enjoy the services you’re already doing? That’s all good, you can still elevate your services and add additional revenue with intensives.
(You might also hear these referred to as VIP Days or Day Rates. Whatever you want to call them is totally up to you—I was always a big fan of intensives!)
So what makes intensives special?
One reason why I love intensives is that they can lead to retainer clients. But another reason is you can add extra revenue that only takes you a few hours or one day to complete.
That can be a really powerful source of revenue because it’s not taking away a ton of time from your existing retainer clients.
Lastly, the final part of elevating your services is branding. Now you don’t need fancy branding to get to $10K months (I sure as heck didn’t have any), but it’s something to consider once you’re hitting your revenue goals.
Maybe this is when you upgrade your website. Or you start to focus on getting visible and building an email list. You might even be pitching yourself to podcasts so you can start showing up as an expert.
And if you’re new? Don’t worry about any of that just yet.
Start with the first three steps in the framework. Follow those before we add on advanced marketing strategies or invest in things like a new website design.
Of course, you’re the boss!
You don’t have to go in order necessarily—this framework is flexible. For instance, you might come right out of the gate with a premium package like Facebook ad manager or conversion copywriting and then go back to your Package Pricing Formula.
But I’m a big believer in keeping things simple until you hit six figures.
Ready to Start Scaling a Successful Freelance Business?
You’re ready to find new clients, generate consistent revenue, and scale a super profitable business fast. And the best part? The tried-and-true strategies in my four-part framework will set you up for success today and in the future.
When you use the Scale With Simplicity system to grow your business, you’ll always be coming back to it.
For example, let’s say you’re a social media manager who is generating $5K per month. You decide it’s time to elevate your services and start offering Facebook ads. That means you have to go back to the beginning so you can repackage your services, tweak your systems, and change up your marketing.
Or maybe you don’t want to change your services, but you want to add intensives to your revenue streams. Either way, you’ll still be starting back at package pricing.
Because the more you go back through this framework, the better you get at refining your offers—and the more money you’re going to make.
Heck, I have students who are at $20,000 per month and they still tell me how they’re going back through this system right now! Every time we can revisit these strategies, we learn something new.
And we can continue to refine and scale even further.
That’s what it is all about. When you can master these four steps, you can truly scale with simplicity, get more time back, and make more money—so you have more freedom and build a financially secure future for your family.