I’ve Tripled My Income in the Last Five Years. Here’s How I Did It

A young woman working on a laptop in a sunny cafe.

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Could the techniques I used help you grow your income as well?


Key points

  • I’ve been a freelance writer for my entire career.
  • I tripled my income in the past five years.
  • I did this by taking a few key steps, including knowing what my time is worth and investing in good tools.

I have been working as a freelance writer since 2008 when I first started writing after graduating from law school. But while I was just scraping by when I first started, I managed to slowly build up a successful business. In the last five years, though, I embraced some new techniques that quickly helped me triple my income and improve my personal finances.

Here’s what I did to dramatically increase my earnings over a short time period.

1. Experimenting outside of my comfort zone

One of the biggest factors that made a difference for me was being willing to acquire new knowledge and being willing to step out of my comfort zone to try new things.

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I’d been doing the same type of work for the first 10 years of my career and was very familiar with the subjects I was writing about. However, the writing that I was doing didn’t pay that well.

When I saw job opportunities in different industries that offered far better rates, I took the time to learn about the subjects that I would need to be an expert in so I could be considered for them. I developed the skills necessary to get paid a far higher rate than I would have if I had stuck with the status quo.

2. Knowing what my time is worth

I used to accept just about every writing job I was offered. But, as I developed my expertise and ended up with a ton of offers of work, I recognized that I wasn’t using my time as wisely. I started turning down some jobs to focus on finding more profitable work, on developing the skills I would need to get assignments that had a much higher pay rate, and on doing work that out more money in my bank account.

I actually work less now than I used to, even though I make more, because I realize my time has value and I only take assignments that allow me to earn a certain minimum hourly rate.

3. Treating my work like a business

When I first started writing for pay, I treated it like a hobby – even though I was earning money. But I realized if I wanted this work to be lucrative as a full-time profession, I would need to treat my job like a business.

I formed an S-corporation, I started tracking my income and expenses much more carefully, and I established a minimum number of hours I wanted to work each day on different things, like pursuing new opportunities and completing existing projects. I also set minimum earning goals for myself.

Finally, one of the biggest changes I made was investing in tools that allowed me to get organized and work efficiently.

I am now more than willing to pay for a quality computer and software programs that help me track my assignments, keep all of my many links organized, monitor how much I’m spending on each assignment so I can make sure they value out, and easily determine if my daily goals have been accomplished.

This may seem like a little thing, but setting up my tools in a way that works for me single-handedly helped me increase my income by tens of thousands of dollars over the past year. I no longer waste time and I’m more motivated to get things done.

Ultimately, investing in myself, treating my work more seriously, and educating myself to take advantage of new opportunities has made a huge difference. I can save more, have paid off all of my non-mortgage debt, and can spend on the things that matter most thanks to the steps I’ve taken. And perhaps they could work for others as well.

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