“Imagine someone had a gun to your head…and you had to double your business next year. How would you do it?”
This thought experiment has been on my mind a lot over the past few weeks.
Part of it was being challenged to think bigger at the Copy Accelerator event earlier this month.
And another part was investing in a business audit and strategy analysis with a fractional COO consultant.
Now I Have To Admit, Doubling My Business In A Year Seemed Like An Impossible Challenge At First
After all, I’m already generating more revenue than all but the biggest freelancers out there.
And I’m not saying that to brag.
It’s just reality.
Statistically speaking, most freelancers never even make six figures a year. Let alone multiple six figures.
Yet last year, I reached that milestone for the first time.
Plus I’m comfortably on track to do it again this year, too.
And if I’m going to double my business next year, I need to start by acknowledging that reality.
But that’s also why this exercise felt like such a challenge.
Because if I’m already near the top of the income scale among all freelancers…
Then it seemed like it would require a ton of effort to grow even a little bit more.
Since The Bigger Your Business Gets, The Number Of Ways You Can Grow Even More Starts To Shrink…
While the number of mistakes you can make that will take you backwards grows exponentially.
And that’s why I felt like it would be all but impossible to double my business from $200,000 to $400,000 next year.
But then I started to play with the numbers…
And something surprising happened.
I Was Able To Uncover Three Key Levers In My Business That Together Would Double My Revenue (And Profit) In 2023
And I have to warn you — you’re probably not going to like number two.
But before I get there, I want to make a few things clear…
To start, I usually don’t like to talk too much about my plans.
Because anyone can come up with some crazy plan…brag about how they’re going to make so much money…
Then proceed to fail miserably.
That’s why there are countless quotes about how quickly plans fail.
Like when Mike Tyson said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
Or the military axiom, “no plan survives first contact with the enemy.”
It’s way too easy for even the best plans to fail.
And that’s why I normally prefer to focus on my actual accomplishments.
Since those are real — while plans are still unproven.
But I’m making an exception in this case.
My Hope Is That — Even If My Plan Winds Up Failing This Time — You’ll Get To See The Process That Led To The Plan
Because it is possible to follow a solid planning process and still have factors outside your control derail the plan anyway.
But without a plan, there’s almost no chance you’ll reach more significant goals.
So with all that out of the way…
Let me show you the three tactics I discovered that would allow me to double my business from $200K to $400K next year.
Also, for each tactic, I list two specific steps I can follow to execute it.
Tactic #1: Increase Deal Flow
Step #1: Book More Sales Letter Clients
This year, I’m expecting to write 2.5 sales letters.
I’ve got contracts for the first two already. And I’ve got a tentative agreement to start the third next month (in October).
But since I’m getting married in November and moving in December, I don’t think I will finish the third sales letter before next year.
So that means I’ll only get 50% of the total payment for that project this year.
At the same time, I currently have the bandwidth to complete a sales letter in roughly 10 weeks, given all my other client obligations.
That means my current maximum capacity would be five sales letters per year.
Yet I only booked half that amount in 2022.
So if I can increase my deal flow and max out my capacity for writing sales letters, I would be able to double the number of sales letters I write from 2.5 this year to five next year.
And at my current rate of $25,000 per sales letter, that would bring me an extra $62,500 in revenue. (2.5 extra sales letter payments at $25,000 each.)
Step #2: Maintain Retainers
I started a new retainer in July of this year for $3,000 a month up front. (Plus I also have the ability to earn performance bonuses, which I’ll come back to in a minute.)
So provided I can keep that retainer through the end of next year, I will have it for six months this year and 12 months next year.
That alone will add an extra $18,000 to my revenues. Not to mention any performance bonuses I collect — which once again come up later.
Tactic #2: Increase Sales Letter Capacity
Step #1: Reduce Sales Letter Writing Time By 20%
If I could cut my writing time for a sales letter from roughly 100 hours to 80 hours, it would allow me to write an additional sales letter next year — for a total of six.
And at my current rate of $25,000 per sales letter, that would bring in an extra $25,000.
Okay, now for the part you’re not going to like…
Step #2: Shut Down Freelance Like A Pro
In the first half of this year, I spent 183.5 hours on Freelance Like A Pro content and coaching.
So if you extend that to the end of the year, it means I’ll spend about 367 hours on Freelance Like A Pro.
At the same time, my projected effective hourly rate for writing copy for clients this year is $204/hour. (That includes all the time it takes to acquire the client, onboard them, do my accounting and contracts, etc.)
Which means shutting down Freelance Like A Pro and instead writing more copy for clients would bring in roughly $75,000.
Now I would also lose roughly $9,000 in one-on-one coaching income…
But that would still produce a net gain of $64,000 in revenue.
(Provided I could generate enough new business to fill that extra capacity. Which goes back to the “Increase Deal Flow” tactic above.)
Tactic #3: Increase Earnings Per Client
Step #1: Close 50% Of Sales Letters For $30,000
If I can get three of my six sales letters next year to close for $30,000 — an increase of $5,000 — that would bring in an extra $15,000 in revenue.
Step #2: Get More Upside With Royalties & Bonuses
First, like I mentioned before, the new retainer I have also pays performance bonuses on top of the monthly flat rate.
And without going into the private details of that contract, I think there’s a decent chance I could bring in an extra $2,000 per month on average in bonus payments.
If so, that would add an extra $24,000 per year of revenue.
On top of that, I also earned a $10,000 performance bonus this year from one of my past sales letter projects.
So if I can get more opportunities like that next year — and have at least two of them succeed — it would bring in an extra $10,000.
(Remember, I’d need one of them just to match this year’s bonus. Then I’d need a second one to generate the additional revenue.)
Here’s what happens when you tally up the additional revenue I would collect by implementing the elements I listed above…
- (6) Total Sales Letter Projects: +$87,500
- (3) Sales Letters For $30,000: +$15,000
- Maintain New Retainer: +$18,000
- Eliminate Freelance Like A Pro: +$64,000 (+$75,000 / -$9,000)
- Royalties & Performance Bonuses: +$34,000 (and beyond)
- TOTAL: +$218,500
However, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
Remember, this was just a planning exercise to see how I could double my business.
But now that I’ve seen what it would take…
The Question Becomes Do I Want To Follow This Plan?
Or do I want to consciously decide to make less money in exchange for other considerations?
For example, having more free time. Or not sacrificing long-term growth for short-term gains.
So don’t worry.
I do not have any plans to shut down Freelance Like A Pro right now.
Because even though it would technically help me make more money next year…
I still think that it would cost me money over the long term.
Since compared to where most freelancers max out their income, running a successful website and email list can scale to much larger levels.
And that means I’d be sacrificing all that possible future growth for a short-term payoff next year.
But at the same time, seeing the numbers for how much money I’m “losing” by writing this article to you right now — instead of writing copy for clients — does increase the urgency I feel to make running this website more profitable.
So that means — instead of shutting down Freelance Like A Pro — one of my goals for next year will be to figure out how to get running this business to make more financial sense for me…
While at the same time offering even more value to you, too.
Which Means My Actual Goals For Next Year Will Be Different From The Theoretical Plan I Shared Here
Because on top of continuing to run Freelance Like A Pro, I also have a few other projects I want to work on next year that may not pay off in the short term…
But could potentially become million-dollar income streams for me in the future.
Now I’m not quite ready to talk about those publicly just yet…
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