Make an Extra $4,000 a Year as a Freelancer by Taking This One Simple Step

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  • The average freelancer in the U.S. makes $33.13 per hour.
  • By working a little bit extra each day, you can earn thousands of dollars more each year.
  • It's important to think of your earnings with a wide lens, so you can appreciate how small changes can make a big difference.

Earning more doesn't have to require a huge sacrifice.

I wish I could tell you there was some secret trick to making more money at the snap of your fingers, but that's not the world we live in. It takes time and effort, and often a healthy dose of good luck, to earn more. But sometimes a small change of mindset can make the process a lot easier and lead to more cash in your savings account. At a time when inflation is high and many people are struggling to keep up with rising costs, here's one simple move that can help you bring in thousands of dollars more every year as a freelancer.

Build your own schedule

Between side hustles, the gig economy, and full-time freelance work, freelancing has been gaining popularity. In fact, in 2022, 39% of the entire workforce in the U.S. had freelanced. I'm currently a full-time freelancer, and I really enjoy the flexible lifestyle it affords. One aspect of that flexibility is being able to set my own hours and work as much or as little as I want. If I have a vacation coming up, I can work more leading up to it, then take the time off knowing I was able to make up a portion of those working hours I'd be missing.

A little over a year ago, I started applying that concept to my day-to-day schedule. I realized that if I worked a little bit more each day, it would add up over time to a sizable increase in my income. I'm naturally an early riser, so I began starting my work day 30 minutes earlier each morning. At the end of the year, I did the math, and my pay was about 10% higher than it was the year before. That was more than enough reason for me to keep my experiment going as a full-on routine.

A little bit more per day adds up

Let's do some math to get more of a concrete example. The average freelancer in the U.S. makes $33.13 per hour, according to ZipRecruiter. Let's say that's you, and you normally work the standard 40-hour week. We should assume some unpaid time for vacations, sick days, and holidays, so let's round down to 48 working weeks per year. If you can add an extra 30 minutes a day to your schedule, you'll work an extra 2.5 hours a week at $33.13 per hour. Multiply that by 48 weeks, and you make an additional $3,975.60 by the end of the year.

When you think about it, 30 extra minutes a day is pretty painless. You don't have to find a whole new gig, and you don't have to work late nights or weekends. You may not even notice the difference in your schedule at all, but you will notice a difference in your bank account.

Several thousand extra dollars a year can make a big difference in your budget. You could use it to build up your emergency fund so you have a cushion in case you have a major expense or have to take time off work. Or you could open a brokerage account and invest that money, allowing it to grow even more over time. Or maybe you want to fund a retirement account so you'll be set up when the time comes to leave the workforce.

Take control of what you earn

I also like recommending this tip because it's so adaptable. You can work the extra 30 minutes in the morning, over lunch, or after dinner. Some days, you may be on a roll and work an extra hour. Maybe you'll be encouraged to request a higher rate to increase your gains even more. But once you start taking a big-picture look at how your daily activity adds up in the long term, I hope you'll be inspired to make a small change that can have such a big impact.

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