Articles And Guides On Freelancing

Our focus at Double Your Freelancing is to help freelancers master the business behind their business.

We’re not biased toward any technology or industry. We know that you’re looking for actionable information that you can use and immediately apply to your business. And we know that you’re here because you love what you do and want to set yourself up for success.

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Whether through 4+ years of in-depth articles, premium courses, the conferences and events I host, or my podcast, my #1 goal is to help you become a more successful freelancer.

Brennan Dunn

Start A Freelancing Business

Just starting out or thinking about it? Here you'll learn how to adopt the right mindset to run your business and get your first few clients.

Branding and Positioning

The way you position and present yourself to your clients can make or break your chances with a prospect. Learn how to do position yourself the right way.

Marketing Your Business

Clients are the bedrock of any freelancing business. Learn how to reliably generate high-quality project leads.

Pricing Your Services

How you price and pitch yourself affects the quality of your clients and your income. Learn how to charge more and close more projects.

Writing Proposals That Win You Projects

Writing (and winning) proposals is critical to closing deals. There's no point in having lots of project leads if you don't know how to close them.

Project Management For Freelancers

Once you've sold a client on working with you, learn how to ensure that you consistently deliver great results.

Running Your Freelancing Business

All the advice and tools you need to run a profitable and sustainable freelancing business.

Work/Life Balance For Freelancers

You CAN freelance without sacrificing your sanity. Learn how to balance your life and your work.

Productizing Your Services

What if you could sell your services the same way you'd sell a product? Learn how to level-up your freelancing with productized consulting.


Go behind-the-scenes at Double Your Freelancing and find out about upcoming conferences, meetups, and product launches.

Top Recently Published Articles & Guides

Should You Charge More For A Rush Job?

Recently, Margaret wrote me asking —
“Brennan, what do you think about charging more for a rush job??”

Have you ever seen the bill for an emergency room visit in the ol’ US of A?

A few months ago, I made the mistake of shaking off a rug outback at 3am (don’t ask.) Former asthmatic me couldn’t take it, and I ended up checking myself in to the ER to get the steroids I needed to breath right again.

They did the usual tests and diagnostics on me, and eventually a physician hooked me up to a breathing machine, wrote me a prescription, and sent me on my way. Well, a few weeks later I saw the bill — it was close to $5,000 (thank GOD for insurance.) …I could have got the same treatment and the exact same prescription at a primary care doctor for substantially less.

Being able to breathe in the middle of the night is pretty important, but the amount of people who abuse the ER and check themselves in for the slightest problem is staggering. As a culture, we don’t like to wait.

And the same can be said about clients.

A mentor of mine once told me, “There’s important, and then there’s urgent. Most people think their important projects are urgent.”

Clients generally want to kick off projects ASAP. They’re excited. They’re eager. And that’s typically not a problem — unless, of course, you’re already booked. But sometimes, there’s a legitimate, time-sensitive reason behind an urgent request.

So what are your options?

  • Work longer hours (at the cost of your health and happiness)
  • Kindly ask your current client to delay (at the cost of their happiness and your relationship with them)

There is nothing wrong with doubling or even tripling your rate when a client insists on immediate gratification. Simply explain that they’re inconveniencing you and the clients who have been patiently waiting to work with you.

There needs to be some financial pain associated with urgency. If you’re willing to take on rush work, don’t be afraid to put your foot down and charge more. And if you don’t want to work nights and weekends and don’t want to bump back your current clients, sometimes the best option is to just say, “I’m sorry. I’m unable to work with this project timeline.”

Have you ever charged more for a rush job? What was your experience like? Sound off in the comments below!

Could you do me a favor? This little weekly mailing now goes out to over 3,000 freelancers each week… My (ambitious?) goal is to hit 10,000 by the end of the year. I just launched a spiffy new website last night, and I’d love to get the word out:

Why I Gave Up A Million Dollar Consultancy

Early last May, from a hotel room in the outskirts of Omaha, Nebraska, I decided that 2012 would be the year I severed my relationship between being somewhere and doing something with my income.

At the time, I was the CEO of a ten-person consultancy. We were thriving, and it seemed like the world was my oyster. But, my God, I was miserable. What happened in that hotel room was a confirmation of suspicions I’d been thinking over for a few months. The idea that I was living life around my company, rather than the inverse.

A few people I tremendously respect, notably Patrick McKenzie and Nathan Barry, just published their annual report for 2012. This post is my report for the year, but it’s also a reflection on why I decided to go down this path. I hope reading this will help you determine whether you want to go down the path of products.

Why I Gave Up A $1mm+ Consultancy

I think consulting is a fantastic means to an end. If you want quick cash (and a lot of it), booking yourself and a team of people with client work is a great way to get there. Granted, I made lots, and lots, and lots of mistakes along the way (as an aside, my Consultancy Masterclass workshop is pretty much: “how to avoid the same mistakes Brennan (and Obie Fernandez) made.”)

But consulting can be draining, and once you stop working the money dries up.

But Brennan, that’s the point of having employees, right? I thought so, but what I learned through a dire phone call while in that Omaha hotel room was that morale is really important, and galavanting around the country and the world (granted, most of my travel was for business) was really starting to affect the team back home. Project quality started slipping. “I’m here to work for/with Brennan, and he’s never here” was what my Number #2 was reporting back. Today, I know how I could have managed that — I know a lot of consultancy owners who travel a lot, and their companies don’t suffer.

But at the time, I got this really bad feeling. While I wasn’t exchanging my time for a invoiceable hour any longer, I was still largely beholden to being in the office and being there during normal working hours.

And this isn’t why I settled on entrepreneurship.

Deciding To Go Full Steam On Products

The first morning I woke up to “payment received” notifications was a pivotal moment of my life. Sure, a $12 subscription payment pales in comparison to five-figure wire transfers, the sort of payment notifications I was used to. But the thing was, these payments came without needing to sit in on conference calls. Someone who I’ve never even talked to was paying me.

A little context first: About a year and a half ago, I signed up for Amy Hoy’s 30×500 Product Launch class. I’d been dabbling with an “AirBnB for X” idea — which was really me wanting to play with a few new Ruby libraries I hadn’t yet played with — that was going nowhere. Creating a working app was one thing, I did that for a living. But how do I launch this sucker?

All my hopes and dreams for my startup were smashed against the rocks the first week into Amy’s class. It was, by far, some of the best money I’ve ever spent if only because I ended up aborting a really bad idea that I was investing heavy amounts of time into. But this class also permanently altered my perspective. I learned that businesses will spend money on killing pain or making more money. I only had to look at my own consultancy’s monthly expense report to realize that: $100 over to Harvest, another $100 to Pivotal Tracker, a little more than $100 to GitHub, and the list went on.

In December of 2011, from the corner office in my consulting company, I started writing Planscope. I’d done my homework — I went well beyond “wouldn’t it be cool if this existed for my company”, and was 100% confident when writing my first line of code that it’d be successful. I’d put my ear to the ground and listened to what people who build projects for clients struggled with, and flipped their pain points around.

So after some things happened at the consultancy that allowed me a clear break, I hired my replacement and went full-time on Planscope.

SaaS Takes Time

I launched Planscope, and realized “Oh wow, a few hundred dollars a month — even at a 20% growth rate — is pretty much nothing.” I’m finally almost at the point where I could shut down everything but Planscope and pay my monthly bills, but I have a penchant for expensive food (and being the father of two girls is more expensive than I originally thought!)

But after burning through the savings I had built up running the consultancy (saving was never my strong point), I had to make more money if I wanted to live the lifestyle I was accustomed to. I knew I could get back involved with my company and make some quick cash consulting, but I’d have to write that off as dead time. It wouldn’t do anything to help Planscope grow, except of course for being able to eat my own dogfood (Planscope is a project management tool for consultants.)

So the question was:

  • Could I suddently grow Planscope’s revenue to pay for the life I want to live?
  • Or could I do something else (that wasn’t consulting) that would make me quick-ish money and help grow Planscope?

I ended up taking the middle road: I took on a part time, multi-month consulting engagement, and decided to build another product.

Amy Hoy got me to reflect on my customer base and see what problems I could solve with the knowledge I had. Think of it as scalable consulting. I do it once (give advice), and can resell this information ad infinitum.

This led me back down the same path that I took to build Planscope: digging up the pains that businesses have. But instead of writing code and building software that solves problems, I’d solve problems through information.

So I wrote a book, which had much higher sales than I ever imagined were possible (aren’t authors all starving? Oh right, I’m self published — no royalties!) But what really surprised me was how my book enabled Planscope to grow faster. People read my book, liked my philosophy, and realized my project management tool was inline with that philosophy. It’s a lot easier to read a book than it is to switch up project management software.

The book was launched, and people started immediately asking for my advice. Instead of maintaining a few dozen unrelated email threads, I setup a weekly newsletter (which has now grown to over 3,000 subscribers) to whom I’d push free advice to each Tuesday morning. Outside of the altruistic side-effects of a free newsletter, I’m actually performing high-touch sales on thousands of people at once. I’m cultivating an audience who trusts my opinion and has received a lot of value from me in the past. This makes, oh, selling a $1,199 workshop exponentially easier than if I were to run a paid AdWords campaign for the same workshop, which I daresay would be a fool’s error.

But that’s exactly what I’ve done. A select group of my subscribers are at the point where they want to stop playing guess-and-check and really start to scale up their consulting business. In turn, I’ve reinvested this income into my life and my businesses.

Income Report

Why do I publicly state my income? First, I don’t think I have an unusually higher competitive advantage than anyone else. I just happen to be good at executing, and ship products that people want to buy — so I’m OK with transparency. Second, my blog is my diary. This is an archive of sorts, and I hope this time next year I’m able to look at this milestone and see even more growth. Lastly, if me circa 2011 had seen that real profits could be made this way, I wouldn’t have waited so long. I want you to realize that if you’re good at creating things that solve problem’s for other people, you can succeed.

If it’s not obvious yet, all of my product’s are cross-sellable. There’s a high likelihood that a Planscope customer could also buy my book on freelancing rates. This allows me to build up a mega audience in this niche and continuously provide value. Anyone involved in SaaS products understands lifetime value — I’m just factoring other product revenue into my lifetime value (LTV) calculation.

This doesn’t take into account my consultancy salary, especially through my tenure as the CEO (roughly until mid-summer 2012), but the total product income was $106,433 — and if you include the few consulting gigs I’ve taken to “play customer” for Planscope, that brings up the total to $234,433.

All in all, a very good year. Almost all of my product’s have fairly large margins (e.g. I’ve only done a small bit of paid advertising and I haven’t hired anyone but myself,) so I haven’t listed out any expenses.

A Moment of Reflection

I’ve successfully made the transition to largely remove the equation of “I will work X and get paid $Y” from my life. Truthfully, this decision was made when I decided to go from being a solo freelancer to a consultancy owner. But I was still tied to a 9-5 working schedule, even while at the top. While I’m still working a good amount of hours a week (it takes time to write a book, develop/design/market/support a SaaS product, and so on,) I now let life come first.

The only memories I have of my 4 year old daughter’s first school performance, her first art show, her first time peddling a bicycle are captured on my wife’s iPhone. I wasn’t there. I was too busy working. I know there’s a high correlation between old age and wishing things had be done differently… I’m in my late 20s, but I already realize the regret in missing out on my children’s lives is going to haunt me forever.

But no more.

If you’re like I was a year ago and want to take the path of building a business around your life instead of a life around your business, I hope my story will help or inspire you to stay the course. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting or joining a world-changing startup, or a world-class consulting company, and giving it your complete attention — it’s just not for me. I know my priorities, and my goal going into his has been to point my working career toward that end.

Follow along with the story on Twitter at @brennandunn – here’s to 2013!

Positioning Your Freelancing Services

Have you ever wondered why so few people are reaching out to you through your website? What if I told you that you’re likely too general purpose for most potential clients. Today we’ll look at how you can sell to clients through strategically positioning your services.

No one makes the decision to “buy a car”, but instead decides to “buy a van that is big enough for my kids and their friends” or “buy a flashy sports car to combat my mid-life crisis.” Similarly, very few clients are looking to buy web design or web development services. What they want is a “product” that overlaps with the needs of their business.

Getting More Clients Through Better Positioning

A term invented by marketers a few decades back, positioning is the way a product is presented to an audience.

Imagine you’re a chief marketer at Toyota, and you want to run an ad campaign for the Prius. Two groups identify with hybrid cars: environmentalists and thrifty consumers who want to save money on gas. How these two groups perceive a Prius is entirely different, and the advertising message should be totally different — an ad running on a frugal living website should (and would) be remarkably different than an ad running on

Unfortunately, the majority of freelancers fail to capitalize positioning their services like Toyota, because not many of us like to see ourselves as products. But, from the perspective of our clients, we are products. A transaction occurs (a check is written to you) and some value (a website, design, source code) is delivered to the purchaser. We’re hired to deliver something that fulfills a specific business need for the client.

Positioning To Your Client Base

Unless you offer a very cookie-cutter service, chances are your customer base is wide and diverse. A web designer might have clients ranging from hometown attorneys to small restaurant chains to non-profits. Should all of these classes of clients be sold the exact same product?

The easiest way to begin better positioning your freelancing services is to segment your existing customer base. What kinds of clients have you worked with? What needs have they shared? What differences do they have?

Here’s an example segmentation:

  • Legal practices: Wants new clients, can practice statewide, high-value customers, lifelong retainer arrangements.
  • Restaurants:  Wants new customers, immediate vicinity, “impulse” buys (I’m hungry, where should we eat tonight?), repeat customers
  • Non-profits: Wants new donors, promote their mission, develop trust and goodwill

Each of the above desires a different outcome and has different goals, but they all want new business (whether that be clients, customers, or donors.) You need to persuade each of the above audiences to perceive your freelancing services in a way that directly applies to them. Imagine you’re an attorney looking for a new website — would you sooner hire a “web designer” or a “web designer who specializes in getting law firms new clients”?

Getting Started with Positioning

Setting up landing pages that speak directly to a target audience is simple: create a template, and morph the copy depending on the reader. Think of it as a giant game of mad libs. Remember: who is your audience? What is their intended outcome (new clients)? What jargon do they use in their daily business (estate planning, IRS, etc.)? What common needs do they have?

You’ll also want to ensure that each of these landing pages is equipped with a call-to-action and preferably a carrot. Trust me — if you speak the language of your customer, provide them a solution to their problems, and satisfy any objections using the language they use in their industry, they’ll want to talk with you immediately. You’ll have provided them a product built for them using the age-old marketing tactic of positioning.

Lastly, you need to get the right people to these pages. In your list of client case studies, you could append the following call-to-action: “Click here to see how we can help attorneys like <Name of Firm>”, or you could setup ad campaigns that link the right audience to the landing page you’ve designed for them. Ultimately, however, you want to own searches for “<your city> attorney web design”.

Interested in an even more in-depth analysis into positioning your freelancing services and so much more? If so, you’ll want to order my upcoming book, “Sell Yourself Online: The Blueprint”. Not only have I covered the above, but I’ve outlined even more ways that you can get the right people to these specialized landing pages, and have included real-life examples and resources detailing exactly how these landing pages should be setup.

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