How much money can you make as a freelancer or solopreneur? That’s something I often wondered when I started my freelance business in 2013.

In 2015, payment platform Payoneer surveyed 23,000 freelancers in more than 180 countries and found the average freelancer works 36 hours per week at a rate of $21 per hour, which adds up to more than $39,000 per year.

When it comes to freelancers and solopreneurs, I think there’s this view of us as struggling dreamers living paycheck to measly paycheck, which of course isn’t true.

My recent discovery of income reports—some with six-figure months!—has blown the roof off of what I ever thought was possible. While my purpose does not revolve around money (and I think most business owners feel the same), I enjoy looking at income reports because I love seeing how others run their businesses and how I too can reach those financial milestones.

So I rounded up 11 of my favorite freelancer and entrepreneur income reports and reached out to their owners to find out the one strategy that worked best to grow their income. From $4K to $140K months, all of these entrepreneurs have something to teach us from their success. I hope this helps inspire your hustle!

A few notes before we begin:

  1. The income listed below is gross income (income before deducting taxes and business expenses).
  2. Not all of the reports below are strictly freelance income; some include a mix of freelance work, affiliate sales, and digital products.
  3. Please click through to the link on each income report to get the nitty gritty details; some report income received (the money that hit the bank), while others report income earned (the money owed for the work done).
  4. As freelancers, we all know income can fluctuate greatly between months. So what you see may not be typical for that person.

1. Jorden Roper, Founder/Blogger at Writing Revolt – $4,081 in August 2016

Jorden Roper headshot

View Jorden’s full income report

Income sources: Freelance writing

Jorden recently shifted her focus from growing her freelance writing business to helping other freelance writers by creating courses and YouTube videos. Prior to this, it wasn’t unusual for her to have income reports showing $5K and $6K months.

What’s one strategy that helped the most in growing your income?

“The best thing I ever did for my freelance career was niche down.

When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that picking a narrow niche will make your pool of potential clients too small. And it does make it smaller, but that’s not a bad thing at all.

Because you don’t really need a huge pool of clients to choose from – you just need to position yourself as the perfect fit for a specific type of client.”

2. Miranda Nahmias, Online Business Manager and Creative Virtual Assistant – $5,289.14 in December 2016

Miranda Nahmias headshot

View Miranda’s full income report

Income sources: Virtual assistant work, affiliate sales, Google AdSense, passive income products, coaching

What’s one strategy that helped the most in growing your income?

“The biggest thing that helped me to grow my income was to add team members to my business and outsource some of the work to them. This allowed me to take on more clients and multiply my income.”

3. Amanda Abella, Author of Make Money Your Honey – $64,516 in 2016

Amanda Abella headshotView Amanda’s full income report

Income sources: Freelance writing, speaking fees, book sales, affiliate sales, coaching

What’s one strategy that helped the most in growing your income?

“Believing I deserved more money and acting accordingly. Also, moving from blog to brand was major for me.”

 

4. Nicky Corbishley, Owner of KitchenSanctuary.com – $6,437.09 in November 2016

Nicky headshotView Nicky’s full income report

Income sources: Freelance writing, advertising, sponsored work, affiliate sales

What’s one strategy that helped you the most in growing your income?

“Being a food writer and recipe creator, the one thing that’s really helped to grow my income is to continually improve my photography. I read books and practice every day.

Enticing food pictures are the number one thing that brings people to my site (resulting in ad revenue), encourages others to share my work (resulting in increased interest and higher traffic to my site) and sells my work to brands and publications (resulting in freelance and sponsored work).”

5. Nathan Ello, Certified Expert WordPress Developer – $9,784.05 in December 2016

Nathan Ello headshotView Nathan’s full income report

Income sources: Freelance WordPress development

Nathan gets pretty detailed in his income report for Q4 2016, so I encourage you to click through to see the breakdown of his projects and revenue for the quarter. The number listed above is for “closed revenue” in the month of December, which is for projects he completed that month.

What’s one strategy that helped the most in growing your income?

“Joining premium outsourcing platforms like Codeable.io (this is my #1 stream of income). The reason this changed the game for me is that now all of my leads are inbound and I’m not spending any time actively looking for new business since it’s all coming straight to me.”

6. Joseph Hogue, Internet Entrepreneur – $9,875/month (on average for October-December 2016)

My Work From Home Money - HeadshotView Joseph’s full income report

Income sources: Freelancing, self-publishing, affiliate sales, sponsored posts, advertising

Joseph’s latest income report doesn’t include his freelance income as Chief Investment Strategist for one of StreetAuthority’s newsletters, so I asked him if it was okay to share that, and he said yes. Joseph said he made an additional $5,175 each month during the last three months of 2016, which I added to his income report’s average monthly figure of $4,700 and got the number listed above.

What’s one strategy that helped the most in growing your income?

“Find out what other people are avoiding and then master it. I found after talking to other bloggers that few had a process or strategy for search engine optimization (SEO). It’s an important part of running a website, helping to get your site ranked on Google, but a lot of bloggers avoid it for one reason or another. I read everything I could about SEO and have incorporated it into my daily schedule. It’s helped me grow my traffic to over 40,000 visitors from Google alone.

It might not be SEO that people are avoiding in your field but there is something. Master it and you’ll find all kinds of opportunities that others are missing.”

7. Kristin Larsen, Founder of Believe In A Budget – $10,736.55 in November 2016

Kristin Larsen Headshot View Kristin’s full income report

Income sources: Advertising, partnerships/sponsorships, affiliate sales, courses and products, freelance Pinterest management and graphic design

What’s one strategy that helped the most in growing your income?

“It was really important for me to diversify my income. Initially, over 90% of my income came from freelancing as a Pinterest manager. While I was really happy with the amount of client work and rates I was receiving, I realized there were limitations freelancing. I could either work more hours or increase my rates to make more money. Instead, I decided to expand my sources of revenue. Today, in addition to freelancing, my income also comes from my courses, products and affiliate income.”

8. Gina Horkey, Professional Writer and Business Consultant – $20,492 in December 2016

Horkey Handbook HeadshotView Gina’s full income report

Income sources: Writing, virtual assistant work, coaching, online course sales, affiliate sales

What’s one strategy that helped the most in growing your income?

“Just one? Probably making a commitment to try and not let fear keep me from giving my all or enticing me to quit! A bonus tip would be be consistent and take small actions EVERY DAY – eventually those small actions will result in something epic!”

9. Holly Johnson, Professional Blogger and Writer – $25,934.44 in September 2016

Holly Johnson HeadshotView Holly’s full income report

Income sources: Consulting, sponsorships, affiliate sales, content creation, freelancing

Holly’s income reports include income earned by her husband, but about 92% of September’s income was solely hers.

What’s one strategy that helped the most in growing your income?

“My best tip for remote workers is to create a work schedule and stick to it. I know so many people who have tried to write for a living, but fill their days doing anything but writing. If you want to be a successful writer who makes money, you have to commit to actually writing a certain number of hours per day. For me, that means working 8-4 while my kids are in school. I treat it like a regular, 9-5 job.”

10. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, Owner of Making Sense of Cents – $91,764.63 in December 2016

michelle making sense of cents headshotView Michelle’s full income report

Income sources: Affiliate sales, online course sales, sponsorships and advertising, display advertising

What’s one strategy that helped the most in growing your income?

“The strategy that has helped me the most is building my email list. I didn’t start taking my email list seriously until 2016, and I can’t believe I waited that long. It helped me to significantly grow a loyal audience of readers.”

11. Melyssa Griffin, Online Business Educator + Strategist – $140,779 in November 2016

melyssa griffin headshotView Melyssa’s full income report

Income sources: Online course sales, affiliate sales

What’s one strategy that helped the most in growing your income?

“Hiring some of the best people on the planet. I tried growing my business alone for a long time, but eventually I hit a plateau because my time was spread too thin and I’m not an expert on every topic. But as soon as I started bringing amazing people onto my team, my business’s growth nearly doubled. Not to mention, it’s made my business more FUN because I get to interact with smart, encouraging, supportive people on a daily basis.”

I hope seeing this variety of income reports and business types was helpful. My one request is that you don’t use this as a means of comparison to belittle yourself (I’m guilty of this sometimes!), but as a source of inspiration to help you reach your income goals—whatever they may be.

To sum up what these business owners said, if you’re looking to grow your income:

  1. Pick a niche to attract your perfect client.
  2. Outsource certain tasks.
  3. Improve your attitude about money.
  4. Read about and practice your craft daily.
  5. Join premium talent platforms.
  6. Master a skill that others avoid.
  7. Diversify your income sources.
  8. Don’t let fear get in the way.
  9. Create a work schedule and stick to it.
  10. Grow your email list.
  11. Add quality people to your team.

If you’d like to connect with high-quality clients and grow your freelance business, join CloudPeeps to access an exclusive job board (not to mention a supportive freelance community)!

Are you a freelancer or entrepreneur who shares your income reports online? Leave a link in the comments below!

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Amy Rigby is a freelance writer and marketing consultant who helps startups woo their customers with words. An avid traveler, she has visited Machu Picchu twice, run across the world’s widest avenue in Buenos Aires, and eaten her fill of gourmet cheeses in Paris. Amy is passionate about empowering freelancers to work remotely and travel freely.
  • I loved this! I’m aware of some of these freelancers, but this article gave me some inspiration and a bunch of new blogs to read.

    • Amy Marie

      Thanks, Erin! I’m so glad you found some new bloggers to follow. During my research for this, I stumbled across a ton of new inspirations too!

  • Me too. Absolutely love this post!

    • Amy

      Thank you, Kate!

  • robincingh

    Quite a lot to learn from, very inspirational and at right time just start of year, something to target/focus on.

    • Amy Marie

      Thank you! Yes, I’m starting to analyze my goals for the new year as well, and these entrepreneurs certainly helped me to see what’s possible!

  • Believe in a Budget

    Thanks so much for featuring me. This is such an inspiring group of people!

    • Amy

      Thank you for participating, Kristin! Your tip on diversifying your income was helpful.

  • The Payoneer study may set a realistic expectation, but it certainly doesn’t reflect what’s possible for the average freelancer. Like most things, perpetually learning about online business & marketing and hard work can take you to the top. Thanks for inspiring everyone!

    • Amy

      I agree! I wanted to include some reference point as far as average income goes for a freelancer, but definitely anything is possible! Thanks for the comment.