When you freelance, you’re the boss. There are no annual employee reviews, cost-of-living pay raises or milestone perks to earn.
Or, are there?
Remember you call the shots, so you can set your business up however you want, and it should definitely include promotions, bonuses and perks. Each fall I do an annual business audit and I always review my salary and the perks that come along with being a freelancer, including flexible scheduling and time off. I take this information into consideration when I want to give myself a promotion!
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How Do Freelancers Get Promotions?
Just like other aspects of freelancing, including planning PTO and vacation time, promotions should be on the list.
If you want a promotion, give yourself one.
When/if you were an employee you likely had to earn a promotion. Maybe it was based on work performance, longevity with the company or completing a large project. You can use those parameters, or just give yourself a promotion because you feel like it. You’re the decision-maker.
What Types of Promotions Can Freelancers Get?
When I hear the word promotion, I immediately think of a new job title, a pay increase, or both. But, a promotion can be more than that. It can mean giving yourself new or different tasks. It can also be taking tasks off your plate by hiring an employee of your own or contracting another freelancer to assist with your daily operations.
A promotion can also look like adding new things to your freelancer benefit package. Maybe you opt for more PTO days per year, more vacation time or building in volunteer days each month. Or, maybe your promotion is to reduce your number of working hours each day or week.
A promotion can also be an upgrade to your working environment. Maybe your promotion is treating your business to a new desk, laptop, paint job for the office walls, cellphone or a mini-fridge to keep your favorite beverages cold and close by.
Whatever makes you happy — do it!
How Can I Actually Give Myself a Promotion?
OK, so you’re ready to do this. Good! Many promotions have time or money attached, and if you’re new to the freelancing game, it’s common to not have enough of either of those commodities.
Giving yourself a promotion requires planning. Sit down with your finances and your work calendar and see what’s working and what isn’t.
Is it time to raise your fees?
If it’s been more than a year or two and you haven’t boosted those rates, it’s time. How would you feel if an employer passed over you year after year during annual review time? Don’t do this to your boss-self!
Is it time to put better boundaries around your working hours and availability?
If you’re seeking a promotion in the form of boosting your time off in the months ahead, be protective of your days. Stop being ‘on’ during your days off. Close the laptop and be truly away from work so you get both a mental and physical break from the doing of your business.
Is it time to hire extra help?
As your business grows, it’s worth considering outsourcing the tasks you enjoy least to an app, virtual assistant or a niche pro, such as a social media manager or accountant. You don’t have to do all the things for your business. Hiring help can free up time for you to relax and recharge so you have more creative energy for your core work!
Did you give yourself a promotion this year? I did! A salary bump and setting firmer boundaries around my working hours have helped me better balance my days, boost my creativity and enjoy my career even more.
Bottom line: Do what works best for you! This is your promotion.
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