6 Levers That Help Freelancers and Consultants Get Better Results With Less Effort

4 min. read
February 23, 2024

When we met for a 1-Day Strategy Sprint in November 2023, my client Moira had just wrapped up her biggest month ever.

Her bank accounts were overflowing. She’d signed the lease for a new studio. The growth was all very exciting, but Moira had a lot on her plate.

At one point, she said, “I need to be more efficient.”

I let her follow that line of thinking before interjecting, “Do you know what I think you need?”

“What?” she said.

“More inefficiency.”

Behind Moira’s warm smile I could see her fatigue. Behind that record $100K month, I could see a business engine that relied on her personal inventory of hours.

Moira isn’t the first creative entrepreneur to tumble headfirst into the trap of modern productivity.

Freelancers, consultants, and agency owners with ambition and a high capacity for work throw themselves at the business.

When things finally start to click, the cash flow and pats on the back from clients are sweeter than peak Georgia peaches.

Excitement spurs you to pour in more time and attention until the onslaught of tasks begins to wear on you, as Chris Guillebeau describes in his essay, “It Was Going So Well, Until It Wasn’t”:

“No matter how good I became at it, I would never be able to feel finished. The ‘things’ I would ‘get done’ kept coming! There was no way to complete the work. In fact, the better I got at it, the worse I ultimately felt. This makes sense now—but was very frustrating at the time.”

In Buy Back Your Time, Dan Martell describes a similar feeling: “The more my business grew, the more I suffered.”

And my client Kellie discovered just how quickly momentum can turn into misery: “I had a $20,000 month, and it nearly killed me. I was miserable.”

We can only leverage our own productivity up to a certain point before we burn ourselves out.

Moira was on that trajectory.

Hard work got her to a record year, but as professional skateboard P-Rod pointed out, “What go you there will keep you there.”

Most of us have Moira’s business engine and her conundrum:

  • If you feed more of your time into the business, it grows.
  • If you take time away from the business, it shrinks.

And like Moira, we eventually run out of hours to give.

We can’t keep growing the business with more time, hard work, and efficiency.

To double her income, Moira needed her business to become less dependent on her efficiency and hard work.

She needed a new strategy. You do too.

The new strategy is better leverage.

Different types of companies and different industries have different levers.

Six specific levers enables freelancers and consultants to get better results with less effort:

  • Positioning
  • Packaging
  • Pricing
  • Pipeline
  • Psychology
  • Process

When you look at someone else in your industry who’s landing dream clients and charging double or triple what you do, is it because they’re twice as smart, twice as talented, and working twice as hard?

No. Chances are, they’re leaning into those levers:

  • Maintaining that always-be-marketing practice
  • Being very deliberate in how they position themselves
  • Putting out juicy, premium offers that enhances their perceived value

They’re as diligent in their mindset upgrades and process improvements as they are with client projects.

As a business coach, I get to watch these transformations firsthand.

One of my coaching clients, a consultant named Jake, sold a $13,750 monthly retainer after he got clear on his differentiators and tweaked his positioning, messaging, and signature offer—not after he doubled the amount of time he spent working.

So yeah, I wasn’t about to let Moira convince herself that greater efficiency or longer hours was anything but a short-term solution for her.

She’s not a factory. She’s a creative entrepreneur who needs down time, rest, and better leverage.

She needs an anti-fragile business that generates exciting revenue even when her days aren’t packed with “productivity.”

Those levers I mentioned changed Jake’s business and his life. They’re now helping Moira. They’ll serve you well.

Don’t default to feeding more and more time into your business machine. Instead, use the right tools (aka, levers) to get better results with less effort.

When you’re ready, here are ways I can help you:

  1. Free Money. A pricing and money mindset guide for freelance creatives. If you’re unsure about your freelance pricing, this is the book for you.
  2. Morning Marketing Habit. This course will help you build an “always be marketing” practice, become less dependent on referrals, and proactively build the business you want with the clients you want. My own morning marketing habit has enabled me to consistently make  6 figures as a freelancer.
  3. Custom Business Roadmap. Gain clarity, confidence, and momentum in your freelance or consulting business.
  4. Business Redesign. Raise your effective hourly rate, delegate with confidence, and free up 40 hours a month.
  5. Clarity Session. It’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle. I've done well over 100 of these 1:1 sessions with founders, solopreneurs, and freelancers who wanted guidance, a second opinion, or help creating a plan.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info

Austin L Church portrait photo.

About the Author,
Austin L. Church

Austin L. Church is a writer, brand consultant, and freelance coach. He started freelancing in 2009 after finishing his M.A. in Literature and getting laid off from a marketing agency. Freelancing led to mobile apps (Bright Newt), a tech startup (Closeup.fm), a children's book (Grabbling), and a branding studio (Balernum). Austin loves teaching freelancers and consultants how to stack up specific advantages for more income, free time, and fun. He and his wife live with their three children in Knoxville, Tennessee.


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