by Niall Doherty

A quick post today as I’m swamped with client work. Which actually ties into what I want to write about.

It’s been almost two years now since I quit my day job and started working for myself. Lately I’ve noticed a big shift in my thinking about money. For the first eighteen months or so of my self-employment, I was very much in frugality mode. I focused on cutting back on all sorts of expenses and not spending too much, stretching every euro, rupee and forint as far as I could.

But now I’m way more focused on earning. After all, you can only save so much, but there’s no limit to how much you can earn.

It seems words by chaps named Guillebeau and Sethi have been seeping into my subconscious…

“If I needed money, I learned to think in terms of how I could get what I needed by making something and selling it, not by cutting costs elsewhere or working for someone else. This distinction was critical, because most budgets start by looking at income and then defining the available choices. I did it differently–starting with a list of what I wanted to do, and then figuring out how to make it happen.” — Chris Guillebeau, The $100 Startup

“Constantly over-analyzing tiny purchases is exhausting and ineffectual. This is one of the great joys of earning more money: I don’t have to worry about paying for cabs or picking up my friend’s drink. As a cognitive miser, this is a great relief. I can instead focus on the things I really care about.” — Ramit Sethi, I Will Teach You To Be Rich

I realize I’ve been worrying a little too much about money for the past two years, and it’s getting old. Hence…

Money Goals

Two goals, to be achieved by my 31st birthday on March 16th, 2013 (six months from now):

  1. Earn at least €3k per month consistently. That’s twice as much as I’ve been earning per month since the start of the year, so it’s quite a big leap for me. €3k per month would also be more than I earned at my old 9-to-5.
  2. Build my savings back up to €10k, which is about how much I had in the bank before I quit my 9-to-5. Having just dropped €1k on a freighter trip from Sri Lanka to Malaysia, my savings have dwindled to approximately €2,500.

The Plan

My plan basically involves two things: working my ass off for the next six months, and raising my web design rates significantly.

I have the working-my-ass-off thing down. I put in several hours of hard graft every day and deliver great work for my clients. I’m good at what I do and word is spreading nicely.

As for raising my rates: At the start of the year I was charging $30 per hour and struggling to find clients. Now I’m up to $100 per hour and have clients beating a path to my inbox. I just caught this video from Derek Halpern and plan to implement his advice on my new services page very soon. I’ll be bumping my freelance rate up to $150 per hour, and perhaps beyond if demand for my services stays high.

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Are you focused on saving or earning?

Let me know in the comments, and why.

The way I see it, earning more is not only good for you, but also good for everyone else, since your earnings largely correlate with the amount of value you’re providing to the world.