Financial Independence & Higher-Paying Clients w/ Stefan Palios

Treyton DeVore
August 7, 2022

Stefan Palios has successfully built a 6-figure freelance writing business and now, he's on a mission to help others do the same.

He's the creator of the Freelance Growth Blueprint and has put together several resources to help freelancers build better businesses.

This week's Money Matters:

For a growing freelancer, what’s one step you would take to start working with higher-paying clients?

Instead of approaching a client with "what do you need me to do?", you need to start by positioning yourself as an expert and strategist. Ask about their project, their business, and their goals. With this you'll start seeing the bigger picture and what they're ultimately trying to accomplish. You can then suggest different service offerings & packages that help them achieve their goals.

If you help the client understand what they need to be doing, you can charge more because you're helping steer the project and leading them to results rather than being someone waiting for a list of tasks.

What does financial independence mean to you?

Financial independence means security, choice, and luxury. In that order.

It starts with not needing to work for a living, which is living frugally. It’s the classic FIRE definition: enough to live a decent life purely off investment income.

Then it becomes about the “nice life,” which is adding optionality into my life even if it makes life more expensive. Some choice is inherent to having enough money to not need to work. But I mean choice in terms of choosing quality food rather than the cheapest I can buy. Or choosing to travel more even if that makes my life more expensive.

Then comes luxury, which is valuing my time more than money in all areas of my life. Fancy things, higher end fashion, nice hotels, etc. The things I don’t need to spend that much on, but I do because I like the experience or the specific item.

What actionable steps did you take to start pursuing financial independence?

The first thing I did—the thing I did for seven years—was set up a robo advisor account and deposit as much money each month as I possibly could into my registered accounts. I’m Canadian, so that meant TFSA and RRSP (in the US, that’s a Roth IRA and a 401k, respectively).

The second thing I did was try to deposit more every month than the previous month. Then more every year by the previous year. Now “more” could literally mean one more dollar. It’s not about going from 0 to 100 in a month (or year). Just “more.”

The third thing I did was take a “double up” mindset on non-essential items.

That fancy Starbucks coffee that cost $10 with all the customizations (compared to the $2.50 drip coffee I could have bought)? Great. It now cost me $20—with $10 being deposited into my investments.

This gave me a couple benefits: first, I could enjoy luxuries today without sacrificing my tomorrow. And second it made me think twice about the more stupid impulse purchases knowing it would actually cost me double.

(Bonus) What’s your favorite thing to spend money on?

On an everyday / micro level: good coffee.

On a bigger / more occasional level: hotels.

Connect with Stefan

View his YouTube channel
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A 67-page, easy-to-understand breakdown of what you need to know about managing money as a freelancer or solo creative

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