We understand how frustrating it can be: At the end of the month, you send off your invoices to the various projects you’ve completed over the weeks, and when the returns come in, you’re left with one thought— “I’ve worked harder than this!” When taxes, overheads, and the cost of all those lattes enters the picture, the actual profit you make off a client can be downright frustrating.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Use the following tips to streamline your business and boost your profits from project to project. This ain’t a pyramid scheme—just a whole heaping spoonful of common sense!

First of all, don’t charge your clients by the hour, but by the project. This may sound strange to many of you (especially newbies or those clutching a beloved piece of time management software) but charging by the hour really makes no sense. Think about it: How many hours have you spent practicing to improve your efficiency? So when you’re finally able to complete lots of designs in little to no time, you’re being paid less for it. In essence, you’re cheating yourself out of money.  Thus it is best to charge by the hour, and move on.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to outsource. We aren’t talking about sending your business to India (unless you live in Dubai) of course, but of hiring extra help when you need it. If you’re a terrible logo designer, but a client wants a new logo, you may spend hours of extra time fighting your own lack of experience. Why bother? Instead, higher someone who can get it done in an hour, and pay them a small portion of your total profits.

Lastly, remember to focus on repeat customers, as well as the top portion of your client base. As a wise sage of anonymous listing once said, 80% of your profit comes from 20% of your work. With that in mind, know which clients pay in milk and honey. Once you’ve got them pegged, treat them better than your mum, and make sure they’re consistently happy. By doing so, you’ll get more work, and you’ll be better compensated for it. Likewise, try to focus on companies that bring you repeat design needs. Having a steady stream of work is essential, and not needing to look for clients saves you time in wasted man hours.