Looking to build a stable, reliable income as a freelancer? One of the best ways to do this is through diversification. As the saying rightly goes, “you shouldn’t put your eggs in one basket”, and that’s true of freelancing as well.
Rely too heavily on one source of income, and you could find yourself in a difficult position should that source disappear. Work hard now to cultivate multiple streams of income, and you will reap the benefits in time.
Your ‘eggs’ will be spread across several baskets, so if one should disappear, you won’t find yourself broke. Here are 6 ways to diversify your freelance income effectively.
1. Client work
For the vast majority of freelancers, client work is what brings in the lion’s share of their monthly income. If until now you’ve been working primarily with one main client, consider branching out. Clients will come and go, and it takes some time to build a relationship with someone new.
The goal is to have a network of regular clients that you can rely on to bring you work, rather than just one who, in theory, could go out of business one day and put you out of a job. Make use of online job boards (e.g. the freelancermap job board), talk to other freelancers, put your portfolio out there, and leverage your existing contacts to start generating enquiries.
Client work isn’t the be-all-and-end-all. If you’re a fairly good writer, you can generate further income as a freelancer through writing, both for yourself and others. Blogging has become one of the top ways to earn money online, and what’s more, it’s a great way to make a name for yourself as a professional.
A good blog can be monetized in various ways: you can opt for on-page advertising, affiliate marketing, or accepting sponsored posts. You could also offer your services as a freelance guest writer for other websites. Unique, high-quality content that makes a difference to your users is the benchmark to aim for.
3. Sell physical goods
The next step up from blogging is to venture into the big wide world of ecommerce. It’s super easy for anyone to get set up on a marketplace like Amazon, eBay or Etsy, but if you’re serious about generating some brand equity, then it’s better to make a home for yourself online with your own branded ecommerce store. Platforms like Shopify and WordPress make this considerably easier than it used to be.
It’ll take some work for sure, and like any new venture, you have to treat it like a business. You’ll need a strong brand, a supplier for your products, and somewhere to store them (unless you take the dropshipping route). Some entrepreneurs choose to buy existing stores through website sellers.
The benefit of buying a readymade store is that you won’t waste precious freelance hours setting up the website, and what’s more, all the products and suppliers are already in place. They range widely in price, from cheap starter stores at around $50, to high-end stores turning a generous profit going for ~$10,000.
If you have the necessary skills to take a website and improve on what’s there, then buying and selling websites can be a great side hustle – and you’ll learn a lot about online retail in the process.
4. Sell digital goods
Of course, you don’t have to sell physical goods to get into the ecommerce game. Digital products such as downloads, webinars, e-books and e-newsletters are all things you can create yourself to sell online. Put the time and work into them upfront, and you can continue to make money from them again and again, with very little maintenance.
The options don’t stop there: if you’re a designer, for instance, you can look into creating graphics, typefaces, templates and themes. If you’re a dab hand at photography, you could sell photographs. Consider the skills you already have and how you can package them in a useful way for others.
5. Consulting & coaching
Speaking of skills you already have, another great way to diversify your income as a freelancer is by providing coaching and consulting services for others. It’s also one more way to monetize your blog, which can be used as a platform to advertise your services.
As an authority in your niche, your expert advice is valuable. You can charge others for your consulting and coaching services, all while spending more time on the thing you love doing. Consulting is not only profitable – it can help you network and build relationships too.
How you charge for your coaching services is up to you. Many choose to operate per-project, rather than charging a flat hourly rate. Make sure you’re charging enough to make it worth your time.
Whether your niche is health, digital, business, marketing, or whatever, there will be people out there willing to pay a professional to learn more. Killer case studies will help you prove your professional credentials.
6. Keep learning new skills
Finally, if you want to keep diversifying your income, then another approach is to keep diversifying your skills. Online learning is so accessible now, that it’s easy enough to teach yourself new things. Websites like Futurelearn and Lynda offer free courses in everything from creative arts, to tech and coding.
There’s much to be said for being a competent all-rounder with a few strong specialisms, especially if you’re looking to set up on your own. This is what will set you apart from the rest of the freelance crowd. What new thing have you learned recently?
Go beyond client work – Diversify your income
Diversification is crucial if you hope to make a stable, reliable income as a freelancer. The lifestyle and the freedom that freelancing brings with it can be wonderful, if you know you’ll make rent each month. And the truth is, if you can master many revenue streams, you’ll make a fair bit more than that.
Try these different ways of earning money as a freelancer and see which ones are the most workable for you and your lifestyle. You never know – you might strike gold.