As a freelance writer, your income will almost never come from only one source. Successful freelancers juggle several clients, projects, and payment schedules; or at least they need to if they want to stay in the game over the long term.
Over time, even your biggest clients will have ‘dry seasons’ when they don’t send much work your way. If you’ve done your homework, then you’ll have more work lined up, so you don’t end up having to dip into your savings.
In this article, I’ll walk you through three ways to diversify your income as a freelance writer. Let’s get right to it!
Why You Need to Diversify Your Freelance Income
Diversifying your sources of income is rock-solid advice, no matter what type of work you do. However, it becomes essential if you’re looking for a long-term career in freelance writing.
When you start freelancing, your first concern is finding enough clients to support yourself. It’s not all that difficult if you follow some basic steps:
- Have your portfolio ready to go with your best work up front.
- Know where to look for clients that pay decent rates (writing job boards are a great place to start).
- Write unique and compelling pitches for each job you apply to.
Once you’re comfortable with the process, you’ll start finding regular work. The problem comes when you run into clients that pay you well enough but don’t leave you time for other projects.
That’s a wonderful problem to have, to be sure. However, in time, all such gigs dry up, and if you don’t have anything else in the back burner (or enough savings), it can wreck your plans altogether.
How to Diversify Your Income as a Freelance Writer (3 Methods)
Once you have a safety net in savings, my advice is to look for ways to diversify your income as a freelance writer. Here are three approaches you can take, ranging from least to most out-of-the-box.
1. Always Be on the Lookout for More Clients
When you’re financially stable as a freelance writer, you tend to relax. That means you stop looking for more work, settle into a routine, and collect a paycheck every month or so.
My advice is – never get too comfortable if you only have a couple of gigs to your name. Even if your schedule is full, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep looking for more work.
Finding new gigs can take a while, even if you’re a well-established freelancer. For every job you enjoy, there are a lot of offers that range from boring to sketchy.
Being financially stable, however, means you can be picky. That means it’s no big deal if it takes you weeks to line up a new project. You’re still working in the meantime and this way, you’ll have more projects to look forward to when that’s done.
As for where to look for new freelance writing jobs, you can usually find the best offers on dedicated boards. Content mills and freelance platforms might have more offers, but they tend to pay peanuts compared to serious clients.
2. Look Into Affiliate Blogging
You’re already making a living as a writer, so it’s only logical to consider developing more personal projects. The way affiliate blogging works, you don’t have to answer to any client. You set up a blog, publish as much or as little content as you want, sign up for an affiliate program, and start earning money.
That is, of course, an oversimplification. In practice, running a successful affiliate blog takes a lot of effort, and getting it off the ground in the first place requires time.
However, if you’re riding high on a streak of great freelancing gigs, now’s the perfect time to get into affiliate blogging. After all, since you’re not desperate for money, you can be patient and build up a nice library of posts that will start earning you money after a few months.
If you’re interested in getting into affiliate blogging, we’ve published several great guides in the past. However, the most important thing you need to consider is what niche to pick. Some niches are incredibly competitive (think health and electronics) and you won’t get anywhere within them unless you’re willing to dedicate a lot of work to your blog.
Once you have a blog that earns a passive income, then it’s not a big deal if your freelance income dries up unexpectedly. You’ll have your affiliate earnings to fall back onto while you line up new work, which puts you in a much better position than other freelancers.
3. Ask Existing Clients for Referrals
In the years I’ve been working as a freelance writer, most of my best clients have come from referrals. When someone refers you to a friend, then the whole hiring process goes much more smoothly. They’ll already have a good idea of what you do, the quality of your work, how much you charge, and all those pesky details.
What that means is you can hit the ground running and get to work much sooner. However, just waiting around for clients to refer you is too passive an approach.
If you’ve been working with someone for a while, then it doesn’t hurt to mention you’re open to new projects either from them or someone they might now.
In my experience, the best time to drop a mention about referrals is when you’re wrapping up a project. That means after you submit all the files, invoices, and get paid. At this stage, you want to make sure that client keeps you in mind for future work and they also know you don’t mind if they drop your name around.
When it comes to referrals, you don’t want to be too pushy. In most cases, the quality of your work should do the talking for you. However, one method that works for some freelancers is to offer discounts for clients that bring in referral businesses. It creates an incentive for them to mention you and it can help you lock in long-term contracts, which is always a plus.
Depending on a single client means you have more control over your schedule and when you get paid. However, if that’s what you want, you might as well look into full-time remote jobs.
Freelancing full-time can be much more difficult to manage. You need to always be on the lookout for more work, juggle projects, stay on top of payments, and more. However, as a freelancer your earnings aren’t limited by your employer, but by how much you can hustle, which is why I love it so much.
Do you have any questions about how to diversify your income as a freelance writer? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.