Whether your freelance business is ticking along nicely or beginning to flounder, here are five ideas for boosting your freelance income.
Develop passive income streams
If you can produce books, videos or anything that you can monetise or sell, then bingo: you have a passive income stream. Anything that you can produce and then go on to earn from again and again, with little or no further input from you, is a bonus. Passive income streams may not always earn you a fortune, but that steady trickle of money still adds up and means there’s still money coming in even if you have no work for a while.
Play to your strengths
Think about what type of work earns you the most money; what type of work you enjoy the most; and where your specific expertise lies.
If your answer to all three of these prompts is the same, then deciding where to focus your attention shouldn’t be difficult! If not, you may have to consider what’s most important to you.
Developing a niche can be useful because:
- Your knowledge of an area increases as you focus on it
- Your name and work will become associated with that niche, making you a go-to expert
At the same time, consider ditching the projects and clients that are unrewarding financially and/or intellectually. While freelancers are inclined to try to turn their hand to anything when they start out, long-term, specialising is a better strategy.
Diversify? I hear you cry. But you’ve just told me to specialise! To develop a niche!
Yes. But within that niche, diversify.
I know freelancers who started out as photographers and then found the clients they were working for often wanted a few words written about their photos, or even a paragraph. Or more…
They took courses, honed their writing skills and began to offer photo-heavy articles in the kind of publication where they’re appropriate (sport, nature, walking, tourism and travel). Conversely, I know writers who were so often asked for photos to go with their articles that they sharpened their photography skills and began to supply the whole package.
I lost a charity contract once because the charity was looking for graphic designers and writers for children’s leaflets – or people who could do both. They loved the sample I sent with my quote, but… you’ve guessed it. The contract went to someone who had design skills as well and had offered to produce the entire leaflet content.
Consider the type of work you’re often tempted to go for but never do, because you’re aware it requires skills you don’t have. Think about work you are doing and any closely related topics or products; what could you add to your offering to make a complete package?
Pass on your skills
Teaching your skills to others can be another great way to make extra money. Whether it’s giving speeches at conferences, running workshops or seminars, recording audio or video tutorials or teaching your skills to adults at a local college, passing on your expertise and knowledge is a service worth paying for.
Do some research to see how you could teach independently and/or offer teaching to educational establishments or other clubs and institutions.
Have a marketing week (or even just a day)
Review how you advertise your services and what works and doesn’t. What other outlets or methods could you use? Devote some time to developing a new advertising strategy and materials. Create a basic mail shot and then customise it for target groups, such as family and friends who can pass it on to others; potential clients; past clients; and yes, even regular clients, who may only use some of your services and not appreciate all you have to offer.
Spend this time promoting yourself and what you do in every way possible, legal and decent – or indecent, if you prefer! You know what they say about publicity…
It’s easy to stop trying anything new, either because you’ve become complacent or because you are struggling and have become convinced nothing you do will make a difference. But don’t stop! Put your thinking cap on and find ways to use these ideas to boost your freelance income.
Do you work with multiple income streams? Which is the most profitable one for you? Please share your thoughts below.