Freelance writers are masters at hustling. They know how to survive and thrive in the competitive space of freelance writing. But if you are a freelancer, no matter how much (or how little) you make from it, income diversification is a must for your financial happiness.
Over time, freelance writers learn to network and plan their work to escape periods of no income. But sometimes, even the best of plans hit a bump.
For instance, your only client relies on your work and pays you enough, but her business goes bust. You had no inkling that things were going bad for her till the time she decided to stop hiring your services! Or you might be forced to take an unplanned break from work due to sudden illness.
Maybe you might think of working less and carving out time for other things in life (perhaps to write a novel, your dream project!).
All these scenarios could land you in a tight spot if you solely rely on one stream of income (or one client). But if you focus on developing multiple sources of income through writing, you can create a safety net for yourself. It could also increase your net income, and add to your resume. Let us discuss a few ways to do that-
1) Always Work for More Than One Client
Many freelancers, especially in their early days, want a single lucrative client. There are obvious reasons for that. They wouldn’t have to spend time pitching and networking. They get to understand the client’s requirements well. The client is also happy to get undivided attention from the writer.
But no matter how good your client is, you can never rely hundred per cent on a single client. If you are a freelancer and not a remote employee, there is no obligation on part of the client to cover you every week (or month). You might feel content with them, but there will come an unexpected period when your client says there is no work to be done this month!
Even if you have a well-meaning client, you cannot depend on one person completely. Your client is a human, who might face uncertainties like sickness, business closure, etc.
Instead of working for one client, divide your time between three-four clients. The number of clients you should take on varies on the exact nature of work, but it should always be more than one.
2) Explore Different Formats-
You might consider yourself an expert in a particular format. Let’s say, you enjoy writing well-researched, long-form blogs. It’s a great idea to do more of it, but don’t completely ignore other writing styles. You can write small articles on the side.
It will give you a break from your usual work, and add to your income. In case, you encounter a dry spell in your favourite work, you will have something to fall back on.
3) Get into Social Media Management
Companies are willing to hire writers to write social media posts for them. Some jobs may keep you on your toes (or fingers!) all the time. But some recruiters only need a couple of social media posts every week. Look around for some time, and you will find work that fits into your existing schedule.
4) Offer Editing Services
Authors always need keen editors to make their work error-free. You can offer your services as an editor if you are someone who pays attention to detail. You can also get associated with a writer’s agency where editors are always in demand.
5) Work Offline
You can also pitch articles for newspapers and magazines. Of course, getting an article published is not as easy as posting it online. But there are two benefits to it. You get paid a lot more, and having your work published in the print boosts your resume.
6) Explore Passive Income Ideas
Work on ideas that can help you earn passive income from writing. Writing content for clients is a source of ‘active income’. You get paid when you are working. Passive income is what you get when you are not actively putting your time and effort into something.
So how can a writer earn passive income?
Write an E-book
E-books are a popular source of passive income for writers. You can write an E-book on any topic you want, and self-publishing is easy. You can also repurpose your old blogs for writing an e-book. You have to write a book once, and you will earn a small amount every time someone purchases it.
Since any number of people can buy an e-book, there is no upper limit to the money you can earn from it over a while. But remember that there are many e-books out there, so you have to write well to make money from it.
Create an Audio Book
If you have already written a book, turn it into an audio format. The listening readers are a separate category from your regular readers. Many people who don’t read, or don’t have the time to read, enjoy listening to books. They listen to books while doing other chores.
With a little effort, you can cater to a new set of audience and develop another stream of income.
Write a Course
You can write a course on a topic in which you can demonstrate your expertise. Just like an e-book, writing courses is a scalable business. Writing courses also gives you a chance to share your knowledge with others and make a difference in their lives. If you find this motivating, you would also like the next idea on our list.
Coaching Through Webinars
This is an extension to writing a course. You could mentor people through webinars. While it’s not exactly a passive income source, it is a highly remunerative option.
Also, it would be a great add on for your resume. You can charge a high fee for one-on-one coaching, or coach many people together. You can use the same course material for different sessions. However, you might have to buy some simple teaching aids (like a whiteboard) for ease in the teaching process.
This one is for writers who run their blogs. If you opt for pay-per-click ads, you would get paid for visitors clicking on the advertisement. It does not matter if they make a purchase or not. The revenue of ads could be little or significant, based on your following. But enabling ads isn’t a lot of hard work, so why leave it out?
There is one downside, though. It is a turn-off for people who dislike advertisements splashed across their screens. And if they use an ad-blocker, they would never even see the advertisement.
You can get into affiliate marketing if you can tailor your content to promote a product. Unlike Ads, affiliate marketing pays only when someone makes a purchase. So the earnings rely on the size of your audience and your convincing skills.
You can use your established blog to sell stuff. For instance, if you write about health and wellness, you can sell stuff like superfoods, healthy beverages, etc. through your platform. You can also sell books (of other authors) on the niche.
You need not create your own line of products; you can sell products made by others as long as it is relevant to your blog.
Create a Premium Membership
If you are an established blogger, creating a premium membership is another thing you can try. In return for subscription, you would have to offer something extra to the readers. For example, you can give them early access to your blog posts, or have weekly live sessions with them.
You can also register on websites like Patreon, where you can find patrons. Patrons are people who are willing to sponsor your work, providing you with a predictable, monthly income. Such platforms give you financial freedom to pursue your passion projects.
Write for Revenue Sharing Websites
If you want to spend few hours of the week writing what you want and get paid for it, revenue-sharing websites are a great place to be.
Websites like Medium charge monthly fees from readers and share a portion of it with you depending on the number of views you get. Medium uses Stripe to pay its writers, so do check you can get paid through Stripe in your country. (Unlike Paypal, Stripe is not yet completely functional in many countries).
Also Think Of…
You should also consider non-writing sources of passive income. By improving your overall finances, you would get more freedom in your professional life.
Consider saving and investing a part of your monthly income in mutual funds if you don’t need to spend the money right now. It’s a better alternative to keeping money in the bank. You would earn dividends, and also create a nest-egg for yourself.
Also, if you live in a country where the government doesn’t offer adequate health cover, get yourself one even if you are in the pink of health. It would take the load off your back in case you ever get into a medical emergency.