A survey conducted by The Drum found that while most freelancers are very happy with the freedom and ability to choose projects that this type of work provides, their biggest concerns are periods of inactivity between assignments and the comparative insecurity of freelancing. If you also feel like those are both significant hurdles for your freelance career, you will be happy to learn that there are solutions to both problems. And since every freelancer knows that time is money, let’s hop right into looking at the best ways to create a stable freelance income:
Don’t Get Comfortable
The most common mistake freelancers make is after landing one or more really solid clients, focusing all their attention on them and not doing anything to keep new leads in their pipeline. While it’s great to have a steady client, the reality of freelance work is you never know exactly when that engagement may dry up. And if you got too comfortable and didn’t keep any prospects flowing in, you may find suddenly find yourself with an empty calendar and no incoming cash. So even if your schedule is currently full and you’re working with a great client, it’s still important to at least follow up with anyone who sends an inquiry about your services.
Offer a Retainer
The simplest definition of a retainer is it’s a way for a client to pay in advance for guaranteed access to you in the future. So whether you’re a programmer, writer or designer, using a retainer makes it possible for a client to reserve a chunk of your time in spite of your busy schedule. As long as you position this offer correctly, you should be able to entice quite a few clients. Just keep in mind that it’s standard practice to offer a slight discount off your standard hourly or daily rate.
Provide an Ongoing Monthly Service
This is basically a variation on the concept of offering a retainer. Instead of simply allowing clients to purchase guaranteed chunks of your time, you can come up with a specific monthly service and then pitch it to your clients. Because this is similar to SaaS products, in addition to gaining easier to estimate monthly income, another key advantage is you can generally charge a premium for this type of formalized service.
Create Your Own Online Properties
Regardless of the specific type of freelance work you do, you’ve got the skills needed to make things online. Since they pay you for the work you do, it obviously makes sense to continue working with clients. But just because you’re doing client work doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do any work for yourself.
When people think of passive income, they often make the mistake of thinking of something that requires absolutely no effort. Since that rarely exists, a better definition is something that doesn’t require directly trading your time for money. That’s why using your own skills to create websites that are monetized with options like an affiliate program is a great idea. Once you get the sites up and start promoting them, they’ll generate revenue for you even when you’re not directly working on them. If you’re new to affiliate marketing and want to know the best way to monetize the sites you create, be sure to check out BuildYourWidget to see how easy it is to create a showcase for the affiliate products you want to sell through your site(s).
Sell eBooks or Other Digital Products
Many freelancers use their website to promote themselves. While that’s a smart idea and one that can definitely increase the number of incoming leads a freelancer receives, it’s just one way to use a website. Another is to bundle part of your professional knowledge into a product like an eBook and then sell it.
If you’re concerned that you don’t have enough traffic to make any real money from a product like that, think again. This interview explains how designer Nathan Barry sold $12,000 worth of his eBook in the first day after launching it. What makes the interview so compelling and informative is just three months before he launched the book, his blog was only averaging about 100 visitors a day.
Even though it provides so many lifestyle benefits, the main reason people are hesitant to become a freelancer is because they’re concerned that it’s not going to provide the same stable income as their current job. While freelance income can be more sporadic than getting a paycheck twice a month, if you start putting the strategies we discussed today into action, you’ll find that you’re able to stabilize and ultimately increase your freelance income!
Jay Bats designed and created Build Your Widget throughout 2012 and 2013. http://buildyourwidget.com/ lets you build really cool widgets for use in ecommerce and affiliate marketing on your website. Feel free to follow Jay on Google+ to learn more.