What freelance writers can do to diversify their income
‘Freelance writer’ isn’t really a profession that screams out ‘financial stability’. Often, freelance writers struggle to maintain a reliable income and a steady stream of work. But this isn’t something that you should let dictate how you work, and how you live your life. The answer, my friends, is 'diversification'.
Diversifying your income — i.e. creating multiple different income streams — will help you in tough times. Relying on just a few clients to pay for your writing is fine when they have enough budget in their project and like your work, but what happens when the money dries up? Read on to find out how you can diversify your income as a freelance writer.
Get that blog going
If you haven’t already, then start a blog.
There are a number of positives to doing this. The first is that you’ll hone your writing skills and you can practise writing about anything and everything. If you want, stick to a theme, like food, travel or just the exciting life of a freelance copywriter…
The second is that you can get your name out there - writing a blog will help you build up a following of readers. Having a decent-sized audience will always benefit you - more traffic is good for your website, and your readers may also be potential clients.
And lastly - think of the money! Okay, so it’s unusual to earn your millions via your blog-writing (though it is possible: check out these bloggers for inspiration). But you can definitely monetise your blog.
Things like sponsored blog posts and hosting paid adverts will help to generate a bit of income. Affiliate marketing is also an option — basically, you promote someone else’s product on a blog post, and if your readers follow that link and buy the product, then you’ll earn a small commission.
It’s really easy to set up your own blog using a free platform like Wordpress or Wix. So what are you waiting for? Get writing! Keep it up, build more traffic to your blog, get more people reading your work, and make some money with affiliate links.
Outreach - find more clients!
Yes, it’s great that you’ve got loyal clients, but you can’t always just rely on them to provide you with a constant stream of work. They may have a change in circumstance, they might struggle to pay you, you could end up splitting up over your ‘creative differences’… Realistically, it’s pretty risky to put all of your eggs in one basket.
Be proactive about finding new clients. Approach possible clients with offers to write for them. Get your current clients to refer you — word of mouth is a powerful thing, particularly when it comes to hiring freelancers.
If you’re a freelancing writer, then I’d strongly recommend signing up to a freelancer website like fivesquid. It’s easy to sign up and list your services (as a writer and more, if you’d like). The site will host your ads, and potential clients can check out your profile and see if it’s a suitable match. Once the task has been completed, you can receive feedback and customer reviews, so you can quickly build up a good reputation.
Self-publish - write that book you’ve always wanted to
As a freelance writer, you’ve probably had shedloads of people asking when your novel’s coming out or telling you excitedly that you should write a book.
And no, I’m not here to tell you that if you write a book, the first publisher you meet will swoon at your feet, sign you immediately, and you’ll be a self-made millionaire author in a matter of days. It usually doesn’t work like that.
I’m talking ebooks. There’s way more profit per ebook because there’s no printing or shipping, and you can sell your ebook to anyone, anywhere in the world.
So if you’re an expert in a topic like content marketing, why not write an ebook on the subject? People will pay to read this information and learn from you. This is especially good if you’ve already built up a good subscriber following on your blog, as your followers will want to read more. You can also use your blog as a platform to sell your ebook and other services, as well as selling your ebook on Amazon.
Set up an ecommerce store
This may not seem like a very freelance writer-y thing to do, but trust us on this one. It’s a veeeery small step from content marketing (which is essentially what you’re doing) to ecommerce marketing.
If you’re worried about your income from the writing gigs, then top up your income by setting up an online store on the side. What are you passionate about? If you’re into your crafts or you make jewellery or cushions or t-shirts for fun, why not monetise this and turn your passion into a profit?
It’s so easy to do these days with cheap ecommerce platforms like Shopify or Squarespace. You pay a small monthly fee, and they help you out with all sorts of things. It’s also very simple to create an attractive and professional-looking site with their built-in templates.
If you’re worried about setting up a business from scratch then check out Exchange. There are plenty of websites for sale that you can buy ‘ready-made’, and that you can then tweak to your liking.
And if the idea of making your own products seems pretty daunting or time-consuming, then check out dropshipping. Dropshipping is basically a business model which basically allows you to run your store without ever holding any inventory. You use huge marketplaces like Oberlo to give you access to a variety of different products that you can sell.
Learn some new skills
This isn’t as difficult as you think! Sign up for online courses in anything from coding to the creative — you might have to cough up some cash for the course, but it will pay off in the long run.
If you’re a writer used to doing blog posts or website content, why not branch out? Start a CV writing or editing service. Nobody likes writing a CV, and not many people are good at it. So if you’ve got strong writing skills you can easily turn your hand to this once you’ve researched what employers want.
You could also edit or proofread essays or other types of content. And if you’re multilingual, then definitely consider being a translator in your spare time — it pays well.
As you can see, there are plenty of different ways you can diversify your income as a freelance writer. Depending on your lifestyle and work, you can start a few, and put as much into each option as you want; the choice is yours. Some are easier to set up than others, but they’ll all pay off. And who knows? You may even make enough money with your side hustles and enjoy them so much that they become your main source of income!
Victoria Greene writes for Victoria Ecommerce, a leading blog for everything ecommerce. Whether it’s branding, marketing, or web design, Vicky has you covered. For all the latest tips, industry news, and advice, find her on Twitter @vickyecommerce.