10 Ways To Diversify Your Freelance Income
I have been freelancing since 2012 - and the greatest lesson I’ve learned from not having a steady paycheck is: don’t rely on your clients to pay all of your bills.
Clients disappear, they don’t get paid on time (which means neither do you), they close their business doors, they get sick..life just gets in the way and can often block the flow of money coming into your life.
Your bank account and mindset would be in a much better place if you not only focus on client work but also focus on how you can create money through different sources.
These are meant to be income sources that can give you peace of mind and freedom to travel & live your ultimate freelancing dream life.
I’ve compiled all of the income sources I’ve created and experienced over the years to give you some new ideas on how you can allow the $$ to flow in with ease.
So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
Sell your work on Creative Market.
Creative Market is an online marketplace for community-generated design assets. You can find graphics, website templates, stock photos, and other digital goods for use by online creatives.
A great way to make extra income on the side of your freelancing biz is to sell some of your work on this marketplace. If you are an illustrator, photographer, designer, web designer...or any sort of creative entrepreneur - this is your golden ticket.
Back in college, I sold resume templates on Etsy and made my first $100 from selling a digital product. This was eye-opening for me because I saw a world of possibilities. While that resume shop didn’t last very long, I’ve always had my eye on selling templates in the future.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to finally start a template shop on creative market, but I finally started one in 2019! I made my first sale within the first three days of launching my first product.
The pros of starting a creative market shop:
Creative Market already has a HUGE audience - which means you don’t have to try super hard to get people to find you.
They pay out every single month on the same day straight to your bank account.
You earn 70% on each sale, which I like to think the other 30% is the marketing and advertising fee.
You can set your own prices for your products
Creative Market automatically delivers the product to your customer - so all you have to do is create great products, do a little SEO, and manage your product support emails.
You can also sell your product on your own website if you want to go above and beyond.
You don’t have to get approval on your products, you can just upload them and start selling.
The cons of selling on Creative Market:
You will likely need to do some marketing of your own in order for your products to rank higher in the searches.
Adding a product and forgetting about it won't result in loads of cash flowing into your wallet, you’ll have to do some work on your end.
There is an algorithm to deal with - even if you create the most amazing product in the world, it most likely won't be seen unless it has a ton of views, comments, and purchases.
They key to getting sales is creating amazing screenshots of your product. It’s important to capture attention and SELL your product with your graphics. This can be a very trial and error until you get it right.
Overall, I love Creative Market - I am a designer and I often find myself purchasing templates to save me time.
We’ve been making around $300 extra per month from our template shop since we’ve launched at the end of May 2019, and we only have three templates! If we added more and optimized our shop graphics I bet we could earn up to $1000 extra per month.
Create digital products.
One of the best ways to create more income in your freelancing biz without high overhead costs is to create and sell digital products.
This is similar to selling on Creative Market, but instead, you would sell them on your own platform (ex: squarespace, send owl, samcart, kajabi). You can sell a huge range of digital products related to your niche.
In my eyes, this has been a game-changer for our business. I sold my very first e-book called The Good Eye Guide in 2017 and made around $500, then in 2018, I created another e-book called The Work From Wherever Starter Kit that was a better fit for our audience and made around $4000 from it. THEN the most recent e-book we’ve created has earned over $14,000 in 2019.
The best thing about these products is the fact that once I create it, I don’t have to do anything other than strategically sell it. Sometimes, they sell on their own because of the strategies I’ve put in place..and if that intrigues you then sign up for the Work From Wherever Academy waitlist! I am going to be going over how I create e-books & digital products and the strategies I’ve used to continuously sell them and make money in my sleep.
Yes, it’s not a joke. I literally wake up and have more money in my bank account!
E-books are one of the easiest ways to get up and running with selling digital products. If you are knowledgable in an area and can think of a product that would help your audience...then you can earn some extra $$$.
It does take some trial and error if you didn’t notice from my first e-book to my most recent one, but even earning $500 from my very first e-book was a success in my eyes.
The pros of selling digital products:
You can make money while you are sleeping, playing, traveling, eating..
You don’t have to rely on clients paying you on time.
You can share your knowledge, gifts, and talents with the world.
It doesn’t cost much to create and sell an e-book, workshop, course, etc.
The cons of selling digital products:
A lot of work upfront with no guarantee it will actually sell - this is one of the biggest cons of doing this because you wont know for sure if it’s going to make you money.
Selling is the most difficult part about it, the creating part is EASY.
You’ll need an actual audience to sell to, it will be hard to sell to crickets so definitely build your own audience first.
You have to do a lot of upfront research to understand what your audience would likely buy.
I personally love to create digital products and am hoping to eventually have 80% of our income come from our courses, templates, workshops and more. Not everything i’ve created has been a huge success, but I always learn something new and have fun in the process.
Sell physical goods.
Selling physical goods can be really fun and a great way to make a little extra money on the side. For example, you could create custom notebooks, stickers, t-shirts, etc.
The only thing that kind of sucks about this is that you have to either have somewhere to stock your products or sell through a third party company like Zazzle. The profit margins (which means the amount of money you make after the expenses of buying the t-shirts and shipping them) are not very high.
I personally love the idea of selling something physical on our website, just because it would be a great way to give people something tangible that relates to our own brand.
But I definitely would not see it as my cash cow.
Diversify your services.
Another great way to create extra income in your business is to diversify your services. Maybe you can offer smaller packages, consultations, or even strategy sessions.
By having more than one option available to your clients, this can help you create money in different ways. Which leads me to my next point...
Diversify your pricing structures.
Sometimes when you are waiting for a client to make their final payment it can be a gruesome wait. So, something you could experiment with is diversifying your pricing structures.
Maybe you can offer a lower priced entry level service that can be quickly done in one 2-4 hour session. With this quick service, you could charge upfront for the fee which would help with the timing of your payments coming in. This would help with your cash flow and give you an easy quick thing to sell to your clients.
Plus if they buy from you once, they are likely to come back to you for more services! Having an entry level service could potentially help you get a lot more client leads for your larger services and packages.
For example, if you are a web designer, maybe you could offer website audits as an entry-level service. This would be great for someone if they wanted help with their website but they couldn’t necessarily afford to hire you. You could give them tips on changes to make and the upfront pricing structure would help with the cash flow.
Turn previous clients into retainer clients.
A great way to have guaranteed money every month and a way to diversify your current income is to create retainer packages.
The best way to do this is to reach out to any previous clients you may have that might need your services often, and ask them if they would be interested in hiring you on a monthly basis for all of their needs.
What is a retainer?
A retainer is a flat monthly rate clients can pay you for a variety of services. For example if you’re a Virtual Assistant, you could offer monthly packages that include a variety of services for a flat discounted rate. If a client commits to the agreement for 3 months, then you could give them a discount.
This would guarantee a certain amount of money in your business for as long as you have the retainer in place.
Pro’s of a retainer
predictable guaranteed money will help ease the stress of trying to find clients constantly.
clients will love having access to you whenever they need you because it’s often hard to find someone with availability if something comes up that needs a quick turnaround time.
Cons of a retainer
it can be hard to get a new client to commit to a retainer
sometimes you might end up working more hours and be unintentionally overworked because a client might ask too much of you or try to get their moneys worth
retainers mostly work best for generic work - simple tasks like editing blog posts, creating graphics, editing podcasts, managing email inboxes and more. If you are doing a retainer based off projects it can get tricky because projects often have a lot more steps and requirements so in the long run you might make less money on a retainer.
Sign up for affiliate programs.
If there are any products you use or programs you’ve gone through and you loved the experience, then signing up for affiliate programs can be an amazing way to earn extra $$.
Best way to earn $$ via affiliates:
The best way to earn money from affiliate links is to share about your experience with certain products or software. Sure, you can just paste a link in..but sharing a full review or even some tips and tricks about something will help you earn a lot more.
For example, in this blog post we talk about our top 10 van life must haves - so all of the products on this page are linked to our amazon affiliates store. Every time someone buys ANYTHING on amazon through that link over the next 24 hours we make a small commission.
You can even sign up for affiliate programs for online courses, software, and more! If you’ve had an amazing experience it can be a great way to get paid for your influence.
Create a resources page.
Like this page on our website, we have linked all of the software and tools we use to run our business.
All of these links give us $$ every time someone buys or signs up for any of the things listed on this page.
We also have a page on our website that lists all of the products we’ve used in our van build to give us affiliate money from amazon. People are more likely to buy things from people they know, like and trust. By being someone who consistently shares valuable content it can be a great way to earn extra money to share about products + software you personally use and love. That way it’s easier for them to make a decision of what they would like to use.
A lot of people think that blogging is dead and that video is the #1 way to market your business. I am going to disagree with that thought.
Blogging is still alive and well, and truthfully some people like to read articles instead of watching videos or listening to podcasts.
A great way to make extra income in your business is to start blogging consistently! If you have a blog with helpful, valuable content for your audience then it will be SO much easier to sell your products, share your affiliate links, and get traffic to your website overall.
We get 85% of our website traffic from our blog posts being shared on Pinterest. The majority of our sales for our e-books come from our Pinterest website traffic.
Think of blogging as more of a tool to build your credibility, spread awareness of your brand, and a way to serve people without asking them for anything in return.
You can earn money through your blog with affiliate links, sharing about helpful products, and also partnering with another blogger or a brand to do a sponsored blog post.
Accept sponsorships & paid partnerships.
If you’ve been able to grow your audience, build your traffic, and create valuable content consistently...then sponsorships and paid partnerships might be a great way to diversify your income.
For example, if you use a software like MailChimp or Squarespace you could partner with them to create a series on your youtube channel or talk about them in your blog posts.
This would be a great way to share about resources you use and give your audience helpful tips and tools..while also being able to earn an income from people signing up through your link.
If this is something you are interested in, we have an amazing workshop called Land Those Brand Deals which will help you learn how to pitch your ideas to brands you love to start getting sponsorships.
We personally enjoy this as an extra income source because we are able to give our honest review about certain products to our audience which will help them make the right choice for them when it comes to purchasing something. We also love creating content for brands as an extra income source. It’s a really fun way to make creative content.
If you are a freelancer or wanna-be-lancer and you’ve enjoyed this article, then you should head on over to check out the Work From Wherever Academy! We are opening the doors for you to get an early-bird pre-sale pricing and we’d love to have you join us.
Click the button below to check it out.