One of the biggest benefits of being an international freelance writer is the ability to completely recession-proof my business.
Did you know that when the Global Financial Crisis hit, my business actually got busier and more profitable? I didn't struggle to find new clients and I noticed existing clients began to order more than usual as well. Yet I know plenty of people who really had a hard time when the economy turned down.
So let's look at ways to avoid that ever happening to your freelance business - and how you can recession-proof your own income easily.
Consider this: if you had one full-time job as an employee, you'd get paid every week (or fortnight, or month - whatever). You pay your bills and your living expenses using this income, because it's regular and it's safe. Right?
However, what happens when that employer decides he doesn't need you any longer, or the business goes broke and fires all its employees? What happens to your 'regular' income then? And how will you pay your bills if you can't find another job to replace that one?
The vast majority of people have one sole, lonely stream of income they call a "salary". This leaves them vulnerable to changes in the economy, changes in the work-force, and changes in the company in which you work. It leaves you dependent on working 8 hours a day for someone else's business too.
But if you had another form of income coming into your household at the same time, would the loss of that J.O.B. really hit you so hard?
Imagine if you had two employers, both paying you regularly. If one decided they no longer wanted to hire you, you would still have an income coming into the household simply because you have that secondary income stream.
Now take that thought a little further and imagine if you had six or seven regular income streams. If one stopped, you might notice a bit of a drop in income, but you wouldn't go broke.
Creating Multiple Streams of Income
The idea of "multiple streams of income" isn't new. In fact, investors have been doing this for centuries, deriving alternative sources of income from rent received as landlords, or by earning dividends on stocks they own, or from royalties earned on book sales, inventions and other goodies.
The Internet has just made creating various revenue streams far more interesting and easier for most people to access.
For a freelance writer, the ability to generate multiple streams of income has never been easier than it is right now. Look for clients in different parts of the country, or even international clients. This reduces your risk of becoming dependent on one particular client or company and it protects you in the event of one particular geographical location suffering from an economic downturn.
Diversifying Your Income
The key to really recession-proofing any business at all is to understand about diversifying your income a bit and broaden your debtor base.
Think about where you derive the bulk of your freelance writing income from right now. This is your primary source of income. If that source is a content mill, offering lots of steady work at average rates, at least you know you always have that to fall back on.
Now think about any other alternatives you might have to add to your current income without impacting too far on the time it takes to generate your primary income.
You might go out in search of new private clients who pay a little higher than your content mill work earns. While your private clients might not order regularly, when they do order, you have a way to earn a little more than usual.
Aim at some higher paying markets in between your content-mill pursuits. Magazines are always in need of well-researched articles. Approach the editor of a niche magazine about a topic that interests you and see if they'll be willing to pay you for your efforts. You might be surprised by the answer.
You might not have the time (or inclination) to apply to a second content mill, so why not consider selling some extra work directly on Constant Content? You get to choose what topics you write about and you get to set your own prices. These guys pay out twice a month for amounts over $5, so it could be a handy bit of extra cash you didn't have before.
You might prefer to spend a little of your spare time working on more creative pursuits. Short fiction still sells very well and can be great fun to write. There are plenty of paying short fiction markets out there.
Some writers might prefer to take a break from writing articles and web content, but still want to add to their incomes a little. You might try a bit of Paid Forum Posting as a side-income. This is where you contribute to making someone else's forum look busy and you get paid for your efforts.
It makes absolutely no difference what you choose to do - this is YOUR business, after all. You have the freedom to build it in whatever way suits you best. The key is to find things you enjoy. Work with clients who treat you well. Break into other areas that interest you.
Then reap the benefits of having various income streams arriving in your account multiple times a week.
I know I've said it before, and many writers simply don't get the point, but earning your freelance writing income in various currencies other than your local dollars can really protect you against a fall in the value of your own local dollar.
Here's a direct example: When I first started freelancing, the American Dollar was worth far more than the pitiful Australian dollar. In fact, $1 little pathetic Aussie dollar was worth about 0.52 cents per American dollar I was earning. So it made good sense back then for me to charge my clients in US dollars.
Logically, whatever I charged in US dollars could be converted to almost double again in Aussie dollars, so I was doing well.
Then the values all changed. The poor little Aussie dollar is now worth more than the US dollar. In fact, if I charged my American clients the same amount now as I did a couple of years ago, I'd be taking a pay cut. The Aussie dollar is now worth $1.10 for every $1 US dollar. That's a pay cut of more than half for doing the same work load.
If you're serious about your freelance business, you'll learn about how other country's currencies can benefit or hinder your income progress amounts. It really does make a difference to understand how various currencies can affect your overall profits or losses. I know this because I take very careful note of the exchange rates every day of my life.
Freelance writers really do have plenty of ways to keep income rolling into the household without ever needing to be reliant on one employer, one company or one client.