Protecting Your Freelance Income

I know I've posted a few times now about the importance of diversifying your client base. Unfortunately, I still see a lot of freelance writers struggle and lose their incomes completely because they fail to follow this simple advice. So I'll go over just why this is so important for every freelancer once more.

Understanding Your Freelance Writing Business

When you have a really good client who provides lots of steady, ongoing work for you, it can be a great feeling. You know you'll be busy and you know you're earning money. 

While this might seem like the ideal situation, relying on just one primary client could actually set you up for failure.

You see, if that client stops ordering or goes quiet or decides to cut back the amount of work they need from you, your income suddenly dries up. This leaves you scrambling around searching for more work to replace the income you just lost.

This is the same thing that happens with employees. They become reliant on one source of income (their salary). If this stops, or they lose their job, or they're retrenched, their entire financial well-being also stops. 

Don't let this happen to you. You're not an employee. You're a self-employed freelance business owner. Run your freelance enterprise just like you would run any other business.

Why Bother Working for More Than One Client?

Once again, I get asked frequently why freelancers should bother taking on extra work with content mills or smaller, irregular clients. After all, if that particular freelancer has a long term association going on with a really good-paying regular client, there's no point, right?

Think about this: Even if you only earn 10% of your total freelance income from a lower paying writing source each month, that's still an income. It's better than nothing at all - especially if your primary income drops off. Besides, if you have more time available you can boost that secondary source of income up until you find another big client to replace the one you lost.

Now imagine if you had two or three sources of income coming into your freelance business ASIDE from your main client. Even if you did lose that big source of income, you'd at least still have something to fall back on and your freelance business wouldn't die a painful death in the process.

Diversifying Your Freelance Business

Ideally, your biggest client or source of income should be under 50% of your total income. This can be really difficult for some freelance writers to do, but it absolutely needs to be done if you're serious about protecting your business income.

The key to any successful business is the ability to keep bringing in new sources of income. You might be quite happy writing for private clients, but always consider the option of submitting an article occasionally to a print magazine. They still need well-researched, well-written articles from freelance writers just like you, too!

Think about writing just one, boring little article at the end of every working day for a content mill somewhere. It might only earn you a measly $7 per article, but over 5 days, that's a $35 a week pay rise you didn't have yesterday.  It won't be a big part of your income, but at least it's something to fall back on if you ever need to make money in a hurry.

If you don't want to write for 'those' types of sites, write that extra article at the end of every day anyway. Submit a few of those articles to a good marketplace, like Constant Content. You can set your own prices on these and you'll end up selling them eventually, so you still get paid anyway.

Think of some ways you can use your writing skills to boost up your residual income (or passive income) from advertising revenues or affiliate sales or commissions or whatever. There are SO many ways your writing skills can really boost your income this way that it's worth looking into.

Consider how powerful royalties can be for your overall income. Royalties on book sales can go on for years - especially with digital e-book sales. Non-fiction and fiction books sell well, so look into something you really enjoy and maybe add this feather to your freelancing cap too.

No matter what you decide, your freelance business is still YOURS. Work out options that work for you and your schedule. Think about what you can do for your own business that will help diversify those income sources and then get to work!

You'll be glad you did if that big-income client ever vanishes on you...

Here are some related links that might help you:


Life Is Too Short...

So for those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know I've been quieter than usual lately. This is because I have gone through a messy relationship break up. My daughter was also injured recently and I've been caring for her, but most of all, I've been healing my own emotional wreck.

You see, I had a bit of an epiphany during that messy break up that life is just too short to spend it with the wrong person. I woke up one day and realized that I was in a relationship with someone who was totally wrong for me. Sure, we both liked the same type of movies and we both enjoyed the same type of food. But these are superficial things to have in common with someone.

We had nothing in common when it comes to life values or future goals.

I'm a creative person. I write for a living. My ex was a corporate slave, believing his job description and willingness to work based on someone else's schedule made him very important, even if it was in his own mind. Many employees simply don't understand the life of a self-employed person, so they make many false assumptions. This just isn't always compatible.

And so I ended it. Enough said.

Unfortunately, as a self-employed person, I don't get the luxury of taking sick leave to help me get enough time to work through those issues in peace on my own. So I kept working. I kept focusing on clients. I stuck to my schedules. I kept doing what I had to do to pay those bills. The ex took multiple weeks off work to wallow in his self-pity at being dumped.

So, what does a self-employed writer do when life keeps going on around them, relentlessly, with no recognition that there's an actual person behind the machine? That writer just keeps doing whatever's needed to keep the business running.

What does an employed corporate slave do when they're feeling a little under the weather? They take sick leave and enjoy some time off, whether they use it wisely or not.

What's the preferred option?

Personally, I'm very grateful for the constant distraction of having to work and keep up with orders and maintain a 'normal' working life, despite what's going on inside. This gave me the wake-up call I needed to tell me that life really DOES go on. It taught me that my own problems don't affect anyone else but me - and maybe my daughter, whose injury means she's at home more often lately.

Besides, I'm actually surprised at how much more productive I've been since I actively focused more on clients than on my other issues. It's really helped to bring the income up to a point where the daughter's medical bills aren't so scary any longer. And that can only be a good thing