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:


Josh Danns said...

Great post! I think more freelance writers should adapt to this method. Since I never read any "manuals" when I became a freelance writer, I used to depend on one client only. So, if there are no article writing projects for me on a particular day, I would comfortably accept my fate. I soon realized that this was wrong, but after suffering a bit :) Again, I'll say: Great Post!!

Thoughts from all over... said...

I hope your challenges are working themselves out. I see no post from May. Broken relationships are tough to get through under the best of circumstances, which most aren't! Maybe I can bring a smile on the subject. try http://tomsmiscramblings.blogspot.com/2011/12/kick-him-to-curb.html

and see if that helps. As always, Victoria Bitter COULD help solve some problems.... unfortunately, it brings along another set of new ones... oh well... Hope this finds you well and you are happy and healthy