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November 2, 2016 (Updated: January 26, 2023)
If you’re new to the life of a freelancer, you may not know what those of us who’ve been doing it for a while know. The freelance life can be “feast or famine.” When the work is rolling in, you barely have enough time to shower, eat, or check Facebook. When it dries up, you count pennies and eat cheap, worrying that you’ll never find work again.
There is an ebb and flow to freelance work that becomes especially painful during slower times. Projects end and clients take a break. Relying on only one big client or one type of work means that when the work slows down, you’re left in a panic about how to pay the bills and take care of your family. By having more than one gig as a freelancer, you give yourself a better chance of surviving the slow times.
No matter how you began your freelance career, whether writing for CopyPress or helping a friend create content for their business website, it’s important to diversify your income so you don’t have to rely on one type of freelance gig.
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The United States is home to hundreds of thousands of small and large business. While only half of small businesses have a website, they all want to sell a product or service to their customers. Whether they know it or not, they need someone who can write compelling copy for them. Website pages, blog posts, email newsletters, and copy for brochures, flyers, and postcards are all services you can offer small business owners.
Choose your niche and start contacting businesses. Check them out online to see if they have a website that needs help. Reach out to businesses in your local area and offer your services. Let your followers and friends know on social media that you’re available for hire. You’d be surprised how many people who have a business or who know someone who needs your help. Business clients with steady, regular work can bring stability and a constant cash flow to your freelance life.
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Writing is writing, even if you only have 140 characters to do it in. Another option for finding a different gig to keep your cash flow positive is to promote yourself as a social media manager. Many small businesses know they need to be on Facebook or Instagram, but they don’t have time and are often overwhelmed by the amount of work that goes into it. If you know how to take an article or an image and add copy that gets people engaged, you can turn it into steady income.
Start your search on social media for local businesses or friends with businesses who could have a stronger online presence. Offer your services along with ideas of what you can do for them. If you can show the value in what you offer, like saving them time and building their audience, many businesses will take you up on your offer. Of course, you’ll have to get results to keep the client.
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Writers always have something to say, sometimes controversial, sometimes thoughtful, but opinions aren’t in short supply in our world. Turn those opinions and your writing skills into cash, with a byline, by writing for websites and magazines. Start with ones you love and read all the time. It’s important to have a feel for the style and voice of a publication. Think about what you know or believe about a topicand pitch it to the editor.
Make sure you always read the submission guidelines, if they’re available, and follow the instructions they give you. Once you get your first couple of bylines, you can branch out to other publications or other topics that interest you. If you have a journalism background, or if your dream is to see your name in a big, national publications, consider pitching article ideas that need plenty of research and interviewing experts. Opinion pieces and personal essays will earn you a little extra cash, but journalism, when done well, can help you pay your mortgage.
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While by no means a fast or easy way to earn an income, passive income from your own blog is a long-term option for building your income. The first, and hardest, part is to start a blog that attracts readers. Some writers teach other writers while others follow their other passions. Either way, building a thriving blog with a dedicated following takes time.
As you grow your blog audience, you can put different revenue options into place. In time, many of these can pay off and add to your income. How can you earn an income through your blog?
All of these can add to your income. Make sure you stay on the right side of Google and marketing ethics by using disclaimers and letting your readers know when something is an advertisement. Most bloggers don’t make six figures right away from their websites, contrary to all the headlines you see on social media. With effort and patience, a steady income through your blog is possible.
You have your reasons for being a freelancer. Maybe it was the promise of being your own boss and working on your own terms. Perhaps you read all those articles about making a six-figure income in less than a year. Either way, you’ve already figured out that building a career you love that allows you to pay the bills and live the life of your dreams takes hard work and patience.
Instead of spending months at a time eating ramen and hoping the electric company will give you an extra week to pay, find different types of jobs that let you use your talent, drive, and abilities. You’ll be that much closer to living the freelance life of your dreams, and you won’t spend so much of your time worrying about where the next paycheck is coming from — you’ll be too busy working and growing your business.