7 Tips for Diversifying Your Freelance Income Streams
July 14, 2011 \ Articles
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One of the biggest challenges of freelancing is finding clients to hire you. As an entrepreneur, the onus is on you to attract business through continuous marketing and self-promotion. The temptation, however, is to take whatever work comes your way, diving into that project to the exclusion to all else, including continuing to seek out new business.
Being content with just one big client at a time isn’t the best plan of action to keep yourself steadily busy. There’s always the possibility that, for whatever reason, that client will ‘dry up’ and be finished with your services. Then what? If you’ve put all your business’ eggs in that one client’s basket, you’ll find yourself scrambling for your next source of income.
The prudent course of action is to diversify your income streams so that no one client makes or breaks your business’ profitability. Here are seven ways to keep your income diverse and continuously steady.
Tip 1 – Don’t rely on 1 client
Don’t rely on just one client. It’s best to always have multiple sources of income. Even though you may have a major client or project from time to time, be certain to always have other sources of income concurrently. Relying on just one client to keep your business going is a recipe for financial disaster should that big fish get away, experience a delay in paying you or simply not need your services any more.
Tip 2 – Focus
Focus on work in your specialty rather than looking at anything that comes along. Not that a new business can afford to be choosy but straying too far from your specialty just to make some money isn’t the answer. Focus on finding work in your particular specialty – you’ll be able to make your most favorable impression on clients when working in your area of expertise. When you focus your advertising toward your specialty, it’s easier for clients to identify you as the person with the appropriate skill set for the job. It’s always more profitable to be a specialist than a generalist.
Tip 3 – The Pipeline
Keep looking for work even when you’re entirely booked up. Keep your pipeline full of work! Don’t disappear off prospective clients’ radar just because you’re busy working on your current projects. Keep submitting bids on graphic design projects in your spare time and you’ll be glad you have prospects in the event a project falls through. Continuous marketing efforts keep you from having lulls in business between projects.
Tip 4 – Balance
Balance big projects and small ones. When you have a mix of big and small projects, you don’t get overly invested in one project. Having numerous clients at a time, big and small, keeps your business exposed continuously to a variety of potential future business rather than only being on one client’s radar.
Tip 5 – Partner up
Partner with other freelancers. By developing a network of freelancers, you can refer projects (or parts of bigger projects) you cannot fulfill to other competent professionals. They in turn will do the same for you, enabling your entire network of partners to remain continuously busy. This serves as an alternative marketing strategy and a fruitful source of qualified referrals which will help you to find more clients.
Tip 6 – Build templates
Build products or templates around requests you get a lot of. Repetition of effort is an inefficient use of your time. When you see opportunities to create templates or products to accomplish common work more efficiently, do it! This will enable you to more effectively service your clients by offering them a pre-built solution rather than starting from scratch each time. These templates and products can, in addition to being implemented by you, be sold independently, creating additional sources of income.
Tip 7 – Reevaluate
Reevaluate your income stream regularly. Continue to consider different means by which you can efficiently bring in streams of income. Is it focusing more tightly on a specialty? Is it working with clients in a particular industry? Perhaps it’s selling your expertise in an eBook or online course. Avoid getting complacent and just taking the work that comes your way. Think proactively about diversifying the sources of your income.
Make certain you always have numerous sources of income. Diversifying your income streams helps ensure that you always have a strong influx of receivables on which to depend. A bit from this client and a bit more from those is much more reliable than depending upon just one client at a time to fill your coffers. Keep an open mind when it comes to the variety of ways your business can generate money and you’ll never find yourself without a strong and steady income.
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