Being your own boss is the business.
But of course, working independently means periods without any guaranteed work. We’ve talked about how you can deal with the fallow periods when there isn’t a steady stream of client work, but what if you could bring in extra income that doesn’t rely on your time?
Having other sources of revenue means that you can potentially cover the basic costs of running your independent business and spend your working time thinking about and developing your freelance business.
Freelancers and independents are often personal businesses, that is, other companies buy the brand that is you. So when demand for your time is high, or you need to take time out of the business, you’ll need to know that other revenue streams can take the load off.
It’s important to think about what your longer-term goals are. Many of us are happy doing what we love, and earning enough money to keep us afloat. And that’s absolutely fine. But sometimes the demand reaches a stage where you are continually running to catch up and it’s obvious that you need to grow. That’s very scary for many of us, as we struggle to stay in control.
So how can you create a financial comfort blanket that helps with that transition? It’s something that we’ve given plenty of thought to at KindredHQ.
What is certain is that you can’t grow by trading your time for money. There are plenty of things that you can do that will keep making you money even when you aren’t working on them.
One of the most obvious ways to do that is to develop products and services that match the core purpose of your business. If you are a coach, for example, you can (relatively) easily develop products that people can access online. These days, it’s easy to create podcasts, deliver webinars, write and publish books even. Think how many more people you can reach that way.
Here are some of the great resources that we’ve found that will help you bring in more income, increase your visibility and develop new or more engaged customers.
Squeezing more out of your existing freelance business
When you are passionate about what you do, your enthusiasm can be infectious. There’s no better way to demonstrate that to a wide audience than to talk about it – preferably live. Once you get the hang of it, webinars are simple – you may already have taken part in a few. GoToWebinar is a Citrix Online tool that is geared toward web seminars which have up to 1,000 attendees. It works with both Windows and Mac, and includes a variety of tools that are not present in its smaller web meetings counterpart, GoToMeeting. It’s a user-friendly and relatively cost effective depending on how often you plan to use it.
2. Writing articles, ebooks, or self publishing your book
The single most important resource that we’ve come across is the fabulous Copyblogger.com, which has a wealth of free advice about how to write articles, newsletters and basically any type of content marketing that you can think of. It might even inspire you to write a book.
The idea of writing a book can sound daunting, but if you are already blogging, it makes sense to repurpose some of the hard work that you’ve done writing to expand out into an ebook or even to publish a book for yourself. It’s much easier to do this these days. We even wrote a whole article about it here. Make sure you think carefully about how you price the book and benchmark yours against similar titles with a quick Google search.
3. Partnerships and affiliates
This used to be the ‘dirty’ side of marketing, but the online content industry seems to have embraced affiliate marketing again. It makes sense on lots of levels, if you think about it. If you have a following that love what you are writing about or the community that you have built, then they are likely to like the things you like. Affiliate marketing and other similar content partnerships are simply a small commission that you receive for every sale that is made as a result of something you’ve recommended. To be honest, if your community objects to that link, they will quickly tell you and in fact, they often accept this model as part and parcel of being able to access your resources for free.
Let’s say you run a blog about marketing for example. You may recommend some books to your readers that you have found useful. Amazon runs an associate programme which means that when your customers buy a book from Amazon having clicked through from your blog, you get a small percentage of that sale. It all adds up. For example, we love the book ‘ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever‘ by Jason Fried. If you follow that link and buy the book – we get a tiny percentage, but you pay the same!
Some blogs use this model very effectively, but if you are considering it, be very careful to make sure that your relationship with your audience and customers remains true and trustworthy. Don’t ever recommend something that you wouldn’t use yourself.
4. An online shop
If you’ve built a tribe of followers around your business, they might appreciate buying into your service in other ways. PayPal and online marketplaces make this really easy, and of course people have been making money on the side with eBay for years.
If you’ve invested in your brand and marketing, why not sell some merchandise online? Sites like Etsy and print-on-demand shop Zazzle make this really easy, and mean that you don’t have to worry about storing lots of merchandise in your garage or pay for printing in advance.
I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart. – EE Cummings
And some other ways to make some extra money on the side that don’t involve doing anything illegal!
5. Rent out stuff
We’re all part of the sharing economy, aren’t we? 😉 Well, you can consider renting out your flat or room with Airbnb, or even better to a fellow entrepreneur or free spirit with sites like Bizpora.com. Or your car space (see Park at My House ..or even your desk.
6. Be a mystery shopper or join a research panel.
Oh yes. You can get paid to be a mystery shopper. There is an organisation – Mystery Shoppers Providers Association (MSPA) that will let you know who your local providers are. Even less effort, you can join a research panel or take part in research groups who will often pay you for a couple of hours of your time and feed you too!
7. Be a dog walker!
The wonderful thing about dog walking is that it will get you out of the house and walking, which is a double plus for those of us freelancers who work from home. All you really need to consider is that you’ll need specialist pet business insurance which includes public liability and insurance against losing your clients’ keys. NARPsuk is the National Association with all the relevent information on their website.
We could go on….
But let’s hear from you about interesting ways in which you’ve supplemented your freelance income with some work on the side! Tell us in the comments below.