Freelancing for a living has many perks, but it’s not always easy to keep a steady pace and workflow. It can often feel like an uphill battle to find new clients and paid tasks. When it’s good, it’s really good, but when times are hard it’s up to you to turn up the heat and earn your keep.
One way to maximize income, while minimising risk, is to find and create new revenue streams. If all of your money is coming from a single source, you become reliant on the work coming in. If you have multiple clients, jobs or ways to make money, then you won’t have to suffer if any single one lets you down.
Many people have a fundamental misunderstanding of how to generate new income streams. This misunderstanding can be summarised as the attitude that one can somehow ‘get rich quick’ by jumping on the same bandwagon as everyone else.
Certain ways to make money become trendy. Maybe someone, somewhere, makes a killing drop-shipping on Amazon. They post a YouTube video that makes it look easy and act like the market is open for anyone and everyone to earn millions and move to a tropical paradise. This is not reality. Let me tell you from experience: generating income is hard work.
Getting in on an idea, product or market early is nearly always lucrative. Anyone who had the skills during the poker boom probably made a quick buck. Anyone who invested in Bitcoin a few years ago is now laughing hard at the amount of money they have made. These things eventually level out, more people get involved, and the money becomes more difficult to make.
Incidentally, Bitcoin is still gaining momentum as a technology. Bitcoin is now used by businesses and accepted by certain casinos at their front desks, restaurants and gift shops. But the initial boom has subsided. You can’t just throw money in the crypto-pot and expect an instant return.
This brings me to my next point… You really have to be into something to make money in the long term. As there are no ‘get rich quick’ schemes (apart from for the fortunate few who get in early), consistent income requires effort, time and energy. As such, you will need to be passionate, willing to learn, and willing to work at whatever it is you decide to do. If you can’t see yourself enjoying something, then don’t do it.
With the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ taken care of, let’s get to the ‘how’. The first way to generate new revenue streams is to find new clients within your existing area of expertise. This is the simplest route, and you probably already do this to some extent. If your workload is unsatisfactory, then apply for jobs and network with people within your niche to pick up additional (and preferably higher-paid) work.
You can also offer new and additional services, again within the same or similar area. If you are a content writer, start writing blogs. If you do web design, learn coding so you can move into app design. You can upsell these services to new and existing clients. For example, a client might ask you to develop a new design for their homepage. Once completed, you could then offer them a reasonably-priced monthly SEO package.
Using the upsell model, you can go from earning a one-off payment for a single task to earning a monthly income stream from continuous client support.
If you are looking to try something new (perhaps for the variety), then you can consider branching out into entirely new services that may or may not be related to what you currently offer. For example, content writers could move into web design in order to offer full website packages. Carpet shop owners can start to stock rugs and curtains. Don’t over-expand. Keep the focus on what your clients know and love as you branch out gently into new areas.
Finally, keep your eye out for unique opportunities to get involved in investments or business projects that interest you. You never know, you might catch the start of the next big boom!