Quick question: Are you satisfied with what you make from your freelance business month to month?
Even if you are, an extra $1000 wouldn’t hurt, would it?
Well the good thing is, you're here. And reading this right now is the best decision you could make for the next couple of minutes.
Well, I'm no veteran freelancer. And I've only been writing online for just 5 years.
When I first started freelance writing, my monthly income averaged about $100.
But the first time I was able to add an extra zero to that wasn't just by doing more work. I simply expanded my business. Here’s how:
1. Add an extra service, then upsell!
For a long time, all I could offer clients was an article writing service. I loved writing. I believe it’s a talent and so, I felt that was the only thing I was "allowed" to sell.
When I built my personal website, and then helped my dad setup his author website, a bulb “lit up” in my head. But I wasn't ready to jump into PHP and CSS because I wasn't sure I could pull it off. It looked like foreign territory.
So I reached out to a few friends, offered to setup their websites for free and about three months later, I added web design to my services.
Since then, I've built simple, basic websites to robust membership websites with marketing automation that's nerve racking! All worth a few thousand bucks a month.
What's the natural next step from where you are presently? For me, it was to add web design to my content creation services. It just looked like the perfect add-on service.
If you're a freelance logo designer, and you realise that your clients have terrible websites that spoil the beauty of your logo, an extra web design service would be a natural add-on. That way, you get to design the website that houses your logo. That’s what Rafal Tomal, freelance web designer does.
What if you create social media content for clients? Social media strategy or ad campaign management is a natural upsell.
Jon Loomer’s course on Facebook marketing is a good go-to guide if that's your route.
What if you're a writer and realise your content gets published on websites with poor UX? Then add a website audit to your whole package. Or start working with WordPress and use simple-to-use themes like Studiopress. It’s not as scary as you think ☺.
You don't have to add a service you don't like. You'll burn out and get frustrated if you do.
Look at the things you're presently good at and see if there’s something you're bold enough to offer as an add-on service. If there isn't any, learn a new skill until you can sell it.
2. Sell Online Products
Right now, this looks like a no-brainier. It's becoming one of the most profitable business models online.
Several freelancers have been able to diversify by creating online products they can sell. These products could vary, from training courses on a specific topic, to books, or physical products whose sales can be facilitated digitally.
And having such online products just makes people see you as an expert, even if all you have is a book related to your service on Amazon.
Remember perceived value?
For example, Danny Marguiles, a freelance copywriter, states in this post how selling a course added more than $160,000 to his revenue in the space of 13 months. Do the math.
There are several tools you'll need to make this happen. You really can't wake up one day and expect to launch a product tomorrow.
Now a note of warning: As creative people, we tend to think too big about whatever it is we want to create, and then eventually we get paralyzed from creating because of how scary the idea looks.
The solution? Start small, with tools within your reach.
If, for example, you see yourself selling ebooks or other digital products online, don't go all out by starting with Shopify or Magento e-commerce platforms. Consider a cost effective option like Spaces -- one that will grow with you as you test out various online products.
Spend only on the software you absolutely need and validate your ideas first. Yes, you may need to spend money to make money but you don't need to spend as much as you think. The key to this old adage is to spend wisely so you can create extra income that is sustainable.
3. Adopt A Recurring Revenue Model
You're a freelancer, so you're already used to the famine cycle.
On some months, you have a ton of jobs. On other months, you have so much time to watch your favourite Sitcom all day.
However, one way to reduce the likelihood of famine months is to adopt the recurring revenue model.
What this means is you stop taking one-off jobs. Or you attach a recurring service to a one-off job.
Initially, clients would approach me to write a bunch of articles in a month. After that's complete, they pay and zoom off.
But as I learned more about content marketing, I realised that it wasn't a campaign that you stop.
When you're able to make your service appear as part of a long term plan that'll contribute to your clients' business goals, they come back month after month.
So I ramped up my services a bit to include services like:
- Content marketing strategy (one-off service)
- Monthly blog posts (recurring)
- Web design (one-off)
- Website support (recurring)
- Content promotion (recurring)
- Monthly strategy review (recurring) etc.
Not all clients will have recurring contracts with you. But the few that do will give you that extra income you need every month, so you hardly (or never) run out of jobs. That's as long as you do your marketing and keep your pipeline full.
The ball is in your court
You're a freelancer. You already sell services online. And by now, you know that implementing just one of the three methods above can add at least $1000 to your monthly income.
You determine just how profitable your digital business is. Like it or not, you're already living an enviable lifestyle. Don't take that for granted. Instead make it better.
Learn how to do something new. Experiment. Keep improving. Charge for what you know. Add an extra $1000 to your monthly income. Make it steady. Then repeat the process.
The sooner you get started with this, the more profitable it will be for you. Clarity begins with action. Don't wait till all the stars align, start right now!
The ball is in your court. So play it!