As a freelancer, I’m often asked how I manage the fluctuations in work—and therefore earnings—and how I cope with having an unstable income. Indeed, this is a factor that puts many people off becoming freelancers. So today, let’s look at five ways that freelancers can deal with the lack of stability in workload and earnings.
#1 Rainy day savings
One of the simplest ways to deal with an unstable income is being prudent with your savings. When you’re earning, set aside enough money to cover gaps in work. Always have a rainy day savings account to fall back on, but also have emergency savings for when the first pot runs out. I tend to have a few months’ income saved up just in case.
#2 Ongoing clients
If you want a more regular workflow, it’s a good idea to secure a few ongoing clients. Of course it depends on what type of work you do as a freelancer, as not all freelance work lends itself to ongoing clients. However, if you can get some regular clients, you know you’ll definitely be earning something. I have a handful of regular clients that I work for, as it guarantees at least some income.
#3 Multiple methods
It can also be easier to balance your workflow if you have multiple methods to find work. Try freelancing platforms, your own website, LinkedIn, jobs boards, word of mouth, networking, and your existing network. Having more methods to find clients can lead to a more stable income and workload. If you really can’t find any freelance jobs, sign up to a temping agency and fill the gaps with a short temp contract.
#4 Other avenues
Although your freelance work is likely to be your main source of income, it helps to have other ways to earn money when you have lulls in your freelance workload. It might be something small like selling items on eBay—or something bigger like an employed job for one day a week. It’s also worth looking at ways to earn passive income to fill gaps in your earnings.
#5 Use your time wisely
When you have a quieter spell, make use of your time to improve your service offering. Fill your non-working time with useful tasks such as learning more about what you do, reading books, going on courses, and developing new skills. Getting better at what you do can lead to better-paying clients, which means less problems if you have a gap in your work.
Using a mixture of these methods can help you to have a more balanced workload and stable income as a freelancer. What methods do you use? Comment below or get in touch.