One of the notorious difficulties with freelancing is managing to get a stable income. The very nature of freelancing means that the work—and therefore the income—isn’t stable, regular, or guaranteed. This can be difficult for freelancers who need to pay the bills every month, and it can be off-putting for those considering freelancing as a career option. However, there are ways that you can have a more stable income as a freelancer, so let’s take a look…
#1 Get repeat customers
One of the easiest ways to stabilise your income as a freelancer is to get regular, ongoing customers. When you have repeat customers, you know that at least some of your income is guaranteed every month. To get return customers, ensure you do a great job for new customers and make it clear that you’d be happy to work with them again. Keep your regular clients happy and continue to add value for them. Develop a working relationship with them and get to know what they’re like as a person.
#2 Apply for big projects
If the type of freelance work you do translates well to bigger projects, then you can ensure a more stable income by lining up a few big projects every month. If you’re organised, you can schedule these in for future months so you can calculate your earnings. For example, I make most of my income through freelance book editing projects, which take longer, are more involved, and pay better than finding and doing lots of smaller jobs. Of course, this depends on what you do, as not all freelancing lends itself to big projects, but for those that do, bigger is often better.
#3 Don’t just rely on one method of earning
If you’re just working through one method, such as one freelancing site or just cold-calling, it can be very limiting in terms of getting a decent, stable wage. Most of the freelancers I know work through a variety of methods, such as general freelancing websites, industry-specific freelancing sites, their own personal website, LinkedIn, word-of-mouth recommendations, networking, return customers, jobs boards, etc. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket—look far and wide for work.
#4 Save and salary
While it’s tempting to withdraw and spend all of your earnings at once, you can organise your freelance income to be more like a regular salary. Keep your earnings in a separate account, then pay yourself a monthly wage on a set day of the month. When you earn more one month, save it for future months when you earn less. This way, it can feel like your income is more stable than it actually is, as you regulate it through saving and a monthly salary.
#5 Join a freelance pool
Some companies have a regular pool of freelancers who they outsource work to. If you apply to join one of these pools, you can set your availability and be sent work as and when it’s available. For example, some publishers advertise for freelance proofreaders—where you tell them how much work you can take on, then they offer you work when it comes up. This takes the hassle out of finding work, and these companies often have plenty of work available.
#6 Apply for freelance “contracts”
This idea sounds contradictory, some freelancers have short contracts with businesses, where they freelance for a company on a specific project for a set amount of time while still being self-employed. For example, they might be an in-house consultant for six months. This is a slightly more complex situation, but it means a guaranteed income for a while.
#7 Try other methods
While you’re freelancing, there are many other ways to earn money on the side, such as selling items online, taking part in market research, doing affiliate marketing, developing property, or having a part-time job for one or two days a week. Don’t think that just because you’re a freelancer, you can’t get involved in other ways to make money. In fact, the freedom of your freelance working hours means you can invest time in making money through other methods.
Often, using a mixture of these methods is the easiest way to secure a more stable freelance income.
Have you tried any of these? What are the other methods you use to earn money as freelancer? Comment below or get in touch.