Diversifying your income streams as a freelancer working online

If you are a freelancer working online, chances are that you are just making money selling your services to freelance clients. If use marketplaces like UpWork, you are totally dependent on bidding on enough jobs to reach your income goals.

If you are using a site like Entity, you will also depend on income that you get paid once a potential clicks through to your ad and outsourced work to you. If you are using cold pitching, it is probably the same story – you are relying on making most of your money from services you render to freelance clients.

You might be bringing a lot of money in every month and just keep at it – getting money entirely from freelancing.

But then there might come a time when diversifying can be a good thing for you. And when I talk about diversifying, I don’t just mean relying on different platforms to find clients.

In this article I am going to share some tips you can use to go from just making money from freelancing to creating other streams online that can bring you money as well. I will share those avenues as well.

Why most freelancers just rely on the income they get from clients that hire them

Freelancing takes lots of time. Like any other job, you will probably spend a lot of hours daily working on projects and tasks clients outsource to you. And then once you start making money and getting more work, you will just be focused on finishing the work you have so you can create room for new work.

Then you will do this repeatedly for a long time until it just becomes second nature. So, the habit you will create will be one where you get work and get paid and then when you want more money you will just do more of what you did the last time

Find work, do it and get paid. If you start working for multiple clients at a time, you will probably have long days and really have no room to think about other ways to make money – especially if what you are earning per project or monthly is an amount that is quite substantial.

Some have a day job and see adding freelancing as a way to make extra money as diversification. Yes, there are people who have other jobs who also spend a few hours a week finding and doing freelance work online. Such people are usually comfortable with the dual income they make that they may not even have enough time / motivation to look into other ways to make money online besides freelancing.

If the total they make from their salary and the extras they make from their side hustle covers their bills, leaves them a little fun money and some savings, they will just be happy with their setup.

What do freelancers who manage to diversify their income do?

How do they go from making money from one source online to two or more sources?

They take a long term view. For example if they want to start making money from selling an online course, they won’t be in a rush to create and launch something within days or weeks. They will usually create a plan that can take many months before they launch and start selling their course.

How? They may start by writing a blog in the niche they will eventually launch a course in, build momentum by creating an email list and trying to rank for certain search terms and when they are ready they will launch their paid product and start earning from it as well as making money from the freelance work they already do.

They start implementing their plans gradually. For example, if creating a course, someone may decide to break down every process that will go into making their course and start working on just a single thing at a time.

They might have a week or two in there where they just record videos for their course and another week or two where they create workbooks or another week where they just write a sales page for the product while thinking of sites where they can get mentions / guest posts to push the rankings of blog posts related to their course.

They hire others to help them. Because time is limited and they can’t do everything themselves, they will turn to others for help – for example with setting up a membership site for their course, or to upload their course content on one of the popular online course platforms, or creating an email sales funnel, or for creating graphics or for managing paid ads to their online shop.

Avenues freelancers turn to to make extra money (diversify their income streams)

Creating online courses. For example, creating a video course on a topic one is knowledgeable about and uploading it on a course platform like Udemy, Thinkific or Teachable.

Self-publishing. For example, writing a few ebooks and using Amazon KDP to publish, distribute and sell them.

Affiliate marketing. For example by creating a small niche site targeting products / services / merchants that pay others a commission for successfully referring sales / leads to them. These sites can be targeted at Amazon shoppers or other buyers that purchase stuff online with affiliate programs on networks such as ShareASale.

Display ads. For example, writing a bunch of blog posts on one topic in a well-paying niche, building links to the posts to make them rank high on Google Search and then monetizing the content with ad networks such as Google AdSense, Media.net or Mediavine.

Coaching and consulting. For example, by providing a hand to others interested in learning more about something you are knowledgeable about. If you are an IT technician offering their freelance services on the web for people needing help with their servers or internal networks, you can also charge businesses a fee for advice you give them.

Agencies. For example, starting a content marketing / content writing / SEO / or app development agency. You can create a team around something you already offer, increase the work load you can take in, make more money, distance yourself from the business a bit and use some of the time you free to start an agency / business in a totally unrelated field.

Creating tools, software, extensions, plugins and themes. For example a WordPress developer helping small businesses fix errors on their websites, can create their own WordPress theme (and sell it on Theme Forest) or WordPress plugin (and sell it on Code Canyon).

The dangers if diversification when not properly executed

While diversifying is a good thing, there are some drawbacks that come with it as well especially if you try to do it when you are just starting to make food money with your freelance work.

For example, when you are just starting to manage one to three clients as a freelance writer, you might be tempted to also start a few niche sites of your own to make money with affiliate marketing.

But a day only has 24 hours and when you factor in sleep time, you will find out that you won’t easily manage your own projects alongside the work that is outsourced to you.

So, you have to figure out what the right time is for you to start actively exploring ways to diversify your income or you will end up…

  • With burnout
  • With many half-assed projects

If you are still in a place where getting more clients for the freelance service you offer makes more sense than diversifying your income streams, use the Place Ad option on Entity.co.ke to create an ad listing with details about what you are offering potential clients. Placing an ad on the site is free.

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