Freelancing income often seems as though it is a limited commodity. It seems limited by time, limited by ability, and limited by the number of opportunities available. Many freelancers behave as though there is a specific number of freelancing jobs out there, and that once those jobs are gone there are no more jobs to go around.
That’s not necessarily how it works, though. First, there are new freelancing opportunities daily. Second, it’s possible to influence your freelancing income by making your own income opportunities.
In this post we’ll teach you how to maximize your income by both finding and winning opportunities that are already out there, and then by creating your own new income opportunities.
How the Find the Most Freelancing Opportunities
Although there are many freelancing opportunities listed online, most freelancers fail to make the most of them. That’s because they haven’t really learned to look for freelancing gigs properly.
Here are several suggestions to help you find more freelance work:
- Be first. It’s true that most jobs are posted on a Monday morning. This fact holds for traditional jobs as well as for freelance jobs. By Friday, many posted jobs are already filled. Make it a habit to get up early Monday morning and respond to new freelance jobs as soon as they are listed.
- Go to the source. While sites that aggregate job listings provide a valuable service, remember that there is a time lag between the time that the job is posted on the original site and the time that the job appears on the aggregating site. If you can, check the original site and apply before the job makes it to an aggregating site.
- Follow instructions. Many freelancers miss out on jobs because they don’t follow the instructions in the listing. If the ad says to call, make the call. If the ad requests references, make sure to include references. It sounds simple, but following the instructions will set you apart.
- Ask for referrals. Don’t be afraid to ask a client for a referral. Often your client is aware of others who need to have similar work done. In fact, you should be asking for referrals from all of your contacts, including friends and family.
- Have a website. If you freelance, it’s really important to have a website. A website helps clients find you and also lets them know that you’re serious about freelancing. Make sure that your website includes a way to contact you for work such as a contact form or an e-mail address.
- Have a social media presence. Not only is social media important to a freelancer for networking, potential clients are increasingly turning to social media to look for qualified freelancers. Recently, I’ve actually seen jobs posted on Twitter. A social media presence also provides another way for clients to contact you.
Don’t limit your income just to opportunities that others provide. As a freelancer you can also make some of your own opportunities.
How To Make Your Own Freelancing Opportunities
Most freelancers don’t realize it, but it is possible to take steps to create ongoing income streams independent of the income that you receive from your clients. This additional income can be very helpful for the inevitable slow periods (feast or famine cycle) that many freelancers face.
Here are several suggestions to help you make your own freelancing opportunities:
- Write and sell an e-book. You probably already know enough about your area of expertise to write an e-book. Once published, you can use your own website as well as your social media contacts to promote the book. Each time someone purchases your book, you will see a little spike in your income.
- Be someone’s affiliate. Include a link to someone else’s book or product on your website. Each time someone purchases through your link you receive a portion of the purchase price. (New laws require that affiliates disclose the affiliate relationship, but if you are honest and open that shouldn’t be a problem.)
- Accept advertising on your blog or website. If you own a popular blog or website, you may be able to earn income by selling advertising space on your site.
- Create something that you can sell more than once. If you can create something and sell it more than once you will have created a revenue stream for yourself. Images, photographs, website designs, and many other creations that can be re-used lend themselves nicely to resale.
- Become an adviser. Could you help someone else to understand and succeed at what you do? There’s a lot of money to be made in consulting. If you can give valid professional advice to others, then you can consult. Look for potential consulting clients not only among companies that use your services, but also among your less experienced peers.
- Participate in revenue sharing. The Internet offers many opportunities for revenue sharing. While not all revenue sharing opportunities are worthwhile, a few are. Do your homework and research each opportunity carefully. Select only those opportunities that are likely to be worth your time.
When you create your own opportunities, you may find that the feast or famine cycle disappears (or at least significantly decreases). You’ll also notice your income start to increase on a regular basis.
How do you find and win new freelance jobs? How do you make your own opportunities?
Share your tricks and tips in the comments.