Why Every Freelancer Should Have a Personal Project

passive-incomeAs a freelancer, we are always looking for clients. Whether we are in freelancing for the joy and freedom of it, or to earn more than what we were being offered at our day job, a freelancer can’t always get by on the expectation of getting more clients.

If you want to succeed in the long run there has to be a back up plan–a plan that kicks in when all else fails.

Whether it’s a personal blog that earns income or a service that fills a void, whatever it is, it’s always good to have something that you can call your own…something that will somewhat support you just in case the river runs dry.

The Joy of Owning Something

Remember the first time you owned a car. Maybe it was your parent’s car first, but the fact you could call it your own was definitely something to be happy about. Back then it was just a fad, something to brag about to your friends. The story is different now.

Although many freelancers have regular clients, it’s also good to start your own personal project. If you don’t need to do it for the sake of money, do it for the sake of knowing that you own something that you built based on your skill set. (It can be discouraging to put many hours for a client and see their projects take off. Of course, you are getting paid to do it, but sometimes the joy of owning and knowing that you put your skills into something that’s yours can be a tremendous confidence boost.)

It Can Act as a Back Up Plan

Let’s say at the end of 2010 you are having trouble finding new clients. You have gotten all your old regular clients to a point where they don’t really need your help (sometimes being good has its drawbacks). What do you do? Just because the client work stopped doesn’t mean mortgage payments, bills, and the need to put food on the table will stop. This is when your personal project can act as a back up plan.

If you started a site or a service today, you would have an entire year to make something out of it. If you have clients willing to pay you to do something, you can also use that skill to make something that would pay you directly. Think about it. Whether it’s a blog earning revenue through advertisements, affiliate sites or a service, you start something now.

There is no guarantee that it will make you the income that your clients pay, but you will have something coming in if all else fails. And if it generates an income, soon you could be freelancing just for the joy of it and not solely for the money.

Think Passive

What if you could create something that could earn passive income? It’s possible. Although half the people that claim to earn passive income are spammers, there are quite a few who are legitimately earning passive income. Affiliate sites are a key example of how to earn this form of income. Setting up an affiliate site is not that hard (although you will have to do some initial work).

A few domain names, affiliate accounts, and a good sense of which market to target can start you on the path to earning a passive income through these sites. Some of the initial steps to take include:

  • Choose a niche
  • Test landing pages
  • Choose some affiliate products

If two weeks worth of work can earn you money for the rest of your life (even if it is only $500 a month) that certainly isn’t a bad deal. Give it a try.

I am not an affiliate marketer, but I do run a few sites and they do fairly well. What I earn through my sites is nothing compared to what I make through my clients, but if all my clients left for some reason, it certainly wouldn’t change my lifestyle drastically. Follow a few good affiliate marketing blogs and start learning how to do it for yourself.

The Confidence Factor

Your project is your baby. When it grows, matures and does what you wanted it to do, it is quite a good feeling. Of course, things aren’t going to happen overnight, just like a baby won’t grow up to be a responsible adult in a month. It will take time, but just knowing that you have something to look forward to can boost your confidence.

Knowing that after you get done with client’s work you have something of your own that you need to do can be quite fun. Working on my sites is something that I look forward to each day. After I get done with my client work, I spend about an hour or two on my personal projects before heading to bed. Although I work from home, I get a sense of “it’s time to go home” when I am ready to work on my stuff.

You Turn To Share

What do you think? Do you think a freelancer should have a project of his own? Do freelancers need a back up plan just in case there comes a time when clients aren’t all that easy to get?

It’s your turn to share.

Image by spilt-milk