When you work as a freelance writer, you're a service provider. Selling products is technically something different. But that doesn't mean you can't incorporate other income streams into your business. Sure, you can remain a freelance purist if you really want to. But if you're looking for new ways to make money with your writing without having to be too reliant on client projects, why not turn your writing services into products you can sell?
Need some ideas on how you can get started? Here are five examples of ways you can use your freelance writing skills and knowledge in your specialty area to sell information products and make more money.
E-books are a popular option these days for writers wanting to sell products thanks in part to e-reading devices. But they've been a big deal in entrepreneurial circles for a long time. They're a proven income stream, and they can bring in recurring income as long as the topic area is still valid (meaning evergreen topics are a good choice for e-books). Write an e-book of your own and you can sell it. Target members of your existing target market if you want to capitalize on your current platform and network to boost sales.
You can also go a more traditional route and write print books. You can seek traditional publishers or you might opt for the indie publishing route. Again, focus either on your own target market or on their target market (for example, if you write for magazines that cater to parents, you could write a book directly to the parent audience).
As much as you like having people pay you to write for them, you could make a good amount of money by teaching the true DIY-ers of the group to do things for themselves. There are several ways to do this, including webinars or e-courses. But if you want a simpler recurring revenue stream, why not create information kits? For example, if you write sales letters frequently and you want to tap those who might not be willing to pay your service rates you could put together a kit with tutorials and templates. You create it once and sell it over and over again. You don't have to give away all your secrets. But you get recurring income and get to reach buyers who otherwise wouldn't have given you a dime.
Maybe you'd like to spend more time writing the content that you want to write instead of what clients want. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could essentially sell that content over and over instead of to just one client (or a handful in the case of reprints)? You can do something similar with a subscription website or a subscription-only section of your blog. Just create premium content once and sell access to it repeatedly to each subscriber to your site. You won't get away with charging for basics everyone else offers for free though. So find ways to make a subscription worthwhile.
Maybe you're used to writing white papers and reports for clients. Why not do your own original research and release the report for a fee? If you specialize in an in-demand subject area where people are interested in new research, this could be a great information product for you. For example, you might run a major survey each year and publish the results (note that a simple online poll isn't going to cut it if you want to charge for the resulting report).
How would you turn your writing services into products to expand your income potential beyond your typical billable hours? Leave your experiences or ideas in the comments below.
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media -- a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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