This article is a part of a five post series for Demand Media Studios writers and others interested in leaving content mills and other low paying freelance writing jobs behind.
We've already looked at why freelance job boards aren't the best places to find gigs and how you can make it easier for clients to find you through your writer platform. But what can you do in between client projects, as you wait for responses to your pitches or while you're still growing your platform?
You can build additional non-client income streams (and some of these are actually a part of your writer platform, meaning they can attract clients in addition to direct income). Let's look at some revenue stream options for writers and then I'll point you to some further information we've covered in the past about two of the most popular options.
Additional Revenue Streams for Freelance Writers
Here are ten potential new revenue streams you can develop as a writer:
- Niche content / resource websites (free)
- Paid membership sites
- Email newsletters
- Industry reports (based on original research like surveys)
- Website flipping (create small well-optimized sites and sell them to webmasters)
- PLR articles or e-books (content sold at very low prices for re-use or resale, but the same content can be sold to multiple people)
Not all of these income streams will be right for you. For example, if you tend to charge $50 or more per blog post (or want to), selling cheap PLR content can tarnish the image you want to create even if it might be more profitable at times. On the other hand, not all writers want to devote the time that goes into writing, editing and selling a book to bring in additional income.
Now let's look at two of the most common additional income streams for writers: blogs and e-books. I'm not going to say a lot about them directly in this post as they've been discussed extensively in the past. Instead I'm going to link you to further reading, so you can pick and choose the information you really want or need to know.
Here are some articles from our archives about getting started as a blogger and using blogs as an additional income stream:
- Make Money Blogging -- An Additional Income Stream for Freelance Writers
- Blog Launch Checklist
- Coming Up With Blog Post Ideas
- 101 Niches to Write About
- Score Points for Better Blogging
- Are You a Slave to Your Blog Sponsors?
- How We Increased Blog Traffic by 80% in Less Than a Year (and How You Can Too!)
Writing and selling e-books can be another way for freelance writers to earn income between gigs. Better yet, these e-books can sell for a long time after the initial launch. If you're thinking about writing e-books, here are some resources you might be interested in. (Note: Some of these posts are located on my indie publishing blog rather than All Freelance Writing.)
- How to Write an E-book in Just 14 Days (a free e-book)
- How Writing E-books Can Save You From a Low Pay Rut
- Planning and Outlining an E-book
- E-books and Reports -- An Additional Income Stream for Freelance Writers
- Using Testimonials to Sell an E-book
- 5 Factors to Consider in Pricing Your E-book
- Zoe Winters on E-book Pricing: Does Low-Balling Attract the Wrong Kind of Reader?
- Why Most of My E-books Won't be Sold on Amazon
- How to Market an E-book
No freelance writer must create additional income streams. You can spend that extra time on more pitches. This is just one way to diversify your writing business, and products or services that bring in regular income can alleviate some concerns when freelance work dries up.
Choose income streams based on your own target market. PLR articles have no place in some niches. Print books might not make sense for fast-moving industries where books would quickly be outdated. Not all markets will happily pay for access to a new membership site.
Identify your market and figure out how to solve problems for them -- in the end, that's how you make better money, whether through freelance contracts or your own projects.
If you've enjoyed this series, come back next week when I'll share tips and advice with five freelancers about their situations and goals for moving past Demand Media. You might find some of those suggestions useful in improving your own freelance writing career.
In the meantime, if you'd like to read more, you can check out the following articles from our archives:
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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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