10 Ways to Increase Your Freelancing Income

As a sort of follow up to last week’s post about where freelance writers can take their careers, I compiled a list of just a few options for increasing your income. Now, most of these won’t work for every single writer out there, but I tried to include options that could be adapted to different situations. If you have any thoughts on increasing a freelancer’s income, please, add them to the list in the comments.

  1. Sell reprint rights to your articles. While you can’t make as much money on reprint rights as on first rights, you can sell them over and over again. Using this technique turns your past work into a source of passive income: all you have to do is keep those articles on the move to new publications.
  2. Write a book. Now, I know that for a lot of freelance writers, the idea of a book seems like it would require a lot of time, with no guaranteed pay out. But I’m not recommending writing fiction (I’m not saying to avoid fiction writing projects — they just tend to have lower payouts). Instead, I’m suggesting that you come up with a book proposal and shop it around. Don’t put all the time and effort into writing a book until you have a publisher willing to pay for it. Furthermore, once written, a book is a long-term earner, especially if you can update the material regularly for later editions.
  3. Look for speaking gigs. If your writing has established you as an expert in a specific niche, you can get paid for talking about it. Conferences, organizational meetings, guest lectures: there are plenty of speaking opportunities out there. And if you’re nervous about public speaking, there are plenty of opportunities for online seminars or podcasts, where you’ll never see your audience.
  4. Teach a class. While many writers seem to take on opportunities to teach writing courses, there are other options as well, if you consider all of your skills and expertise: if you are a technical writer, you might be able to provide insight into the communication  between engineers and management; if you review movies, you could look for opportunities to teach film appreciation courses. And just like speaking gigs, there are plenty of online opportunities.
  5. Consult. It can help to think of consulting as an individual teaching gig. You sit down with a few representatives of a company and offer them the benefit of your experience. Once again, any skill or expertise you have can lead to a consulting opportunity.
  6. Create your own product. Greeting cards, ezines, marketing instructional manuals — these products, and many more, can be created in those minutes that you have between writing gigs. Best of all, once you created this sort of material once, you can continue selling it for only the cost of printing. Most can be sold via the internet for minimal expense on your part.
  7. Take on management positions. You’d think that there aren’t many management opportunities for a freelancer, but plenty of publications have begun to rely on freelance editors, who are responsible for managing content, as well as coordinating freelance writers. While these sorts of opportunities can take a lot more of your time than pounding out an article, the pay is also significantly more, as long as you stick with reputable publishers.
  8. Add to your skills. Learn other aspects of publication, and you can make yourself more valuable to editors. For instance, if you can take your own photographs, you can negotiate your per article rate upwards. If you can offer a cartoon that goes with your story, you have the same opportunity. If you write copy for advertisements and can design the ad that the copy goes with, you can get a leg up as well, just like if you can layout corporate documents you have written for printing.
  9. Find long-term projects. Long-term projects are typically  better paying  for writers because there is less of a time sink  in finding work on a regular basis. Time is money, after all, and the more time you spend looking for work, the less time you spend actually working.
  10. Reduce your expenses. I know that it sounds counter-intuitive to make more money by doing less, but it is possible. The best example I can offer is the processes of querying and through the mail. At 41 cents a letter, I simply can’t afford to query widely. I don’t. I’ve been able to more than make up any income lost from publications that only accept snail mail queries through the sheer quantity I can afford to send out by email.

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  1. Liz Handlin   •  

    Great post. I really like your tips and ideas. I will be sure to pass them along to my clients and any freelance writers I come across. Good blog.

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  3. Kathryn   •  

    Thanks for the tips. Some of them I have thought about but never followed through on doing. I just have to make myself do it.

    It’s hard to promote yourself. Even as a writer, I’ve had to bite the bullet on some days (particularly when someone asks what I charge). I can almost hear them thinking “you think you are worth that!”

    Maybe that’s why so many people avoid writing, speaking, or consulting as a career.

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