How to Create Passive Income Streams as a Freelancer

Written by Elizabeth Wellington on May 1, 2017

When you build a freelance business on a solid group of clients and an expanding referral network, it can be lucrative. Some independent contractors make even more than they would in a day job. Ultimately, though, you’re always paid for your time (or your unique deliverables), and there’s a limit to the volume of business you can accomplish each day.

Once you reach a certain level of success, it’s time to start thinking about creative ways to create passive income streams. Developing this reoccurring income is well worth the investment, because it pays you for more than your time. Years down the road, you could still collect residual income from past passion projects. Here are a few different ways you can go beyond client work to solidify your professional reputation and strengthen revenue — without working weekends.

Sell Your Work

Clients covet the best freelancers for their niche skill set. Follow their lead by packaging the same deliverables you sell clients for people to buy again and again. Let’s say you work as a graphic designer; you could develop adaptable logos or typography. Photographers can license their work in stock photos. Writers can self-publish.

Aja Frost, a well-known freelancer, turned her awesome career as a writer into a short e-book, “How to Start a Freelance Writing Career From Scratch.” She sells it on Amazon, which brings in extra revenue — even though she’s changed gears and is now in a full-time job. There are so many ways to get creative like Frost and sell your work. It’s a nice change of pace to spend time on your own project, too.

Teach an Online Course

There are a lot of platforms that provide a forum to teach your craft or skill. I’m a fan of Skillshare, which makes it easy to share your knowledge with a growing community of freelancers or entrepreneurs. If you want even more control over your course, consider offering a class through your site (or chosen setting) rather than as part of another company. You can also look into local opportunities to license your classes at professional organizations, community colleges and brick-and-mortar education centers.

Paul Jarvis started working for himself as a designer in 1998. Now, he helps people strike out on their own as freelancers through his courses on building a business, marketing and training for MailChimp. Do you enjoy teaching? Is there something you can share with the world? If so, give it a shot — you may be surprised by how many people want your help.

Monetize Your Blog

Developing a blog is crucial to a freelancer’s online marketing efforts. Even if you’re not a creative, it can strengthen leads and get your name out there. Once you have a solid blog presence and a lot of readers, you can turn this marketing channel into a passive income stream.

Consider offering advertising on your site. Most blogs include them on the right-hand column. Next, look into including affiliate marketing. Through companies like Amazon, you can link to recommended products and receive commissions.

These three methods to create passive income streams can give you an extra cushion as a freelancer. They’re also an awesome way to diversify revenue while building up your savings. Start brainstorming ways to adapt these ideas to your unique business and your future self will thank you for it.

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