Think a steady income is only for 9-to-5ers? Think again.
Steady income is a possibility for freelancers, too, and offers a lot of benefits:
- Lessens the impact of the feast-or-famine income cycle.
The feast-or-famine income is a familiar conundrum for many freelancers contend. It happens when freelancers swing between too much work and not enough. This throws off cash flow, and can make it difficult for freelancers to get ahead. Steady income helps to smooth out the financial fluctuation so it's less drastic.
- Makes it easier to budget.
Budgeting is a challenge when you don't know how much you'll earn from month to month. Steady income guarantees you regular earnings, making it easier to budget personally and for your business.
- Puts you in a position of power when taking on new work.
I've talked about this before, but it's important to approach new projects (and pricing) from a position of power. That is, creating a situation where you don't have to take any project that comes across your desk simply because you need the money. Steady income helps you stay proactive instead of reactive to new opportunities.
- Encourages freelance longevity.
Lack of steady income creates a lot of wear-and-tear on freelancers. It's one of the biggest reasons freelancers return to a regular paycheck. Steady work keeps you feeling secure, prolonging your freelance dream.
So, how can freelancers secure a steady income? One way is with recurring projects.
Clients need content. And clients with a content marketing strategy need content consistently. So, chances are good if a client hires you for one project, you could parlay it into a recurring gig.
First, feel out the situation with the client during the project. Ask how many times they do a project like the one you're working on. ("Are you creating email campaigns pretty frequently? Is this something you're looking to do more of?") Or, if you're working on content that will be made available on the website, check the site to see how often they're publishing projects like yours.
Then, when the project is over, let them know you'd be interested helping them with future projects and offer them a volume discount.
Volume discounts incentivize clients to engage you in recurring work by giving them a discount when they agree to work with you on a specific quantity of projects. So, if a client wants to develop twelve white papers in a year, you can offer them a 10% discount on the cost of the papers because it's worth it to you to have guaranteed work.
If they pay you up front, budget it out for yourself over a specific time period (as if you were paying yourself monthly) to give you the security of steady income. Or agree when you'll deliver the project (weekly, monthly, quarterly), so you know when you can invoice for (and receive) the money.
Even if the client says they normally handle the project in-house (and needed a freelancer this one time), there's still a chance you could turn it into recurring work for you. Working just once with a freelancer who knows how to do the job right and delivers a great experience can be enough to inspire a client to want to work with you regularly. And that means you can enjoy all the perks of a steady income...without the boss.