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Freelance Writers: Is Your Financial Future Secure? If Not, You Might Want to Do This

When I was writing The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook — which is out today, by the way – I did a lot of research on many things, eg: healthcare, business plans, different business structures (S Corp, C Corp, etc.); working with clients; how to handle dry spells … and a whole lot more.

One of the lasting lessons of the book though was on branding. It’s where I learned the most – to the point where it got me to thinking, “Hmmm, what is my freelance brand?” and “How do I convey that?”

Well once I thought about it, I realized that what I am, and what I’m probably most known for is doing many things. In addition to writing for clients, I also self-publish ebooks and do internet marketing. So I wear a lot – a lot! – of hats as a freelancer.

As I’m into self-publishing, I’d heard the term “hybrid publishing,” of course. So when I started thinking about my brand, I thought, “I’m a hybrid freelance writer.”

What Is a Hybrid Freelance Writer?

The way I define it, it’s someone who makes her living writing for herself, and for clients. Being a hybrid freelancer has inoculated me against some of the ups and downs of just writing for clients.

In fact, for going on three years now, I haven’t had to take on freelance writing projects at all. Would it be tough if I didn’t? Yeah, a little. But because I live in Jamaica and my living expenses are low, I can survive on just my self-publishing income alone. I’ve been self-publishing ebooks since 2002. In 2010, after crunching my annual numbers, I realized that over half my income that year came from self-publishing.

So, I put the pedal to the medal, so to speak, and published 50 ebooks in 2011. It took another couple of years before I got to the point where I could say yay or nay to freelance writing projects coming in the door – and let me tell you, it’s a nice feeling.

Why I Still Take on Freelance Writing Jobs – Even Though I Don’t Have To

Self-publishing and internet marketing (which fluctuates to anywhere between 3 and 10 percent of my income) make up the bulk of my income these days. But again, I still take on client projects because I enjoy the work; there’s such a market for content these days that it’s hard NOT to; and I would miss the 25 to 30 percent of my income that it still accounts for.

What's Your Freelance Brand?Recently, I raised my freelance writing rates significantly – quintupling them in some cases. One of the reasons I was able to do this – knowing that I was going to lose some clients – is because I have other income streams that sustain me.

In short, being a hybrid freelance writer gives me choices about my career. And the thing I enjoy most about it is that it’s not tied to any one person or firm.

People who buy my ebooks are individuals; they’re sold on worldwide platforms (eg, B&N, Amazon); and the fiction ones are evergreen (romance), so I never have to worry about a client disappearing and taking a huge chunk of my income with them.

This is why I encourage all freelance writers to diversify as much as possible. You have the #1 skill required to build other income streams – writing. For example, as an internet marketer, what’s needed to succeed?

A product, right? This can be an ebook you write.

Marketing skill, right? This means landing pages, email responder series, newsletters, blogging.

For anything else (web design, ebook covers, logos, wordpress installs, etc.), you can find qualified talent on sites like Fiverr, which I use all the time.

How to Retire & Build Income Stability as a Freelance Writer

One day, I’m going to close up my laptop and not write for clients; maybe within the next five to six years. But the other income streams I’m building – my self-published (and now traditionally published) line of ebooks and my internet marketing income is something I’ll probably always add to or work on.

I haven’t published a romance novel since December of last year, but I’m still earning between $200 and $500 per month from all the fiction books I’ve written to date. This is with no marketing, other than scheduling a few tweets every month or so and updating my romance writing site’s Facebook page.

I’m working on getting my internet marketing income up to at least 30 to 40% of my income. To this end, I’ve spent the summer trying to get that site live (the ever-changing target date is now December 2nd to have it live). Then, I’ll continue to write fiction and market for higher-end clients who are comfortable with my new freelance writing rates.

The Future for Freelancing is Bright

One of the stats that I ran across when I was writing The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guidebook is that as of 2015, almost 54 million Americans are freelancing, which was an increase of 700,000 over the previous year.

And by 2020, more than 80% of large corporations say they plan to substantially increase their use of a flexible workforce, shifting from hiring full-time employees to using “free agent” employees.

Also, according to the McKinsey Report, A LABOR MARKET THAT WORKS: CONNECTING TALENT WITH OPPORTUNITY IN THE DIGITAL AGE, up to 540 million individuals could benefit from online talent platforms by 2025. As many as 230 million could shorten search times between jobs, reducing the duration of unemployment, while 200 million who are inactive or working part-time could work additional hours through freelance platforms (eg, Upwork, Guru, etc.).

Conclusion

As you can see, the need for freelance talent is exploding. And for freelance writers in particular has never been brighter. But I learned a long time ago not to put my eggs in one basket. It’s why I wear so many hats as a freelancer … and I have to say, even though some days it drives me crazy, I can’t quite imagine doing anything else.

I discuss this – and how to effectively juggle being a hybrid freelance writer – in a guest post I did over on FreelanceStyle.net today. Be sure to check it out and leave your feedback, ok?

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P.S.: Here’s How to Start Earning $100-$250+/Day as a Freelance Writer.

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How to Start a Freelance SEO Writing CareerGet the exact knowledge that pushed my freelance writing career to the next level – allowing me to travel and live abroad, get out of debt and really “live the freelance life.” One freelancer wrote:

Hey Yuwanda,

I hope all is well! I just wanted to let you know that this month marked the first month that my writing income surpassed that of my day job.

Thanks to your help and inspiration, I have more work than I know what to do with and have successfully landed a number of clients that give me recurring work. Thanks again for your advice!

SEO writing changed the trajectory of my freelance writing career. It can do the same for you!

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