Building New Income Streams When Client Work is Slow

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:

  1. Books
  2. E-books
  3. Blogs
  4. Niche content / resource websites (free)
  5. Paid membership sites
  6. E-courses
  7. Email newsletters
  8. Industry reports (based on original research like surveys)
  9. Website flipping (create small well-optimized sites and sell them to webmasters)
  10. 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:


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.)

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:

Profile image for Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

Subscribe to the All Freelance Writing newsletter to get freelance writing updates from Jenn in your inbox.

6 thoughts on “Building New Income Streams When Client Work is Slow”

  1. Thanks for the tips, you always provide the most insightful POV’s on freelance writing. I am working fast and furious on two e-books. Mainly as a professional challenge and if I can derive any income from them, then that’s an added plus!


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