Writers should always have multiple revenue streams, even if they all involve writing. In fact, no single client should make up such a large part of your income that you would suffer if you lost that client. Not only is this good money sense, it’s good business sense. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket as the proverb goes.
I can see why a writer would want just one client though. You have one person to invoice – or not invoice if they’re set up on automatic payments. You only have one set of requirements. And you’d have just one client’s deadlines to remember. It sounds like the dream gig as long as that one client is paying you enough money to sustain your life. Having one client can be pretty easy. But it will turn into a nightmare when that client decides to do something else that doesn’t involve paying you for writing.
If you’ve spent your months (or years) working for just a single client, you probably haven’t dedicated much time toward building the other skills required to make it as a freelance writer and a business owner, like marketing yourself. And so, losing your one and only client could mean the end of your writing career. Most clients won’t stay forever – you can pretty much count on that. The key to keeping yourself from becoming dependent on just one client is to diversify your income.
You can make money in lots of different ways either from directly from writing or opportunities created by your writing: writing for clients, magazine or newspaper articles, Adsense, direct ad sales, ebooks, affiliate programs, speaking engagements, books, training courses, etc. When you pick a revenue stream, don’t think about what’s quick or easy. Some of these take time to get established. Instead, think about what you have a passion for.
Let’s say you write about pottery. You can make money by selling advertisements your own pottery blog, writing about pottery for clients, or about teaching pottery classes. If you create pottery as part of your work, e.g. testing out new techniques or taking pictures for tutorials, you could sell the pottery you create.
It’s ok to test revenue streams and to do something different from what everyone else is doing. I’ve always wanted to have a top blog or at least a blog that brought in some money. Tried a few times and I haven’t been able to make it work. Maybe creating a blog from scratch just isn’t the right revenue stream for me.
If you’re wondering whether you have one client that counts for a lot of your income, do a little math. Take a look at your income sources for a typical month and for each source, calculate the percent of your income that source counts for. (Hint: divide income from each source by total income and then multiply by 100.) If you have a client (other than yourself) that makes up a big part of your income, ask yourself whether that’s smart business move. What would you do if that client fired you tomorrow?