Episode 17: 7 Ways to Boost Income as a Freelancer

Real talk: there will always be times where you need to increase your income, and when you’re a freelancer, your income can fluctuate wildly. Lately we have been talking about what we do when we need to hit a certain financial goal, or a sudden expense comes up, or a contract falls through. Basically, what do we do when we’re kind of freaking out about money. Luckily, as freelancers, we can hustle for that extra money in a couple of ways. It’s really important to plot long-term financial goals with carefully scheduled out assignments. But sometimes, you just need to make some extra cash quick. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

1. Reach out to content buyers you know will pay fairly quickly to see if they have any editorial holes you can fill.

-       A lot of magazines pay upon publication. That can mean two months or 6 months or more from the time you turn in your article. We plan for that but…

-       A select few magazines pay upon receipt. ANGELS SING!

-       Other magazines publish more quickly than the typical once-a-month. You can also look at online content buyers for a quicker turnaround.

-       Look for sales sites, or larger companies that publish health-related content, articles, blog posts, etc.

-       Branch out! Kate’s husband saw that a Texas hog hunting magazine was looking for content and sent them her website. She’s not yet a published hog writer, but it is a new opportunity.


2. Shop your photos

-       Reach out to content buyers to find out their photo needs. If you keep a bank of random stock images that haven’t been published, you can pull from these photos to sell to content buyers. Magazines will sometimes purchase individual images for stories, and you may even find your photo suitable for a cover, which can garner extra funds for you.

-       You can also schedule shoots to gather needed images for magazines. These can either produce photos the magazine then purchases, or you can be paid for the shoot itself.

-       If you have a photography product page, reach out to photography clients (recent or not-so-recent) and offer a discount, credit, coupon, etc to encourage purchases. Make sure you have a fairly short expiration date on the coupon, or this won’t encourage a quick purchase.

-       This works for clients that didn’t use you, too. If someone showed interest, and you weren’t available at the time, shoot an email and see if they still want photos! Use the same techniques such as a discount code, etc.


3. Promote photo shoots

-       Create social media buzz with an image and text, and let your contacts know you’ll be in their area and available for photo shoots. You can offer a sale, but in our opinion it’s better to keep your prices steady and offer a discount on product/print.

-       Use your social media. Post that you are traveling to certain areas and tag friends there to see if someone bites on photos. Use the Word Swag app to add interest to your photos!

-       Let editors know your travel plans. Even if you’re going on vacation, reach out and see if you can pick up an assignment that doesn’t negatively affect your travel plans.


4. See what money is already there!

-       Do you have any invoices that need to be sent out? Send them ASAP!

-       Any overdue invoices? Send a friendly reminder that your payment is due.

-       NOTE: Abigail and Kate discuss how long past due they reach out to remind the client to pay their invoice. Specifically, one-off style projects that aren’t paid when the magazine prints, etc., roughly one week after the 30 day time frame (for example) is ideal.


5. Pitch pitch pitch

-       You might not get immediate funds, but put together pitches and send them to magazines you’ve been meaning to contact. This will at least line up future work!

-       Articles fall through. Reach out to editors and let them know about a “last minute” idea. Or, ask if they need to fill an issue that is coming up. Be ready to snap together that content and get the paycheck.


6. Turn in something

-       Do you have a story close to being done? Finish it up and turn that sucker in. You’ll be stuck waiting on the payment if it’s a pay-upon-publishing rate, but it will allow you to take on MORE work if your plate is a little open. My workload is my biggest limiter on how much money I can make. If I can turn some things in early, it frees me up to look for work to fill the space.

-       If you have articles that are due to pay on receipt magazines, get cracking on those! It will free you up later and also get you a faster paycheck.


7. Cut costs

-       Evaluate your monthly subscriptions and auto-pay bills. Are you paying for a training or product or service you just don’t use? Consider freezing the account or deleting it altogether.

** Example – do you really use Netflix or Hulu that much? What about Kindle books or iTunes – how many songs or books or movies have you purchased that add up? Put yourself on a spending freeze.

What do you do when you need to scrimp on bills or find another income source? Let us know by joining the Freelance Remuda Facebook Group, “like” the public Facebook Page, and visit our Twitter and Instagram accounts.

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About The Freelance Remuda
The Freelance Remuda is a podcast about navigating the equine media frontier. Co-hosted by seasoned freelance professionals Abigail Boatwright and Kate Bradley Byars, the podcast explores the trials and triumphs surrounding life as a freelancer in equine media, while sharing valuable tips from equine media editors and creatives doing what they love. Find and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.

Abigail Boatwright