Excess always worries me or should I say individuals who do things to the excess. The gym, work, alcohol all spring to mind. Freelancers can be victims of excess too. I alluded to this within my ‘Making time to create side projects’ post but wanted to dig a little deeper.
Being just a freelancer may be the most lucrative work you can do now but you also need to assess longevity and the times when you are not working. Billable time is billable time. Freelancers cannot create time.
I’m a huge fan of multiple income streams. In the same way sensible investors choose a combination of safe stock, risk stock & real estate to spread their wealth. There’s a reason why this should be the same for any freelancer.
Just purely focusing on freelance work means you become one dimensional from a skills set perspective. You may be excellent within your field but what happens if a family member is taken sick, you suffer an injury playing sport or perhaps your main client has a sudden drop in revenue and the axe falls on you? Freelancers need to be prepared for this.
Smart budgeting can mitigate this risk but you need to think a little longer term than this and ask yourself the following questions:
: Would I be ok short term if X client dropped me?
: What growth professionally am I making outside of client work?
: Do people other than my current clients know me?
: Have I utilised my skills to build something of worth of my own and does this make money even when I’m not working on it?
If the answer to the majority of the questions above is of a negative connotation then you need make some changes. I might be working on a project which initially is not an income stream but arguably will be long term. My initial work on this website & to an extent the work I do on this website now doesn’t present an instant return however with the % of enquiries I am getting already it is safe to assume it will be profitable long term.
Not only this but are you using your skills for a project which may have long term benefits to your family? Those skills you are implementing on your client work could be utilised to build something of worth.
Ultimately the reasons for multiple income streams and multiple focuses can vary. But for long term financial security alone it makes perfect sense.
How I split my time:
: Clients on a day rate basis (this is typically the most lucrative)
: Side projects which with more focus could grow considerably.
: Having some part time work.
: Personal brand building.
I chose the above split to mitigate any risk long term and also from a sanity/enjoyment perspective. Too much of one thing can be overkill or can become a tad stale.
Multiple income streams are in my opinion important for everyone and not just freelancers. But as a freelancer they are even more important. Redundancy doesn’t happen; you are let go instantly. Clients will lean towards reducing temporary staff before employed staff & if you are out of sight, you can be out of mind.
Remember the reason you became a freelancer in the first place. You wanted control of your own work, a say in when you do it and an environment which is conducive to your best work. Eggs all in one basket is a risky strategy. Diversify and embrace multiple income streams.