A freelancing career can be very lucrative and rewarding. While it affords you a lot of freedom in how you’re able to spend your time, it can be very difficult to scale into a business since you have to deal with everything from marketing, research, customer service, to the actual work.
At a certain point, you want to be able to stop trading your hours for dollars and gain leverage by earning a passive income. Here are seven steps you can follow to go from a freelancing career into building a passive income.
Step 1: Start Outsourcing Your Projects
In order to start working on creating passive income, you need have some time away from your freelancing career. The only way you’ll be able to get the time is to outsource your projects. There are many sites like Upwork, Freelancer and People Per Hour where you can find freelancers that can take over your projects.
If you can’t find anyone that’s qualified or can’t trust other people to take on your projects, you’ll need to at least outsource a big part of your project. Outsourcing will also allow you to scale up your freelancing career since you’ll be able to take on more clients than you’d normally be able to.
Step 2: Identify a Niche Where Your Skills Can Make a Difference
The next step is to find a niche where your skills can make a difference. Are you a graphic designer? Do you create video content? Do you help business owners increase their online sales with better copywriting and conversion rate optimization? You need to look for a topic where your expertise can make a difference.
But don’t assume that there will be an audience that’s looking for information about your specific skill set. For instance, let’s say you specialize in creating sketch animation videos.
It’s likely that every few people will be interested in that topic. You need to target the right audience and make sure you go broad enough. For this example, it’s will be a far better idea to focus on video creation/editing.
Step 3: Build an Audience Through Blogging, Email and Social Media
The only way you’re going to be able to monetize your unique expertise is by building an audience. You should start your own blog and support it with email and social media. By creating valuable content and marketing your blog, you’ll start to build a personal brand and amass a strong following in due time.
There are many ways to market your blog. You can build a content marketing campaign, give away free white papers, launch an online PR campaign, run a paid advertising campaign or invest in SEO.
You want to make sure that you set up an email capture form on your blog to keep in touch with your readers. You also get your readers to follow you on social media and share your content through social media platforms for increased exposure.
Step 4: Promote Products and Services as an Affiliate
Once you start to build up a sizable following for your blog and social media accounts, you can start promoting products and services as an affiliate. There are many affiliate networks such as CJ, Clickbank and Amazon where you can promote lead offers, products and services for either a flat commission or a percentage of the total sale.
You may want to look for products and services that pay recurring commissions if you want to focus on generating passive income. One of the most profitable services you can promote to earn a passive income is web hosting services. Some other choices include email marketing platforms, accounting software and membership sites.
Step 5: Create and Sell Products in Digital Marketplaces
There are many digital marketplaces that you can use to sell your work. Graphic designers, in particular can sell their work on popular marketplaces to earn a passive income. Some these marketplaces include Creative Market, ThemeForest, PhotoDune, Graphicriver, Fotolia and BrandCrowd just to name a few.
Of course, these digital marketplaces aren’t limited to graphic designs. Videohive allows you to sell video effects. Audiojungle helps music and sound effect artists sell their work. Codecanyon is a marketplace for plugins. You just have to look for digital marketplaces that are relevant to you.
Step 6: Teach Your Craft With an Online Course
Another great way to earn a passive income is to create your own course. If you want to teach online without having to be present, simply create video and screencast courses. Think about how to add value to other people through your expertise. You can create courses to help web designers, programmers, artists and more.
There are many sites that you can leverage to teach online. You can go with course marketplaces if you want to leverage an existing audience, although that might limit your ability to scale your business.
If you already have an engaged audience or are looking to build a long lasting business, you might want to consider hosting your own online course. The good news is that there are several available platforms where you can do easily do that with no coding experience needed.
Teaching online gives you the ability to continue doing what you like while offering an informational product that can easily scale to serve more customers.
Step 7: Refer Work to Other Freelancers for Commissions
Another smart way to earn or grow your passive income is to partner up with other professionals and refer them your clients in return for commissions. For example, if you’re strictly a web designer, you may want to look for a SEO specialist and set up a deal where you earn a flat or recurring fee (until the client leaves) for each client you refer to them.
The great part about doing this is that you don’t have to do any of the work while still being able to present a more comprehensive service portfolio to your clients. All you have to do is talk to your clients and ask what other services they’re in need of.
Then, you can simply recommend a client to your partner and let him service your client. Make sure that you partner up with a professional that’s reputable, trustworthy and reliable. Your partner also must agree to not offer the same services you offer to your client as that will obviously be a conflict of interest.
There you have it! Those are the steps you can follow if you want to go from freelancing to making a passive income. However, there are many opportunities to earn a passive income, besides what is described in this post.
Ultimately, it will all depend on your willingness to explore multiple revenue streams and put in the work necessary to build this platform for yourself.