How to Build Freelance Success for the Long Haul

Whether you’re brand-new to freelancing or long-time pro, you know how much  energy it takes to juggle current projects, find new clients, and manage finances at the same time. Being a freelancer can feel frenzied -- even downright chaotic -- unless you find ways to make your work life run more smoothly, both in your day-to-day, and over the course of your career.

What do we mean? To be comfortably successful as a freelancer, you need to find ways to make money as efficiently as possible. That means streamlining your work activities by outsourcing tasks so you can  focus on the important stuff: keeping your clients happy. It also means while diversifying the ways you earn by creating passive income streams that will help you stay afloat, even between projects.

Working more efficiently means focusing on what matters ( image source )

Working more efficiently means focusing on what matters (image source)

1. Sell your designs online

If you’re a freelance photographer, graphic or surface pattern designer, illustrator, or other visual artist, , there are a number of online  marketplace websites where you can sell your work and continuously generate income. If you’re a photographer, upload your photography into a site like Shutterstock, iStock, and Dreamstime and you’ll reach millions of users willing to purchase high-quality stock photography, earning anywhere from $500 to over $10,000 for your work. If you’re a designer or illustrator, consider uploading your digital assets to Creative Market, your website themes and templates to MojoThemes or your graphic designs and illustrations to Society6. Each site allows you to reach new audiences and sell your work in a continuous way that will generate passive income for the long haul. If you’re wondering how to find web design clients online, these marketplaces can be a good way to get additional exposure.

Passive income streams can help you feel more relaxed between client projects ( image source )

Passive income streams can help you feel more relaxed between client projects (image source)

2. Monetize your website or blog

As a freelancer, you’re likely already thinking about how to find clients online. Starting a blog that showcases your freelance work, explains your creative point of view, or helps others in the field will help your digital marketing efforts by attracting audiences, building your client base, and providing you an opportunity to earn income from affiliate links. Already have an established blog or website with consistent site traffic? You might be able to start monetizing it sooner than you think: sign up for Google AdSense and you could begin to earn ad revenue with little-to-no long-term effort.

3. Use web-based services to find new clients

Learning how to find clients is crucial to any successful freelance practice, and the faster and easier you can do that, the more comfortable your career will be.

Online services, like Workhoppers, connect freelancers with companies ready to pay for your services so you don’t waste time searching or pitching the wrong individuals. They make it easy to advertise your skills so you can get matched with the right company (and they do it for free!). Build your client list without sacrificing your work time. Win-win.

Put down that calculator, there’s an app for your accounting needs. ( image source )

Put down that calculator, there’s an app for your accounting needs. (image source)

4. Outsource your accounting

Freelancers have notoriously complicated finances. It can be a headache to try and manage your accounting, especially while you’re working on projects and/or pursuing new clients.  Using online tools to help track your income and expenses can save you precious time and energy. Check out services like QuickBooks Self Employed, AND CO, and FreshBooks that make creating invoices, contracts, and the dreaded Freelancers’ tax season a whole lot easier.  If you have zero time or interest, you can always outsource your bookkeeping to a freelancer entirely -- Workhoppers can connect you with those professionals, too.

You can teach online classes from just about anywhere ( image source )

You can teach online classes from just about anywhere (image source)

5. Teach online

Want to earn income while sharing your passion with the world? If you have a knack for creating great, engaging classes, it can pay dividends, literally, with every student view you attract. Plus, teaching classes online gives you an opportunity to connect with peers in your industry, and to showcase your skills to potential clients worldwide. Ready to get started? Skillshare’s here to help.


Want to learn more about how to be a better freelancer and build long-term success? Discover Skillshare’s classes on freelancing and business development here.