End the Feast or Famine Cycle — 6 Tips for Stabilizing your Freelance Income

How often do people hit you with the “I wish I had the freedom you enjoy as a freelancer” line? Probably a lot. 

Everyone wants in on the luxuries of freelancing. It sure beats having a full-time job.

On the surface, it can seem like a walk in the park. As your own boss, you decide your hours and can choose to work out of a coffee shop or a cozy beach house in your favorite city. 

“Impressive!” most people think (while green with envy). 

But is the grass always greener on the freelancing side? Oh, you bet not! 

Freelancing is not entirely a bed of roses. It’s all fun and games until you get shot with some of the harsh realities and struggles accompanying it, an unstable income being one of them.  

Freelancing is full of uncertainties

Have you ever heard the phrase feast or famine?

If you haven’t heard it, you’ve most likely experienced it. 

One minute, you are basking in the luxuries of freelancing, working at your own pace, probably sipping a pina colada on a sandy beach with your laptop open. The next minute you can’t manage your finances and struggle to keep the lights on.

These downtimes come with a roller-coaster of emotions. You start getting agitated, and your confidence nosedives. You avoid looking at the corner of your desk where the bill envelopes are stacked. You start overworking yourself; before long, your lifestyle centers around trying to stay afloat. 

animated gif of a bearded man wearing his ball-cap backwards. He throws a pencil across the desk, covers his face with his hands and puts his head down on the desk dramatically.

An unstable freelance income can be unsettling and distracting, even for a freelancer. It’s a lot of pressure to carry. However, it is possible to calculate and stabilize your freelance earnings.  

Planning your future

You have chosen freelancing, which is good. But unless you wish to someday return to your old job from the corner office with a mean employer hovering over your shoulder, you need to work out a plan to maximize your feast seasons and minimize the times of famine. You need new strategies to stabilize your freelance pay.

The dream for any freelancer is to enjoy the freedom and convenience freelancing affords while making money consistently and, hopefully, seamlessly. It’s no fun dealing with a fluctuating client pipeline. In the long run, this could lead to serious cash flow problems. 

6 Tips for stabilizing your income as a freelancer

Freelancers should map out new strategies to stabilize their freelance income. There are several ways to do this. So grab a notepad, pour yourself a drink, and take notes as we shed some light on these strategies.

  1. Construct a cash flow projection
A woman writing on a paper with another woman standing beside her.

First things first! Do you have projections for your incomings and outgoings over defined periods? 

Pause, take a breath. 

The uncertainties of a freelance career make it complex to predict your earnings. However, it is a vital thing to do, and the benefits are numerous.

The solution? Three words. Cash flow forecasts.

A cash flow forecast is a calculated estimation of the expected money coming in and your expenditure over specified periods, usually within the logical capacity of your freelance business. This forecast shows how much your freelance business needs to generate to keep things flowing seamlessly.

Cash flow forecasts are valuable metrics for measuring financial performance over time. 

  1. Find your niche

If you have not done it already, now may be the right time to consider defining and highlighting a niche for your freelance business. 

You may be wondering how this affects the stability of your freelance income. Maybe not directly, but it sure impacts it. 

There is an abundance of generalists in freelancer marketplaces seeking to lay their hands on every job they can find. While this jack-of-trade approach can be a coping mechanism to ensure the lights stay on, in reality, a company prefers to hire a freelancer with proven niche expertise.

Working out a strategy to stand out from the crowd might be the big break you need to keep new jobs flowing in.

Some questions to help define your niche:

  • Who is your ideal client?
  • What are their pain points?
  • Do you have unique selling points that address these problems?
  • What is your forte? 
  • In what ways can you package your solution differently?

Niching down helps you maximize your marketing efforts and hone in on more lucrative freelance projects. One of the first steps you should take as a freelancer when defining your niche is to conduct thorough market research to gain insight into the profitability of any niche before settling.

  1. Expand your client base
Three men using MacBooks sitting on sofas in a seemingly professional environment

As you already know, clients are the lifeblood of any freelance business. The more clients you have in your corner, the higher your chances of stabilizing your freelance income. Now that you have opted for a niche you are most passionate about, it is time to cast your net wide to find clients, and here are a couple of easy ways you can do that:

Networking

As cliche as it may sound, networking is still a relevant avenue for a freelance professional wishing to increase their client base. When done correctly, networking can expose you to the right contacts and companies that could open the door to new businesses and paying clients. So, come out of your shell, mingle with the right crowd, and watch your network of new clients expand.

Referrals

Word-of-mouth marketing is a viable source of new business for freelancers. No company wants to have to deal with mediocre freelancer services. People typically prefer to hire on the recommendation of others—92% of customers say they trust recommendations from family and friends above other forms of advertising. You will miss out on potential business opportunities if you ignore this strategy. Don’t be shy to ask your clients for referrals.

  1. Build client loyalty

The secret to stabilizing your freelance income lies in your capacity to acquire new customers while retaining the existing ones. 

A Freelance professional that focuses more on generating new leads and jobs risks relegating company retention to the background. Although customer acquisition is necessary to keep your freelance business fresh, looking for potential clients is five times more expensive than nurturing existing business relationships. 

Customer acquisition should not be a stand-alone strategy for stabilizing your freelance income. Aside from getting new potential clients, creating a plan for customer retention is essential. A loyal client base will become a source of recurring income. They will also serve as advocates, spreading the good word about your freelance business to others in their sphere of influence. 

Here are some key strategies you can adopt to build customer loyalty and boost retention:

Build relationships with your existing clients

Quality relationships are the bedrock for building a loyal client base.  

Building relationships must be a priority in your strategy to grow a thriving community of loyal and recurring clients for your freelance career. Be intentional about knowing who your clients are— their interests and struggles. What this does is help you build an easy and warm rapport indicating that you care about your clients more than just closing sales.  

One of the ways to build business relationships is to maintain a two-way communication channel to keep active conversations flowing. Also, offer support to guide your satisfied clients throughout your relationship.

Deliver quality work

Two men smiling and pointing at a computer.

As a freelancer, it is crucial to the success of your freelancing business that you put in the work to deliver high-quality work within assigned deadlines. Companies who are getting their money’s worth recognize the critical service you provide. Therefore, they have no reason to look for new opportunities. What use is looking for other professionals when the quality of your work sets you apart from the lot?

Follow-Up! Follow-up!! Follow-up!!!

On the days when you are not looking for new business, you should be following up on old jobs. Opening up lines of communication with the companies or leads that have shown interest in working with you is still an attractive way to advance your own business. 

Follow-up is an essential tactic every freelancer should employ as part of their strategy to grow a loyal client base. It puts your brand on top of your client’s mind amid the overwhelming distractions in a fast-paced world. 

  1. Join the big league: Level up your skills

Remember what we said about expert freelancers and how they have a better chance of dominating the freelance marketplace over the generalists? Well, the same applies to well-versed freelancers who prioritize professional growth

One way to join this league of freelancers is to adjust your career portfolio with relevant in-demand skills that will set you apart from the saturated crowd and attract potential customers who will not mind paying adequately for your valuable services. Leveling up your skill as a freelancer is not rocket science. In this digital era, acquiring new skills through self-directed and online learning has become more accessible. Remember, clients, hire freelancers that understand the latest technology in their specific industry.

  1. Increase your visibility

Avoiding a lousy pay month means putting your work on center stage. The more you can be seen and reached, the more business you attract, and consequently, the more you get paid. 

Freelance professionals must have an online presence.

Don’t think so? Well, consider these questions and know that other freelancers ensure they make it easy for potential clients to find them.

  • How many hoops does a company have to jump through to find you?
  • What social and professional networks are you active on?
  • Are you taking advantage of SEO to boost your visibility on search engines?

Several ways to boost your visibility

  • Build a website to serve as your online portfolio.
  • Write search-engine-optimized blog posts (significant for a freelance writer).
  • Get on social and professional networks like LinkedIn.

Quickly Hire: The freelancer’s one-stop solution to stabilizing your income as a freelancer

Becoming a freelance professional puts you at the helm of your career affairs. Who says it has to be riddled with challenges like an unstable income?

With Quickly Hire, it doesn’t

The Quickly Hire outsourcing platform is a lively network of top freelance professionals worldwide. We believe that most freelancers deserve better business opportunities, with consistent, stable, and stress-free income being a top priority. 

Not like other platforms

  • Get paid on time, every time, while working among a global community of other professionals. 
  • Stop the race to the bottom! Set your competitive rates and be placed with businesses that value your skills and expertise.
  • Our team does outreach for you! Stop spending time on pitches or having to sell yourself. Our marketing and sales teams work around the clock to get you placed with a trusted client.
  • Continue to level up your skills with our exclusive webinars and experience-sharing conversations with other freelancers.
  • Career guidance to help you excel with your clients and earn more long-term.

What can I achieve?

If you like, offer your services to well-vetted businesses while working in your pajamas! 

The best part? You maintain control of your time and schedule. Now how’s that for freedom and convenience without billing hassles?

So what do you say—you live the dream and let us worry about chasing down payments for you? Sounds good! It’s time to regain your freedom. Hurry now and apply to join the Quickly Hire network!

Now that is satisfaction!


Authors

  • Jennifer Alimasunya

    Jennifer is a Quickly Hire Pro Copywriter. She lives in Lagos, Nigeria. In her spare time, she writes and records music.

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  • Alex McInnes

    Alex is Quickly Hire's content strategist and digital marketer. He's a New Zealand-born, Thailand-residing copywriter extraordinaire. Dad to two beautiful girls, Alex loves playing rugby, reading, and running with his soi dog, Effie.

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