The Keeping AFloat Formula

I get emails asking what's the formula to keeping afloat in this vast sea of freelancing. Well, it's more than just a vast sea, people. Freelancing has unsteady waters, killer tsunamis, and sharp rocks at the bottom. And, and... seaweed!  Eew!

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut formula for floatation. You're your own boss so you have to think up the system that works well for you. The key is to create stability in a business that can be highly unstable if you don't play your cards right.

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My current formula is this:

1.  Nurture a neat little basket of direct clients.
These are the clients who have officially made you their per-project partner. Take care of that position. If they haven't contacted you for new projects, make sure you contact them with innovative ideas that can help their sales. These clients are your babies and your purpose in life is to help them grow. Trust between both parties is the valuable glue here.

2.  Be the go-to of ad agencies, design shops, and production houses.
Establish a niche. Say, fastest idea churner on the block. Most strategic Creative ever. Miss Friendship. Whichever you may be, you'll stay on their minds once you make a positive impression.

3.  Have a regular Consulting gig.
This is the key to everything! When you're contracted to do strat and creatives on a regular basis, that means regular payday. Yay! Usually, this requires face time from time to time. But that kind of irregularity helps you keep your freelancing status in tact. A documented arrangement that benefits both parties here is important (more on that on another post). Needless to say, you take care of this relationship with all your might.

4.  Dip into a 'jobs online' gig. Regularly.
These are usually international communities that offer quickie work online. Product reviews, blog posts, short articles --no-brainer projects that pay fast.  And you get to choose the topics you want to write about. Again, this guarantees money in the bank.

5.  Just keep pitching, pitching, pitching...
Be relentless! Why wait for opportunity to knock when you can create the opportunity yourself?

With this formula, I get to enjoy the regularity of a payday with spikes of extra cash when a pocket project (or a huuuuge, happy, happy day project!) pushes through. And I keep busy. An idle mind makes you crazy. Believe me, I've been there and it's not pretty.

There you go!
Did I help you in any way? Inspired you, at least? Hope so. Now go forth, formulate, and float!

*Lovely photo creds to Flickriver.


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