We all know how volatile freelance writing can be.
One moment everything is running smoothly, and in the next breath a major client decides to drop you, causing you to lose a significant percentage of your income in an instant. How can you insure yourself against this kind of thing? Simple – by having multiple streams of income!
“From the very start of my career, I was aware that it would be a mistake to purely freelance and to never have any other income coming in, so I always had more than one streams of income,” says Ali Luke. “I definitely recommend other freelancers find some time to spend on their own projects.”
Now, almost a decade after she started her freelance writing career, Ali has money coming in from client work; from her e-Books; from her membership site; from her novels; and even from a couple of websites she hasn’t updated in years.
How did Ali manage to create all these streams of income?
“Of course I was interested!”
In late 2007, after having spent a few years working in IT, Ali stumbled into freelance writing.
“It was a bit accidental, really. I was initially hoping to make money from my own blog, The Office Diet. Of course, for that I needed traffic, so I decided to give guest posting a shot. So I wrote my first guest post… And the editor of that blog told me that he had a position for a paid writer and asked me if I’d be interested. Of course, I was interested!”
Prior to that, she was unaware that one could be paid to write blog posts. However, once Ali secured that first paying client, she realized she could actually make money doing this. She wrote many more guest posts, established relationships with various editors, and got more paid gigs. Soon, she was a staff writer at 4 to 5 different blogs.
The money she was making wasn’t a fortune, but it was enough to cover her rent and bills in London. In early 2008 she quit her job to pursue a Masters degree in creative writing.
Ali launched her current blog, Aliventures, in mid 2010. Initially, it was a mix of personal development and writing posts. However, in September 2011, she decided to focus solely on freelance writing.
“I think that was a good decision, because now I have an audience of writers. Plus, I didn’t feel like I had that much to say about personal development, meanwhile I had a lot to say on writing.”
She then started slowly but surely – growing her audience by promoting her blog via guest posting, and connecting with other writers on social media.
Now Ali’s blog is her main platform, and having an engaged audience allowed her to create additional streams of income by writing and selling e-Books, offering coaching services, and building a membership site.
Ali published her first e-Book, The Staff Blogging Course, in May 2009. “At the time, I didn’t even have my own blog, so I promoted it by guest posting on other blogs.” The Staff Blogging Course did pretty well and brought in enough money to cover a trip to the SXSW conference in United States.
She then published four more e-Books over the the next few years:
- “The Blogger’s Guide to Effective Writing” in 2010
- “The Blogger’s Guide to Freelancing” (rewritten and re-branded version of the “The Staff Blogging Course”) in 2011
- “The Blogger’s Guide to Irresistible e-Books” in 2011
- “The Blogger’s Guide to Loyal Readers” in January 2013.
These e-Books not only made Ali a decent amount of money over the years, but also led to an interesting opportunity.
In November 2011, she was speaking at Blog World conference in Los Angeles, and her presentation on e-Books caught the interest of a Wiley acquisitions editor. She sent Ali an email and asked her if she would be available to chat on the phone because they were interested in potentially offering her a book deal. That led to “Publishing e-Books for Dummies.”
“I wasn’t expecting it at all. I think it was just a case of being in the right place at the right time. It was a good project to work on, I enjoyed doing it, and it’s good to have that book out there with my name on it.”
The Launch of Writer’s Huddle
In January 2012, Ali launched Writer’s Huddle – a community website for writers.
“The timing was a bit unfortunate, though. I launched Writer’s Huddle in January 2012, but I couldn’t really give it as much attention as I wanted to, because from January 2012 to June 2012, I was writing a book called, Publishing e-Books for Dummies, for Wiley’s ‘For Dummies’ series’.
And then, once I finished the whole manuscript for that book, I got pregnant with my first child, which was lovely, but it also meant that the time that I might have invested in growing ‘Writer’s Huddle’ now went into raising small children.”
Initially, Writer’s Huddle had 60 paying members, but over the years that number has dwindled to around 25. However, Ali intends to significantly increase that number this year. “My hope now that the children are a bit bigger is to really grow ‘Writer’s Huddle’. My goal is to have 200 paying members by the end of the year.”
Ali’s Top 3 Tips for Writers in Charge audience
At the moment, Ali only works around 15 hours per week, but makes an average of $1,000 each month, with only 15% of it coming from client work.
“I think in terms of the amount of time I spent, my e-Books and my membership site have been more successful than my freelance writing because they continue to bring income over time – even when I spend very little time actively working them.”
What is her advice to our readers who want to add more stability to their lives by creating multiple streams of income?
- “Start thinking of ideas for a small product that is quick for you to create and cheap for your audience to buy. There’s nothing wrong with charging $5-$7 for it. That’s still an additional stream of income!”
- “Don’t just put your product online and hope someone buys it. Make sure you promote it to your audience on relevant blogs, and on social media. You need to market your product if you want to make any sales.”
- “Be open to opportunities that come your way. As your audience grows, people will start coming to you and telling you what they want. For example, I started offering coaching because a few readers asked me if I was offering any kind of mentoring, and although I wasn’t sure if I was ready, I decided to give it a try and really enjoyed it. So stay open to opportunities even if they aren’t something that you would have come up with yourself.”
What’s next for Ali?
“At the moment, it’s just growing ‘Writer’s Huddle.’ It’s a great site and I really enjoy working on it!”