Ever since I quit my full-time accounting job and started my freelance business I’ve been looking for ways to increase my income. More specifically, I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of work where I exchange my time for money, since there are limited hours in the day.
As a freelancer this is something we must all be aware of as it’s easy to cap out your income, or worse, burn yourself out trying to work too much. One way to overcome this problem is by creating multiple streams of income, thereby not relying on just one source of money to pay your bills.
It’s taken me a few years of experimenting and testing out different ideas and I’ve now expanded my finances to include eight different income streams. Below is a money breakdown of the multiple streams of income I currently have and how much I earn from each.
This image is from my GoDaddy Bookkeeping software and showcases most of my streams of income for 2016.
1. Freelance writing
Obviously the largest part of my income pie is made up of freelance writing. I started my blog in June 2011 and since then have built it into a full-fledged business writing for financial clients and startups. In 2016, I earned $54,769.95 exclusively from freelance writing.
One way I did this was by taking Holly Johnson’s Earn More Writing course. I already knew the basics of freelance writing as I’ve been doing it for years. But her course helped me level up and start bringing real money! So if you’re interested in becoming a freelance writer, see if her course is for you.
2. Dividends from IRA
Even in the beginning stages of my freelance business I started investing into my Roth IRA account with Betterment. The great thing about this particular startup is that you can save as little as $10 or $20 a month, which helps establish a good retirement savings habit, (although you will pay a $3 monthly fee until you save $100 or more each month).
Every quarter Betterment sends me an email with the information about the dividends I earned the past 3 months. In the last part of 2016 I earned $118.93 which is pretty decent.
3. Acorns investment
Speaking of investments, outside of my IRA (which is made up of Vanguard mutual funds) I wanted to start investing in the stock market. But since I don’t have a ton of money to throw around I started investing with just $5 using Acorns.
The app rounds up the transactions I make throughout the month and transfers the difference into my Acorns account where it’s automatically invested according to the amount I pre-set.
It’s easy and free to get started, then you’ll only pay $1 each month to have an account with Acorns. I haven’t earned a lot of money, but it’s a good start.
4. Affiliate partnerships
Another part of my blog business that I’ve really been focusing lately is affiliate marketing and partnering with specific products that I really like.
An affiliate partnership is basically where you work with a company to promote and share their products and if anyone decides to try them out you’ll earn a small commission. It’s like a refer-a-friend deal!
Last summer I began taking an affiliate course from my friend Michelle called, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I immediately saw an increase in my monthly affiliate sales, going from $317 in January to $1,218 in December 2016. If you’re doing the math that’s triple the amount I was earning.
5. Interest income
I’ve never been a natural saver so creating a consistent savings habit has taken me years (seriously, it’s taken a LOT of time and self-discipline). With much trial and error comes strategies that work and those that don’t, so over the years I’ve perfected how I save money.
Digit is a completely free app that connects to your bank account and withdraws very small amounts of money every few days. Seriously, it’s only a couple of dollars to maybe $10 per week, depending on what your bank balance is. But this all adds up and they offer bonus interest income every quarter.
This bonus, combined with the interest I earn in my traditional savings accounts comes to about $34 (so says my 2015 tax return), but it’s better than nothing. If you have a problem stashing away money, give Digit a try. It’s free!
6. Course sales
I don’t classify myself as a raging success when it comes to creating and selling online courses, but I did have a good amount of success with this in 2016. In fact, I earned $11,789.94 from selling my digital products and courses.
Most of this income came from a recurring membership subscription I created called The Client Connection. However, this membership has been discontinued and I now exclusively sell online courses for a one-time payment.
7. Coaching services
Due to the high demand that I receive from readers of this blog, I’ve been offering coaching/consulting services as a way of paying it forward to others. Some months are busier than others but in 2016 I earned $5,360 from coaching sessions.
I started freelancing from scratch without much guidance or help, and when I hired my first coach I made leaps and bounds with my goals. Working with a coach can help keep you accountable, troubleshoot your problems, offer support and all-around encourage you along your journey.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the various coaches and accountability partners I’ve had over the past five years. So, if you’re feeling stuck I encourage you to reach out and work with a coach or mentor. It will VERY MUCH be worth it!
8. Podcast sponsorships
This is actually a brand new income stream that I added to my portfolio in 2016. In collaboration with my business partner, Cait Flanders and I launched a podcast called Budgets and Cents. Season one was all about personal finance topics and we were able to get a feel for whether or not we’d continue down this path together.
But things turned out even better than we expected! Because of this, we had a second season in the summer all about freelance finance topics which was sponsored by FreshBooks. In February 2017, we’re launching season three and working with a new sponsor in Wealthsimple.
I can’t disclose the amount of money the podcast earns (due to our contracts and partnership) but Cait and I share everything 50-50.
Creating multiple streams of income
If you’re hoping to increase your income this year I highly recommend experimenting with multiple income streams. Not only is earning additional money helpful for reaching your financial goals, but it helps level out the income roller coaster that is being your own boss.
What streams of income do you currently have? Share your tips in the comments!