How to build multiple income streams

Eggs in one basket - how and why you should create multiple income streams as a creative freelancer


“Never depend on a single income. Make investment to create a second source.” – Warren Buffet


This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but when you start out as a freelancer, you don’t think about creating multiple income streams.

More than likely, you start out with a lot of insecurities and a long to-do list of things you need to accomplish, so you can position yourself in the world of creative freelancers.

But building multiple income streams is something you should aspire to – as soon as possible – which I think could be …today!

I believe it’s important to spark a discussion about why and how to invest your time and effort into opening up different sources of income to support yourself.

I don’t recall ever asking any of my friends directly about this, so I feel you owe your other freelance (and employed) friends this favor.

Next time you meet up for a coffee, go ahead and ask:  “What do you do to support yourself when things don’t go as planned?”

When I worked for a company, I thought I had a stable job. (That vision they try to sell us, of having a job for life).

But, it was only after I got fired from my job after graduating from university, that I realised I was fully dependent on the mercy (and mood swings) of someone who hardly knew me.

Suddenly, having just one source of income didn’t feel sensible at all.

Whether you’re self-employed or work for a company, think about ways you can generate an additional income.

The more diverse your portfolio of income streams, the better you’ll sleep at night knowing that if anything untoward happens, there will at least be some form of income landing in your bank account each month.

As a creative freelancer, you have the freedom to experiment with different techniques and outlets to do something that will add value to others.

You also have an outlet to be as creative as you want with your talent, so you can have fun and feel inspired.

Among some of the things I do, is to sell my photographs on EyeEm, even though I’m not a professional photographer.

Give yourself the freedom to try things you’re curious about.  Here’s how:

  • Identify your key skills.  What are you good at?  What do you like making/illustrating/writing – whatever?
  • Taking a closer look at those skills, what could you teach about them?
  • Who would benefit from learning about them?
    and finally,
  • How can you package that knowledge up to deliver it?  A book, ebook, webinars, tutorials, workshops, seminars?

With e-learning platforms like Skillshare, Udemy or Lynda, it’s now possible for anyone to package up their skills and talents, then upload them to any (or all) of these platforms, to earn some extra cash and teach others at the same time.

The majority of creative freelancers I’ve spoken to about this, started their business in this way, and grew it organically from an interest or hobby they pursued alongside their regular job.

What I like to call a side hustle!

In time, their side hustle earned them more than they were earning from their full-time jobs, so they were able to quit.

Take for example, Vicky Heiler, the founder of the blog Bikini & Passport. Her blog became so successful, she eventually made a living as a full-time fashion blogger.

Or there’s Jaymay, American folk singer who wrote the song “Sea Green, See Blue” which was featured on  ‘How I Met Your Mother’.

She never thought writing music could support her financially, but she went on to write vocals for The Kinks, starred on numerous shows, and her music has even been featured in a recent Hollywood Blockbuster!

If you don’t share your creative work with others, you’ll never know if you have a chance to turn it into something great, and something that people will be willing to pay for.


Happy hustling!


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This is a guest post by Monika Kanokova, a freelance community strategist working with global clients to help them build local communities. She’s currently Kickstarting her third guide for freelancers: mkanokova/work-trips-and-road-trips    

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I’m Mary Cummings, a ghostwriter, collaborator and all round word doctor. I help business owners write and publish business books; I'm also passionate about helping creative freelancers find work that they love - their work sweet spot with work on their terms, projects they love and clients who are a dream to work for.