I know that the idea of building passive income with a blog is quite trendy nowadays and that it’s basically the holy grail for many most bloggers. But as life shows us, or at least as it shows me, generating noticeable passive income can take time. Like, a lot of it.
So what to do if you want to make some money now?
If that’s the case then I’m afraid passive income isn’t really what you should be thinking about.
Most of the time, probably 99% of the time, you’re way better off with “active” income. And from my experience, the best active income for a blogger is freelancing.
Now, before you say that this isn’t for you and that there’s this one cat video you’d rather watch than read this through, please bear with me for a moment.
Freelancing really can bring above satisfactory results, which I’m just about to describe in detail. And most importantly, all the things listed in this post can be done in one day.
What to freelance?
First of all, what would you actually freelance? Well, since it’s the 21st century, you can freelance pretty much whatever you darn please. But usually, the most effective and popular approaches include:
- blog management for other people (content),
- WordPress management (managing the site itself),
- blog promotion consulting,
- blog building and launching.
In other words, you can help others do what you’ve already done or are doing at the moment.
Plus, there’s a whole range of other things that are tightly related to your specific niche. For instance, if you’re a weight loss blogger then why not offer Skype consultations to people who want to lose weight.
The method that usually works best is to start by creating a big list of things that you are good at. Then go through this list and figure out what the most probable skills to make money with are.
Your “hire me” page
You need to let people know that you’re available for hire, and the best way to do this is to create even the simplest “hire me” page on your blog, and then place a link to it in the main menu.
For example, look at the menu on this site, there’s a “hire me” link right next to the “about” link.
The page can be a standard WordPress page, so no technical difficulties here. The only tough part is the copy itself. Crafting the perfect “hire me” copy will take some practice, but the general guidelines are:
- Good first paragraph to lure the visitor in and present the main benefit of working with you.
- A personal message about yourself that’s designed to make you look like a genuine human being.
- Some social proof. Things like logos of the companies you’ve worked with (if you have those already), or testimonials (…if you have those already).
- A portfolio-like block.
- A detailed description of your services.
- A contact form.
- (Optional.) Your rates. Not everyone does this. I don’t.
Getting some actual deals!
Now the best part = making some moneys.
There are three techniques inside my “must-do blueprint when in need of some work.” They are:
- Reaching out to your network of blogging/online friends.
- Subscribing to RSS job boards.
- Cold outreach with a twist.
Let’s take it from the top:
Reaching out to your network of blogging/online friends.
In most cases, this is by far the most effective approach on this list. You’ll be amazed at how many of your blogging friends either know someone who needs a serious freelancer or actually need one themselves.
And the absolute best thing is that this way you’ll get the better paying jobs. Purely because you’ve been recommended personally by someone else.
The secret is constructing your outreach email correctly. Most importantly, don’t say that you “need money,” say that you’re “open for clients.” And in general be friendly, not pressing, cool and relaxed about what you’re asking for.
Subscribing to RSS job boards.
Most online job boards offer email subscriptions, which means that every afternoon or every week you’ll receive a big email listing various positions available in your desired niche. Now, the trick is to grab the RSS instead of the email subscription.
The main reason is that RSS is instant and email is not. And the truth about the best gigs is that they get taken quickly. Oftentimes the first person to show up gets the biggest piece of the pie.
If it’s writing you’re after then check out this one: http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/category/writing-gigs/. Other tech related things: http://jobs.smashingmagazine.com/.
Cold outreach with a twist.
The funniest thing about this is that it actually got me my best paying client so far, and then, I saw this post on Neil Patel’s blog where he describes this exact technique and calls it THE technique he’d use if he needed to get a position fast.
The short description of the technique is to:
- Scout your niche to find any weak points in various media sites, or any other sites with a business behind them.
- Then, go through the site and list every little thing on it that could be done better.
- Finally, put this info in a nice email and send it to the owner of the site (the bigger the site the better).
The twist is that you don’t actually pitch your services directly by saying something like “I can help you if you hire me.” No, the goal here is to get their attention and portray yourself as the expert. Most of the time it’s all you need. If you’re lucky, the person in charge will offer you some kind of deal to help them fix the issues you’ve pointed out anyway.
How to propose
No, this isn’t about getting a spouse. This is about getting a client.
Depending on the way you’re finding your prospective clients, you might approach them differently with your offers. Sometimes, they will say right away what they need and give you a price tag that they are ready to take care of. But sometimes you will have more space to suggest a tailored service.
This is where a piece of proposal software might come handy. As far as I know, the leader in this space is Bidsketch. What they offer is an online client proposal management tool. Inside, you can create new proposals, send them out, monitor how clients view them, and then follow up with anyone who has approved or declined your offer.
It really does speed things up a bit and makes your selling efforts easier to grasp, especially if you have more than a couple of clients.
How to bill
Again, you will come across different clients. Some will just prefer to throw money at you through PayPal and won’t care all that much about professionally looking invoices and stuff. But others will require an invoice even for the simplest $5 task.
You might think that Excel is the perfect tool to handle such situations, but it isn’t. FreshBooks, for example is way more effective. In short, it’s an online invoicing system. But a really versatile one. It’s actually capable of assisting big companies with a lot of business going on, as well as one-person freelancing businesses.
I could list its features here, but I think it’s enough if I say that it does all you’d expect a cool invoicing system to do. Plus, it’s free if you’re sending just a handful of invoices every month.
What to be careful about
This is basically all when it comes to the “how to get started” part. The thing you have to do now is…well, actually start working, and if you ask for a 50/50 payment (half now and half upon completion) then you really can make money right away.
So, there’s just one more thing I’d like to talk about. I really don’t want to trick you into thinking that getting some freelancing deals through your blog is a stress-free type of work. At some times, it can get very stressful indeed, so here are some tips to minimize your risk of having bad experience:
- Don’t treat your clients as ATMs. Always connect with them as much as you can.
- If things don’t work out, fire your client immediately.
- Estimate deadlines with much room for error. What I actually do is multiply my delivery time by 1.5 … just to be safe.
- Backup your data! If you lose your client projects, you’re in a world of trouble. Dropbox is your friend.
- Multitasking. Don’t. Ever. Multitask.
- Don’t neglect your blog along the way. You still want to make it the greatest blog of all internets, right?
So what’s your opinion on this? Do you think that getting some freelancing deals would be a good idea for your current situation? Or are you devoting 100% of your time to building passive income (as strange as this might sound)?