Top 3 Tips for Recession-Proofing Your Freelance Writing Income

Updated on: by Miranda Grimm

Learn how to recession proof your freelance income with three basic principles.Taking the plunge into the world of freelance writing is exciting. You have the opportunity to work your own hours around your preferred schedule. You have the advantage of getting paid for doing what you love. You also have the benefit of being able to work from any location, as long as you have a computer and an internet connection available.

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However, there are many freelance writers who don’t take the time to plan their business cash flow to help them cope during lean times. While clients are ordering articles to be written, money will flow into your account readily.

So what happens to your freelance writing business when those orders dry up? How will you find alternatives to keep your income rolling when times are tight? Here are some tips for ensuring your freelance writing business always has enough money coming in to keep the bills paid.


Broaden Your Debtor Base

It’s surprising how many freelance writers hang on to one or two regular clients with no thought of adding any more. After all, if the biggest clients you have take up all your time and generate all your income, why would you want to look for more work?

While it’s great to have long-term regular clients, would your business be able to survive if your primary source of income suddenly stopped ordering from you? If you’re serious about building a sustainable freelancing business, it’s important to diversify your income sources wherever you can.

For example, let’s assume you have one large client generating the majority of your income. In order to protect your business in quiet times, consider finding some alternative income sources to supplement your existing cash flow.

You’ll still earn the same amount from your large client, but your overall income will increase. What’s more, if that major client stops ordering from you, your business will still have money coming in from other sources.


Pluck the Low-Hanging Fruit

Most professional freelance writers aim for higher-paying clients and assignments wherever possible. The goal is to maximize your earning potential per hour you spend writing and researching.

However, the key to success for any business is to find ways to maintain regular cash flow. Many of the higher paying magazines often take two or three months to issue a payment check after they’ve published your article.

While you’re waiting for your next big check to arrive in the mail, you still have bills to pay. Writing for higher paying markets is the ideal way to keep your profits high. Yet it’s also important to ensure you always have money flowing into your business at all times.

In order to keep money rolling into your account, consider aiming at some slightly lower paying markets as well. The object is to focus on your prime income producing activities as a priority, but keep a little time aside at the end of your working day to submit an additional article to a secondary income source.

For example, you may spend the bulk of your time writing for magazine editors but spend an additional 15 minutes at the end of your working day submitting a short, easy piece for a content mill or article marketplace. The money may be lower than you’re used to, but the work is quick and simple. Besides, it still means extra cash arriving into your business account without much effort on your part.


Passive Income Opportunities

Freelance writers have an incredible number of opportunities for creating passive income from their skills. Some writers love the idea of submitting work to revenue-share sites in the hopes of earning a bit of extra money from advertising revenue their work generates.  Alternatively, you could choose to start up your own blog on a topic that interests you and generate your own advertising revenue.

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You could also choose to write a book on any topic you desire and publish it through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. You’re paid a percentage of the sale price of each book sold as your royalty payment.

Building up your passive income sources is the ideal way to increase your earnings. It also gives you a healthy buffer that keeps money flowing into your account even in quiet times.


If you’re keen to protect your freelance writing business against a potential downturn in the market, consider ways to add some extra income streams to your business. You won’t have the worry of losing your entire income if your big clients vanish, but you’ll also have the advantage of having plenty of diversity in your working day.

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Leisa Good

April 15, 2014 at 10:15 am

Awesome post, Miranda. I am a big one on creating passive and multiple income streams as well as having small task WAH jobs that you can leave and pick up again at anytime.

Miranda Grimm

April 15, 2014 at 11:58 am

Yes! Even if I rarely log into some of my passive income resources- it gives me such a peace of mind knowing that if anything happened or I needed to make a quick buck- I have options. It may not provide a freelancer with a solid reliable income but they can certainly help keep us afloat if needed.

Leisa Good

April 15, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Absolutely! And over the years, it’s been the ones that are able to “float” that sink and go out of business.

Dorothy Bryant

March 18, 2015 at 7:09 am

Agree. This is more to be checked out for – the finances. Some just take the opportunities, just to have a freelance job. Not knowing, they are still in dire help to know their pay offs. It’s all about the writing craft and the service but sometimes, monetary aspects matters most. Thanks for this interesting article!