At some point in their life, many creative freelance professionals will hear that they have a dream job. They’re not stuck with a commute or the drama of office life, so it sounds pretty perfect to traditional in-office employees.
The truth is that freelancing has its perks, but there are a few struggles that come along with it as well. After you’ve studied your skill and continue to hone it every day, you’ll eventually want to use it on your own project.
Many freelancers receive projects from clients who place a bid for what they want. That bid can be negotiated, but the payment for the job is what funds the initial process. When that project is something you want to do on your own, freelancers often don’t have the funds they need to start.
Instead of getting a second or third job, check out these eight ways you can fund your next big freelance project. They’re simple steps any freelancer can take to get their project off the ground.
1) Try a Crowdfunding Platform
Crowdfunding platforms have become popular in the past decade as a way for people to get quick financial help. You create an account, explain why you need the money and what it will be used for and then share it on social media to get donations.
This is a great funding option for freelancers who either have a large supportive community of friends and family or a ton of followers who love what you do. The only way a crowdfunding effort takes off is if the person who created it has a large audience or it goes viral, and you shouldn’t count on going viral since that’s never a guarantee.
Freelancers should also note that crowdfunding platforms take a percentage of profits after a successful campaign has ended. That percentage is different from each site, but it’s worth remembering when you set the goal for your campaign.
2) Sell an Ebook
Are your freelancing skills something that other people can learn from? You may want to consider selling an ebook where you write about one of your skills or something you’ve been educated on.
There are a few main benefits of writing an ebook. The first is that there are tons of software programs that will help create the ebook without you ever contacting a publishing house. Browse through your options to find one that you like the most.
Another benefit is that the process can be totally free. Use a free software program to write the program up and publish the finished product online with a free platform like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. You’ll have instant access to Amazon’s millions of customers, so you don’t need to create your own website to sell off of.
One thing to consider when you’re thinking about making an ebook is that it won’t make any money for you unless you know how to market. Market your book through word of mouth and social media to let people know where to find it. After that, you just have to keep up the efforts until you raise enough funds.
3) Take Up Photography
Do you have a nice camera laying around the house that you haven’t used in a while? Pick it up and start making money with photography. Practice with a few shots and ask your family and friends for honest reviews. If you’ve got a good eye for pictures, people will be willing to pay.
You don’t need to start a big business to make money as a photographer either, so don’t worry about starting something you’d have to keep up long term. Contact local small businesses to let them know you’re available for shoots. Post about your availability for family and friends who may want graduation or family photos taken.
You can also reach out to local photographers to ask if they need an assistant. That takes away any marketing you’d need to do to sell your own skills and work as a flexible part-time job before your freelance project takes off.
Not good with a camera? You can still ask photography businesses if they need someone to edit and retouch pictures. Anyone who knows their way around photoshop and editing software will quickly learn how a photographer prefers their photos to be edited.
4) Find a Corporate Sponsor
Think about the project you want to launch. What is the message of the project? What’s the goal in creating it and what audience will you reach?
Once you have the answers to those questions, consider if a corporation shares your goals in common. An example of this would be a freelancer who has an audience of main women in the 18-35 range asking a millennial-focused makeup brand to sponsor their project. The project may not be related to makeup, but the corporation will still get valuable marketing to the audience they’re looking to grow.
Have a corporation or two in mind? Start writing the first draft of a letter that asks for corporate sponsorship, but remember to keep it professional. State the intent of your project, the length of time you’ll need, the cost of the project and the eventual audience clearly.
5) Apply for a Grant
Depending on what your freelance project is about, you may be able to write in for a grant. Government grants are typically given to groups or organizations that are doing something for their community, but you may be able to find foundations or private businesses that give out grants for your kind of project.
The next thing you have to know is how to write a grant proposal, which isn’t something you should do on the fly. Grant writing is something people take courses to learn, but you can write your proposal with a few key focuses.
Write about things like:
- Who your audience is
- How you will use the grant
- How you will finish your project
- What the impact of your project will be
Coordinate with a grant proposal writer if you don’t feel like you could write it yourself. There are many out there who will take on jobs over the internet, so post about what you need or contact writers through their websites.
6) Host a Cook-Off
There’s no denying that people love events that are focused on food, which is why freelancers can always host a cook-off to raise funds for a project.
The ideal situation for a cook-off would be freelancers who know a lot of people or are part of a community, such as an apartment complex, where they could reach a large audience. People who want to participate would sign up and pay the entry fee, then come on the big day with their food prepared.
Depending on how much you charge for the entry fee and how much you spend to set up the event, you could stand to make enough money to start your next project. Find out where you can host the event without renting an expensive space, like community centers or the park at your apartment complex.
7) Make Custom Websites
Because everyone uses the internet for everything from getting a job to connecting with long-distance family members, businesses of all sizes need a dedicated website to attract and keep customers. If you have any tech skills that would make website creation easy, it’s time to put yourself out there as someone who makes custom websites.
Creating a website doesn’t have to be hard and you don’t need an IT degree to do it. Plenty of freelancers make websites part-time and collect thousands of dollars every month for their efforts.
This is another fundraising effort that takes time because of the marketing involved, but if you don’t need to start right away, it’s worth trying. You may end up making what you need for the project and continue to have a steady side income that doesn’t have to take you away from what you do full-time.
8) Explore a New Talent
Is there something you could make to sell for a profit? You may not think you have any crafting skills right now, but anyone can make trendy popular crafts and sell them online. All you have to do is explore a new talent that you might not have otherwise thought of.
Make clay pots, fruit bows, picture frames or even jewelry. People are always looking to buy handmade crafts because they’re a much more thoughtful gift than a gift card. Sew up pillowcases or create your own candle line. Indulge your inner craft lover and get creative to fund your other passion project.
Try Something New
Unless you’ve been freelancing for a while, the concept of funding your own project may seem intimidating.
These tips are easy ways to overcome that fear and make the money you need. Don’t be afraid to try something new to get your funds.
Stepping out into the world of crafting or reaching out to corporations for sponsorship could be all you need to get your project going.