When it comes to building your business as a consultant, contractor or freelancer, it’s common to think in terms of a traditional 9-5 job: if you want to earn more, you have to land one lucrative gig and hope it sustains itself. However, this way of thinking is inherently limited, and is probably doing you more harm than good.
The beauty of working for yourself is that you get to diversify your income streams. This is what you don’t get when you’re employed full-time, and it’s what you should be taking advantage of most. It’s common knowledge that most millionaires have at least 7 different income streams, and that’s the mindset you should be getting into.
However, when you’re starting from square one, it can be really intimidating to wonder how you’re going to build up that much work and revenue. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be difficult, and in fact, you can start today by utilizing these microshifts — small changes in your daily behavior — to grow your business more than you even thought possible.
1. Send a “scary” email each day.
A “scary” email is a request or pitch to someone with whom you would like to work. It could be asking to collaborate with someone, asking to be hired by a certain company (and explaining what you could offer them) or a pitch for your work to be picked up by an established publication or business.
Whatever it is, a “scary” email is one in which you are reaching out to someone that you don’t necessarily expect to answer you back. That’s the whole point: you’re reaching beyond your comfort zone and at least trying. If you do this every day, there’s a good chance in the next year you’ll get 364 rejections or no response at all. But eventually, someone will bite, and that could be the opportunity that changes your life.
2. Create passive income.
An important part of building your business is figuring out how you can make your money work for you, even while you aren’t working for it. A great example of this is determining how you can create either passive income, or royalties.
This is easier in the digital age. If you’re a photographer, you can see if there’s a stock website that will buy or sell your images. You can start your own website and embed ads that generate income with views and engagements. Or you could design a course or informational material that others can purchase. Regardless, the point is to invest a bit of time each day into creating something that will earn money for you long-term.
3. Engage and connect with your community.
If it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes one to build an independent career. Your community is vital, and it is imperative that you spend time each day connecting with those who will hire you, consume or purchase your work, as well as your peers. Make sure that you aren’t just scheduling social media posts throughout the week (which is also a must) but also that you’re logging on and responding to comments and messages in real time.
It might seem like building the career of your dreams — and the financial security that you also crave — is an uphill struggle if you’re not yet established, but the truth is that the way you become established is by working at your craft every single day. It’s not just about how skilled or sought after you are, but also how willing you are to monetize, strategize, engage, connect and show up every day to keep taking steps toward your dreams. Over time, the little things add up to create the biggest results.