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The Critical Importance of "Stack-up Income"

Today I’m going to suggest you look at a new approach to your freelance business that I call, “stack-up income.” It’s not just a technique, it’s also a whole different mindset.

Alright, so if this has gotten to you, it’s probably because you’re marketing some skill of yours, possibly on Fiverr, but somewhere. A lot of my followers do voiceover, but it doesn’t have to be that. It could be anything. Somewhere along the line, you came to the conclusion this is something you were equipped to do, that your talents were in this area, and you’re going after it. Or you might just be starting to investigate offering some talent or skill of yours, but you haven’t started yet. Everybody is at that stage to start with, and it’s an exciting time.

But now, let’s say you’ve moved far enough along the progress bar that you’re actually doing pretty well. Maybe you’re successfully climbing the ladder on Fiverr. Well unless you’re at the “insane” level of busy-ness on Fiverr, use the confirmation of your skills as a springboard to what else you can do. You don’t want to stop at Fiverr. Branch out! There are some great courses and free videos on YouTube about how to market yourself to multiple platforms. Start studying up. Find out about direct marketing approaches for your skills too. More and more companies are farming out specialty jobs rather than handling them in-house. Get in front of that, figure out how to get noticed and hired by them. And by that means, you keep adding spokes to the marketing wheel. If one spoke breaks, you have others. If one breaks, you’re not suddenly stranded on the side of the road. You continue on with the spokes you still have, and you keep adding other ones.

And within each of those spokes, you have multiple clients. If we consider Fiverr a spoke, that’s certainly the case. But regardless of which spoke it is, clients come and clients go. In my decades of freelancing, I have had clients for short periods of time, and long periods of time, but one thing is true of every single one of them. Eventually they fall away. Not because you’ve done anything wrong necessarily, but because situations change. Often with clients I have had for really long periods, like 15 or 20 years, it’s because of a change in ownership. The company literally moves in a different direction. So there’s churn. Turnover. That’s why you can’t ever rest on your laurels. You’ve got to keep adding, adding regularly. And if you add more clients than you lose, you keep on growing, so it’s important to make people as happy as you possibly can, every time you work with them.

Now you may think this is where this whole thing is going today, but believe it or not, it isn’t. This is just the groundwork that establishes you as a spoke-adder in the area you’re currently pursuing. If each way we market that service represents a spoke in the wheel, remember that so far, we’re only talking about…one…wheel!

Now I know we’re getting all metaphorical today, but sometimes metaphors really do help us picture things, so bear with me. I mentioned that you may have a skill you want to market…we’ll call it a wheel…which you’ve either just begun pursuing, or you’ve already taken it along pretty well, but maybe only on one platform so far, like Fiverr. I’ve encouraged you to add other platforms and approaches, which we can think of as adding spokes to the wheel. But so far, we’re only talking about one wheel. The question is, do you stop there?

You can, but think about it. What if something goes wrong? No matter what skill you have, there are things that could come up that severely limit what you can do in that area. If you’re an artist, what if you’re in an accident and hurt your drawing hand? If you’re a voiceover person, what if your voice is no longer working right due to illness or medications or something? And can also happen, what if the area you’ve developed a specialty for diminishes in popularity or is replaced by something new that you don’t know how to do?

Well, you’re in a fix, that’s what. You’ve been riding along on a single wheel, a unicycle. It’s great that it has spokes, but if the whole wheel falls permanently off, you’re sitting on the side of the road. So in addition to working to grow in the specialty area you initially chose, you need to be investigating others.

Let me set this up a little. I’m not someone who believes that God only gives each person one gift. We’re blessed with multiple gifts. It’s up to us to try things out and see what they are. You might have some inkling of what the other gifts are based on previous experience, or because certain things just are inexplicably interesting to you. You don’t know why. They just are. Investigate them! Try them. Take courses, read up. Try your hand in it, and don’t instantly give up if you’re not good at it right away. You will find other things you’re able to do. Now, consider some real, marketable ways to use them. Fiverr itself is a treasure trove of categories.

If you can find two or more other “wheels,” suddenly, guess what? You’re going to ride more stably, just like a vehicle does when it has more wheels. Two wheels are better than one. Three are better than two, and so on. You don’t, and shouldn’t, try to add all the wheels at once. Life is pretty long, and there’s time to add one at a time as you’re ready. But head in that direction. You’ll feel a lot more secure than if you just wobble along on one wheel.

And it doesn’t all have to be about raw talent. Talent helps, but experience and wisdom are also very marketable commodities. Think of how the things you’ve learned in life are useful to others. I think of voiceover coaching in my own case. That’s a wheel I’ve added to my ladder. And doing these blogs. That’s a wheel, in a sense, because it helps to put me in touch with people who might need my help. And Gig Doctor consultations. That’s a wheel. And now video production of demos for voiceover people. That’s a wheel. I created a radio automation system years ago. That’s a wheel. Web design…I did that for awhile, but didn’t enjoy it so I took that wheel off. I created a Facebook group devoted to 1950s sci-fi, which has shocked me by its growth, now almost 60,000 members, and one day it occurred to me that the gang there might enjoy custom-printed 50s sci-fi themed mugs, so I created a fun shop on Etsy called “InvasionWare” and used the graphic design skills I’ve learned over the years to do design mugs…we have almost 100 different ones up there now. Wheels and wheels. And every new thing we try like that stretches is in multiple ways, so that we develop more skills, which lead to more possible ideas and new wheels. And on it goes.

The writing skills I developed in radio journalism sharpened my abilities to the point where I was able to write the huge manual for my radio automation system, and now I’m writing books about voiceovers. I did a whole series of training DVDs back in the 2000s for that system. In more recent years, I’ve been putting out online courses on doing voiceovers, and marketing on Fiverr.

Look, the point of all this is just to say that what you are doing now can just be the tip of the iceberg. If you think creatively, there are lots and lots and lots of things you can do to turn one set of skills into multiple sets of skills, and fasten new wheels on that will help to not only keep you stable, but to grow your income, a little at a time. If you do that, and are careful not to spend it as fast as you earn it, you’ll not only be more stable and secure now, but you’ll be working your way toward a better and more secure future as well.

There's so much you and I can do together to improve your gig's performance. Schedule your Gig Doctor appointment by hitting the Gig Checkup link at the top of this page for an inexpensive personalized checkup and consultation!

For those of you who do voiceovers, or who are interested in entering that fun profession, I can help there too. Check out my voiceover coaching services.

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