6 ways to diversify as a freelance and earn more – by Louise Bolotin

Earning a reliable, sustainable income from freelancing can be a challenge, but there are ways to maximise your incomings by diversifying your work, and hopefully make your own life easier. Experienced freelancer Louise Bolotin shares her top tips


Don’t be afraid of stepping out beyond pitching feature ideas and writing your commissions. You can transfer your journalism skills into other, more lucrative types of work. By taking the plunge and diversifying, you can join other freelances in improving your earnings potential.

1. Get free money! No, there’s no catch. When you sign up to ALCS (Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society) you can register your published print articles and earn copying fees. ALCS pays out twice a year and it’s possible to earn up to £6,000 by doing nothing except register. DACS is the equivalent for photographers, and don’t forget to join PLR (Public Lending Right) either, which earns you fees from library borrowings if you’re a book author.

2. Improve your pitching hit rate by signing up to insider mailing lists to find out who’s commissioning features. Sian Meades publishes Freelance Writing Jobs every Thursday, which has a great selection of freelance opportunities. Every Friday, you can get Anna Codrea-Rado’s The Professional Freelancer in your inbox – it’s packed with useful advice and links to commissioning editors. When you’ve sold that killer freelance pitch, maximise it. Think how you could resell it to other outlets by finding new angles. Written a travel feature on the Amazon rainforest? Rework your research to sell an article on conservation efforts there to a nature magazine. A feature you were commissioned to write for the consumer press can often be reworked for specialist business magazines, and they tend to pay better.

3. Get shifts. No one knows better than a journalist what makes a compelling press release, so phone round your local PR agencies and offer your services as a press release writer. Lots of agencies offer shifts for this kind of support work. If you have subbing experience, offer your skills to all your local media, not just the papers. News agencies sometimes have shifts too. If you have court reporting experience, many papers now hire freelances to cover trials they can’t spare a reporter for.

4. Likewise, use your writing skills to pick up copywriting work for businesses. Copywriting can be very lucrative, with the possibility to double your day rates. Good places to start making contacts are business networking meetings, content agencies and registering on websites that list copywriting opportunities. Sell yourself as a trainer offering half-day courses to local businesses to help their staff write better.

5. Invest in some training. Many publications use InDesign to lay out pages – learning this software increases your opportunities to find subbing shifts. And both the Publishing Training Centre and the Society for Editors and Proofreaders offer a huge range of courses on proofreading and related skills.

6. Start a podcast! This means playing a long game to boost your earnings. Get some free podcasting software and broadcast on your specialist subject. Get interesting guests, plug it like crazy on social media and build up the podcast to use as a springboard to paid work elsewhere as the go-to journalist on your topic.

Don’t forget to check out our other free resources for freelancers, journalists and PRs.

Find Louise Bolotin on Twitter: @louisebolotin


Louise Bolotin


NUJ Training Cymru Wales