How to Use your Creative Skills to Generate Money Quickly When you are Dangerously Low on Funds

As freelancers, many of us know the feeling. Despite all of our best efforts, we can hit a point when our pipeline runs dry. We have no clients and very little money in the bank.

Maybe a large job fell through.

Maybe a big expense came up.

Maybe your marketing tactics just aren’t working.

Regardless of the problem, many of us have been in a position where we need to generate cash fast.

My goal with this post is to share with you some methods on how to generate cash quickly when you find yourself in a bind.


Start with who you know

Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you need to generate some cash, avoid increasing your general marketing activities.

Instead, focus on who you know.

Turn to friends who could be customers.
Turn to past clients who may need repeat work.
Turn to acquaintances and people in your extended network.

When you take action to work with someone new, it takes time. You have to build up trust, rapport and sales tend to take longer.

With people you know, the trust is already there, it is just a matter of filling a need and helping them with their project.

Action step: Start contacting past and potential clients who you already have an existing relationship with.


Get back in touch with everyone

If you don’t already have one, it is wise to create a list full of all of your past clients, potential prospects and industry relationships.

When you are low on work, it is time to hit that list hard.

Dive through your contact database and send an e-mail to anyone who you find acceptable to reach out to.

For some people, a friendly check in is the way to go. For others, being more direct and asking for the work will create results.

Each person needs to be handled independently, but reaching out to everyone in your existing network is the fastest way to drum up some work quickly.

Don’t act desperate or beg for work. Requests only about your need for work can often hurt the relationship in the long run.

Instead just check in, keep it friendly and if your timing is good, work will come out of it.

Generating fast cash is a mixture of hustle and a bit of luck.

Action step: Create a list of all of your business relationships and start reaching back out to them one by one.


Take whatever you can get

Often, we can get in the mindset of only taking on large projects when things are going well.

This can be a good mentality to take when building a business in the long run, but it can often leave us high and dry when we hit a slump.

Shed your pride and take some small projects if that is all that comes along.

Often, creatives can get too proud of their high profile clients and feel like small low paying clients are a step backward.

When you have to pay the bills, step in any direction that is within your value code and that does not harm your business goals short, or long term.

You dont have to be doing this type of client work forever, but take what you can get and project by project you will start to chip away at the financial obligations that you have coming up.

Action step: Take whatever small projects come along as long as they are in line with your value code. Small pieces can add up quickly.


Use job posting marketplaces

Despite their reputation for attracting low skill and poor pay, oDesk and eLance can be great ways to generate cash fast.

If you have a good portfolio of work, you can easily land jobs on this site that will earn you money very quickly.

While using who you know is a better and quicker strategy, oDesk and eLance are great alternatives when you have exhausted your existing network.

Action step: If all else fails, hop on oDesk or Elance and start applying for jobs. If you have a decent portfolio these can generate some small projects rather quickly.

Round up

We all hit these moments where we need to quickly generate fast cash. It happens to the best of us.

While ideally, a more structured marketing system and financial planning will prevent these situations in the future, it is good to know what to do when the time comes.

Start with who you know and reach out to past prospects, friends and acquaintances.

Take what you can get that is within your value code as long as it won’t hurt your career in the long run. Slowly chip away at your financial obligations one job at a time.

If all else fails, turn to job posting marketplaces such as oDesk and Elance.

Once you make it through, avoid getting into a similar situation in the future by setting a marketing system in place and keeping a cash reserve on hand.

If you can do this soon, you will get over that hump and be well on your way back into a normal freelancing routine.



  1. Great post again Jake – it’s key to focus on connecting with your closest connections first. These are the low-hanging fruit for developing conversations and generating referrals!

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