How can I earn whilst sleeping?

1 | Get to grips with a thorough set of management accounts, broken down into revenue strands so you know just what it is each client is paying you for.

2 | Grill each new client brief to gauge exactly what you are being asked (and therefore paid) to do. Ensure your contract reflects it so you are not giving away any rights for which you are not being paid. They wouldn’t.

3 | Re-visit your client contract with each new brief – does it make more sense to offer to license your work, rather than hand over the copyright? 

4 | And if you are the originator of a character, a world, an app, ensure your contract insists the client must come back to you for any subsequent work with it on new platforms.

5 | Go back over your past work to detail your company’s intellectual assets. Not your IP, but your assets. These will include market sector knowledge, footage, images, data, recordings, facts, networks etc. 

6 | Can one or two of those assets be reformatted into a new product? Can you turn a product into a service? Find another market for your sector knowledge? Re-skin an app for a new audience/different client?

7 | Don’t just look for a big national or global market. Seize the initiative – develop a product or service that fulfils a local need. Although the budget/profile will be lower, how many other small localities around the world have the same need?

8 | Draw a big 18-month biz dev plan up on the wall, with some of your assets listed. Encourage everyone in the team, suppliers, clients, whoever sees it, to contribute new ideas. This will help leverage value from those assets in ways you never anticipated. 

9 | Partnering is a perfect example where 1+1=3. By jointly sharing your intellectual assets with a like-minded partner, new potential products and revenue streams will emerge.

10 | Don’t anticipate having all the answers yourself. Pull together a table of friends/creatives/employees/your mums, buy the drinks, ask them to come up with a stream of ideas. This week your business, next week their business. Every month.

11 | If you come up with innovative ideas for a client, ask for a share in the success. You can negotiate a licence or back-end split, varying on sales, audience size, likes etc.

Your aim is to widen your earning streams, to grow less reliant on fees and bring in revenues from different ways of using what you already have/do/know. With the ultimate goal to own IP-derived material that people and companies around the world pay for… even whilst you sleep.

Founder of Lola Media (, Erica Wolfe-Murray works with creative companies, brands and individuals devising new products, audiences and revenues from their intellectual assets.  She runs the ‘Intelligent Creativity’ course for Creative England.

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