Alternative earning models for starters


By default, freelancers & entrepreneurs (starters) face financial challenges, even in economically prosperous times. Especially in the Netherlands where we are at the forefront of career progression. The support provided to starters does not make a change.

Our curiosity is triggered. Despite being the target audience for this support why do they not gain benefits from it? Can this be changed?

How it works now

Starters can start with a loan, maybe there are still some investors, or go to the market and sweat themselves out of the buttocks in the hope that sales will come in. Being on a freelance platform is a must, competing to win assignments with a (pre-paid) account whilst the competition is fierce!

All in all, this revenue model is purposefully designed to set starts up against each other only to benefit established parties. So what else can the starter do?

The alternative business models

Entrepreneurs / businesses

Entrepreneurs deal with (high) start-up costs and / or development costs. Essentially the entire process from theory to practice. Instead of realizing the business operations and then sales, we recommend turning it around. First, acquire commitments of purchases for the product or service. Sell the theory and as soon as there are enough commitments, put that into practice.

This recommendation can be seen in a diluted form and is known as crowdfunding. However, successful crowdfunding campaigns have already put the theory into practice before they wanted to invest in it. Crowdfunding also directly transfers the money, while a commitment is a nice safe long-term security for both consumer & business.

The benefit is that entrepreneurs & businesses know what their turnover will be and the customers who pledge do not have to worry about their money being devoured with nothing in return. Win-win situation! Look at this picture below.

Individuals / freelancers

Only start when a full-time steady income covers the bills. Secondly, start with the mindset to see freelancing as an experiment initially. This prevents getting disillusioned. In addition, offer products and services for an amount at which the buyer pays a price that he can afford. This way everyone, including the lowest incomes, can make use of the offer.

With this setup, all customers pay, the only difference is the amount. This helps to break a vicious circle and works towards growth. We assume that customers who are grateful also reward that retroactively for when they are doing well. As a result the financial well-being of your customers directly reflects the well-being of the freelancer.

The pitfalls

Entrepreneurs / businesses
Although it is a safer method than starting and seeing where the ship is stranded, it requires a long (re) planning and that takes a lot of time and energy. Looking ahead is useful, but not always telling, because things sometimes change. It is a delicate balance between starting on time and preparing well, because the customers will not keep their commitment forever.
Individuals / freelancers
Within the (future) clientele there will be people who, despite the best efforts, cannot improve their financial situation. This means that the self-employed person runs the risk that the intended hourly wages cannot be achieved afterward. This can be reasonably covered by building up a mixed customer base. Balance is the keyword.


Being a starter is a challenging road ahead. Read up in books that elaborate on how to start a business or a career as being self-employed and what requires to be taken care of before starting at all. In addition, attract a mentor who can give personalized advice when required.
Entrepreneurs / businesses
It is no coincidence that within 10 years more than 67% of all started companies fail. Costs ahead of income instead of income ahead of costs. This outdated mindset can be replaced with these alternative revenue models adapting to today’s reality. This will drastically reduce failing companies.
Individuals / freelancers

Where current revenue models exclude more and more people, everyone is welcome in this type of revenue model. Everyone pays according to capacity and if we remain in solidarity with each other, that when financial conditions improve, we pay those who showed solidarity with us at the time with the renewed financial capacity.

G: Creating alternative revenuemodels for starters


Time: 8 hours
Written by: Mariƫlle Pax & Robert Velhorst.