How To Build Multiple Revenue Streams For Your Business!
Q: What are some ways to diversify revenue sources for a small software consulting/outsourcing firm? J. Pettigrew Bellevue, WA USA
If you are starting out as a solopreneur, you are continually in a sales-production cycle, finding a client, doing the work and then moving on to the next project and client. If you’re lucky, you’ve found ways to streamline this, especially if you are producing tangible products that can be cranked out in limited production runs and sold to galleries or through your own sales channel. If you’re in the performance arts, supporting yourself can be even more complicated since you are at the mercy of doing the audition circuit, then waiting for that gig you’re perfect for to finally get the green light. If you are a V-tuber, YouTuber, or Twitch operative, the ability to create revenue streams is an essential part of your ability to make a living as a creative. Ideally, you have multiple channels that you can tap into so when one falls silent, even momentarily, others can fill up your time and bank account.
Entrepreneurs today seem to be drawn to the creative economy by a desire to explore who they are and what they can do without punching a clock. Others want to build a life around their own joy and passions rather than creating for their customers. And others, well, they just want a paying gig that fills their soul with joy and their pockets with some cash. This is where creating multiple revenue streams can become a game changer in the financial and professional success of your business.
Plan Your Revenue Streams
Start by going back to your business plan and looking at the first or second page. We have a Business Plan Template that you can download right here. You should find a paragraph that defines who you are as a company. There should be another section that defines who your target market is. Now we need to put the two of these together by asking two questions,
- “How do my customers or clients reach me and how do I reach them?
- How can my product and service enhance the success of my client?”
The creative economy and the folks in it are wide and broad. To try to put every possible scenario in here for every creative pursuit would break the Internet. What’s important here is not to lock yourself into one idea but to use these ideas as a springboard for expanding your potential revenue sources. Later on, we’ll take a different spin on revenue streams as we explore the power of intellectual property and the importance of maintaining the rights to your work whenever possible.
Finding new revenue streams should be a continual experiment. The goal is to get in, test, gauge results, and either get in deeper if you’re successful, or get out quickly and move on to the next potential revenue stream.
Above all, keep it simple. Launch only one idea at a time, and if something doesn’t work or looks like it will become too daunting or drain you of energy and time down the road, walk away. Realize, however, that some experiments do take time. Launching a new line of products, starting a podcast, or branching into a new creative pursuit will not make you an overnight success or fill your bank account with riches. Good things take time, and as you build your personal and professional brand, you want to make sure that your experiments continue to pay off, even when they become part of your basic revenue stream.
Create a Plan of Action for Your Revenue Streams
The answers to this question will give you the bases of your plan of action. You can diversify your revenue streams as a service based business by meeting the needs of your clients in the format they reach out to you in. That is your marketing pathway.
- Look at the types of products you have already developed for you clients (hopefully you have more than just a few) and the type of customers businesses who are buying your products or services. You should see a trend.
- Ask yourself the second part of the question above, “How can our product or service enhance the success of our clients?”
- What digital product can we develop and market to further empower and enhance our customers experiance?
- How can we expand our products and services to broaden our connection with more experianced or do-it-yourself entrpreneurial type customers.?
Create Revenue Streams to Meet Needs of Customers
If you are a service based company such as your consulting firm, you will need to look at what additional services you could provide that would meet an un-served or under-served need of your client in an easy to access format. So, that might be an online service or perhaps a mobile app that would make life a little easier and provide more benefit to your client. Diversifying your range and type of services to also include digital products or community centered opportunities such as a paid membership community with live-chat meet-up online is a great way to build your customer base and create an additional revenue stream at the same time. Now come the important part and that is implementing your new ideas. We always like to offer you tools to help you actually do what you have just learned and today we have two great ones for you.
Maximize Your Current Assets
As a creative entrepreneur, you might have a few revenue streams already in place. Here are a few ideas to give you a bit of inspiration on how to develop additional revenue streams.
If you are an entrepreneur with a physical workspace, chances are you could rent some of the equipment, storage or workspace you’re not using to other creatives. Nearly anything can be hired out through online listings on industry-specific sites. Another entrepreneur may jump at the chance to share space with someone they can barter with.
If you are a content developer – artist, illustrator, designer, writer, etc. – consider repackaging what you’ve already created into a new product. If you own the copyright (that pesky intellectual property issue we’ll visit soon), you can do what you want with your creative assets.
If you are a writer – with articles and short stories, consider putting them all in a collection and self-publish it as a book. Take a few of your favorites, lay them out in an Amazon-provided template, and process them through their Kindle Direct Publishing site. Amazon does all the hard work of printing and shipping, and all you have to do is market the book. Will you get rich from it? Probably not. However, it would be nice to have a chunk of change arrive in your bank account every quarter that you don’t even have to think about.
Podcasters: Podcasts can be turned into books too, audiobooks. You would take a series of podcasts you’ve done, add some bridge narration to make it all flow together, and sell it on your site or Audible.
Photographers: The chances are good that you have far more photos or videos than you’ve sold. Consider selling them through online channels such as Shutterstock or Soundstripe. You can also add an e-commerce module to your own website and sell prints or rights-managed copies of your work.
Musicians: Increasingly, there’s demand for snippets of music to back podcasts, corporate videos, online training, etc. You can sell your work on the same sites as photographers or create your own online store so fans can purchase your work for a project or pure pleasure. We don’t even have to mention other channels, such as Apple Music or the plethora of streaming music services that may want to handle your recordings. The per-song fee is small, but every bit adds up to an additional stream with little oversight or resourcing needed.
Artists/Designers: Images can be licensed to online image services like the ones mentioned for photographers, or you can license to a greeting card company, sell your work online on your own site, sell apparel and housewares with your designs on them or sell your patterns, fonts and images on countless sites out on the Internet today. For an additional revenue stream, add your art to notebooks, stationery, etc. and sell them through Amazon’s print-on-demand service.
No eye-rolling. Our world has changed so much in the last few years and our educational system and methodologies is still undergoing a metamorphosis. That transformation is evidence in the upsurge of eager online students and the multiple educational online platforms such as our partners at Thinkific. Every creative has a bit of teacher in them. We are all learning sponges, and we love to share what we know with others, so why not teach a course. You can also choose to go it alone if you have a larger audience, creating your own courses and teaching online. You can record each session, create a workbook to go along with it, hold office hours and sell it on your website.You don’t have to be a world-renowned expert to teach. Some people teach leatherwork and painting on sites like Twitch. Money not only comes from subscribers, but also advertising revenue and affiliate programs.
If you have a creative resume that’s heavy on one area of your craft, but want to build out your portfolio in another to generate additional revenue, consider freelancing. In the old days, this required a ton of networking. But thanks to the marvels of the Internet, there are sites like Upwork.com, Guru.com and Fiverr.com. These services do most of the heavy lifting for you, such as marketing, accounting and payment processing. They even have an escrow feature, so you know you’ll actually get paid. You can search by the type of work you want to do and pitch your skills, abilities and put a price to it. At one point, nearly half of my own company’s income came from sites like these.
Tools to Help You Build Revenue Streams
Hopefully this will set you on a path to inspire ideas to develop additional revenue steams. If you are looking for even more practical hands-on help we have two other resources for you. First, we have created an actual Financial Guidebook and Toolkit for small business owners just like you to help you start and grow your own successful business and meet today’s challenges head-on with confidence. You can find yours right here.
The second resource we have for you is a collection of tools we love and use that have helped us build the online portion of our business. Some of them we have been able to partner with to give you a special deal, but all of them are tools we use and highly recommend. Here is the link:
Get Paid Fast From Anywhere
Send professional invoices, track them in real time, and accept payments online—all from one place. Save time with auto-billing, stored information, and powerful reporting tools. Take payments safely and securely, whether you’re selling in person or online. Square in not currently an affiliate partner, but we have confidently recommended them to business owners like you. Create your free account in minutes and join the millions of businesses using Square.
Business Genesis is a Step-by-Step Online Training Course That Shows You How to Start, Grow, and Market Your Own Successful Business Doing What You Love!
Everything you need to guide your very first steps is laid out for you in simple , easy to understand and organized modules with easily accessible lessons.
Business Genesis shows you exactly how to create financial security and build your brand and customer base, shows what works in marketing your business to the world, and guides you how to leave a legacy of success with tips and tools to help you build financial security and positive impact on your local and internet community.
You can finally enjoy the freedom of doing something you love and generating an income you can actually live on. Get Started Now!
I hope this has given you a little guidance. If you need more in depth help please feel free to Contact Us. I would also strongly suggest that you get your copy of Business Genesis and take a close look as chapters 17 and 18. You will find that a lot more detailed information than what I can provide to you here. You can also have more free business success tips and tools delivered to you! Join the fun and connect with us on Twitter. Good luck and keep us posted on how you are doing!