Whether you have a job, are looking for a job, work freelance or, like me, you are unemployable and run your own business, it’s a good idea to vary and increase your income streams.
Why? You do this to avoid a sudden loss of income through unexpected events. And history is one damn unexpected event after another. For example, a change in Google’s algorithm meant dramatic losses for people who’d been earning exclusively from Adsense. Business dead. Not good.
Added to this, the practice of increasing your income streams makes sense. It’s all part of the process of diversifying and exploring different avenues of growth. Who knows what new business opportunities you will uncover with this entrepreneurial curiosity.
Here are some ideas for you to explore for increasing your income streams.
1. Expand your client base
If you have clients, try to increase their number, vary them and don’t rely on one. The best way of doing this is to contact clients you haven’t heard from in a while. Don’t ask them for work, just drop them an email to see what they’re doing.
It may be that they’ve moved to a different department or perhaps the email bounces because they’ve changed jobs. Great! Get in touch with them via LinkedIn or Facebook and see what they’re up to. It may be that their company has demand for your services.
2. Encourage monthly payments from clients
Once you have got to know clients well and have worked for them a few times, see if you can get them to pay you a monthly fee in return for you doing regular work.
If you are doing any sort of online work for a client you can offer to host their site and do maintenance for them. You should only offer these services once you are very confident in your host and your abilities to do so.
This constant exposure to your client is a healthy way to grow a business. In addition you can negotiate retainers and be paid in advance for work to be specified later.
3. Make recommending you easier
After you’ve finished a job for a client, drop them an email thanking them for the work and remind them of the other services you can offer. Include a nicely designed PDF with your logo, contact details and a brief synopsis of your services. Suggest forwarding the PDF to someone who might be interested. Here’s an example of how the PDF might read:
Nobby Stiles does email copywriting, web design, SEO, social media marketing & e-book publishing. Contact him here!
4. Don’t rely on any one source of traffic to your website
Don’t rely on Google. Don’t rely on Facebook. We’ve seen recently how minor tweaks in Facebook’s “EdgeRank” and Google’s search algorithm has meant curtains for some businesses. Don’t let this happen to you.
You have to “be everywhere” and push your content out via as many platforms as possible. This can be time consuming and you need to be smart about it. Don’t just paste the same message into multiple Facebook and LinkedIn groups – that looks and feels desperate.
Instead, explore new avenues. Push stuff out on Slideshare, Vine and Instagram. Build your brand on multiple channels. Go where you can help people.
5. Always look for new opportunities
Get up from your computer, laptop or tablet screen and go out and meet people. Join business meetups in your local area and meet, learn and listen from people.
Don’t get caught by the pushy-type who’s trying to get you into a pyramid scheme. Seek out the genuine types. They may be quieter than most but they’re the ones you need to meet.
Nurture your relationship with these people and never sell anything to them. Just explain who you are and what you do. If they want to involve you in a new opportunity, they will ask.
Spending time with successful entrepreneurs improves your own entrepreneurial curiosity. Pretty soon you’ll be thinking up a new business opportunity every time you get in the shower.
6. Create products
Do you create your own products? No? Then you should.
If you don’t have anything to sell, how are you going to make any money? Write an e-book, create a video course, look at past client work you’ve done and see if you can re-package it and sell it to a different market.
7. Create more products
Another reason you should create products is to become better at creating products. You don’t want only a few products – you want a whole stable of products. And the only way to create multiple products is to get good at creating products.
So get the products out there. The first one is always the hardest. Finish it as soon as possible. Done is better than perfect. All digital products can be improved upon after they’re first brought to market anyway so perfectionism at this stage is over-rated (as it is most of the time).
8. Sell products on multiple platforms
Once you have your products created, don’t just put them out in front of one audience. Have you written an e-book? Or even blog posts? You can put them out as a Kindle on Amazon, a paperback on CreateSpace, and an ePub on Barnes & Noble, Nook and iBooks, the list is endless.
If you are selling physical products you can sell them on eBay, Amazon and a variety of other channels. A couple of friends of mine, Matt Osbourne and Dave Furness, can show you how to do this for free over at UnderstandingE.
You can sell anything from your own website using platforms like Clickbank, E-Junkie, Paypal and Gumroad.
None of the above will cost you hardly any money, by the way.
9. Bundle products
Once you have created a few products you can bundle them together to create more products.
These bundled products can be sold at a discount to increase their value. Or you can sell an e-book with Photoshop, InDesign, Word, Excel templates to increase the product’s value, this is something I’ve learned from Nathan Barry.
10. Allow advertising, within reason
If you have a website you can monetise it with Google Adsense or some other advertising network. But don’t get your hopes up with this one. It won’t make you much money unless you get lots of traffic in a highly competitive niche. So put little advertising on your site and forget about it.
If you have a YouTube channel, and you should have, you can allow advertising on it. Again, this won’t make you much money but it’s another stream.
11. Build your brand, be everywhere, blog and build your list
It all goes back to building your brand. If you don’t have a recognisable reputation online, you don’t have anything. You need a focus for this so link everything you do online back to your website and collect email addresses there.
Why? Because these are the two things that you can control. Once you have a website, no one can take it away from you – which is not the case when you publish and sell on 3rd party platforms. So you need a balance between the two. Use the platforms to reach new audiences but try to point the new audiences back to your home on the internet in order to trap them.
Maybe your email list is even more important than your website. Your website can be struck by a virus, the traffic can drop suddenly but your email list can be downloaded from AWeber at any time. This maybe the most important business asset you have.
They are your fans. You can start momentum on any product launch with your email list. This is huge.
All this is impossible on your own. Have a look how Steve Scott, who makes over six figures a month on Kindle alone, built a team around him to expand his Kindle empire. And, as Chris Ducker asks, what can’t you do, what shouldn’t you do and what do you hate doing? Outsource these tasks.
You can do it!
You can increase you income streams and therefore grow your annual earnings from now until you retire – and beyond! It takes a bit of effort in the first place but, as soon as you see the benefits, you’ll be hooked and there’ll be no stopping you.
What about you? Can you count your income streams on more than one hand? Two hands? Three? Tell us about your ideas in the comments!