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When I started my work-at-home journey in the mid-1990’s, I read everything I could find on working at home. I came across a book by Barbara Winter called Making a Living without a Job, in which I was first introduced to the idea of multiple streams of income (or multiple profit centers as she called it). Essentially, she said that it was easier to build 3 profit centers to $1,000 each than to built a single one to $3,000. Initially, I dismissed the multiple income idea. I wanted a single job that paid me to work at home.
Overtime though, especially as I moved away from the confines of telecommuting jobs into more flexible and profitable options, I began to see the value in generating more than one income stream.
I still get that many people would rather have a work-at-home job, but if you’d like to have a home based career doing what you love, earning what you’re worth, and having flexibility, then creating your own sources of income is your best option. Further, advances in affordable technology, makes it easier than ever to create your own home-based career with many sources of income.
Today, my income comes from many sources including books, courses, affiliate marketing, freelance writing, social media services, speaking, and more. It can sometimes feel a bit like plate spinning to keep everything up and running, but I love the challenge and how my day is rarely boring. Plus, whenever one income dips, there are others to insure I’m never without income.
Here are the 8 Steps to Creating Multiple Streams of Income
1) Start with one big idea. The fastest and easiest way to build multiple streams of income is to keep them related to each other. That starts with having one big idea. It could be based on a service you want to offer, such as virtual assistance. It could be a hobby or interest you have, like cake decorating or golf. You can choose something related to your work or education experience, such as bookkeeping or human resources. Because you can build a career out of almost anything, pick something that excites you. Careers don’t have to be boring or dreary.
2) Grab the multiple streams of income printable and list income options related to your big idea. There are essentially three ways to make money:
- Sell products: In this case I’m talking about tangible products. These can be products you make, or that you acquire through a whole-seller, or through affiliate marketing. For example, if your big idea is gardening, you can sell garden tools. Don’t worry right now about what tools, or how you’ll get and sell them. This is a brainstorming session, so you just want to get your ideas on paper.
- Sell services: Service-based businesses are one of the fastest ways to get started working at home. You can offer to do the activity related to your big ideas (i.e. bookkeeping services) or offer coaching or consulting. With that said, you don’t have to sell a service you deliver. You can sell a service as a reseller or affiliate marketer. For example, many webhost companies have options for people sell their services. Again, list services you can offer related to your big idea. Using the gardening example, you could write, “landscaping.”
- Sell information: Like the other options you can sell information that you create or through affiliate options. Information can be sold in a variety of ways including, books, courses, seminars, etc. These can be delivered online or off. List instructional options related to your big idea. For the gardening example you could write “gardening book.”
Each type of income source may have multiple options as well. For example, in the information, you can have a gardening book and a gardening course. Again, don’t worry about whether the idea is good or viable, write them all down.
3) Expand on what you already have. If you’ve already started a side hustle, freelancing, or a home business, start by choosing an idea that expands on what you’ve started. This is faster and easier because it’s related, and presumably you already have a market. For example, if you started a gardening blog, choose options from your list that you can add to the blog. Perhaps you’ve already have advertising and affiliate products, so you can add an ebook or course to what you already have.
4) Consider starting passive income ideas first. Whether you’re adding to an existing income, or you’re starting from scratch, pick ideas that allow you to build passive income. While a service-based business is fast and easy to start, in the long run, service-based businesses are like jobs, in that they trade hours for dollars (unless you use contractors to deliver the service for you or become a reseller/affiliate for a service-based company). Passive income offers the opportunity to create once but make money over and over.
Go through your income options and circle or highlight those that would be passive income (create once, sell ongoing). Some ideas include:
- written works (books, manuals, etc)
- audio or video creations
- affiliate marketing
- licensing your idea
- continuity programs (i.e. memberships).
5) Pick one income stream to start now. The planning, creating, and executing of an income takes the most time and requires the most focus. Don’t dilute your efforts by trying to implement multiple ideas at the same time. Pick your one idea and research how you can get started. For example, if you want to sell gardening products, research where you can make or order them. Decide how you’ll sell them (ecommerce site? eBay?). You should also research whether or not people are willing and able to buy what you’re offering. Figure out how much money it will cost to get up and running, and determine where the money will come from.
6) Get one income stream up and running before starting the second. If you choose a passive income option, you should be able to have tools and systems in place to help maintain it’s momentum once you get going. Regardless of the type of income stream you build first, once you launch, get it to the point that it’s making money before moving to add another stream.
7) Choose another income stream related to the first. I’m a big fan of creating income around all my passions, related or not. But it’s much easier to add an income stream to an existing one. Plus you’re more likely to make money from it faster. If you built an ecommerce site to sell your gardening tools, a good add-on income stream would be to sell a gardening book or course. Keep your first income stream going as you focus on adding the second. Once you implement the second income, wait until it’s making money before attempting to add a third.
8) Evaluate your income streams and tweak or stop any that aren’t making money. Because it is a challenge to manage more than one income, you don’t want to waste time on one that doesn’t work. If you have an income stream that isn’t pulling it’s weight, go over your data and efforts to see how you might make it more profitable. If that still doesn’t work, replace it with something else.
If you study successful online entrepreneurs, you’ll find that most have several income sources, usually related to what they started with. A blogger begins with AdSense and affiliate income, and eventually creates their own ebook and/or course. Some even add speaking, coaching or consulting to their income repertoire. You might create soap or other crafty item to sell on Etsy, and eventually either expand your product offering, or you can write a book or a course teaching others how to create the item, or on how people can sell on Etsy.
If you’re like me and have many interests and passions, you can create non-related incomes. Just know that they often require more work to set up and maintain because they don’t have overlap. Related incomes can cross-market (i.e. your course can have links to your book and affiliate products). With that said, multiple incomes that allow you to get paid to indulge your interests are a lot of fun too. If you’re going to be involved in the idea anyway, why not get paid?
Do you have multiple streams of income? What tips do you have in creating and managing multiple streams of income?