When you’re an entrepreneur, there always tends to be this small sense of uncertainty about the amount of income you’ll make month to month. Some weeks and months are drier while others are booming, depending on the season and stage of your business. It’s why I’ve always been a huge believer in having multiple income streams, so you’re not out of luck if you hit a rough patch with your main income source.
Business security isn’t tied to one single source these days, either. I mean, just think of all the entrepreneurs you know… Do they usually just sell one thing? Probably not. It’s becoming more and more accepted to embrace multiple passions and offer up an array of products and services (or even act as an affiliate to sell others’ products you believe in).
When you have multiple income streams, you have options if a change happens with one, and you won’t feel like you need to hang up your dreams like an old hoodie if an aspect of your business takes a hit. So let’s get into options for you to bring in more diverse income and build security for your future!
Various options for streams of income to try out
Physical products: This one might seem the most obvious, but maybe not if you’re generally a service-based business. You can open an online shop with items that make sense for your audience and business content that people will trust to buy from you. So many website services allow you to add plug-ins for a shop, or you can always get started on Etsy!
Examples: Jewelry; branded clothing merchandise, like t-shirts, hats, or bandanas; unique office supplies, like funky pens, notebooks, or planners; water bottles; coffee mugs; art prints; phone cases; koozies; wine or beer openers; or exercise gear, like yoga mats, sweatbands, or hair ties.
Digital products: I love this one because it can be fairly simple to create digital products that pack a ton of value but that don’t cost you a lot of time running in the future. In the age of digital education, there are so many opportunities to deliver tangible tips and takeaways to your audience without ever having to create something physical.
Examples: Digital courses, e-books, worksheets, templates, checklists, tutorials, video content, printable graphics or art, stock photos, presets, printable calendars, printable journals, apps, fitness plans, or meal plans.
Sponsored posts: Collaborating with a brand you love is one of the best ways to get paid for sharing the things you like. Bonus points if it’s a brand you already use and enjoy. The best way to do this is to create a list of brands you love and think your audience would love, and reach out to them. Concisely share who you are, what you do, and why you think sharing their products in sponsored posts would be helpful to your audience. Odds are you’ll get traction with at least one or two of them, and you can create a plan to share content sponsored by them.
Examples: Sponsored blog posts, emails, Instagram posts, Instagram stories, Facebook posts, LinkedIn posts, YouTube vidoes, or Pinterest posts.
Events: I love collaborating with brands to host events or putting together masterminds that impact my audience positively. It allows me to connect with followers and students face to face and really get to know them on a deeper level, while hopefully sharing some inspiration or advice they can take on their merry ways.
Examples: Masterminds, partnering with a brand to host an event, speaking events, mixers, meet-ups, group coaching sessions, or events based around an activity, like cooking, yoga, or goal-setting.
Ads: Sometimes you gotta spend a little to make a little more, and online advertising is one way I’ve seen my revenue explode. If you have a big launch coming up or an event around the corner, targeted ads are a wonderful tool to get your info in front of the right sets of eyes, so that even more people are reminded to sign up for your stuff.
Examples: Instagram post ads, Instagram story ads, Facebook ads, Pinterest ads, Yelp ads, or LinkedIn ads.
Affiliate marketing: I love me some affiliate marketing, when done in the right way. It can be of the most genuine and easiest ways to share things you love. Do it like this: Reach out to brands you use and like (that same list you made for sponsored posts), and say, “Hey, I have been using your products for 5 years and LOVE what they do for me! I think my audience would really benefit from them, too. Would you mind creating a code for me to share with them?” You might be shocked by how many brands will love to work with you and offer your followers a discount of some sort. Plus, companies like Amazon have awesome affiliate programs that anyone can sign up for.
Examples: Discount codes, affiliate links through companies like Amazon, or LikeToKnowIt.
Services: Are you a product creator? You could actually be teaching others how you do what you do! Or maybe you provide services already — there are so, so many other side services you could be offering your people to give them a fuller array of choices for what they need. I’ll provide some examples of the big services I see, but you can package some of these up in different ways to provide small and big value options to your clients.
Examples: Coaching, photography, writing, social media management, virtual assisting, consulting, editing, email marketing, advertising, scheduling, publicity, organizing, cleaning, meal prepping, hair and makeup, personal styling, or mentoring.
Memberships: Memberships are gaining momentum because people crave learning in group settings from their peers and people who are further ahead in their business journeys. This sort of group setting is ideal for service-based businesses because you can get like-minded people together to teach, boost, and encourage one another.
Examples: Quarterly, monthly, or annual memberships for masterminds, challenges, taking a course together, or group mentoring or coaching.
My journey with creating multiple income streams
For me? Y’all know I started my path of entrepreneurship with simply offering photography services. I was exchanging hours of working at weddings, editing thousands of photos, and delivering them to clients for my income. My very first additional revenue stream was actually opening a print shop of my photos and my doodles that I sold with a 3rd party vendor.
It was when I started collecting those extra checks and having passive income that I got hooked. I once heard that the average million has seven revenue streams and so I set out to create eight of them, because I’m an overachiever. When I started building courses, my entire business formula shifted because I was no longer solely trading time for money, and I was able to impact and help more people.
My reach grew stronger because I had access to teaching people all over the world from the comfort of my home. After that, I eventually took on a few affiliates (and I mean a few — I only work with a handful of brands that I TRULY believe in). That allows me to share products I love while getting a small cut when my audience buys them.
Plus, my podcast ads fall within a similar category of companies I adore and use, and I have an opportunity to share those authentically with my listeners through the ads. We also eventually opened a Jenna Kutcher shop on my website, where I share all the tools and resources that I actually use, meant to help business owners just getting started as well as seasoned entrepreneurs.
And finally — and we didn’t necessarily plan for this one, but it became a happy accident — we bought a condo, and then one more, in Hawaii that eventually became The Kutcher Condo. It’s a way for us to share our happy place with our followers as an Airbnb rental, and to also help pay for our dream vacation home.
You don’t have to get 10 affiliates and an online shop and an Airbnb all in one day — it took me YEARS to acquire all the streams of income I currently offer. But just pick and start with one that makes you most excited, and begin weaving it into the content you share with your audience to get them excited, too!
Before you know it, you’ll have a few running and jiving income opportunities that are making you more successful, and secure, than ever.