As entrepreneurs, it’s not just important for your bottom line to diversify your income – it’s important for your livelihood and the security of your future. If you have one income stream and the world shifts like it has or deman happens to disappear or your offer stops performing as well, you could be in big trouble.
But if you have several or even a couple of revenue streams that are working for you – some passive, some active, some more significant than others – you’ll have plenty of back-up options to rely on and keep your finances healthy long-term.
So whether you sell a product or a service or you have a digital offer, I want to help you think outside the box to start working on additional offers or ways to boost your income as an entrepreneur. If you stay until the end, I’ll be sharing the four main ways to produce more income, opportunities you might have never considered!
Have you heard of value ladders before? Essentially you’re taking your customers on a journey and imagining their future needs. When I visualize a value ladder, I picture stairs and you’re starting someone out at the lowest step and then consistently extending invitations for them to take the next step with you. Generally speaking, as they climb each step, the investment is greater but so is the return. Not every single client will be ready or willing to climb the steps but knowing they have an invitation or a possible next step is your job as you create a powerful value ladder.
I personally believe the best place to start is in getting someone results for free through what you create whether it’s a freebie that they opt in for, a podcast episode like this one, a video or a post, but starting the value ladder out from a place of service is the best place to begin to build that trust.
As a wedding photographer this showed up in the packages available to my clients. The bottom step was the introductory offer which was shorter shooting hours and no add ons, each step upped the delivery and the extras like an engagement session, albums, prints, and wedding coverage. This a great method in pricing your products and services and gives you opportunities to add on extras or upsell your clients to increase your income.
Ideally, the least expensive product or service will give them sort of a sampling of what you have to offer. It’s like a bite-sized taste, just enough to get them value and quick results, but not the whole enchilada with fixin’s that will take their business or life to the next level. If they want all of that (and then some) then they’ll need to invest in the next step up, your mid-level offer, and if they want EVEN more than that, then they’ll invest in your most premium, high-dollar offer.
Now value ladders don’t just mean you can only have three offers and be done. You can have several entry, mid-level, and premium offers that meet different needs that your clientele are facing. But, as you’re just getting started in diversifying your income, determining your three levels of offers is a super solid place to start.
Product or Merchandise
Whether you have a loyal and engaged Instagram following, a super active email list, or diehard podcast or YouTube subscribers, there are several different opportunities to create merchandise or products for brand loyalists. My first taste at doing something like this was when I launched my print shop on Society6. Basically I upload the art and then they do all the printing and fulfillment, I could see prints, mugs, shirts, blankets, pillows, you name it, they can probably put whatever you upload on it.
While my print shop was a deviation from my job as a photographer, I marketed it and shared about it on my channels which at the time were pretty small and people purchased my work. I remember the first time I woke up and saw someone had ordered something while I was sleeping and having that feeling that passive income is possible! I also remember when my monthly checks got large enough to cover our mortgage and seeing just how powerful extending my brand into a new space could be.
Whether you create related merch to extend a brand you already have or start a new division of your brand, creating a product or some sort of merchandise where the fulfillment piece is covered for you could be a great option!
Upsells and Downsells
When someone is buying from you, do you have any “add-ons” that they can easily purchase at the same time? Let’s start with the topic of upsells, this is when you add on an additional offer at a time of purchase. This could come in the form of an extra product, a suggested offer they might enjoy, a list of recommended products to complement their purchase, the opportunities are endless!
This doesn’t just apply to digital or product offers, this tactic is just as important for service based businesses as they are for product based businesses, too. It could be as simple as when someone is checking out, you could have a pop-up that says “do you also need this product?”
For downsells, you typically use these after someone has not made a purchasing decision. For example after a cart closes on a course launch, if someone was interested but ultimately didn’t purchase the program, is there another offer that is more reasonable but aligned in getting them results in an area they are interested in? This is when you could extend a downsell for non-purchasers. This allows someone to become a paying customer even if they aren’t ready for the main offer you have and gives you time to get them results and build trust at a lower investment!
See how both products AND services can utilize ad-ons and downsells? Most upsells happen at point of purchase when a buyer is most likely to add on products (does anyone else add on products just to get free shipping? Just me?) but you can also offer upsells after the customer has been given time to enjoy their purchase. You can share an upsell through an email sequence, a timed promotion, or an extra recommendation! My best advice for upsells is to make the offer enticing, complimentary of their purchase, and discounted so it feels special and more time sensitive.
If your business or brand has a blog or social media presence – which I highly recommend it does – then you can create content that shares your process, gear or favorite things and link up a few of those pieces as affiliate content that brings in extra dollars anytime someone purchases using your link or code.
An affiliate link is basically a “refer-a-friend” type code that gives you a kickback. If affiliate marketing is something you want to get into, I have tonnnnns and tons of content available on my blog and podcast archives about how to become an affiliate for brands you love, and a great one to start with is my blog post titled “How to Become an Affiliate for Your Favorite Brands” that breaks down what to do and in what order to start promoting brands you love and bringing in a little side income.
The basic gist is to begin by promoting brands you love for free as a service to your community at first before reaching out to see if they have a referral or affiliate program. That blog post also has an email template you can customize and use to reach out to companies that don’t have affiliate programs!
You can also sign up for programs like RewardStyle and Amazon Affiliates and link to products you love from an assortment of retailers. These won’t bring in giant dividends but with consistency they can begin to trickle in passive income that definitely makes a difference over time!
The Big Picture
I should also mention that simply sharing about your offers, and OFTEN, in public spaces like social media or with your email list is an equally important way to boost your income. I think so many entrepreneurs unwittingly assume that their audience just KNOWS what they offer because they shared it once or twice, or knows what kind of work they do when it’s just not true.
It’s your job to be your own publicist, to shout your offers from the rooftops and often. While people may have a general idea of what you do but don’t know how to get in touch to work with you or aren’t sure of the specific services you provide and ways you can help or serve them.
Plus, even if you’ve shared it before, there are always new eyes on your content or people who didn’t see your posts in the past. It may feel repetitive to you, but to everyone else it’s a great knowledge to have in case they ever need your services.
Continue finding ways to share your offers openly and enthusiastically – because simply creating a habit of spreading the word about your own offers can work wonders for your bottom line. Whether it sparks immediate interest in a potential client or customer or plants the seed for a need they have later down the line, it will never-ever be a bad thing to toot your own horn and get your information out there for others to keep in their back pocket, or share with people they know who might need it!