How to Create Multiple Streams of Revenue (+ What to AVOID!) (Transcript)
Today, I am covering the traps you can fall into as you try to create multiple streams of income. These mistakes can prevent you from successfully developing your multiple streams, keeping your business small, and ultimately wasting a lot of your time—and, in some cases, you might end up working MORE and earning LESS which is not what we want!
This is a transcript of Work Less, Earn More, Episode 30. Listen to the episode here.
We became entrepreneurs because more than anything, we want freedom. We want to be in control of our own schedule, income and life. But unfortunately, that isn't always the reality of being a business owner. I'm Gillian Perkins, and I'm on a mission to take back entrepreneurship for what it's supposed to be. In every episode, I'll share with you how to get the most out of every hour you work, so that you can work less and earn more. Let's get to it.
Being an entrepreneur and supporting yourself with your own business can mean that your income can fluctuate a lot from one month to the next. And that can be scary and stressful, and honestly, make it no fun at all to “be your own boss.” But it doesn't have to be that way. There are things that we can do to diversify our income, develop multiple streams of income, to really stabilize things and ensure that we are earning a consistent amount of money every single month, so that we can get rid of the stress and enjoy running our businesses a whole lot more.
I'm sure you may have heard of multiple streams of income before, and there's even a good chance that right now you may have a few of these different streams of income in your business. But maybe you haven't gotten started with it yet, or maybe you are interested in developing even more streams of income in your business. But here's the thing, even though having multiple streams of income can have many advantages, and it's something that I'm a big proponent of, there are some real traps that you can fall into as you try to create those multiple streams of income. These are mistakes that can prevent you from successfully developing them. They can keep your business small and ultimately they can waste a lot of your time.
In other words, by trying to develop multiple streams of income, you can end up working more and earning less, which is obviously not what we want. In this episode, I'm going to break down some of the different types of income that you could consider creating for yourself. And also some specific revenue streams that you could develop, that I'm going to walk you through the step by step process of how you can go about getting started with each of them. And then I'm also going to share with you some of the biggest mistakes that I made as I was working to develop multiple streams of income for my business and for myself, so that you can make sure that you avoid those mistakes.
Now, as you listen to this episode, I want you to think about two main things. First of all, which of these streams of income I share with you is the best fit for you to pursue first? And second of all, what do you need to do to get started developing it? Because we need to have more than just an idea of what we want, we also need to have a plan for how we are going to get it.
Now, as you figure out the answers to those two questions, which type of income should you create and how will you create it, I want you to also grab a screenshot of this episode and then tag me on Instagram, @gillianzperkins, to share the answers to those two questions. Specifically, to share your biggest takeaway from this episode. That's going to help you really remember what you learned and also help you figure out how to take action on it. And it's also going to help to share the podcast with more people who will be able to learn from it. Okay. So with that being said, let's get into it and talk about how to create multiple streams of revenue and what to avoid along the way.
The first step of this whole process is just to know your options. What different types of revenue could you create? There are two different aspects of this. The first is just different types of income. This is defined by the IRS or as defined by any business textbook. There are three different types of income that you can earn. The first one is called earned income. That's income that you directly earn from work that you do or hours you put in. This is income that you could earn from a job or from working with clients.
The second main type of income is called passive income. And this is income that you earn generally from physical assets, such as from owning real estate or from owning a business, but you don't need to directly put work in for each dollar that you earn. And then the third type of income is called portfolio income. And this is income that you earn from paper assets. It's income you might earn if you own stocks or bonds, and you are getting dividends paid from those, or they are appreciating in value.
Those are the three different types of income, but I'm sure that you've probably seen videos or blog posts out there where people talk about their seven revenue streams or their seven streams of income or something like that. And so you might be wondering, well, how does that fit together? If there's only three types of income, how could people have seven revenue streams? Well, basically inside of each of these categories, there are lots of different ways you can make money and each of those can be considered a different revenue stream. Here are a few different examples of this. This isn't an exhaustive list, but it will help you to understand what some of your options are.
First of all, you've just got hourly earned income. Again, this is income that you could earn from a job or from working with clients. Then you have product sales. Now, these product sales could be physical sales or they could be digital sales. And honestly, product sales could be passive income if you have some sort of evergreen system that is selling your product, or you have an eCommerce website that you don't have to do direct work for, for each sale. Or it can be earned income if you are having to physically go out and make the sale yourself or deliver the product yourself.
Another type of income is subscription sales. This is the type of income that Netflix earns, that your gym earns, or if you have a membership site, you could earn. Another type of income or stream of revenue is renting or leasing. This could be rental real estate, or you could own some physical good that you rent out. Many different possibilities here as well. And that's the thing, there's so many layers of this. There are these three different types of income, then we have all these different particular revenue streams. And then within each of them, there are all these subcategories of different things you could sell, or different things you could rent, or different types of subscriptions you could offer.
Here are a few more different revenue streams. There's also affiliate sales or affiliate marketing. This is where you're selling a product for someone else. You're essentially acting as a sales person for someone else's product, then you've got advertising fees. That could be ads on your blog, it could be ads on your YouTube videos, it could be ads in a magazine, but the advertisers are paying you for that advertising space. Then another revenue stream is asset appreciation. And this could be a house that is appreciating in value or stocks that are appreciating in value. And then finally on my list I've got dividends. And so this would be money paid to you for owning dividend stocks.
As you can see here, you have a lot of different options. This wasn't even an exhaustive list, but there are a lot of options. But here's the thing, the very first step for creating multiple streams of revenue for yourself is to pick one. I know that, that is perhaps the toughest part of the process, because with all of these options, how do you know which one is right for you? You really have to look at your particular situation, where you're at right now in terms of what money you have available to invest into developing one of these streams of income, and how much time you have available to invest into developing one of them. Because each of these will have a different initially required investment.
It also will have different potential rewards, the payoff of them will be different. And they each have different levels of risk. Now, obviously we can't get into the cost and the rewards and the risks of each of these different streams of revenue right now in this podcast episode, because we would be here all day. And so that's why the first step of the process needs to be, do your research on a few different revenue streams that you're considering developing, and pick the one that is the best fit for you based on your current situation.
Now, this leads me to the first big mistake I made when I was working on developing multiple streams of revenue. And that was that I tried to build too many at once. I was enamored with the idea of having multiple streams of revenue. I saw all the advantages, I didn't know of any of the pitfalls I could run into. And so I just ran out there and started trying to create several of them all at once. I bought a rental property, I started a blog, I created a course, I bought a few stocks. I did all these different things, and it meant that my efforts were very spread out. And much of my effort was completely wasted because some of these things require a significant time investment before they start paying you anything.
And others such as having a rental property, they involve a fair amount of risk. And so because I was spreading myself, my time, so thin, and I didn't have money to invest into them, it just meant that I wasn't able to turn any of them into a success very quickly. And that meant that it took a lot longer before some of them turned into successes that were actually contributing significant amounts of money to my income each month. Avoid that mistake by choosing one to focus on first, and then really doubling down on it and just focusing on that one thing until you see real results.
If the first step of the process is to do your research and pick one type of revenue to create, then the second step of the process would just be to create a plan about how you were actually going to execute it. Now, this is the part that we can't get into that much today. Later on in the episode, I am going to share with you some of the different types of revenue or revenue streams that I would recommend for beginners, for people who are just getting started developing multiple streams of revenue. And I'll talk to you about the general plan for how to create each of them. But if you're picking a different one, or even if you're picking one of the ones that I do you get into talking about, then you will still need to do additional research and really develop your plan.
As I've mentioned in previous episodes, and as I'm sure you know, your plan doesn't have to be completely fleshed out. It doesn't have to have all the nuances or all the individual tiny steps included, it just needs to be a big picture plan so that you can get started, so you know where you're headed, and you can fill in the fine details along the way. So once you have done your research, you've picked your revenue stream to pursue, you've created your plan, then the obvious third and final step is simply to execute your plan. And that's where you're actually going to do the work. Because it's not enough to just have an idea, it's not enough to just make a decision, we actually need to do the work to create one of these streams of revenue. Even if you're creating passive revenue, there will still be initial work that is required in order to get it started.
Once you've done those three things and you have worked it to a point where you're starting to actually earn revenue from it, and you've turned it into a system that doesn't require a lot of maintenance from you, then you're able to go back to the beginning part of the process again and repeat those steps to develop a second stream of revenue. Now, I know that, that might not sound that exciting, and maybe you want to go out and create multiple streams of revenue for yourself right now, but you really will be the most successful with this if you follow this process for creating those multiple streams of revenue. And you start by just creating one, building into a success, and then you go back and you create a second one, and then potentially a third, and potentially a force.
And that actually leads me to my second big mistake that I made that you should avoid, which is that I developed too many streams of revenue that were earned income that required my active participation. In my quest to develop multiple streams of revenue and to make money in as many ways as possible, I started several different businesses. I took on several different types of clients. I was creating all sorts of different types of content. I had real estate that I was maintaining. All these different things that required my active participation. And this really spread me too thin, and it kept my business small. The primary business that I really wanted to grow that could turn into something big that could earn me a lot of money, it kept that business really small because I was so busy maintaining all of these different revenue streams.
What has really happened over the past few years, is that first I was only earning income in one way, then I decided to diversify my income. I started developing more and more streams of revenue. And it got to the point where I was earning income in seven to 10 different ways. And from there, I've cut back, I've refined it more and more. I've cut out different streams of revenue that while yes, they were making me money, they were also taking a lot of my time. And so at this point in time, I have just about four or five streams of revenue with more of them being passive and only one or two truly being active. And it means that I'm able to invest my time into those active streams of income, and give enough attention to the passive streams of income so that I'm really able to maximize each of them.
This episode is brought to you by Startup Society. If you run an online business or you're thinking about starting one, then Startup Society is the place for you. It's a boot camp training program for entrepreneurs, plus an incredibly supportive membership community. If you're looking for a framework to make building an online business as simple and straightforward as possible, then that's exactly what you'll find inside Startup Society. Every month we create a step by step action plan for our members to follow, to create a specific result in their business so that they can keep moving forward and growing. Past action plans have helped our members write their websites, launch online courses and hire their first employees.
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Now that you understand the big picture process and you have a general idea of what some of your different options are, I want to dive a little bit deeper into a few of those options for revenue streams, and specifically the ones that I would recommend for beginners. Some of them we'll talk a little bit more about, some of them we'll just briefly touch on. Now, the first one that I would recommend for beginners is to sell courses. And I'm sure you've heard plenty of people talk about selling courses in the past. Maybe you do it yourself, maybe you've tried in the past. But I think that courses are such a good option for beginners because it's really the simplest version of selling products.
You can create a course yourself. There isn't a lot of risk involved. It doesn't require a big monetary investment. And you can in fact do it even with a minimal time investment as well. There's a big potential for profit there. And it's going to teach you so much about building and running a business. And as you'll see in a minute here as I talk about some of these other streams of revenue that I would recommend for beginners, it can be very symbiotic with some of these other ones, which can help you to really maximize your revenue and minimize your time investment, or in other words, work less and earn more.
I also think it's important to note that I'm specifically talking about courses here, because courses really are a better option for beginners than starting a membership site or doing affiliate marketing. I see both of those opportunities promoted to beginners so much. And while both of them are amazing opportunities that can earn you a lot of money, they aren't as good for beginners as courses. Here's the thing. I did another episode all about memberships versus courses, and I got into this a lot more then. But starting a membership site before your business is really ready, before you'll be able to get enough members from the outset, can really tie up a lot of your time, creating a lot of content for a small number of members while not generating that much revenue. And that can ultimately keep your business really small. If you want to learn more about that, head back to that episode called Courses Versus Membership Sites.
And then we've got affiliate revenue. Affiliate marketing is often promoted to beginners as a great way to get started making money online because you don't have to create your own product, you can sell a product that someone else has already created. But here's the thing, at least in my personal experience, but also in the experience of people who I've worked with as clients and as students, affiliate marketing is actually a lot more difficult. Because you haven't created the product yourself, you are not able to sell it as effectively. And the toughest part about making money from product sales, which is really what we're talking about here, is getting the sale.
You can create a product, you can create a course relatively easily, but getting people's attention and showing them why they need a product and convincing them to buy it, that is the tough part. And when you are doing affiliate marketing, that tough part is even tougher. Those are just a couple of reasons why I would recommend courses for people who are interested in getting into digital product sales over memberships or over affiliate marketing. Now, here's the basic process that you can follow in order to start earning revenue with courses.
The very first thing is market research. I know, not so fun, not so sexy, maybe something you want to skip. But if you do your market research first, then you will have much more confidence and have much less risk involved with investing your time into the process of creating and marketing your course. Make sure that you do that market research. We actually have an episode coming up here in a couple of months with guest expert, Margo Carroll, who is a master at market research. And she shares a lot of fantastic advice on how to do this in your business. Make sure that you stay tuned for that episode. If you aren't already subscribed to the podcast, do that now so that you will get access to that episode, and you can learn more about exactly how to do market research in your business. Because it really can have such an impact on your success with selling products online.
Once you've done your market research, then the second part of the process is two different things. One of them is building your list with content. Okay? Here I'm talking about building your email list. It doesn't necessarily have to be an email list, it could be an audience on social media. But I mean building a list of people who are going to be interested in buying this product from you, this course from you. And then the second quite separate part of this process is creating your course.
Now, the reason I'm including both of these things into step two is because you can do them simultaneously. You can work on creating your course while you are taking the time to build your audience. You don't have to do them at the same time,, you don't even have to create your course before you sell it, because you could offer it as a live experience. But it's going to take you a little bit of time to really build up an audience of people who will become your customers ultimately. And so often it is a good idea to start working on creating your course at the same time, since both of these things are going to take time.
Once you've done both of those things, then you can move on to the third part of the process, which is to launch your course. And this is where you actually offer it to the world. You make sales and you make money. Now, I would recommend that when you do this for the first time you do a live launch. Which means that you don't set up some big fancy evergreen sales system that is going to sell your product automatically and be passive income, but instead you simply earn active income from it.
You launch your course live to your audience, you have a promotion that is available for a specific period of time, and then you hand the course over to this group of students and you work with them. Because that is what is really going to teach you the most about what works in terms of sales, what works in terms of getting your students results with your course. So it will position you and give you the information and the knowledge and the skills to be able to successfully earn passive income from your course in the future.
Obviously there's a whole lot more that could be said about this process, about creating and selling courses online, but we have more to talk about in this episode and I don't want it to take all day. We're going to stop there with talking about courses, but if you do want more help with this process, then be sure to check out Startup Society, which is the membership program that I run to teach online entrepreneurs how to build successful online businesses. We have a lot of support in there and a lot of training in there all about how to build your audience, how to figure out what product your audience wants, how to create online courses, how to market online courses. It really is a comprehensive training program for this entire process. And membership is only $49 a month. So be sure to head to gillianperkins/startupsociety, to learn more about the program and to get in on the action.
Now let's move on to the second type of revenue that I would recommend for beginners, and that is advertising fees. This is revenue that you earn from advertisers paying you to have their ads in space that you provide. This could be ads that are run on your blog, it could be ads on your YouTube channel. If you have a magazine, you could put ads in your magazine. And this is how a lot of these different media outlets or media platforms earn revenue. There are two main reasons why I recommend advertising fees as a great source of revenue for people who are first starting to work on developing multiple streams of revenue.
One is because it is completely passive if you have another reason to create this content already. For example, if you are working on creating and launching a course so that you can earn money from selling courses online, well, in the process you're going to be creating content to grow your audience, to grow your list so that you have people to sell that course to. Why not have ads on that content and create another completely passive stream of revenue. Now, you have to be careful with this because you don't want to clutter up your blog with ads, because that could drive your target customers away.
We need to be strategic about where we put these ads and when we use them and when we don't. But there are a lot of spaces where it makes sense and it's easy to put the ads and they aren't going to really take away from the content. Such as on YouTube, where the viewers are very used to having ads as part of the YouTube experience. It's not really going to drive people away from your videos. When I was working on building my online business and developing multiple streams of revenue, this was one of the first streams of revenue that really turned into a substantial source of income and allowed me to be able to take my foot off the pedal that was pushing on active earned income, and be able to focus on building up my passive income.
What I mean by that is that at first I was trying to build my business. And I was doing a lot of client work and I had my hands so busy with a lot of different types of active earned income. I was working really hard for every dollar that I earned. But one of the things that I was doing was I was creating YouTube videos, and I was doing this to build my audience. But after not very long, in fact, after just three months, I got my first check from YouTube. Now, at first it was only about a hundred dollars, $113 to be exact. But after just a few more months, a total of six months after I started my channel, I was earning over a thousand dollars per month.
Now, that was a thousand dollars every month that I didn't have to worry about earning from client work. And so that allowed me to free up more of my time to work on developing my passive streams of income even further. Now, honestly, creating content can be really time consuming. And so if you don't have another bigger picture reason to be creating content, I wouldn't necessarily recommend creating content just to get this advertising income. But if you do have another reason, like you're working on building up your audience, then earning this advertising income on top of that can be a really easy way to make some extra money and take things to the next level more quickly.
Another revenue stream that I would recommend for beginners is dividend stock investing. This is where you purchase stocks that pay dividends. The reason I would recommend this for beginners is that at least as long as you have a conservative long term strategy and you don't put too many eggs into this basket, it can be a really easy way to earn a little bit of revenue to add one more stream of revenue that will grow over time.
I would not recommend this as your number one strategy, but especially if you have some money to invest that maybe right now is just sitting in a savings account, and you are not going to need that money in the short term, investing it into stocks can get you some free money. Of course, there are plenty of risks that go along with investing in stocks, and you wouldn't want to invest money that you are counting on for any major expenses that you anticipate, or for retirement, or for anything like that. That's why I would only recommend this as part of a diversified investment and earning strategy, but it is a very easy option if you do have that money to invest.
The next option that I'd recommend for beginners might surprise you, but it is real estate rentals. This is one of the first streams of income that I successfully developed. And the financial investment was honestly so much smaller than I thought it would be, and the time investment was smaller as well. I know that investing in rentals gets a bad rap, and everyone talks about how they don't want to be someone who has to go fix their tenants’ toilets in the middle of the night and things like that. But if you're smart about how you go about it, then you won't have to do any of that “dirty work” yourself, and it can be quite profitable.
Now, of course, as with any of these different revenue strategies, you definitely need to do your research here to make sure that you are purchasing a property that will be a smart investment, and that you really screen your tenants and every other part of the process. But I think that you'll be surprised at how easy it really can be, how minimal the financial investment can be, and how profitable it can be even in a relatively short period of time. There is one more revenue stream that I would definitely recommend for beginners, and that is actually earned income. Because remember, in this episode, we're not just talking about ways to earn passive income, we're just talking about developing multiple revenue streams. And when you are first starting out, earning active income from a job or from client work is actually a really good option.
Now, first of all, I just want to say, I'm not talking about going out and getting a local 40 hour a week job. That's great for some people, but if you're trying to develop multiple streams of income, that's not going to serve you very well. Because you're going to be earning a pretty low hourly wage, and it's going to be tying up a lot of your time. And the most common way that people do this is with freelance work. Now, what's really good about earning earned income when you're first getting started, is that it's a good stepping stone and it can pay your bills while you're developing these other streams of revenue. Because the last thing you want is to have a whole lot of stress and anxiety in this process because you're barely scraping by.
You need to make sure that you have a way that you can confidently pay your bills every month, so that you are emotionally free and that you are energetically free to be able to actively pursue these other streams of revenue, and that you're able to enjoy the process. Almost everyone gets started earning money by earning some type of earned income. Now, the thing that you need to decide for yourself is what percentage of your time you're going to devote to earning earned income versus developing other more passive streams of revenue.
If right now you don't have any passive streams of revenue and you don't have savings that you can rely on, then obviously you'll need to devote a larger amount of your time to earning earned income. But on the other hand, if you have some savings you can partially rely on, or you have started to develop some passive streams of revenue, then you'll be able to devote less and less of your time to earning active income. Now, for the very best results, the number one thing that you need to know is that the more skilled of a worker you are, the higher rate you'll be able to earn for every hour that you work. So basically that just means that if you have more skills, you'll be able to charge more for your time and for the work that you do, which will allow you to free up more of your time to work on developing these other streams of revenue.
And for that reason, when you're first working on developing these streams of revenue, what you might need to do is first devote your time to earning earned income through a job, or through freelance work, and investing the rest of your time simply into improving your skills. You can earn more for every hour you work, so that you then can work less and actually have time left over to be able to develop these passive streams of revenue. Yes, I know that that sounds like a long process. And yes, it definitely will take time. We're talking several months, maybe even a couple of years. But if you're starting at zero right now with only one stream of revenue, and that stream of revenue being earned income and you're not earning a very high hourly wage, then that really is the process that will most effectively get you to where you ultimately want to be.
Now, a lot of people aren't willing to do this work, they aren't willing to invest the time, they aren't willing to be patient. And because of that, they will try to take shortcuts and they will try to develop these other passive streams of revenue before they're ready, before they have the skills, before they have sufficient time available for them to invest in it, when they're still working a lot of hours at their job because they have to, because they're not earning very much per hour, and this will keep them stuck for a long time. They'll wonder why none of their other revenue streams are really taking off or turning into anything substantial. And it's because they're trying to take those shortcuts. And that's why I want you to know what the most effective, most strategic long term plan for getting from where you are now to where you want to go really is.
Now, of course, you may be beyond that right now. You may already be full time in your business and you just are working on developing these other streams of revenue, maybe starting a membership site, or starting some sort of subscription service, or selling advertising on your website. And if so, that is fantastic. But I also just want people who are starting at the very beginning to have this plan that they can follow. Now, if you are closer to the beginning and you want to get started with freelance work online, then be sure to check out Startup Society for that as well. Because we have a lot of great resources and training to help you get your freelance career off to a great start and start actually earning money as a freelancer online.
That brings me to the end of my list of some of the best options for revenue streams for beginners, or just getting started developing these multiple streams of income. And before we wrap this episode up, I want to remind you that the very first step for this entire process is simply to do your research and pick the one stream of revenue that you are going to first focus on developing. You need to decide which one is the best fit for you right now, and you need to pick one. Because if you try to go after multiple streams of revenue at the same time, you're going to find that the process takes you a lot longer before you start actually earning money from any of them.
From there, you need to make a plan and then just double down on developing that stream of revenue until it actually turns into something substantial, so that you can make progress on increasing your income and reclaim your time to be able to pursue creating other streams of revenue in the future. Okay. That is everything for this episode. I hope that you found it really useful. Please do be sure to grab a screenshot and tag me on Instagram with your biggest takeaway. Tell me what you found most useful about this episode. I would love to see you listening and enjoying this episode, hear what you learned from it and connect with you in that way.
The last thing I want to share with you before we wrap this up is a review from one of our listeners. This review comes from listener, Tony MC. And he titled his review, Gillian's Podcast Got It Going On. And he says, “I listened to the first two episodes and I'm already hooked. Gillian gives great insight tips and advice that will excite the soon to be working from home entrepreneurs. If you have a work from home business, then listen to Gillian's podcast. You'll thank me later.”
Thank you so much, Tony, for taking the time to write that review. And to everyone else who is listening right now, if you haven't already written a review, I would love to hear from you. So head to Apple podcasts and post your review there, along with your name and business name if you like, so I can give you a shout out on the show.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of work less, earn more. Now, here's what I want you to do next. Take a screenshot of the episode you are listening to right now, and share it out on your Instagram Stories. And when you do that, make sure to tag me @gillianzperkins, so that I can see that you're listening. Sharing on Stories is going to help more people find this podcast so that they can learn how to work less, earn more and take back their lives. And when you share, I want to add it to my Stories so that you can get some exposure that way as well. And if you really love the show, head over to Apple podcast and leave a review to give the show a boost. Every single week I feature a review on the podcast and I would love to give you and your business a shout out. If you leave a review, it will help the show, but it can also help your business as well. Okay, let's wrap this up. I'm Gillian Perkins, and until next week, stay focused and take action.