When you own your own business, you have to not only expect, but also plan for the natural ups and downs that you’re likely to face financially—especially in your first few years of operation. Some weeks it’s a feast and the next it can be a famine, making it desirable to find other ways to earn income so you’re more stable and able to withstand the “dry” seasons.
One of the best ways to do this is to establish multiple streams of revenue. Take Elon Musk, for instance. Between Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity, he’s got three amazing opportunities to build his wealth, and that’s in addition to the success he’s already enjoyed being co-founder of PayPal, Zip2, and X.com. So, if one area doesn’t do as well as planned, he has two others to fall back on and try to make them work.
Of course, not everyone is a great visionary like Musk, going off in three similar yet very separate directions, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t create your own multiple revenue streams based on the business you currently have. Here are three to consider.
#1: Offer Related Products
If your business is product-based, one way to add a new revenue stream is to come up with products that are different, yet related to the ones you offer now. For example, let’s say your company currently manufactures and sells memory books that people can create online using their own photos. Some related products that you could also offer your customers would include mugs, keychains, calendars, blankets and anything else people might want to put their favorite photos on to keep or give as gifts.
Or, if your small business is a bakery and makes only cookies and donuts, what about expanding to breads, bagels, and muffins? You could also consider doing cakes, making you the go-to person for local birthday, anniversary, and other celebrations and giving you extra income when business is slow (which is typical at the beginning of the new year when almost everyone is on a diet).
Even if you are primarily a service-based company, consider whether there are some products that you could sell that could help promote your business. For instance, if you run a car wash, what about developing and selling your own air fresheners or car wax? And if you own a carpet cleaning business, what about selling your own spot remover or room freshener?
#2: Expand Your Services
Another way to gain an additional revenue stream and stabilize yourself financially is to expand your services. Essentially, the more services you can offer your loyal customers, the more opportunities you have to increase their loyalty even more by satisfying as many of their needs as you possibly can.
One way to figure out how best to expand your services is to listen to your customers when they share what it is they need. For instance, in talking with a number of my clients and having them hear my story of moving across the country (twice) and switching careers entirely, they indicated that they’d love for me to help them and their companies or organizations deal with change.
So now, in addition to offering freelance writing services, I also work as a motivational speaker and coach. This enables to me to meet my number one goal of helping others live better lives by giving them what they tell me they need, and it also gives me three opportunities to draw in income. That way, if one area is slow at the time, the other ones can help pick up the slack. In thinking about your business, what are some services that you can offer your clients that you don’t already?
Again, even if you’re a product-based company, this option can still apply to you too. For example, if you currently make and sell washers and dryers, what about offering installation services so your customers won’t have to put them in on their own? Or, if you run a company that sells fitness equipment, why not buy that empty building next door and create your own gym?
#3: Become a Consultant
A third option for bringing in additional revenue is to act as a consultant. This involves using your skills and talents to advise others in your particular area of expertise. Depending on how much time you’d have to dedicate to this, you could bring in some good money to either help fund your business even more or even to build up your retirement account.
According to Consultant Journal, there are a few different ways to set your rates should you choose to take this route. You could come up with an hourly wage and charge that, or you could charge by the project and just ask for a flat fee. As far as the rates themselves, some consultants double or triple their standard hourly wage, but that may be a bit difficult to do since you own your own business and aren’t exactly paid by the hour.
Basically, you want to be competitive, but you also want to make it worth your time as well. Therefore, you’ll want to choose a rate that you’re happy with but that others are also willing to pay based on your level of expertise and experience.
These are just three options when it comes to increasing your revenue streams to help you grow your business and increase its stability financially. If you’ve added a revenue stream to your business, what did you do and how has it worked for you? I’d love to hear about it so feel free to share below!
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