One of the greatest challenges faced by any entrepreneur or business owner is the creation of regular income. We often find ourselves (at least initially) struggling to generate consistency in the money we earn. For every huge injection of cash we receive from a big job, months stretch by when we see nothing but tumbleweed blowing through our bank accounts.
Managing your regular monthly expenses when you don’t have regular monthly income can be be really tough. This feast or famine scenario is often the Achilles heel of start-ups.
The good news is, anyone can create regular income in their business provided they get organised and approach the conundrum in a methodical manner. This is especially true for digital marketers, who have at their disposal a powerhouse for income generation in the form of their website.
When your website is setup properly, and you have the right offers and systems in place, you can create regular income in your sleep.
Here’s how to break that feast or famine cycle and get the cash coming in on a regular basis…
Consistent Lead Generation
Before we dive into exactly what you need to be offering in order to create that consistency in your cashflow, it’s important to understand that having the right offers available isn’t enough.
You also need to have the infrastructure in place to generate consistent leads.
This all happens on your website, so if you haven’t already, make sure you have the following things set up and working well on your site:
- A clear understanding of your Ideal Client and how to use their profile to grow a tribe.
- High-quality and consistent content designed to attract your ideal client, demonstrate the value of your products and services, and drive signups to your email list.
- Exceptional SEO across your site, including careful optimisation of your blog posts to attract as many leads as possible. (Check out SEO For Blogging: The Ultimate Guide for more on how to do this, or you can ask us for help.)
- Content upgrades and lead-magnets connecting to an automated email marketing system, like ActiveCampaign, to supercharge your email list.
- At least one stellar nurture sequence to engage your email list and ensure leads convert into paying clients.
Your website also needs to be well designed so that it is easily navigated, clear and coherent, and makes it as simple as possible for visitors to immediately understand what you do, and how they can pay you to do it.
This doesn’t mean you need a super-fancy, ultra-expensive website, but it does need to be fully functional and carefully designed to meet your business needs.
How To Create That Elusive Regular Income
A lot of freelancers find themselves in the position of trading time for money.
Charge X amount per hour, or per job, limits the amount of income you are capable of earning in a month.
Raising your prices and charging more for your time and expertise is one way around this, but there is a limit to how much you can charge – the market always has to support your rates.
So two things are key when it comes to creating regular income in your business:
- Creating multiple income streams so you have income beyond the time-for-money model.
- Ensuring your time-for-money sources of income are regulated in some way.
The Benefits of Multiple Income Streams
Digital marketing has made it easier than ever to ensure multiple income streams for your business. However, a lot of business owners shy away from it as it can often overwhelming. This may be because they’re unsure exactly how to do it, or it could be the notion that it’s going to require a lot of work for little gain.
Whatever the reason, there are great benefits to having more than one stream on income, and some of them may surprise you. The obvious pro is that the more sources of income you have, the more money you can make, but it runs a little deeper than that:
- Creating several products or services that attract small income streams is usually easier than masterminding a single offer that commands a huge amount of income. For example, three different service packages priced at c. $1000 are probably going to be easier to market and sell on a repeated, monthly basis, than a service that requires a c. $10000 investment each month.
This will depend on your ideal client, but for most small businesses clientele when you’re asking them to commit to a monthly investment they’re far more able and willing when it’s a relatively small amount over a protracted period of time. Services requiring a large monthly investment are only going to be viable for a small pool of prospects, making it harder to ensue one monthly client on the big package, than three monthly clients on one of the smaller ones.
- Having multiple sources of income reduces the risk you will be left with no money coming in. If you have no clients on a particular service for a few months, there will still be income generated by other streams to tide you over.
This is especially essential if you are a solopreneur or run a home business, or find your work is seasonal and there are dry periods of several months each year.
- It allows you to work within a single niche while expanding your offerings beyond a single area. For example, Optimise And Grow Online has several streams of income generated by consulting services, SEO packages, training sessions, and digital marketing packages. They are all in the digital marketing niche, but cover different areas and require a range of skill sets. The benefit of this is that at time of year when there’s little demand for one, there is still demand for the others.
- You always have a creative outlet to allow you to explore new ideas and different directions. If you’re interested in trying something new, a business model based on multiple income streams allows you to experiment without scaling back or diminishing the progress you’ve already made in other areas.
The Disadvantages of Multiple Income Streams
All that being said there is a flip side to be aware of (isn’t there always?). Having multiple streams of income inevitably requires more work. Even if your extra streams don’t work on a time-for-money basis, you still need to:
- create them,
- set them up,
- ensure they are running smoothly, and
- manage your lead generation and clients for each.
It can be tricky to keep on top of your To Do list if you’re not careful. The trick is to set everything up so that it is as automated as possible, and required the minimum in terms of regular management.
In terms of growth, having multiple streams of income also means dividing your attention between them. Rather than placing all your focus on growing one area of your business, you will need to ensure all your streams are working as efficiently as possible, and consistently growing. One way to do this is to divide the year between your various streams and give each your full attention for a block of time, before moving on and looking at the next.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle is the startup time required for each. If you’re sensible about them, once they’re up and running they should manage themselves fairly well. But getting them to that point will require your time, energy, and effort. It may also require some cash investment if you need new systems to support it, or have to create a new product (e.g. produce a book).
How to Create Multiple Income Streams
Despite the challenges involved in creating multiple income streams, the benefits for creating regular income far outweigh the downside. As long as you are aware of the potential pitfalls and plan accordingly.
So how exactly do you go about creating multiple streams of income in your business?
For an online business there are four core types of income stream available:
- Products And Services
- Passive Income
- Affiliate Programmes And Advertising
- Extraneous Work (i.e. income generated from related work that doesn’t run through your usual channels, like speaking gigs.)
Today we’re going to focus on the first three, which all run through your website. The fourth can be promoted using your website but requires ‘real world’ work rather than digital.
#1 Create Monthly Product And Service Packages
If you are already up and running as a business you will have at least one product or service on offer. It’s important to set these up in a way that encourages clients to make regular payments, rather than occasional purchases, or one-off lump sum fees.
Think of all the things you need on a monthly basis that are made much easier by paying a set fee on a recurring basis:
- Car and Home Insurance
- Utility Bills
- Phone, Internet and TV Packages
- Rent and Mortgage Payments
- Subscriptions to favourite magazines, clubs etc.
- Gym Membership
People happily pay for the things monthly, because it makes life easier. This is even the case when it costs more overall to pay on a monthly basis! This is because cashflow and budgets are easier to handle when you pay this way. Expenses are fixed and predictable, and people are reassured that their needs are going to be taken care of without any real input from them.
All they have to do is make a monthly payment, and leave the rest to someone else.
This is a function you can easily work into your own business model.
Package your products and services up into monthly bundles that can be purchased on subscriptions.
For example, if you offer a B2B service your clients may currently come to you with large projects that are completed over a set time. For example, my website development clients generally need a website built – this is a contained project that only needs doing once.
The same is true of other services like graphic design, copywriting, and branding experts. Clients often come with a specific need: they need a logo designed, or a book written, or the brand of their business developed.
Once these projects are complete, the income from these clients vanishes. But there are usually related services that your clients will need on an ongoing basis, and by creating attractive packages you can not only increase the lifetime value of your clients, but draw in other clients who would not otherwise have come to you.
For example, several of my web development clients need ongoing website management. A graphic designer might offer a retainer package to cover the ongoing needs of creating marketing graphics, while a copywriter might offer a monthly blog writing package, and a branding expert a monthly consulting package to ensure consistency in brand voice and form, as well as the visual elements.
You will likely find that there is more than one way of offering a monthly package of your core services, giving you multiple streams of income right off the bat. Just remember that you need to have enough time and resources to deliver everything – don’t overextend yourself!
#2 Create Passive Income Products
If multiple income streams are the key to creating regular income, passive income is the holy grail.
What do I mean by ‘passive income’?
Essentially anything you create once, and sell multiple times, is a source of passive income. For example, a book only needs to be written once, but can be sold an unlimited number of times. Likewise, an eCourse only needs creating once, and can be repeatedly sold.
The time you invest in the creation of passive income products is relatively limited, yet the amount you can earn from them is potentially limitless.
When you have a time-for-money business model establishing one or more passive income streams is an extremely good idea. It allows you to scale your business without having to magically find more hours to work, or increase your prices to a level the market won’t support.
With proper marketing, passive income products can ensure you have money coming in on a consistent basis. So while you will need to make an ongoing time/resources investment in terms of marketing in order to see good profits, it is a very small amount compared to how much time you would need to spend working one-to-one with every person who bought your book or eCourse on an individual, ongoing basis.
The caveat with passive income products is that they do require setup and creation time.
A great book, for example, is not something you can bang out in a weekend. You will need to invest time in writing it, and money in having it professionally edited, proofread, and produced.
The amount of time and resources you need to invest in getting a new passive income stream off the ground will vary greatly, but a lot of people are put off by the uncertainty here.
You won’t know if your product will sell well until you try, so there is the potential for a reasonably large investment on your part which never pays off.
Don’t let this discourage you from trying, though!
After all, it’s true of anything in business!
Cracking the passive income nut is probably the most effective long-terms strategy for ensuring regular income, as well as consistently scaling that income far beyond the point that would otherwise be possible – especially in a time-for-money business.
Here are a few great passive income ideas:
- Books (eBook, print and audio formats all work well!)
- An eCourse
- An App
- Digital Products (i.e. fitness guides, recipes, workbooks, templates for essentials to your niche, stock photography, etc.)
- Training video series
- A Membership Club (essentially an extension of you blog, with certain content reserved for people who pay a small monthly subscription of c. $30)
#3 Set Up Affiliate Programmes And Advertising
One of the key things you will need to do in order to ensure you have regular income is get exceptionally good at content marketing. Your content will drive traffic to your site, build awareness of your brand, convert readers into leads, and leads into paying clients.
But your content itself can also be a source of income.
By setting up affiliate programs you can earn money whenever one of your readers makes a purchase based on your recommendation.
For example, if you recommended a particular book, a laptop, a piece of software, or specific items of clothing and beauty products, you can easily include a link that takes readers directly to them. This makes it easier for them to purchase items you recommend, and in so doing follow any ‘How To’ or instruction posts you might have written.
It actually increases the value of your content for the reader, because it’s easily and immediately actionable, and saves them desperately Googling to find the specific thing you’ve recommended.
As long as you have an affiliate link setup for each product, you will earn a percentage of the money received by the company when someone purchases on your recommendation.
Amazon is a great example of this, as they sell pretty much everything these days. They also have an easy affiliate programme in most countries (Australia may be about to join that list!), which allows you to easily add links, tables, images and more of the items you’re probably already talking about. But you will find far more businesses than you might expect offer an affiliate programme. Software is a great example of this, as most big software companies have some form of affiliate offer available.
And don’t discount other entrepreneurs – the coaches you have worked with and eCourses you love, particularly ones that have helped you achieve great things, are the perfect way to add some affiliate income to your business.
If you’re mentioning stuff anyway, why not make a few extra bucks while making your readers’ lives easier? It doesn’t cost them any more than it would otherwise, so it’s a win-win!
The other way to earn money directly from your content is to set up advertising. By allowing other sites to advertise relevant products on your website you can earn money whenever one of your readers click their links. You can also create banner space on your website and newsletter, and sell it to interested parties who want to get in front of your audience.
If all this regular income sounds great and you want in on the action, but you know your current website won’t support all your plans, book a free discovery call and we can have a chat about optimising your website and your marketing strategy for consistent income…