A wise woman once told me….back in 1983…..”When you work for someone else, you’re of the mindset that you look for new jobs. When you’re entrepreneurial and self-employed, you train your mind to look for opportunities. Where is the need that I can fill and do it well and make it profitable for me?” True.
I was just entering college and I think I still wanted to be a ballerina-art collector for a LIVING – and she said, “why do you have to tie yourself down to one thing?” Now, given that there aren’t many jobs for ballerina-art collectors out there, I thought she was funning me…but I was willing to listen. “You are a collection of your skills. Create and develop skill sets you love, for example, your writing and your art and even your love of travel – and cross that with bring people what they need – and voila! Create something of value in each little area. Trust me….you’ll never go hungry.” Smart lady.
She was WAY ahead of her time – and she got me thinking about a concept I was later to identify as Multiple Revenue Streams. She had lived her life this way – even back in the 50′s. She was a photographer, writer and master calligrapher – and she lived a very rich and fantastic life. She was always traveling and had interesting clients…and it was all done by hand (read: pre-Internet).
In fact, says Barbara J. Winter, author of “Making a Living Without a Job,” this mindset is part of an evolution of entrepreneurial thinking. “The whole idea of multiple profit centers is a reflection of the fact that people who have any level of self-awareness realize they have multiple talents,” she explains. “After self-employment, the next step is to think about options like ‘My gosh, I could manage property and write a book and go on and do other things.’”
According to Winter, who runs a multiple revenue stream business which includes consulting, writing, publishing and creating seminars, one of the primary benefits of cultivating this type of business is cash flow. In the cyclical nature of business, she explains, the cash flow of one revenue segment may hold steady while another dips or rises. This provides a continuity that is not present in a business that has one source of income.
I’m sure my wise woman friend would agree. Winter also adds…”If you look at most Americans that are very financially successful, one thing you will find in common is that they don’t put all of their eggs in one basket,” she says. “In the beginning, diversification of revenue streams gives you a lot more work and details, but in the long run, it also offers greater peace of mind and greater security.”
Now – you try. Are there things you do that could draw money – in addition to your main job or source of income? Writing books on knitting, teaching a class (on-line) on developing your intuition…what ever you know how to do, create it as a PRODUCT. OK? Now, get crackin’.
There was a time when most of us thought the only models were hourly or project by project. And there was also a time when there were some pretty clear boundaries on how many clients you could service at once. Well, if you are in an information sharing-type business, you have a fabulous opportunity. The gift of “scalability”!
To be scalable – in other words, to multiply your sales with the same effort and output — and to make your products and services scalable – is the key to expanding your earning potential. Ta-da! The secret to life! As someone who does consulting, offers two and three hour workshops, does the actual work, and also develops courses and classes for a living – I try to offer a model that will fit any budget and need. But then – I realized – to be able to make one widget – one information-packed course – and sell it across multiple buyers is the Magic Wand of small business! Poof! Voila! MAGIC!! You make it once and WHAM-OO…multiple buyers.
Now – offer a group of your services — ones you consider entry-level but still VALUE PACKED and ACTIONABLE — as part of a subscription package. Voila….consistent monthly income stream…FABULOUS!
Another benefit? Including a subscription model to your services (or your expertise) can also offer another option to a group of clients who may not be able to afford you — or it may open your incredible-self up to a brand new set of prospects – not to mention a new revenue stream – one that keeps on giving! This is BIG thinking, my friend. Why BIGGER? Because when you have subscribers, you can offer your information/expertise to a very large audience. Gotcha thinking??
Check out this article in the NYT Business Section.
March 26, 2012
You wake up on Monday morning and you resist the beginning of the week. You notice you have a much harder time getting out of bed than you did yesterday, in anticipation of a day filled with joy and…. football. You roll over and take 10 more minutes…and then, reluctantly get into the shower.
In traffic, you’re agitated and cursing those ahead of you in the seemingly endless line. The more upset you get, the slower the line moves.
You get in the elevator and that co-worker you try to avoid is there, saying (and sighing) “well, it’s MONDAY….” as if sentenced to hard labor in the yard. You silently agree…and sigh yourself. Your energy drops even lower.
What’s going on here? A typical day – or is it? These examples are about living a life of resistance. Holding on to what you demand to happen is all about control — and guess what? The only thing you can truly control is yourself – and your reaction to what IS. Traffic just IS. Monday just IS. It’s all about your reaction to the IS that determines your happiness.
If you are ready, wrap your head around this: what you resist, persists. Release the need to resist the good, the bad and the ugly – in other words, accept what IS. The sooner you do that, and really embrace it – the sooner you will allow FLOW into your life. FLOW is about moving with what IS – and that, my friends, is POWER.
So, the next time you’re in your car and there’s traffic all around, turn up the radio a bit. Release the need to control everything. Express gratitude for the moments you now are being offered as an opportunity.
I know, I know…..we’re all used to hearing about how to become masters of the universe by leaping tall buildings and DOING. Guess what? You can’t push the river and my suggestion is that you DON’T TRY.
March 21, 2012
This is a terrific little primer video from entrepreneur.com — although I would add one major caveat: is FACEBOOK the best place for your ad?
Before you dump a lot of money – and time – and energy into creating an ad, you might want to pull back a bit and think about – you guessed it – your ideal client. Are they on Facebook? Are they likely to look to Facebook to connect with you? If you are a lawyer or if you have more of a business to business focus, there are plenty of other avenues that will net you more leads than advertising on Facebook.
Truly, a Facebook page for your businesses is probably something you should do – as with a Twitter account and a LinkedIn page. I’m suggesting that you allow your “ideal client” and their wants, needs and where they are likely to be on-line guide your purchasing decisions. Strategy rules!
March 19, 2012
I hear it all the time from people. "I'm passionate about it." "I'm not going to quit, It's my passion". Or I hear it as advice to students and others "Follow your passion".
What a bunch of BS. "Follow Your Passion" is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get.
Why ? Because everyone is passionate about something. Usually more than 1 thing.
March 14, 2012
Best title EVER for an article…particularly when one is feeling that “it’s little ‘ol me against the world” feeling.
Enjoy (and click here). And thank YOU, Maria.
March 12, 2012
Yes, it is true that (given the right moment) I may have talked just a wee bit too much in my time. However, even though I am never at a loss for words, sometimes, other people just say it better. Check out this great article…
Told ya…..pretty good stuff.
March 8, 2012
I know this sounds like, “duh, MJTVgirl….you into the wine a little early today?” — but, in reality, many of us have this issue. Any of these sound familiar?
- “I don’t want to put prices on my page – each client is sooooo different,”
- “I will put up ALL the things I could ever conceive of doing for a client on the website. They will find what they are looking for,”
- “A website is the place I can showcase everything….that way, everyone will see how incredibly talented I am!”
OK..no. No. And most definitely NO.
Let’s address pricing: do you realize that you are missing a HUGE SEO opportunity if you don’t talk about pricing? What if you wrote an article that addressed “How Much Does it Cost to X” – fill in your specialty or product. Wouldn’t that be an article you think a LOT of your prospective customers would be searching for? Particularly if you are in a business where the pricing is not necessarily so available? If you are clear about your pricing, say it.
In terms of a business that custom-fits the product or service to the client need, that is fine, however, I would recommend you come up with “products”: packages that you know many of your target customers would want. This is a great way to show them the product/service you are offering can be boxed-up in a meaningful way — and they can get their heads around what you do. If you are so vague about how everything will work, they won’t trust you and will go elsewhere.
Next – there is not really such a thing as a competent generalist. Most of us do some sort of specialized work. Whether it is for one or two industries or within one category. For example, both of these could be true: “I build pools” OR “I build high-end, custom pools.” If you have a beautiful mansion and are looking for something really unique, who would YOU call? The point is, be specific to what you’re offering. The narrower (narrower?) you can be, the more expressive and the more you can address specific issues — these are your clients. Searching for help and finding that level of specificity feels like slipping into a warm bath. Ahhhhhh……
One more little point on this: If we are the pros, why would you leave it up to those who seek the help to “figure it out” on your website what you do and how you can help them? I would never want to leave it up to a customer who is looking for help to accurately diagnose what type of help he or she needs. In a service industry, that is my job. All they know is “something isn’t working and I need help.” For god’s sake, help ‘em find help.
The third no-no is really just an ego issue. Remember — the best copywriting, the best kind of content addresses the NEED – and it’s not “hey, wonder where I can find a guy with a HUGE ego to help me?” No one is searching for that. They need your help. Let them find you. OK?
March 6, 2012
If you’re a fan of Seinfeld, then you know exactly what the term “Opposite George” means. If not, let’s pause for a brief definition.
George’s life sucks. So much so that he has to resort to desperate measures. Whatever he usually does (part of his now-sucky life), he resolves to do the opposite (to un-suck his life). This simple resolution has remarkable results, of course, and his life turns completely around. But, by the end of the episode, hapless George returns to his old ways (tuna on white) and his life returns to suck-ville.
Now – you try.
For the rest of today, whatever you have been doing that has been resulting in less-than-stellar results, do the opposite. I can’t promise you “turkey-on-whole-wheat” results, but you may see a little magic nonetheless.