When you’re self-employed, increasing business is a constant effort. Normally, you’ll do this by growing your main business. But you can also do it by adding income streams, from sources not directly related to your main business.
Usually those income streams will mostly provide additional revenue. But sometimes they can even be used to increase your primary business.
Let’s take a look at a few ways to make that happen.
Start a Blog For Your Business
So much of today’s business takes place on the Internet. One of the best ways to increase your income is by positioning yourself as an authority in your field. You can do this by starting a blog related to your business.
The basic idea is to become a preferred information source for customers. In most cases, when people go to the web they’re not looking to buy something. They’re looking for information. And while it may seem as if providing information will hurt your business, it can actually have the opposite effect.
By providing a steady stream of information related to your product line on your blog, you position yourself as an expert. That builds trust. When customers and clients are ready to make a purchase, there’s an excellent chance they’ll buy from you.
Fortunately, you can build a blog easily and inexpensively. In fact, is you use WordPress – which is the most popular blog platform – to start your blog for free.
Make Instructional YouTube Videos on Your Specialization
In a real way, this is taking the blog idea to the next level. A lot of people are visual learners, and videos are a preferred way of gathering information. You can create simple instructional videos and place them on YouTube.
The videos can be specific to your business, and work to drive customers to it, or you can make videos about whatever you have expertise in.
Videos can earn money in two ways. First, they can drive customers to your business. They’re commonly used by businesses to bring prospects to the business website, where they make purchases.
But videos can also be used to generate revenue on their own. This can be done by adding advertising to the videos, like Google Adsense, or by direct selling specific products from each video.
It’s easier to create videos than you might think. There are even videos on YouTube showing you how to create YouTube videos.
This is becoming another common way businesses are increasing their income.
Sell Related Products for Adding Income Streams
You can often add additional income streams by selling products related to your current product line. This is another common business strategy. For example, if you have a business selling organic food, you can add selling organic cookbooks, or books on how to grow your own organic food.
This will also help to create the “one-stop shop” that makes the business more valuable to its customer base. And since the add-on products are related to your main business, it won’t be like stepping out of your comfort zone.
Set Up Dedicated Websites for Specific Products
Most businesses today have a website up and running. But it’s usually designed as something like an online store, to sell the entire line of products and services.
You can move to the next level by creating websites dedicated to specific products. If you have one or more product lines that are particularly important to your business, you can increase sales by creating a dedicated website for each.
This can be a benefit because you’re zeroing in on the specific product, eliminating the clutter that crowds multi-line business websites.
This is also another way of positioning your business or product in the expert status category. You’ll be able to dedicate the entire website to the single product, making it easier to emphasize its value and benefits. And once again, when people come to the web, they’re looking for information, typically about a specific product. Your dedicated website will give them just that.
It might also make it easier to specialize your search engine optimization, enabling you to draw more people to the dedicated website. You can be more specific with your keywords and audience targeting.
You can then link back to your primary website, or create links between your individual product websites.
Add Affiliate Marketing to Your Existing Product Lines
If you have a website or blog, or you’re creating business-related YouTube videos, you might also look into affiliate marketing.
This is a different way of adding additional product lines. Instead of carrying the products directly in your business, you’re instead acting as a lead generation source for other businesses that carry those products.
Literally thousands of companies today are offering affiliate programs. You can even go through a general affiliate program, like CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction), where you can find hundreds of companies.
But you can also approach individual companies. Many will pay you a percentage of each sale that’s generated by your website, blog or video. You can generate the leads either by having advertisements for those products on your website, blog, or video, or you can even write reviews or endorsements of the affiliate products.
This will help to generate additional revenue for your business, but without you having to maintain inventory or fill orders. Due to special coding in the web links, you will be paid a commission when a customer leaving your site goes to another and makes a purchase. It’ll all happen automatically.
Adding Full-on Passive Income Sources
It’s probably just about everyone’s dream – not just business owners – to have passive income sources. You know what I’m referring to, the kinds of revenue sources that produce income without any effort on your part.
The perfect example is interest on savings. Unfortunately, as we all know, interest rates on savings are pitifully low. It may qualify as passive income, but it’s not much income at that.
If you have money to invest, that isn’t earning much in the way of interest income, but you’re concerned about investing too heavily in the stock market, there are some alternatives.
Some passive income sources I’ve found to be the most generous are these three.
1. Peer-to-peer lending
Websites like Lending Club and Prosper enable you to invest money in loans taken by other people. If you know much about banking, then you know the same bank that pays you 1% interest on your savings, will charge you 10% on a loan.
Peer-to-peer lending puts you in a banker position. But instead of earning 1% on your investment, you earn something much closer to 10%. That’s because you’re acting as a direct lender, with no “middleman” involved in the process. It’s one of the very best passive income sources available.
2. Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
A lot of people would love to invest in real estate – we’ve all seen the get-rich-quick in real estate infomercials. But most of us are also well aware of the challenges it involves. Still, you can invest in real estate – especially commercial real estate – through REITs. These are something like mutual funds for commercial real estate, but they pay a steady income.
One of the advantages is that they are legally required to pay 90% of their revenues in dividends to their shareholders. In fact, the average return on REITs has been around 10%. What’s more, since they’re publicly traded funds, you can sell your position anytime you want.
This is an excellent way to earn income from real estate while you’re busy tending to your main business.
3. Become a silent business partner
Do you know someone who’s running a successful business, and looking to grow? Think about becoming a silent partner to that person. By making an investment in his or her business, you can take an ownership share in the company, entitling you to a pro rata share of the profits.
It’s much like investing in stocks, except you’re investing in a private business. Of course, you’ll have to make sure it’s all nice and legal, complete with contracts. But it’s another way of increasing your income without disturbing your regular business, and without any additional effort on your part.
Final Thoughts on Adding Income Streams When You’re Self-employed
As you can see, increasing business income doesn’t necessarily mean doing something radical – like buying a new building, or acquiring a competitor. It’s possible to increase your income, and even dramatically, by creating multiple income sources.
If you’re self-employed, you’re actually in a unique position to do this. The strategies above can easily be blended into an existing business of just about any type. All you need to do is adjust the specific tactics to your particular business.
With some creativity, and a little bit of cash, you’ll be able to do just that.