Relying on a single source of revenue is risky and unsustainable, so every business should aim to have more revenue streams to diversify income. If you depend solely on one product to keep your business afloat, what happens when a competitor’s marketing campaign has a greater impact than yours? What if it’s a product that is no longer needed? Spreading the wealth across several revenue streams is a smart business practice that allows your company to stay nimble and profitable when the market demands change.
So long as you know how to bring in clients and pay your team (if you have one), you’re in a good place to introduce new ways to make money that is sustainable and consistent.
Where do I start?
Your first step is to take a look at your current revenue stream(s) and see where you earn the majority of your income. Then, go back to all of the questions you’ve ever fielded from leads about additional services and see if any of those questions spark ideas and, if they do, how those ideas could fit within your current business model.
For example, if you’re a photographer who has always referred a third party for designing photo albums, perhaps it’s time to bring that service in-house for a strong upselling opportunity. Venues might consider building in a transportation component or including rental options, whereas planners could add on floral design services (assuming they have some skill!).
How can I ensure authenticity?
Find a new avenue that you’re passionate about and one that sparks your creativity, but it does need to be profitable. Keep it relevant to your current offerings and avoid jumping on “trendy” business ventures that aren’t sustainable. If you’re creating a revenue stream that your current prospects are asking for, then you know you already have an audience for it. You can be certain it’s a good fit for your brand because you’re running off of client feedback.
Will it be profitable?
This is a hard question to answer, but you can get an idea by testing the waters before diving in headfirst. Look at some of the high-level market research surveys, such as Splendid Insights, to learn about the state of the market. You can also use your own channels to gather information; a simple Instagram Story poll will give you a good idea of how your audience feels about an idea. Don’t overcomplicate it; go to where your prospective clients are and ask them questions.
How do I make time for this?
Pursuing new business endeavors and seeking additional revenue streams is a time-consuming process—there’s no way around that. If you’re already stretched too thin, then it’s not going to be very effective until you can put in your full attention. A great way to get everything done is to batch your work so that you aren’t taking your time and attention away from your main revenue stream for too long. Dedicate one day a week to invest yourself in this new direction and, outside of that, jot down ideas that come up throughout the week.
Additionally, if you have a team of employees or are in a position to hire contractors, they can be a great source of support as you navigate this transitional period of growth. Ask for their help from day one and bring them into the experience. Don’t just ask them to fill in as extra hands; look to them for insights and pick their brains for new ideas that you might not have considered. New perspectives are always valuable, and one of your team members might have a brilliant idea to save you even more time.
Diversifying your revenue sounds sexy and exciting--and it is. But it’s important to know that it’s not all fun and games; introducing new products and services to your business takes a significant amount of time and effort. You need to go into the process with an understanding of how you’ll successfully implement your latest revenue stream without sacrificing your original source of income.
Take it slow and don’t rush the process; if you do, you risk burning out early on. You need to be in this for the long run, so if you’re not yet ready to make a move, keep your ideas in your back pocket and work towards getting to a place where you’re ready to go.
Kinsey Roberts is wedding venue educator, marketer and co-owner of Vista View Events, as well as a certified wedding planner through The Bridal Society. She’s dedicated to helping women dominate their market and diversify their revenue streams through She Creates Business, a podcast and online shop for wedding professionals. You can also catch her as a co-host on The Venue Podcast, which helps venue owners navigate trials and tribulations within the event industry.