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11 Ways to Build Multiple Income Streams

At the end of 2013, my job ended.  When I say ended, I mean it didn’t exist anymore.  I had moved across the country to North Carolina from my home in Idaho.  And I had an idea.  No money, no job, I just had an idea with no other income streams. That’s the backstory of how I started my business selling race car parts online. 

My first business kicked off a chain reaction.  With each new skill I picked up, new ideas formed and those ideas developed lives of their own.

Now in 2020, I find myself with multiple businesses and multiple streams of income.  I’d love to tell you it was in my master plan, but to be honest, what was really behind it was seeing a need and going for it. 

I am incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way.  And even through a pandemic, I’ve known that I would be okay.  I can’t say that I felt the same way during the 2008 crisis.

It has saddened me to no end to see my fellow business owners suffering.  I’ve seen some owners scramble to get up to speed with technology.  And I’ve tried to lend a hand where I could.  In this article, I’d like to present some options for developing multiple streams of income along with some tools and resources to make the process easier.

Income Stream #1 – Ecommerce

My first business was selling physical products online.  Ecommerce requires software that is far more powerful than a basic website.  When you are shipping physical products, you need to calculate shipping and taxes and collect payments.  There are lots of software options on the market.  I routinely investigate the options out there, but keep coming back to BigCommerce.  That is the platform I use myself for Crate Insider.  It has scaled with me as my business has grown from the first few sales to where it is today.

If you would like to check out Big Commerce, you can start a free trial.  They are currently offering 3 months free when you purchase a plan.

You may be thinking, “but I don’t know how to build a website.”  I’ve got you covered.  I developed a program Zero to Ecommerce to walk you step-by-step through the process. 

Income Stream #2 – Consulting

On my path, the next step became consulting.  With the success of my website, other companies in the racing industry took notice. 

In one case, a company asked me to evaluate their website and give them feedback.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that feel good feedback like “thumbs up” or “looks great” has its place, but when you’re working to improve a business, it’s not helpful at all.  I gave a full and honest evaluation.

They then asked for my advice and I advised them to build a site on Big Commerce (see stream #1).  They responded with, “can’t you just do it for us?”  And that’s how I started building ecommerce websites.  I’m definitely not a developer. I don’t write code from scratch, but I can build a site on BigCommerce. 

Now, you may not want to build websites.  But, you likely have a special skill. Perhaps you could coach someone one-on-one.

Another possibility is to offer your services on a marketplace.  If your skills involve graphic design, writing, video editing, or voiceover work, check out Fiverr.  There are lots of other services offered on the platform also.  I just discovered that they’ve added lots of new categories to the business services section.

I don’t personally sell on Fiverr, but I have purchased several services there.  Maybe I’ll offer voiceover services at some point.  It’s something I enjoy doing.

Income Stream #3 – Online Learning

At some point during my entrepreneurial journey, I discovered online courses.  I fell in love.  I have learned so much online.  That love eventually turned into inspiration.  At some point, I didn’t have as much time for consulting one-on-one and I had a deep desire to help other entrepreneurs get started with selling online.  That’s why I developed my Zero to Ecommerce program.

Later, I saw a new need.  Race car drivers struggled with marketing themselves and getting sponsors.  I knew I could help, so I built a course and created the business Winning Motorsports Marketing.

In both cases, I use the software platform from Thinkific.  Selling online training is different than selling physical products.  Thinkific is designed for course creators.  The software allows you to upload videos and information securely.  And I’ve found it very easy to use. As a bonus, you can even start selling for free.

Right now, as I write this, Thinkific has just launched a program to help aspiring entrepreneurs get started.  In fact, it was the email I received from them today that inspired me to write this article. The $1 Million Entrepreneur Growth Fund matches creators with mentors to guide them through the process.  They are covering 100% of the costs for those who are accepted.  If this is at all attractive to you, I’d encourage you to check it out.

Income Stream #4 – Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is promoting someone else’s product and receiving commissions from the company when buyers purchase.

In full disclosure, some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  It is important to me that I only recommend products and services that I believe in.  I am an affiliate for several different companies.

Software companies often have affiliate programs to join. Another possibility and one that is very popular for people getting started is Amazon’s affiliate program.  Commissions vary greatly.

Income Stream #5 – Podcasting

Do you have a topic you like to talk about?  Podcasting is one of the most popular and growing forms of media today.  There are some specific steps to get started, but much of that information is free to learn on the internet.

The cost of a podcast is the hosting—where the actual files live.  And it’s not very expensive with plans starting as low as $5 per month.  My podcast is currently hosted on Soundcloud, but if I was to do it over again or make a switch, I would choose Libsyn as my podcast host. From what I’ve seen, I think they may have more tools available.

Money can be made with a podcast by selling advertising.  Ad rates depend on the number of listens and downloads.

I currently use my Racing Insiders Podcast to promote Crate Insider and the advertisers on my website.  I’m only on episode 20 of the podcast, so it is a channel that is in its infancy.  Revenue possibilities will continue to grow as I get more consistent with publishing and the audience grows.

Income Stream #6 – YouTube

There are lots of ways to make money on YouTube.  Most of them involve promoting the revenue streams mentioned above.

However, the way most people think of making money on YouTube is AdSense money from YouTube.  While I do use this stream, I’d also like to give you the real truth about it. 

It used to be the case that anyone could sign up for the program and be making money with ad revenue.  I can tell you from personal experience back in 2017 or so, that ad revenue amounted to about $15 per quarter.  Not a whole lot.  At least with where my channel was back then.

In February of 2018, YouTube changed the policy and required channels to have 1000 subscribers and over 4000 watch hours (time people spent watching your videos) in the trailing 12 months.  My Crate Insider YouTube channel qualifies and we turn on monetization for some of the videos.  However, most of my videos promote products that generate a whole lot more profit than just a few pennies, so I turn the ads off.

I have other channels that are still in the audience building phase.  One of them is very new.  Racing Rewind features racing videos from the 80s and 90s.  Since it is unlikely that there will be products that will be connected to the channel, it is one that I will eventually monetize with ad revenue.

Other channels include my Kate Dillon channel where I vlog and share video and marketing tips and my Winning Motorsports Marketing channel that is focused on information for race car drivers and track promoters.

Income Stream #7 – Airbnb Short Term Rentals

This one may seem to be coming out of nowhere, but it is my latest revenue stream.  I’ve stayed at a couple of Airbnb’s – one in downtown San Diego and the other in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  I really enjoyed the experience.  I loved that it was less expensive than a hotel and I felt that I had a fuller experience than if I had just stayed in a regular hotel room.

For my situation, I live in a townhouse close to downtown Rutherfordton, North Carolina.  I like where I live.  However, I haven’t always liked my neighbors.  And I live in a small town where there are not a lot of options for people to stay.  On top of that, sometimes I have manufacturers who visit from out of town.  They generally have to drive an hour to get to a hotel in a more populated area.

Given those factors, I decided to rent the townhouse next door to mine and put it on the market as a short term rental.  Or, I should say, I will be offering it soon.  My townhouse was ready just as the pandemic hit and bans went into place on any rentals less than 30 days.  I’ve been fortunate that I’ve been able to rent to a guest who needed a place for two months. 

Master Bedroom Gray and Blue
Master Bedroom in my townhouse rental

I’m really looking forward to being an active Airbnb host and will certainly be sharing more about that journey.

If you’re interested in becoming a host or you’d like to see what the experience is like as a guest, consider Airbnb.

Honorable Mentions

There are 4 other income streams to mention.  These aren’t active parts of my stack, but they are areas that represent more opportunities.

Income Stream #8 – Direct Sales

While I don’t do it anymore, I spent years as a Pampered Chef Consultant selling kitchen tools.  It was my side gig when I had a full-time job before I started my business.  I learned many skills as a consultant that I continue to use in my current pursuits. 

If you haven’t started or run a business before, I would highly recommend starting with this route. The sales training is phenomenal.  Training like that can cost thousands when pursued separately. And it’s offered for free when you are a consultant. Take it all in and put it to work.

Income Stream #9 – Stock Market Investing

I love the stock market, but since I use stock market investing as a retirement income stream rather than an active stream, I’m putting it into the honorable mention category.  There are hundreds of books available on the topic.  However, one that I will mention here is Rule Number One by Phil Town.  I’ve also met him in person and attended a training session that included a visit to his ranch in Georgia. 

He offers a lot of online training now.  If that is something that interests you, I’d highly recommend him.  His foundational principles have helped me build my accounts even in down markets.  (PS: these aren’t even affiliate links.  I just really respect him).

My favorite strategy is buying companies I love and then selling covered calls.  It’s a very safe way to invest and build.

With Phil Town September 2015

Income Stream #10 – Book Publishing

Publishing a book is definitely on my bucket list.  Perhaps it is on yours too.  There are some great strategies today for authors to make money.  It’s not just about the book sales.  Some authors do consulting, coaching, or offer enhanced online training programs.  Many are podcasters or go on speaking tours.

It is no longer required to submit your book to a major publisher and be accepted.  Self publishing is a great option and the route I plan to take once I finally get the words committed to the page.

Income Stream #11 – Public Speaking

This brings me to the last stream on this list, public speaking.  I currently give talks about sponsorship and marketing in the racing industry.  However, I’ve used the opportunities to build my audience and experience, so I haven’t directly charged an event organizer at this point.  This may be a stream I focus on in the future.  I haven’t done a ton of research on public speaking rates, but from what I’ve seen, it can be quite lucrative.

Summing it Up

So there you have it.  Eleven separate revenue streams to explore.  In my case, the ones I currently operate are in various stages of development.  None are get rich quick schemes and require patience, consistency, and some focused work. 

Most of these require some marketing skills. I invite you to download my free guide: 5 Favorite Apps for Creating Social Media Posts

I’d love to know—do you plan to add any of these to your stack?  Leave a comment.