All big “game-changing” events leave us with big lessons, and the current Covid pandemic is no exception. There will undoubtedly be many future changes – like more work from home arrangements and sick day policies – that will stem from the lessons we’re learning today.

However, when I think about the big idea I’ve been absorbing again and again throughout the past few weeks, things get pretty simple. My takeaway is that it has never been more important to have multiple streams of income.

No one is immune to major economic disruptions, and it’s often necessary to concentrate your energy on one core business or skill if you want to maximize your profitability. At the same time, though, those of us with several ways to generate sales are having an easier time right now. And, I suspect that’s the case in any crisis or recession.

If you don’t already have multiple income streams, you might be wondering how you can create them. Here are some ideas based on my own life and career.  Keep in mind, I’m a life-long entrepreneur, starting with doing my neighbor’s laundry at 10 years old, to picking up trash and cleaning bathrooms at a gas station.  Then, selling candy door to door, having a paper route, shoveling snow or cutting grass until I was old enough to “officially” have a job.  In other words, I’ve been doing this a while.

Run Multiple Businesses

Those of you who receive my email newsletter already know that in addition to my web design and development company I also own a T-shirt shop.  Since A Cheep Tee now moved online, it works out well because the businesses tend to rise and fall at separate times, meaning that one of them is almost always keeping me busy.  ShirtsintheMail.com is a spin off of A Cheep Tee offering a t-shirt in the mail each month for a monthly fee.  Subscriptions are a wonderful way to create passive income.

I have a client that sells computer maintenance packages.  He will make sure your computer is virus free and working fine for a monthly fee.  Maintenance services like this is a good way to diversify and have a monthly payment coming in.

Diversify Your Products and Services

Even if you don’t own or manage multiple companies, you can have a range of product and service lines. For instance, I offer web design projects for my business clients but also get monthly revenue from web hosting packages and my work managing online advertising campaigns. You probably have more than one product and service you can offer, too.  Think about it.  How can you add services to what you are doing now?

I started an affiliate program with A Cheep Tee to try to help people get “passive income”.  I’ve found trying several small ways to bring in money really adds up.  I also have affiliate links on several websites.  This has been a great source of passive income.  I do not need to do anything, just send people to the website.  For instance, if people are interested in purchasing anti-virus software, I send them to Web Tech Services website where there are several affiliate links.  When someone purchases their anti-virus software, I get a percentage of the sale.

Share (and Sell) Your Knowledge

Sometimes, what you know about your business or industry is just as important as the work or products you produce. For example, I’ve written a couple of books about online marketing that generate royalties from Amazon.  I’ve created digital products that I sell on my website like ebooks, articles and videos.  And, I host seminars, offer training, and do one-on-one coaching for some of my clients and colleagues.

What could you do with your expertise?  Digital products are great to sell because you create one item and sell to many people creating that passive income.  Adding E-Commerce to your website for digital products is a great source of passive income.  Ebooks, articles, memberships or whatever you can think of.  Memberships are a bit more work since they have to be tended to often adding new content and value.  Same as creating lessons or online webinars.  Try it and see what happens.

It’s All About Strategy

The interesting thing about having multiple streams of income is that it’s like a lot of good business advice, in that it never seems important until it actually is. The important thing is to get started today, even if you don’t know exactly which projects you want to pursue. If you start with the right focus and goals in mind it won’t take you long to figure out the specifics.  Start where you are and build from there.

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