If you’re like most startup entrepreneurs or small business owners, you started your business on a shoestring budget, and are trying to remain in operation as frugally as possible. You might not draw much of a salary for yourself, but at the same time, you’re too busy to start another full-time job.
The lifestyle might be temporarily sustainable, especially if you have some savings to fall back on, but what if your business doesn’t take off in the next several months—or worse, if it’s one of the 50 percent of businesses that fail within the first few years of operation?
Motivations for Income Supplementation
One of the best solutions to this predicament is supplementing your business income—essentially, creating other sources of revenue that you can draw on. Obviously, you don’t have much time to work with, so you need to set suitable goals for your current needs and abilities, but there are multiple benefits to supplementing your income:
- Diversification and protection. Diversifying your income streams means you’ll be better protected if one of those streams starts drying up or disappears altogether. It’s a way of hedging your bets and ensuring you’re never left without a source of revenue.
- New opportunities. Seeking new opportunities could be a way to find new partnerships, new strategies for growth, or even more profitable endeavors.
- Wealth accumulation. More sources of revenue usually means more total revenue, which will increase your capacity to accumulate wealth.
How to Supplement Your Income
These all sound like good things, but how can you practically manage to supplement your business income? These are just some of the ways:
- Sublet your property. If you own the space in which your business operates, but you don’t use all of it 100 percent of the time, you could consider leasing it to another business, or an individual who could use it. If you’re already renting, you can sublet part of that space—just make sure you check the legality in your area, and if necessary, secure your landlord’s permission before following through. Doing so can instantly provide you with extra income and/or mitigate the monthly expenses you’re already facing.
- Buy a new rental property. If you’re not interested in sharing your company’s space, you could always invest in a new property. As long as your tenant turnover remains low and you invest in a good neighborhood, you should be able to collect rent in excess of your expenses, and eventually increase the value of the property you hold.
- Start or join a referral program. Look for businesses in the area who offer a referral program to other businesses; many will offer you a cash incentive, or a portion of any sale they get as a direct result of your referral. This can be an easy way to make a few extra dollars off your existing clients, especially if you partner up with a firm that offers complementary services.
- Advertise. If you have a blog, YouTube channel, website, or other online presence that gets a lot of traffic, you can make some extra money by placing ads for your audience. Be careful with this, since too many ads could alienate your visitors, but as long as you have reasonable placement and a few thousand regular visitors, you stand to make a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
- Write and sell an eBook. If you have a popular blog, or are especially knowledgeable on a specific topic relevant to your target audience, consider writing and releasing an eBook. Selling your eBook for a few dollars per download can provide you with a stream of revenue for months or even years—provided you can generate enough visibility for it.
- Monetize your webinars or podcasts. If your business currently has a podcast, consider monetizing it by using referrals, affiliate links, or direct advertising. You can also monetize any webinars you host regularly by requiring a small fee for signing up; just make sure you have enough expertise to offer to justify the payment you’re trying to collect.
- Package other products and services. If these methods don’t work for you and you want your business to have a separate line of revenue, your next best option is to launch a new product or service. It will take time and effort to research and develop it, but it could represent an entire new means of generating income.
These seven ideas are meant only to get you started in your brainstorming process; there’s no limit to the ways you can supplement your income. You can even pick up a side gig, or start a separate business if you have the time to invest. The more diverse your sources of income are, the better protected you’ll be—and the more likely you’ll be to succeed at building wealth.