7 Steps to Adding More Income Streams to Your Portfolio

Growing up, I so vividly remember this kid named Scotty that I went to middle school with. We didn’t call it middle school though. There’s no real differentiation between the middle elementary years in most of the Canadian school system and the rest of them. But I digress, back to Scotty.

Scotty was this kid who always had cash in hand for everything he wanted. On “Pizza Day” he always had two slices instead of one. On “Hot Dog Day” this little 90-pound (soaking wet) dude would hammer back at least three dogs.

This was in the pre-digital days of the late 80’s and early 90’s, so there wasn’t any such thing as a gigabyte in our world and Sony Walkman Cassette Players were the music player of choice for most. Scotty had the $100+ waterproof Sport Edition (on a side note: I found out years later that they really weren’t when I started to work a lot at my friend’s dairy farm and got the chance to buy my own).

How did he do it?

It turns out that Scotty was a preteen and later teen entrepreneur. It’s weird looking back now because I was such a clueless tard (yeah, that was one of the words we used back then). I was raised with the idea that if you wanted money, you went out and got a job at a business that offered a paycheck in return for services rendered.

The small town I grew up in had all of one convenience store, two gas stations/car repair facilities, and a fancy high-falutin restaurant that didn’t cater to most of the working class people and farmers who lived in the area (ie., a few wealthy retirees + out-of-towners).

Luckily for Scotty, he didn’t follow the grain. He was offering dog walking, lawn care, and refuse removal services to the public before he was 13 years old. Even gave me some work along the way, and other people too…

Scotty always had money when other youngsters had to rely on whatever allowance they were given by their parents because he never turned down work and always looked for new angles in the town to exploit for his financial betterment. I’ve lost track of him since. Shockingly, such a serial entrepreneur and he doesn’t have a single social media account I can track. I imagine him to be quite well off, if not a millionaire by now.

Enough of the long-winded memory lane stuff though.

Here’s a short primer for adding additional income streams to your life, slowly but surely, without compromising your current bank balance:

Image Credit: Gregg O'Connell/Flickr
Image Credit: Gregg O’Connell/Flickr

1. Solidify your main income stream.

This one is simple. Unless you have a penchant for taking huge gambles with your future, make sure you have a day job or primary source of cash to help fund your upcoming ventures – this includes keeping a roof over your head and food in the frigerator!

2. Value proposition time.

Unique value proposition is a term that every entrepreneur knows, whether they’re consciously aware of it or not.

Are you good at communicating with people? Does the large majority flock to listen and hang on every word that comes out of your mouth? Are you a doctor, a lawyer, a coder – a world class welder? Perhaps you’ve mastered the fine art of sword making like this guy? It doesn’t matter, your skills are unique and in demand, no doubt.

Every person on this planet has unique gifts, abilities, life experiences and value to offer — and be highly compensated for. Figure out the knowledge, experience, ability or solution you have that others will value and might pay you for. Remember, what might be common knowledge to you isn’t for other people. Combine your UVP with a stellar personality and you likely have something unparalleled to offer the marketplace.

3. Start researching and building a following for your upcoming brand.

It’s never too early to start building a following of hungry customers to buy whatever it is you’re selling. Social media might seem like the easiest way to get the ball rolling. Often it isn’t. There’s a lot of noise out there to contend with, but that’s half the fun, right? Build a blog, vlog or podcast.

Or get creative and find some other way to gain a cash-equipped customer base you can sell your product or services to. Maybe preaching the gospel is your UVP? Go out and hit the streets and start spreading the word. Televise it on YouTube or Vimeo. You’ll need these followers for the next step.

And don’t forget to get their email and/or other contact information!

4. Ask your followers what they most want from life.

I’m on a bunch of mailing lists myself. Primarily in the self-improvement space, because that’s where my main area of interest (and most of my freelance work) is focused on currently. I’d encourage anyone to head over to marieforleo.com or tailopez.com right now and sign on to their email list if you want to see how to interact with your list like someone who really cares about what people think.

I’m not saying to buy their stuff or to try to emulate what they do specifically. Just watch how they smartly ask what you’re looking for out of life while offering free information and tips to help you get there; how they tune into you and encourage you to tell them how they can help you. Just do it and thank me later. Ask a thousand people and at least a few will answer and give you invaluable data to work with.

5. Give them a solution.

They’ve told you what they want, how to bring your UVP front and center right to their doorstep. Now find a way to deliver it to them! I know this is going to sound cliché to most of who’re familiar with the (somewhat distasteful) Make Money Online niche, but I figure it’s a good example most of you will identify with in some form or another:

Say they want to know how to make a million dollars inside the next two years. Then sell (or give) them an ebook detailing how you, or other millionaire/billionaires did it. If they want to make their home 100% mold-free and you’re an expert, offer a free consultation in their home and walk them through problem areas and point to how you’ll — or they can — fix the problem. Find a way to put your solution in front of them, so they’ll tell all their friends and family how amazingly insightful and skilled you are.

Image Credit: Štěpán Karásek/Pixabay
Image Credit: Štěpán Karásek/Pixabay

6. Seek advice from those who know better than you.

I know it can get a little tiring listening to everyone telling you that you need a mentor to truly be successful. But it’s true in 99% of the journeys each of you will soon embark upon. Rather than blather on about this step, I’ll link you to a bunch of great content on this topic and let you run wild with it when you decide to take the plunge:

Entrepreneur.com – Getting Your Dream Mentor to Talk to You

Life Hacker – How do I Ask Someone to be my Mentor?

LinkedIn – How to Find a Mentor and Approach Them Without Being Annoying

7. Go for it!

The last step is to go for it and launch your brand. See When are you Actually Ready to Launch a Startup for insights from other successful entrepreneurs. If you were smart enough to get a mentor, and you’ve spent time working through the other steps listed above, there’s really no time like the present. Get er’ done as Larry the Cable Guy used to say back when he was popular!