For years now, I keep thinking about the need to have recurring revenues in my business. As a service provider - a consultant - I can only make as much money as I have time to work. Unless I hire others to do additional work and increase their rates enough so that I can still make a profit, I’m totally limited by my own time and brainpower.
Recurring revenues can be fairly obtainable online. Here are some things that I’ve tried and other things that I am exploring to extend my offerings to make more “passive” income, that is, money that comes in without any bearing on my time or ongoing effort.
1. Self-Publish Books. Using a site like Lulu.com, I put out a small chapbook of poetry. While this isn’t a blockbuster money-maker, it has shown me how easy and cost-effective self-publishing through a Print on Demand system can be when you use one that doesn’t require upfront costs. Lulu.com makes setting up your online store and accepting credit card payments incredibly easy. I’m now examining the content I already have to see how I can re-assemble it into a series of short, how-to books based on my areas of expertise. Another site that offers a similar service but for more “coffe-table” style books is Blurb.com.
2. Selling E-Books. This is the more proprietary version of self-publishing where you own everything and set up your own online store with e-books - usually in the form of PDF files - for sale. Some people offer a free e-book as a teaser and marketing tool, then have a wider selection of more indepth books for sale. You can set up the purchasing/payment system easily through PayPal. Other people opt for a digital marketplace like Clickbank so they don’t have to hassle with web site set-up. Lulu.com also offers services for selling e-books and documents.
3. Sell branded products. I’ve been playing around with a CafePress store to sell products branded with slogans I’ve come up with related to Second Life. You can buy the digital version of t-shirts with the slogans for your Second Life avatar, then purchase your own real-life version. If I had more time, I’d expand my line of products. I know several people with big stores on CafePress that are quite successful including Yvonne Mojica and Bonnie Halper whose stores include AutisticGenius and Bluesy World. An alternative to CafePress is Zazzle.
4. Become an affiliate. I’ve tried to assemble my favorite books or products into mini-stores on my sites through Amazon.com in the past. While I’m not making a fortune, once and a while I end up with an $80 gift certificate toward my own Amazon.com purchases. The more effort you put into your affiliate store, the more results. I’ve tried out Commission Junction before to become an affiliate for pet stores and other product stores, but you need a fair amount of traffic to your site or blog to make them worthwhile. Another affiliate resource is LinkShare.
5. Sell teleseminar archives (or audio books). If you’ve been giving - or plan to give - teleseminars, make sure you also record them as MP3 files then offer them - at a discounted price from the live attendee rate - to keep revenues coming in. Use one of the digital store services above to sell the MP3 files and consider bundling them with supplemental digital documents. You can also record audio books as MP3 files. Another option for selling from your web site is Google Checkout.
When it comes to recurring revenues, taking your ideas and putting them into a product form is a great way of leveraging your knowledge and expertise as well as your creativity. Your online store is open 24/7, even while you sleep.
What are you doing to get recurring revenues? What resources are you using - and loving - online?