For consultants, coaches and practitioners who are building a business around you, your expertise, your unique value proposition, it’s important you have more than one ‘offer’. Today we’re going to dive into ten new revenue streams in a consulting business that you can build more flexible and secure income.
It’s a challenging world we’re living in, full of twists and turns, no matter which country you’re based in, right. It’s understandably easy to let things get on top of you, to feel you can’t move your business goals forward.
So today I wanted to talk about ways to build some flexibility and security into your business model and find new ways to meet your clients and customers where they are, and help you create new streams of income, even if to start with it’s just a trickle!
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Whether you’re in consulting, coaching, training, e-commerce or direct sales, to ensure your business grows in a consistent and scalable way, you’re best not becoming too dependent on just one product line, service line or program. Instead of just creating things that people consume, you can also create programs and services that people participate in as new revenue streams in a consulting business.
In this article and podcast episode, I wanted to go through a number of streams of income you can build into your leveraged business model. And as I was writing these out, I came up to ten – so that seems plenty to be getting on with, yes?
And by that, I don’t mean you should do all of them – that would be another layer of stress no-one wants right now.
It’s Not About the Money, Money, Money …
It’s not all about the money. You want to feel fulfilled and that what you do matters too, right? To attract what you want, you have to be in the game of helping people get what they want.
While you build multiple streams of income, your business allows you choice and flexibility for yourself as well as for your customers and business partners. It enables you to cater for different audiences, as not everyone will be right for your primary opportunity.
And in that sense, for me, there are three pillars that relate to how you go about your work, rather than how you do it. These are: Integrity, Intelligence & Energy. Everything you offer must align with your core purpose and values.
I’m not going to focus on that side of things today, but I wanted to put it out there, so you really think about which of the income streams would integrate well into your business.
Using Different Offers at Different Price Points to Create a Value Ladder
Let’s talk first about the different ways you can make money, and then we’ll talk about the offers, and how you can stack them.
There’s a huge long list of possible things you can offer to your customers and clients: products, services, programs, courses, trainings, ebooks, events and so on.
But it’s not just a matter of going through the pros and cons of each individual offer, but also about how they work in synergy with your customer journey to getting to know, like and trust you.
First off, a question I often get asked is how many offers should I have?
My advice is to have at least two offers, an ideally three offers – three’s a good number and works visually when you set them out side by side, with the most popular one usually being the middle one. Most people pick that when it’s presented in that way.
That is something that can work for both B2C when you’re enrolling individuals who are paying themselves, and B2B when you’re signing up an organization for a service or group training, and they are paying for the people who are the beneficiaries of the work with you.
For B2B, the rules are somewhat different if you’re offer is a consulting engagement of some kind. So what we’re talking about here is more a product type offer, even if it’s a service or a course or a program of some kind, it’s discrete, it’s packaged and there’s a clear ‘if you buy this, here’s what you get’ kind of offer. Make sense?
Right so let’s talk about your offers, and then we’ll go through how you might present them at different times in the customer journey and different ways to stack them so it’s a logical success pathway for people.
Let’s say you have created a core offer – that might be a course or a program or a service. And for the sake of an example, let’s price it at $1500 or you know $1497, because that’s the psychology of numbers there.
Your before and after offer should be at least one order of magnitude different in terms of price points. So in this example, your entry offer might be $150, and your premium offer $15k.
Now you can play around with those, remembering there are some known thresholds where people sit comfortably and less comfortably. So for the $150, you should test $97, $147 and $197. If you offer $97 and that converts really well, next time you can go up a notch. If you test $197 and you hear crickets, go down a notch. You get the idea?
The same for the premium offer. You’re unlikely to get someone to buy a $15k program or service unless they’ve already had some kind of experience with you already. And even then, if they’ve done an entry level thing and then your core program at say $1500 or £2k, you’ll need to evaluate what going ‘premium’ actually means for what you do.
One example is that your mid-price offer is a first step into a year-long program. So it’s like a slice of the cake, not the whole cake. Another approach is that your core offer is a group-based program while your premium offer is a 1:1 option.
And the actual price point depends entirely on the transformation you deliver for the customer. And I covered a lot about that in the two podcast episodes I did on leveraging your value proposition – episodes 38 and episode 39.
Ten Types of Offer to Generate Additional Streams of Income
I’m going to whizz through ten possible things you can offer to your target market. The first is ..
#1 A FREE product –
Now before you go off saying that’s not a stream of income, think again. You know the concept of lifetime customer value, right? And the fact that offering something for free on the front-end can increase your ability to get people to buy your offer on the back-end …
Well that’s why I’ve included it in the list of income streams.
#2 Mini-offers –
You might consider creating an entry-level, low-cost product. There are different schools of thought about this, so consider what makes sense to your business, your price points and your particular clientele.
A mini-offer can vary in price, but it’s usually something that lowers the barrier to take up your core offer. Products like a short guide or course, a video training or a set of templates, or perhaps a bundle of things – these are sometimes called tiny offers, one-off promos, and vary from $27 up to $97. I’ve seen some offer a $7 test drive for a membership, so it’s not set in stone. The principle is the focus here.
#3 Courses and Programs –
A course is a structured way to deliver information, or education, but rarely transformation. For that you’d need to blend in some group or 1:1 coaching sessions or consulting into the mix, because you need a layer of interaction, dialogue to take the learning up a notch.
And that’s why I prefer the term ‘program’ than course or training for the kind of things we, as consultants, coaches and practitioners do. It can be a short course or a longer term program over several weeks. Like mini-offers, the price can vary from free to $500 and above. At the higher price points, it’s probably your core signature program, out of everything.
If it’s likely to be a big leap for your target market, keep it low-entry and low-ticket. If you can articulate the value easily and it’s worth more than a snippet, test it higher.
If you’re certified in a particular methodology, or you’re able to teach people specific topics or skills you may be able to offer accredited courses or you might also consider delivering government funded courses. Because participants can get their course fees paid for entirely or in part by the government, there’s less price resistance than where they’re paying out of their own pockets.
To be eligible to offer courses funded by government varies from country to country and depending on what type of training you are offering. But you’ll usually need to register and jump through some hoops. It might be worth it for a regular stream of income, even if just for a filler or fall back if your other income is more seasonal.
#4 VIP Day or Roundtable –
A ‘VIP day’ or half day is an event where you invite a selection of your contacts to spend some quality time with you. It can be an action-packed training or workshop or just a masterminding opportunity.
VIP days are a great way to get a fast injection of cash when you need it. I’ve mostly used it within existing networks where people know me, and I’ve seen it used really well for those who have an active FB group or a community of some kind.
I’ve seen it resurrect a tired, unresponsive list or group and I’ve seen it oversubscribed. Given that people are really craving connection and more interaction in a small group setting, whether in-person or a virtual mastermind, offering VIP days every so often or on a regular basis can be a great stream of income for you.
If you’re B2B, a roundtable works great as a VIP day for your existing clients. By switching the modality, people are often spurred into action and are keen to participate and they become more amenable to continuing to work with you.
#5 Bootcamp or challenge –
A bootcamp is usually a series of trainings where you take people step-by-step through an action taking process, so they come out the other end with clarity and a plan for doing something specific.
A challenge is like a mini-version of that, or it can be a different name for the same thing. Up to you what you call it.
A lot of people run a bootcamp or challenge type training as a front-end ‘free’ offer, but you can also run it as a paid offer.
#6 Memberships – Memberships are all around us. But what not everyone realises is there are lots of different types of membership. Primarily they’re a mix of two mains types: those that are focused on content – they drip a new thing every week, an update, a resource, a template, a training, or deliver a monthly bundle; and those that are focused on community – they run events or workshops and actively work to create an experience, run challenges, provide a forum for questions, get discussions going.
It’s often said about memberships, that people join for the content and stay for the community.
Some people promote membership as a standalone offer, while others bundle it into their core course or program, so they’d include 6 months free membership when someone joins or renews. Or they provide a membership only for graduates of their program, like an added ‘inner circle’ bonus or for continuity after the program finishes.
#7 Online webinars, workshops, masterclasses –
Again, you may think webinars are usually free events used as part of your front-end marketing. But they can also be paid events, and provide an additional stream of income.
Webinars are getting a bit of a bad name now, because they’re increasingly seen as the method of choice for a thinly-disguised sales event – a presentation with a tiny bit of value and a lot of pitching. It’s a shame, because webinars are a really great way to get a fresh shot of up-to-date thinking on a specific topic you’re interested in. And when that’s not what you end up getting, it very much annoys people and has the opposite effect of what you intended.
People are careful where and how they spend their money, and they’re equally careful and protective about where and how they spend their time.
Calling your webinar a workshop or a masterclass may circumvent that problem. Just make sure you deliver value, so it’s doing the job you need it to do, and those who pay and attend come away feeling they got value and it was money and time well spent!
#8 Books –
Writing and publishing and marketing a book may be a high-end task for a small income, but like the ‘free’ offer I mentioned first, it’s not about making money off book sales. It’s about the pay-off down the road, when people get what you’re about from your book, and can see the value of working with you through your courses, programs or services.
And a book doesn’t have to be a best seller kind that you also release in print. It can be a short ebook, you can drive sales through your own website and offer it as free plus shipping or even for $27, just like a mini-offer.
#9 Done-for-You services –
Now this isn’t the most leveraged way to earn a living, but agency services can be quite a nice little earner.
When I stopped my wellness business back in 2010, I sold 20 articles to a health coach for £10,000. There’s money in it, if you write well and it’s a bit more nuanced than content providers or a VA could do, people want to buy.
It made me realise that ‘done-for-you’ revenue could be quite lucrative.
Is there something you can do quickly and easily that others find really hard? Offer it as a done-for-you service.
If there are people offering these same services, how could you differentiate on quality, speed, or some level of quirkiness or innovation?
In my consulting business, we’ve been able to offer all kinds of things for our existing clients – from article writing, data analysis and evaluations to book formatting, audio editing, sales letters and graphic design.
#10 Affiliate products –
There are literally thousands of tools and products and courses that you can become an affiliate of, and then recommend these to your target market. A lot of people shy away from doing this, the same reason they find it hard to ask for any sale, they find it embarrassing. Some will cover it up that they earn commission on recommending things, others are totally open about it.
My take is to be transparent, and recommend in full service to the customers. It doesn’t mean you have to give an unbiased view. We all have our preferred tools, products, services, don’t we!
So if people trust you, and understand you’re recommending something in full integrity and with their best interest at heart, it’s perfectly fine to earn a little commission if they buy something from your affiliate link. You were the one who brought it to them, right? You didn’t hold them at knife point or go about it in a sleazy way. You did it because it might be of interest.
I do this on my business tools page in my website, I do it on Amazon products, I do it on a few product launches, rarely but some people’s stuff I really like or have bought from them myself. So why shouldn’t I share that with people?
In the days of celebrity and product influencers, I think we shirk away. Just do it in integrity and be honest about why you recommend something, and let the other person decide.
So that’s ten additional streams of income – I’m sure there are actually a tonne of other things too. Which would make sense for you?
Marketing Plans that Attract Your Audience
Of course, it’s all well and good having a multitude of offers. But you still need to get them in front of an audience. So I’m going to finish up this episode talking about how to attract your target market. Otherwise, it’s all a bit pointless isn’t it!
First, if you have an existing client or customer base, you can offer them the thing that makes the next logical sense for them. So here’s a few examples.
If they’re already a B2B consulting client, you could offer an event where they get to meet each other and get more value from the collective minds in the group. So from the list of ten, you could offer number 3, 4, 7 and/or 9 – a course, a VIP day or masterclass or a done-for-you service.
If they are a warm B2C audience, you might do something similar. And if they’re fairly new to you, just joined your list or started to engage with you on social media, you can test out their appetite with a lower end offer, #2, 3 or 10 – a mini-offer, a challenge or bootcamp, and a relevant tool that’s you’re an affiliate for.
And obviously if they are not yet leads, get them on your list with #1 a free giveaway.
In any of these examples, remember to think about what’s relevant and timely for them, based on what you know about the market and where they are in the customer journey. You may need to educate people on why something is important, help them see what’s currently perhaps in a blind spot for the problem they have.
You want to be selective about your offers – you know, message-market match stuff. Tune into what you’re hearing about in podcasts, in client meetings, on social media. Where is there a hungry demand for information or training on a particular topic? What kinds of services are people needing to help speed up something they want to achieve?
Remember to tap into other people’s audiences too. You can approach people and just ask for help and support to get your offer out: guesting on podcasts, getting featured on high traffic websites (it may even be worth running a low-cost ad campaign if it converts well). You can submit articles to magazines, and if you work regionally, you could get on local radio shows even! Where are audiences beyond your own sphere of influence?
Here’s What You Need To Get Ready
- An offer stack, out of the list covered today or whatever else creative you come up with.
- A marketing game plan that gets your content out there in front of other people’s audiences.
- A signature talk that delivers value and gets you known as the expert for your topic.
- A branded site (your website or LinkedIn profile) with unique content for your expert topic & authority.
- A high value unique giveaway that gets people onto your list.
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