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Going solo? Consider ALL your potential revenue sources

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One common call I’ve received–and taken–from many in the comms world over the last few years has been: “I’m thinking about going solo. I have so many questions!”
I’ve been happy to have these conversations and share my learnings–after all, so many people did the same for me 12+ years ago now.
And there are so many things to consider when launching a solo consulting business. But, one of the big things some solos don’t think about is this: You don’t have to have just one revenue source.
Many solos go into consulting for the, well, consulting. At first they think this is the only way they will make money. I know I did.
Not true.
Not by a long stretch.
In fact, there are many ways you can make money as an independent consultant. I’m living proof! As I thought about the different ways I make money as a consultant, I came up with 7!
The beautiful part about having multiple income streams is they help diversify your risk. This is one of the benefits of being a solo–less risk. Which I know sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true (upcoming post: Why being a solo is far less risky than working for corporate America).
Anyway, in the spirit of being transparent, I thought I’d share my revenue streams with you, how I think about them, and how important they are to the health of my business.

1 – Consulting

Easily the biggest–and most important. At any given time, I’m usually working with between 4-8 clients consulting on social media and digital marketing and PR. Generally speaking, I consult in a few big areas: social media strategy (audits + strategy), social media content strategy and execution; and influencer marketing.

2 – Social media coaching

A relatively new official offering for me. I started offering this “package” during the pandemic at the suggestion of my first coaching client. So far, so good! Since the beginning of the year, I’ve worked with four different executive-level clients in helping them up their social media game.

3 – Social media training

I don’t get asked to do a ton of these–maybe a handful a year. But, they’re super fun when I do have the chance! In fact, I just completed a social and digital media writing workshop for a Fortune 500 client last month!

4 – Speaking

To be clear, I’m not clearing $10,000 a gig like some speakers on the circuit. But, I do charge for speaking engagements when I can. It’s usually a lead generator for me, but even getting a little cash makes a difference.

5 – Teaching

I’ve been an adjunct at the University of St. Thomas for the last two years–it’s been a blast! And while no one goes into being an adjunct for the money, it does pay and even that little bit of money makes a difference each year.

6 – E-newsletter sponsors

I don’t make a ton here. But I do charge $100 for job postings–and I get a somewhat steady stream of those each year. Easy passive income for something I’m doing anyway each Friday!

7 – Podcast sponsors

Since Kevin and I started the podcast 5 years ago (now more than 150 episodes in the can!), our goal was never to make money. And really, it still isn’t. But, we do try to get a few sponsors each year to cover our costs and put just a little money in our pockets. Huge thanks for MN PRSA and Brandpoint for being our sponsors the last couple years!

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Going solo? Consider ALL your potential revenue sources

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