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A few years ago, both my husband and I lost our jobs because the company that we both worked for suddenly shut down. This unfortunate experience led us to make an important decision – we need to start creating diverse streams of income and never again solely rely on our jobs for income.
From then on, that was exactly what we have been doing every day. Trust me when I say this. When you have a goal and you work hard towards it every single day, it will pay off eventually.
Now, let me share my story about the very first new income stream we built.
After some research, we found out that the easiest and fastest way to make money on the side is to offer a service that people need and are willing to pay for.
So, what service should we offer?
We had two options:
- We sell our own skills
- We sell other professionals’ skills
But, we decided to sell other professionals’ skills in the end. Because it is scalable and we can leverage other professionals’ time.
Let me give you a scenario:
For example, your neighbor asks whether you would be able to look after their 3 year old kid for a few hours for $200.
You say “Sure, why not?”
So, your neighbor gives you $200 and goes off.
Then, suddenly you remember that you had already made plans to go somewhere at night and will not be able to take care of your neighbor’s 3-year-old kid.
But you do not want to give up the $200!
So, you call your good and reliable friend up and ask her if she would like to look after a 3 year old for a few hours for $100.
Outcome: You made $100 and did not have to babysit the 3-year-old.
Now, imagine if you have 5 people asking you to babysit their children around the same time on the same night. And each of them is offering you $200 to babysit for the night.
If you were to babysit the children yourself, you could only babysit one of those children and pocket $200.
But what if you get 5 friends to help babysit for you and you pay them $100 each?
You would get $500 and not even have to babysit one child!
In fact, you could even be out watching a movie and pocket the $500!
That’s the power of leveraging other people’s time!
Moreover, we can free up our time to focus on finding more clients instead of spending most of our time fulfilling the work.
So, as soon as we decided to sell other professionals’ skills/expertise, we moved on to choose what services we wanted to offer and see whether we could find good and reliable freelancers to help us do the work.
After going through many freelancers’ profiles and reviews and talking with them, we decided on offering logo design services.
Why logo design?
First, it is a simple project. There is only one deliverable.
Second, it doesn’t take very long to complete each project.
Third, the profit is decent because I can find good logo designers whose rate is very low.
So, we were ready to find paying clients.
The very first thing I did was that I posted a simple free advertisement on Craigslist to advertise my logo design service.
Just a couple of days later, I got my first enquiry.
This lady was starting her online fashion store and needed a logo for her shop. She already had a design concept for her logo, so she asked me for a discounted price.
Before I gave her a final price, I had to make sure that I could still turn a profit if I was going to do a lower rate.
So, I checked with one of the freelance logo designers who had very good reviews. The logo designer was okay with doing the job for less than $10 and even offered me revisions until I was satisfied with the design.
Knowing my cost for the project, I would make money as long as I quoted any price higher than my cost.
In the end, I decided to quote my client $50 for the job. As a matter of fact, I literally just plucked that number out of air because I had no prior experience.
The client negotiated further with me. Desperate to close my very first client, I compromised and eventually got my first sale for $35.
My first project netted me a small profit of $25.
The best part is that I never had to do the work myself. All I had to do was to pass the finished work back to my client.
In just one short month, I got a few more sales from just posting free classified advertisement on Craigslist.
These quick wins at the start of my business boosted my confidence and kept me going.
Slowly, I increased my price from $30 to $150 per logo job. To increase my revenue, I also decided to add more graphic design services such as poster design, flyer design, name card design, brochure design and website design.
With a wider range of services, my earnings shot up as well.
So far, I had only used Craigslist to get leads for my business.
Although Craigslist was bringing me clients, but the number of leads was rather limited and inconsistent.
So, I had to figure out how to get more clients.
I asked myself these questions:
- Where do my targeted group of clients usually hang out?
- What businesses have similar clientele as me but are not offering the same services?
- How can I put my offer in front of them?
Then I realized that my target clients need to go to the printers to have their flyers, posters and brochures printed.
If I could form a strategic partnership with them, it would be great for my business.
You see, these printing companies had been in this business for quite a long time, and normally would have built up a large client base with graphic design needs.
So, the question becomes how could I get them to partner with me when I was just starting my business?
First, I made a list of all the small printing companies and gathered their contact information.
Then, I sent a very personalized email to each one. In my email, I didn’t ask for any referral business at all.
All I did was that I told that my clients need printing services and I would like to refer these clients to them.
To start a good business relationship, it is important to give first before you ask.
Over time, I built a close relationship with the people at the printing companies.
When their clients needed any graphic design done, they would send them my way.
In fact, a lot of my regular clients were referred to me by them.
From time to time, they would also hire me for their own projects.
Apart from finding strategic partnership, I also actively looked for clients by contacting them directly.
I even created a spreadsheet to list down the names and contact information of my target clients and keep track of their response.
The good thing about approaching my potential clients directly is that I could get immediate feedback on my offer.
If very few people were taking up my offer, I could survey them and gather feedback, and then make adjustment to my offer and my pitch.
Once I improved my offer and pitch, I would set a goal for myself to email at least 10 potential clients a day.
The more people I pitched, the higher chances I would get a client.
If I want to earn more money, all I need to do is to send more emails and pitch more.
Final words: It is risky if you are only relying on your job to pay bills and provide for your family. If you are not reading the news, technology is disrupting many industries and making a lot of jobs redundant. So, it’s important that you start to build diverse income streams to protect yourself and your family financially.
Wow, this is great story! It’s great to use other people’s skills if you have the eye for finding them! I’ve never thought this was viable, but service arbitrage definitely seems interesting! 🙂
Inspiring story. Thanks for sharing! Right now, I have two income streams. My goal is to have at least 4 income streams.