The 3 Foundational Revenue Streams Of A Sustainable Online Business

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At 25 I learned a valuable lesson in building a business

My first business was 1-on-1 personal training.

I built it up to the point where I was training clients 12 hours a day.

Sure, I was making decent money but my income was capped because there are only so many hours I could work in a day.

To free up some of my time I started offering group training where I’d train up to 5 people at the same time.

My clients paid a little less per session, since it was group training, and I made more money per hour since I was working with 5 clients instead of 1.

This was great! I somehow stumbled into making more money while working a fraction of the time.

Then the lightbulb came on for me.

I realized the key to building a sustainable business was to create multiple revenue streams that would allow me to generate more revenue without having to work more hours.

This lesson applies to online businesses too

It’s tough to build an online business with just a single revenue stream.

If you want to make more money and have more freedom, you need multiple revenue streams in your business.

There are plenty of revenue streams you can pursue, but there are 3 that form the foundation of most successful online businesses.

1. Services

The first foundational revenue stream for an online business is a service offer.

Anything where a client pays you to do the work for them is a service. 

If you’re a personal trainer, training clients is your service.

If you’re an accountant, doing people’s taxes is your service.

And if you’re a freelance copywriter, writing copy for clients is your service.

Most online entrepreneurs start their businesses by offering a service.

When you have a skill that people are willing to pay for, the fastest way to start generating revenue online is to offer that skill as a service.

And since services are typically hands-on and personalized to the client, you can charge much higher fees.

Making it a highly profitable revenue stream for your business.

But, even though you can make a ton of money offering a service, it’s still dangerous to rely on just that one revenue stream.

No matter how profitable it is.

To make your business more resilient, the next step is to start teaching your knowledge in the form of training.

2. Training

Training takes you from being the one doing the work for a client, to teaching your clients how to do the work for themselves.

If you’ve ever taken an online course, workshop or paid to learn in a group setting, you’ve been a part of training.

A training offer is your first step toward making more money while working less.

Offering training allows you to…

  • Work with as many clients as you want, without adding more hours to your workday.
  • Charge less than your service offer, making it more appealing to the parts of your audience who can’t afford your services.
  • Better leverage your knowledge and expertise for profit.

More customers, more money and less time working…

That’s the beauty of adding a training offer to your business.

But there’s still another way you can add even more leverage to your business – with products.

3. Products

I know you know what a product is.

But for the purpose of this article, let’s say it’s something you sell with little to no involvement after the sale.

Your products can be digital, like an ebook, podcast or a webinar series.

Or they can be physical, like a hardcover book or t-shirts or anything you can buy on Amazon.

Products let you generate even more revenue without adding any more work.

With courses and workshops, you’re still involved in the process.

There’s an expectation that you’ll be available to provide support and answer questions throughout your course.

That’s not the case with products.

Products are less expensive precisely because you’re not hands-on and involved with the client like you are with your services and training.

You write a book, you sell it, you’re done.

You’re not on the hook for making sure people read the whole thing. Or answering emails from readers making sure they understood every word.

Beyond a little customer service, your involvement with a product is minimal.

Giving you ultimate leverage in your business!

Let’s see how this plays out in real life.

Imagine you’re a website designer and you want to start your own business

You have a skill clients want – you build websites.

Clients have something you want – money.

So, you build a website for them. And they give you money.

Congrats, you’ve started an online business.

But you’ll quickly realize you can only work with so many clients at a time, meaning your income has a glass ceiling.

To increase revenue, you launch a course teaching people your process for building a website from scratch.

You show them step-by-step everything they need to design their website, just like you would have done it, but without you actually having to do the work.

Now you can help hundreds of clients at a time, without having to actually build every single website.

Next you need a product offer. How about a website theme?

Your customers can buy it, upload it to their site, make some tweaks and now they have a website that looks as beautiful as if you built it for them.

They pay a fraction of the cost of hiring you and you get the benefit of generating revenue without having to build a site. Win-win.

Now you have a service, training and product offer – allowing you to help more people and make more money while working fewer hours.

For a sustainable online business, you need multiple revenue streams

The strongest online businesses are built with a combination of services, training and product offers.

Start building these 3 foundational revenue streams into your business today.

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