Whether you sell service, products, or both, it’s likely that are missing several income opportunities for your business to generate even more money.
In this article, I share 24 different sources of revenue that can augment your profit margins.
Reducing Risk and Gaining Control
A system will fail if it relies on a single system—whether one product, one service, one provider, or one source of income.
Well-intentioned business owners tend to limit their revenue sources while broadening their market focus. But I believe this combination is dangerous, because it makes you vulnerable to threats… and keeps you from maximizing profitability.
The 5 main threats to any business, according to Porter’s 5 Forces, are:
- Threat of New Entrants
- Threat of Substitutes
- Competitive Rivalry
- Bargaining Power of Suppliers
- Bargaining Power of Buyers (Customers/Patients)
To regain control of your company, consider how to generate more revenue… by enhancing the methods you are currently using to attract and keep customers.
Here are 24 ways to do that.
1. Pick a Niche Area
First, make sure your marketing focus is as narrow as possible.
- Narrowing your expertise
- Specializing in one particular area
- Offering services that serve a distinct segment of the market
For a detailed explanation, check out What Does it Take to Develop a Triple Niche?
2. Fill Up Your Schedule
Next, make sure you are maximizing your profit-generating activities.
In a service business, this means that every appointment time is scheduled ahead of time.
- Strategically define your availability
- Actively seek to “time block” service appointments
- Track the percentage of filled slots versus open slots
You may also want to update your policies on cancellations and no-shows.
3. Sell New Products
Product sales can be a game-changer for service-based businesses. Consider the items that current customers are most likely to benefit from, and also which have a high profit margin.
Here are some ways to do that:
- Sell products to customers in your store location
- Deliver products to customers via mail
- Drop-ship items from a supplier
- Fulfill customer orders by e-commerce
For more information on other types of business models, read What’s the Difference Between Brick-and-Mortar, Franchise, Direct Sales, and MLM?
4. Offer Virtual Services
The internet makes it possible to serve customers around the globe, not just in your local area.
Consider these ideas:
- Offer services by an online platform either live (on Zoom or Skype), or phone.
- Record online training (such as a seminar) and sell it in a package.
- Serve regions or countries beyond your geographic area.
- Expand your reach to new markets.
- Connect with Ideal Customers who have a specific need.
5. Add a Recurring Subscription Service
What if instead of a one-time purchase, your customers could get high value for one monthly fee?
You could offer:
- Monthly, quarterly, or annual services
- Membership that includes exclusive access, bonus content, unlimited usage, or extra treatments
6. Invent Something Original
Inventors design more than objects; they can also develop methods, processes, and concepts.
If you have come up with a new technique or method for your customers, consider protecting your assets in these ways:
- Design a new product and sell it to existing customers
- Create an App that relates to your niche focus
- Copyright your intellectual property with a trademark. (check out the training by Rachel Rodgers, Esq.)
7. Provide Licensing or Royalties
A royalty is a usage-based payment made to an owner for each use of an asset (such as intellectual property, patent, copyrighted works, franchise, or natural resources). A license is a time-bound agreement for the use of someone’s property to be paid in a percentage of sales from copyright earnings or new product patent.
There are several ways to do this:
- Let others use your products, ideas, or process for a fee.
- Document your “process” (policies, procedures, operational steps, methods) and sell it as a product that others can use.
- Create a franchise of your service business.
Make sure to hire a good royalty and licensing expert and/or lawyer to set it up the right way.
8. Partner with Experts
You can partner with other experts in your field and collaborators who can provide value to your Ideal Customers. Even someone who is not in your industry but whose services could benefit the same customers.
- Work with a partner to create shared content — such as guest blog posts, a podcast, video series, a course, or a community presentation.
- Develop a new service that would benefit customers that both of you currently serve.
- Hire a expert to add more specialized services that serve customer needs.
- Offer packages in sync with partner organizations.
9. Develop a Referral Program
This is a great way to gather customers immediately. By using the social equity of customers who are happy with your service, you can ask them to refer new customers by giving them an incentive.
- Provide a gift or bonus for referrals
- Use a punch card for loyal customers to earn extra benefits
- Partner reward system with other business owners
A referral system allows you to leverage the relationships you’ve already built by encouraging new customers to join your community.
10. Move to a Cash-Based Business
I’m not necessarily about collecting a $10, €10, £10, or ¥1000 bill; rather, I’m talking about collecting money up-front instead of allowing a long-term payment process.
Many businesses are set up this way, especially in the healthcare field with a strong reliance on insurance billing that requires a long gap between services rendered and final payment. Consider charging for your services upfront — either prior to providing services, or immediately after they are delivered. Don’t have a billing period where you are waiting for payment to arrive. This will slow down the cashflow in your business and can impact your customer’s perception of value.
Once a buyer receives a benefit from your service or product and leaves the point-of-sale, whether that’s at a location or at an online store, the value they feel from what they’ve receive starts to diminish. Expecting them to pay the full bill 3 months later means that they’ve forgotten the benefits of your services.
By charging your fees prior to delivering, or half upfront and half after it’s completed, is a great way to minimize your risks and also increase your customer loyalty. Some ways to do this include:
- Modify your policy to require payments up-front
- Decrease reliance on insurance payments
- Offer incentives for cash payments
Read more: What is Transaction Avoidance Syndrome?
11. Augment your services
This is can be similar to the ideas in #1, Niche Services. Augmenting means adding a layer of extra value to what you already provide.
For example, if you are a chiropractor who primarily offers 1-on-1 consult and adjustment, an augmented service could be a massage, or a service added to base offerings. You could other services specific to the customer’s needs. Or a package that ties in services from other providers. Anything that can help you add value to your customer with obvious benefits can add more income.
Other ideas in the healthcare industry can include:
- High-profit options
- A luxury-level service, such as spa treatments
- Cosmetic procedures
- Outpatient pain management
- Physical therapy
- Health and wellness add-ons
My usual cautions apply — stay away from Multi-Level Marketing companies (they are predatory). And avoid suggesting or selling nutritional supplements (they are generally ineffective and can be dangerous when taken in excess).
12. Increase your service valuation
In addition to augmenting with different types of services, you can also add more value to existing ones.
Instead of offering a brief initial consult, you might offer an extended service with additional staff (dietitians, physical therapist, exercise trainer).
For a service that offers lawn and garden maintenance, perhaps extra value could include yard edging, tree trimming, or power washing — extra things that aren’t included with the basic service.
By adding more value, you can increase your rate and customers feel that they’re getting an incredible deal for the money.
- Learn new procedures, treatments, or methods
- Include bonus or extras (additional detailing, more resources, extra attention)
- Obtain new certifications and training that help customers get better results
13. Switch to value-based pricing
I personally try to stay away from hourly rates. While it can be necessary, I prefer to price client projects based on the total value we anticipate they will receive — both in quantity (amount of growth, time savings, decreased costs, lower turnover) and in quality (feeling of control, less stress and worry, better engagement from staff, more freedom to achieve personal goals).
When I discuss package options with my customers, we extensively discuss the value they expect to receive from the changes they will get after using my services. This is called Value-Based Pricing. When you help customer to solve a problem by going from Point A to Point B, whether it takes 10 minutes or 100 hours of your time to accomplish this, the value to the customer will be the same. Charging per hour for expertise that has taken you years to develop is a very limiting business practice.
- Stop charging an hourly rate; instead, charge by a percentage of the outcome.
- Improve the quality and raise your prices.
- Focus on the value your patients or customers receive
14. Start a Meetup
The website Meetup.com is a great source to find events in your area and is a great way to get people together to discuss the same interests, values, or goal for what they want to change in the community.
I have launched two successful Meetup groups; it’s a fantastic resource. There is a monthly fee, but it’s a great way to grow a community organically.
You can also do this using free apps like Facebook Events and Eventbrite. You can advertise your events in local libraries, community centers, coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery store bulletin boards.
The idea is that you develop a community with a like-minded need, and you curate discussions around possible solutions to that need. You can provide free information about how to solve that problem (including the services and products you provide).
- Join an existing networking group in your field
- Join a group that includes your Ideal Clients
- If there is no relevant gathering near you, initiate a Meetup Group.
15. Offer an In-Person Course
A lot of business owners love to share their enthusiasm about what they do. If you haven’t already, consider offering a community talk, college course, or teach a seminar to share what you know.
Get your message out. Start expressing yourself. By sharing your knowledge with others, your communication will become more clear and you’ll be able to better explain the value you provide to others. This is not necessarily a sales pitch; instead, talk about the conditions that many people struggle to overcome, and options to find relief. Or discuss a common problem that your audience is facing.
- Look for opportunities to speak at a local library, community center, conference, business emporium, or other relevant event on topics that interest your Ideal Customer
16. Offer an Online Course
Similar to #15, this is the virtual version of teaching. There are some great platforms out there offer a way to present your information to a large number of people.
Most of these cost a bit each month, but as you get more students to sign up the profit will make it worth your investment.
17. Teach in an Academic Setting
As a professor, you could get a lot of credibility in your field. In order to transition from business owner to industry expert, you need to build credibility and be known for your expertise.
For example, let’s say you are a healthcare practitioner who focuses on treating migraine headaches. You have studied this, have a lot of knowledge, a track record with many satisfied patient testimonials, and you use a unique method to diagnose and treat the problem. Using this, you could start teaching others about this niche knowledge — which makes you a known expert, someone who people seek out for help.
From this platform, you could start to write a guide, publish a book, conduct academic research, and write academic papers.
- Sign up as an adjunct prof at a community college, university, or distance learning school
- Offer to be a guest lecturer
- Use your expertise to conduct research
- Look for opportunities to teach at an academic level
18. Write a Book
From my experience, writing can be very hard. It takes a lot of commitment — beyond what most people are able to do. I love to write, but I haven’t yet compiled what I’ve written into a book. If you are an author, you know that it can take years to get organized and published.
Authoring a book needs to start with a topic that you’re really passionate about. It also requires a timeline and commitment to working on it a little at a time.
There are some great writing coaches and editors who can keep you on track. You can also find templates and materials for free that can help you get started. Publishing a book can generate income; it also establishes you as an expert.
- PDF downloadable book
- Published e-book
- Published traditional book
19. Develop Concierge Services
Similar to niche services, this is basically a step up. A concierge-level service provides exclusive access at a premium price, usually at a monthly rate.
This type of service provides a high-end service at premium rates. You can limit your availability to office hours, or provide extended times (nights and weekends).
This is something that your average customer will not find from other professionals, which creates a need that you could fill. In the Influence book by Dr. Robert Cialdini, this is called Scarcity: our desire to get something that has a limited quantity or is time-dependent.
A Concierge service can also provide customers with peace of mind. It’s surprising how much less “emergency” calls or requests this type of customer offering actually requires. You may actually hear from customers less, once they are reassured that they can get your help outside of regular office hours. Customers who pay for concierge services tend to respect the provider’s boundaries. They want access, peace of mind, and the knowledge that if they need help, it’s available.
Ways to do this include:
- Limit your services to a smaller range, and charge a premium for high-end options.
- Design services that have a recurring monthly payment.
- Limit the availability or frequency of offerings.
20. Provide Professional Consulting Services
As a consultant, I use my past experiences to evaluate and analyze the workplace communication for business owners. You can apply your expertise by consulting with those who have similar experiences and need help solving a particular problem that you understand better than others.
If you have knowledge in a defined area of your field, advertise yourself as a consultant and connect with others who may not be as familiar with that problem.
This is a great way to earn extra income. You can continue with your regular services and limit consulting to one day a week, or to one project at a time. I know several dentists, physicians, and mental health therapists who provide consulting services to other practitioners who struggle with managing their business.
- Work with peers to help them solve problems
- Consider your level of advanced knowledge in particular areas
21. Speak at Conferences
This is another potentially lucrative income stream. When you can communicate information clearly, this skill is very desirable by a number of organizations.
The ability to engage with an audience — by creating enthusiasm, presenting ideas in an innovative way, getting attendees excited about doing something — this is what conference organizers want to see in a speaker. Especially in a Keynote, they need someone who can rally the audience to get excited about attending the conference.
If you already have a list of speaking topics, get the word out about your availability. Ask about speaking gigs. Ask conference organizers whether they are looking for speakers. Even if the event is unpaid, =the exposure will build your credibility as an expert. It also opens the door to introduce yourself to new potential customers, to sell your book, to list the event on your website, a press release, and other opportunities.
- Come up with a list of 4 to 5 specific topics that are relevant to your Ideal Customers
- Ask associations and conference facilitators for their speaking requirements
- Talk to coordinators of private venues
- Speak at “free” events and provide a list of your topics and services
22. Consider a Moonlighting Role
A lot of doctors who are fresh out of medical school have “moonlighted” by earning money at an extra job. This could be a part-time job at night or on the weekends to help get through a tough spot or earn some extra money.
But moonlighting doesn’t need to be a temporary thing; you can also use it as a way to “feed your soul.” You could work at a non-profit or in a volunteer position, or in a part-time job that has nothing to do with your regular occupation. By doing something in the community or in a completely different environment, you’ll have access to relationships, conversations, and ideas that would otherwise not take place.
The goal of moonlighting could be to earn extra money, but that doesn’t have to be the goal. You could do it to get in front of an audience who you want to reach, or offer a completely different type of service.
For example, if you are a dentist and you love guitars — you might moonlight as a performer, or in guitar repair, or as a guitar instructor. By building a small business on the side to provide these services, you could reach a completely different group of people and feed an interest area. You might even consider a brand update to include this secondary area as a side hustle: fly fishing, engine repair, crafting.
- Work in a second role at night and on weekends
- Create more cashflow to fund your main business venture
23. Investment Income
Your day job is generating profit; but once you accumulate enough, it’s a good idea to invest it.
You can create a secondary source of money by investing in funds, angel investing in small businesses, or other sources of residual money. If you have the opportunity, make sure to check with a legitimate financial advisor about protecting your assets.
- Earn Dividend, Interest, and Capital Gains
24. Real Estate Investments
The final idea is rental properties. Whether or not you’re interested in real estate investments, it’s another option for generating money.
Maybe you have a chance to purchase the building you are currently renting or leasing. Or you have a neighbor or relative who is selling a property, and you would like to buy it. The real estate market is not always profitable because of fluctuations in the market, but it is a way to build more assets that can build your business.
- Manage a leased or co-shared space
- Purchase property and rent out office space
- Hire a property manager to collect rent and oversee maintenance
- Manage an Airbnb property
I would love to hear your feedback on what you think of these 24 methods to get more income. Share in a comment below!
If you need help finding new areas of growth in your organization, find out more here.
Grace LaConte is a business consultant, writer, workplace equity strategist, and the founder of LaConte Consulting. Her risk management tools are used around the globe, and she has successfully reversed toxic work environments for clients in the healthcare and non-profit fields. Grace specializes in lactation law compliance & policy development, reducing staff turnover after maternity leave, and creating a participatory work culture.
Find more at laconteconsulting.com, or connect with her on Instagram and Twitter @lacontestrategy.