Last week I was a panelist for NAPO’s Accelerated Learning Series teleclass on the subject of multiple revenue streams. In case you missed the call, below are the questions the panelists were asked and my responses. If you are thinking of adding a revenue stream to your professional organizing business and have questions, please post here.
What are your multiple streams of income? I have four main categories of streams of income.
- Client work including hands-on client sessions, coaching (I received my certificate of coach training with Denslow Brown and the Coach Approach to Organizers), Virtual Organizing (I received my certificate of virtual organizing training with Sheila Delson), subcontractors for large projects and when my calendar is full and Contained Home Consultant with The Container Store.
- Training Professional Organizers including, in-person training seminars, web-based education, downloadable business and client forms.
- Writing/authorship Author of Get Rich Organizing – self-published and Co-author of Get Organized Today! – publisher.
- Speaking to the general public-organizing skills presentations and Industry Associations-Nationally (various NAPO chapters) and Internationally (UK 2014 and Japan 2017).
How did you decide you needed multiple streams? It started with the training program for new professional organizers. At the time, I wasn’t thinking that I as adding another stream of income. I saw the need and decided to fill it. It was 2004 and there were very few resources for new professional organizer education and training other than NAPO. NAPO’s education is stellar, but it doesn’t offer the in-person small group learning option or the client practicum experience. At the time NAPO didn’t offer much if any, information on how to start, manage a grow a business—that is what I saw was missing.
Is your business 50/50? My business revenue is 60% client work and 40% other revenue streams.
What passive streams of income do you have?
- Downloadable business forms and client forms
- Web-based training program
- Book royalties
Did the administration of your business change when you added multiple revenue streams? No, I’m a bit of a control freak so I have not outsourced admin other than payroll. My husband is my webmaster and IT department, which helps immensely. It’s also about having the right tools to support your infrastructure such as QuickBooks and Outlook (CRM, scheduling, email).
Has there been any significant impact or pain from additional revenue streams? When I started my organizing business I thought of it as a part-time job—and that’s what I wanted because my kids were in grade school and I wanted to be home when they got home from school and work less in the summer too. The beginning of the summer of my second year in business is when I started the training program business. When I wasn’t working with clients I was writing curriculum for the training program. The IMPACT was I never spent less time working in the summer and the PAIN was that first summer my kids spent almost every day in summer camps!
Also, the more revenue streams you have the more moving parts you need to track and pay attention to.
What is your favorite stream of income and does it have anything to do with your personality? Training because it covers all the elements; working with clients, teaching, speaking, writing, mentoring, staying current with the industry, running a business, and marketing. I’m an introvert, so I’m rather surprised that this is my favorite—you would think it would be writing a book, but it wasn’t—that was hard!
Do you run your business under different brands and why? Different because they are two distinct forms of revenue and customers. SolutionsForYou is hands-on organizing and the general public is the customer. Institute for Professional Organizing is education and training and the customer is a new professional organizer.
What is your secret sauce to running multiple streams of income? Begin with the end in mind. Know why you are adding the revenue stream. For example my book’s audience is a very niche population—new professional organizers. I didn’t write the book to make a lot of money. I wrote the book to reach the audience during an economic downturn time when they couldn’t afford the self-study program let alone fly to Portland for a seminar. It was important to me (and still is) that new professional organizers have access to education and training for not only how to work with clients but how to be a successful business owner. Surprisingly, the book has produced a very nice passive income for my business.
What are your top 3 lessons learned?
- Have a written business plan. It becomes your roadmap to success or without it your roadmap to failure.
- Don’t wait to add subcontractors or employees– they will save your back and you can get big projects done faster—better with a team approach. Together we are better!
- If you choose to write a book, hire an editor.