If the most important lesson I learned about financial success in business is to embrace recurring income, the second—by a high margin—would be the need to have multiple income streams.
I read somewhere that most successful entrepreneurs have around 7 income streams producing at least some measure of profitability for them each month.
This is a far cry from most people who have but one source—their full-time job.
As you can imagine, this is not a financially secure position!
In today’s creator economy, this “multiple streams of income” mindset is prevalent. We can—and should—take advantage of it in Subscription Web Design as well!
Why You Need Multiple Streams of Income
There is nothing complicated about this.
The reality is, oftentimes, streams of income dry up!
A product or service becomes irrelevant, the economy takes a turn that renders a particular widget less useful, or perhaps another solution has come along that has knocked yours out of the running for your market.
What I’ve described here is not a problem with your particular widget; it’s just the nature of business.
If you have multiple streams of income, you need not worry when one stream dries up. The other streams will sustain you until you figure out the next thing.
What This Actually Looks Like
There are actually two different ways to look at your Income Stream Diversification (ISD).
Entrepreneurial – eISD
Business – bISD
Your eISD is the combination of income streams that support you—the entrepreneur.
These extend beyond your subscription web design business into other areas of your life. In your eISD, your web design business writ large is simply one income stream.
I’m an open book, so while I will not share numbers, I will share my income streams with you:
NorthMac Services (my web design business)
Books (I write ministry-related books)
Subscription Web Design (my information business)
BuyDemoTracks.com (my music demo marketplace company)
Article Production (I write for a top online Christian magazine)
Affiliate Income (occasionally I make affiliate sales from my YouTube channel)
(To be honest, as I’m writing this, I feel like I’m forgetting something — but I do believe this list is accurate!)
Think about it like a garden. I am always tending to the field of each of these income streams. Some grow slowly, some grow a bit quicker. Some are fairly stagnant.
Over time, those which do not produce fruit will go away and be replaced with something else.
And sometimes, things will surprise you. For example, a couple of those are turning out to grow a bit quicker than I thought and really turn into something sustainable.
Not nearly enough to be a full-time income of their own yet, by any means, but they have visible potential. Pretty cool!
NOW — within a few of those is bISD.
So items 1, 3, 4, and 6 each have multiple income streams within them. If you were to put it all together, there are roughly 12-15 income streams flowing into my portfolio and helping to build my future and support my family.
How to Get Started
Want to do this for yourself? Can you see how creating 12-15 income streams could change the game for you over time? What about creating 5-7? Or even 3?
Since (at least for now :]) I am not necessarily a business coach, I am going to keep my recommendations limited to what is possible inside a subscription web design business (so, bISD instead of eISD).
But don’t be afraid to branch out. No one questions my commitment to each of the things I do. It may appear on the outside that I have divided loyalties, but don’t worry about what other people think.
(Lots of people think Elon Musk has divided loyalties right now, but he’s the richest man on the planet and has successfully built the electric car and commercialized space industries. He’s probably a’ight, ya know?)
So let’s swing for the fences and see what opportunities exist for web designers. And since we’re subscription web designers(!), we’re constantly searching for opportunities that we can attach monthly recurring revenue to.
This one seems obvious enough! If you haven’t already started offering subscription web design, go back to the basics and start there!
My course and mentorship program can help you get started, and of course, all of the other free posts and podcasts we’ve put out.
Not everyone wants to get into marketing — but if you have that inkling, it’s definitely an open door you can walk through.
Can these services be offered subscription-style? Absolutely.
In fact, this is fairly normal. Although, the context in which it is normal usually involves extremely high-priced and all-inclusive retainer deals.
I went down that path for a little while and decided to back away from it in favor of a more modular approach.
If you zoom out from web design just a bit, there’s the whole question of how the brand (and website) should look/act.
Believe it or not, this can (and perhaps always should) be separate from the actual web design itself.
Many web designers are including this when, in reality, they should be (1) charging for it as a separate service or (2) working in conjunction with a partner who focuses on this piece of it.
Your business could have a copywriting division. Provide copy for the website of course, but you could also strike a retainer deal with clients to do copywriting for them on social posts, sales letters, and more.
Social Media Design
This is probably my least favorite option (which is mostly because I personally dislike social media), but the fact remains that most brands need a strong social media presence.
And often, the one they have is not branded very well with the rest of their materials. You could design their social media accounts and help them post consistently with on-brand communications.
OK — now let’s dive a bit deeper and see how you could take one of these options and turn it into multiple income streams by itself!
Let’s just take web design, since I know many of you want to stay in that lane and not necessarily branch into marketing.
Do you think you could create 3-5 income streams that focus on website design work alone? Here are some potential opportunities:
1. Web Design
Need I say more here?
2. Monthly Audits
You could use a service like My Web Audit and offer regular website audits that ensure sites are running in tip-top shape.
You could include this in the price of your SWD package, but I don’t think you have to or that you even should!
It’d be perfectly acceptable to provide this in your sales process as an optional package to help keep a website running in top-top shape. And boom! You have a new income stream.
In fact, I think there’s even a case to sell this as an entirely separate service on your website. Perhaps someone already has a great website built, and they just need someone to make sure it stays performing well and competitive.
Sell this service to those customers, and convert them into SWD clients later.
3. A/B Testing
This one’s cool. The “technical” term for this is conversion rate optimization (CRO). And this is another path where the sky’s the limit.
Firms are charging many thousands of dollars per month (and sometimes a percentage of sales) for CRO work. But you don’t have to start there!
Charge a reasonable monthly fee to try new things out on your client’s website and test for better conversations. Page builders like Divi make this easy, and there’s special software you can purchase if you want to get more advanced.
4. Maintenance Packages
For those clients who either downgrade from your main subscription plan(s) or who come to you in need of maintenance but not necessarily a website, keep this option only.
Using the Maintenance Only model, you can create an entirely separate income stream and build that up over time.
5. Email Capture Campaigns
There is arguably nothing more important for a website to do than capture potential leads.
Email is the best way to do this, for sure, and the number of websites I’ve seen with no way to capture email is stunning.
Create an “Email Capture” add-on that includes a lead magnet, opt-in forms, and a 3-5 email onboarding sequence. Perhaps the customer gets a new one every quarter for as long as their subscription is active?
As you can see, the opportunities are there to quickly move beyond accepting money for website design only.
You can become a more well-rounded designer/agency, still staying within the bounds of on-site working, while creating multiple income streams and further creating stability and sustainability in your business.
You got this!