I built my own business by creating a half dozen income streams, and here's the best advice I can give you on creating your own

Maleeka T. HollawayMaleeka T. Hollaway.Courtesy of Maleeka T. Hollaway

  • Maleeka Hollaway is a millennial entrepreneur who teaches small business owners and entrepreneurs to position themselves to grow sustainable businesses and brands.
  • When she first started her own business, she knew she wanted to create multiple income streams - but she wasn't sure where to start.
  • So she began doing just about everything that came her way, until she realized there was a common thread through all of her business offerings: communication.
  • Below, she explains how she built her own streams of income, and where she recommends other small business owners start.

When I first started my own business about four years ago, I had no clue what I really wanted to do.

I knew that I could not build a sustainable business doing one-off projects. I needed to diversify my offerings and extend my professional reach. I needed to be one of those people who made money in my sleep.

To be that person, I knew I needed multiple streams of income. For as long as I can remember, I've heard people say that the average millionaire has seven streams of income - so that was a good place to start.

So, I started digging into what it took to start a successful business and I started seeing articles suggesting that the best thing to do was to market every skill I had that people would pay me for.

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Before I knew it, I was editing, ghostwriting, managing social media accounts, coaching freelancers, consulting on building brands, pitching myself and others for media features, and getting paid to write for publications. It seemed like I was all over the place. Sure, I had multiple streams of income, but there was too much going on.

I took step back and realized a thread joined all of these tasks together: I am a communicator. Everything I did then and that I do now in my business revolves around communicating.

Now I'm a publicist, a writer, a coach, and a consultant. I've created a small arsenal of digital products including workbooks and masterclasses that teach my customers about productivity, marketing, branding, and public relations. I collaborate with other business owners whose products or services complement mine, and I promote their products as an affiliate. I've also created a stream of income speaking and training. While the income isn't passive like the affiliate income, it doesn't feel like work because I speak about things that excite me, and that I am passionate about sharing.

When you are looking to diversify your service and product offerings, consider all the things you can teach others about your area of expertise. Try these three steps:

Condense your knowledge into a book, an informative ebook and create a mini-course teaching a specific tactic someone can use

Not only do you only have to write the e-book or create the course one time, but once it's out there, it can sell while you're sleeping! Imagine putting in the work to develop your content one time and then being able to watch it sell repeatedly.

Google became my best friend as I read a few articles on how to set up my course or sell my e-books from platforms like Thinkific and Teachable. I did a bit of on-the-job training by trialing both platforms before I made my decision based on ease of use.

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I learned quickly that having digital products available for sale at all times increases your chances of establishing your credibility and allows you to "make money in your sleep." Not every stream of income you have needs to be attached to your immediate attention. The creation of passive income products allows you to reach people without taking time out of your day.

Consider being an ambassador (aka affiliate) for the products and services you already use

Affiliate marketing where you get commission based off selling someone else's products. The first time I ever saw the power of affiliate marketing was when I noticed that my email marketing platform sent me an email that said "Get a free month for everyone you recommend to use our platform!" And although I was only paying $15 a month, I figured if one person started using the platform, that's $15 I could save.

I started looking at every tool I was using to see if they offered the same type of promotion deal and most of them did. Some offered a free month of service and others offered 20% residual of every service sold. Email marketing platforms, scheduling apps, e-commerce platforms and more typically have a form of affiliate marketing to offer. It's not a lot, but if you leverage the power of your network, it adds up.

If you like public speaking or teaching, turn your expertise into signature talks or workshops

Joining your local Toastmasters program can help you build a foundation for public speaking. If you are a member of any professional associations, chamber of commerce clubs, or business groups, find out their process for speaker selection at their meetings or events.

I started off searching Facebook for business owners who were hosting events and needed speakers to get my feet wet. I did about seven free events before I started packaging my talks to get paid to speak.

There are organizations who will pay for your genius, so position yourself to share it. Even if you don't get paid upfront for speaking, learn to master the art of selling from the stage or from the back of the room. Either way, you'll grow your influence and reach by leveraging your expertise and connecting with more people and you'll have an additional avenue of earning extra income.

Maleeka T. Hollaway is a millennial, entrepreneur, speaker, and writer obsessed with personal development, leadership, and small business growth. Her goal is to teach SBOs and entrepreneurs to position themselves to grow sustainable businesses and brands. Meet her on www.maleekahollaway.com.

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