Finding new income streams in unexpected places

Written by: Jason Cunningham | January 31, 2020

One thing I’ve learned working with clients to maximise both their business and personal wealth is the concept of building multiple income streams. This helps business owners and households to diversify your income and generate extra pocket money which can hopefully grow into something significant. This extra cash gives you greater freedom about how you live your life.

There are obvious additional income streams – investing in property or shares, buying an established business, getting a part time job such as driving for Uber – but how do you find new income streams in unexpected places? 

Business ideas
Most business owners equate new revenue with chasing new customers. But too often, they lose sight of the most important people to their success – existing customers.

Tip #1 is to focus on who you serve and how you serve them (called your Mission Statement). Put simply: ask your existing customers what else they want help with. We asked our clients at The Practice this very question, and they said they wanted advice on investing, superannuation, personal insurance and home loans in addition to our existing tax and business advice. Our Personal Wealth Advisory division was born out of this process.

Other business income stream ideas:

Blog / Podcast. There are many advantages to a blog / podcast: you are positioned as an expert; people get to know you, which builds trust; you reach a wider audience of potential customers; and you get to leverage the audience of your guests by asking them to promote the episode to their network. As well as new clients, there’s the chance of advertising revenue down the track.

Coach. If you’ve had some reasonable success and established a solid business or brand, people will pay to get your help so they can emulate you. This can be done face-to-face or via skype.

Create an online course. Turn that expertise into a course on online platforms such as Udemy. Unlike coaching, you create it once and you’re done!

Start a hands-free business. A hands-free business – one that doesn’t require much of your time and energy – is a great way to establish an income stream on the side. Especially an online business that doesn’t require many (or any) staff, and processes can be automated or outsourced.

Productise an existing service. If you have a business, look for opportunities to offer a stripped-back version of a current product or service that is automated and mostly done online, and therefore much cheaper (and easier to administer). Again, think ‘hands-free’ so it can run quietly round the clock.

Write that book! A book or ebook will position you as an expert, and there may be some extra cash as well. There are heaps of options to produce, print and distribute your books, from Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing) and Apple Books to niche players as well as aggregators such as Smashwords and Draft2Digital. 

Turn it into an audio book. I’ve used Authors Direct to distribute the audiobook of Have Your Cake And Sell It Too and further extend its reach (check out a free sample here).

Turn your passion into profit. Enjoy being creative and crafty? There are a heap of online marketplaces (such as Etsy) to reach new audiences and sell your wares while you sleep. 

Ideas for individuals
I believe anyone can make an extra months’ salary in one day. 

Sound too good to be true? It’s as simple as taking just one day off a year to review your expenses – energy, internet, insurance – and ask if you can get a better deal (or shop around if you don’t get a favourable response). As part of this process, you can also think about new ways to earn money.


Columnist Jason Cunningham is a business growth expert, author, keynote speaker and industry commentator, and owns his own successful financial practice.


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