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7 Key Factors to Build Successful Income Streams

7 Key Factors to Build Successful Income Streams

Some people views anything related to alternative income streams (aka, making money) as scammy, a waste of time, or taking too much effort. Some give alternative income building a try and give up shortly after, because it takes too much time and effort for the minuscule initial results. Why should you bother working on something for a week or even longer to earn $20 when you can work an extra hour of overtime? Well, here’s a quick answer: Your job is not going to be there forever. You can’t work forever. And you can’t retire until you figure out a way to replace income from your job.

Slow Stream

Photo by Dave Donaldson’s via Flickr

What about the scammy part? True. There are a lot of scams and schemes out there, but there are also legitimate alternative income building ideas. Possibly one of the best alternative income strategies is to invest your money in the global stock market and let compounded growth works over time.

Does it take a lot of time and effort? Yes, at least initially. I personally utilize a lot the alternative income ideas on the list I recently shared, and for some ideas I even have multiple ways of building that particular income stream. The way I see it is that I am planting seeds, or opening doors if you will. Not everything I try will come to fruition, and there won’t be a stampede through every door I open. But over time and across many income streams, the combined effect will snowballed and become increasingly significant.

Here are my 7 key factors to build successful alternative income streams

  1. PassionDo what you love. If you hate writing, don’t start a blog or try to write for money. Find income ideas that are compatible with who you are and success will inevitably follows.
  2. Expertise — Focus on what you are good at to begin the process. Sure, you could learn something new, but you want to put your best foot forward when you are starting out. Leverage your expertise to generate that extra income!
  3. Patience — Don’t expect to see the desired results right away — e.g., this blog was losing money for three months before I earned my first dollar. Building alternative income streams take time and effort. For some income streams, you might see results right away, for others you might have to wait. Time is your friend when it comes to building alternative income streams — start as early as you can and stay in it as long as you can.
  4. Commitment — Some ideas take more effort than others. For example, investing my money in the stock market doesn’t take that much time — just contribute the money, set up my asset allocation, research mutual funds and ETFs, invest, rebalance quarterly, and watch my money grow. Others take a lot of time and commitment — e.g., this blog consumes about 3 hours a day.
  5. Persistence — Not everything you try will be successful — e.g., my little stint with the bulk candy vending business. You may have to try dozens of ideas before you find the one that works for you. The important thing is to keep trying.
  6. Diversify — Don’t stop at the first thing that works. The whole idea is to have as many income streams as you could. You never know when one would dry up — e.g., even the Niagara Falls stopped for a day! Diversification is a great way to reduce risk, and it’s the best insurance against losing an income stream.
  7. Little by little — The nice thing about diversifying and having a lot of income streams is that little things do add up to a lot. Just like they said, “A dollar here, a dollar there. The savings add up” — in our case it’s the income that adds up.

Well, there you have it — my secret recipe for building successful alternative income streams.

27 thoughts on “7 Key Factors to Build Successful Income Streams”

  1. Patience really helps as you’re trying to build quality first and hopefully money with it. I think if focus on your reader you’re going to have a solid foundation. Great article!

  2. I think passion and expertise are so important. Something that made a billion dollars for another entrepreneur may be a complete disaster for you simply because you don’t have the same interests and skill set. It’s ok to be yourself and have certain skills, you just have to realize that you’re not other people. 🙂

  3. This is a great list. All of these factors are important for not only creating alternative income streams, but in creating wealth in general. Thanks for the link also!

  4. Yes, this list is great! And keep in mind that exposing yourself to new income streams, no matter how small, will likely also expose you to new people, skills, and knowledge that can benefit you in your mainstream work as well. It never hurts to learn new things and do some networking.

  5. Good list! I’ve gotten started on new income streams usually only I have observed someone else being successful at it. Imitation my be the sincerest form of flattery, but its also a safe way to start a new business.

  6. I like #5 the best. Persistence. 90% of blogs, for example, die out in the first 4 months because it’s NOT a turnkey business. You need to CONSISTENTLY stick to the dream. It’ll come, but that’s why it is called ALTERNATIVE income streams. Good post!

  7. Great list. It is true that a lot of people who are looking for alternative income get discouraged, because it’s hard… I get discouraged sometimes, too. But just like with anything – weight loss, personal improvement, etc. – you have to believe that the efforts you are putting in today will pay off tomorrow. Getting reminders of that – like your article here – are ALWAYS useful!

  8. @Mrs. Micah – Great point. Something that works for other people, may be proven — but it still might not work for you.

    @Phil – Exactly, don’t overlook opportunities even if it seems small.

    @Terry — It’s proven and safe, but it may not fit you.

  9. Multiple income streams are a great way to build wealth, but they can be extremely difficult to build up when you have children at home (even for a parent @ home).

    However, a second income stream is a great way to enjoy retirement sooner and more safely. No one really knows how expensive life will be in 30-40 years. Taxes will likely be higher and medical treatment will be significantly more expensive if we continue to push medical boundries, so part-time work might be the key to a retirement.

  10. @Aaron: Alternative income streams are always difficult to build up – children at home or no. I have a toddler at home, one on the way, and I am away at work 11 hours a day – and I’m working hard at my alternative income. All the time I want my kids to be an excuse why I can’t work on my alternative income – I’m too tired, I already spent all evening playing/cleaning/etc. – but it can still be done. Until I go to a 100% TV free lifestyle, for example, I’m not willing to claim I don’t have time to work on things.

  11. @Steve, congratulations on the dedication. I continually have to fight against different distractions (real and artificial). If you can forgo the sleep, working into the night is the perfect time to get some peace and quiet.

    We all have to draw the line on when to stop working. Right now I value my family time more highly than the chance to work, although that isn’t entirely true in practice (I watch tv too which is neither productive or family-related).

  12. Great list of tips, Pinyo. I really need to work on more income streams. My problem is that my job takes up 10 to 12 hours per day and more if I’m on a business trip out of town. Right now, I’m traveling 3 weeks per month!

    THAT is motivation though!

  13. @Hank – That’s true for most businesses also.

    @Steve – Thank you. We are in a society of instant gratification. To gain an appreciation for this, I always think about rice farmers. Rice farmers have to work from dawn till dusk for weeks to plant rice, and then they have to watch over it for months before they see any result.

    @Aaron – I can relate because my wife just gave birth to a baby boy not long ago.

    “However, a second income stream is a great way to enjoy retirement sooner and more safely.” And that’s exactly why it’s important to start as soon as possible.

    …and I hardly watch TV or play video games anymore. 🙂

  14. I’m with you 100% on starting multiple income streams. Thus far I’ve got a couple but I know I watch enough TV that there is certainly room to squeeze in one or two more ventures. The real challenge for me is not motivation but start up capital. I love blogging largely because it had virtually zero start up costs. The other businesses I regularly consider (like real estate or franchise ownership) have large start costs and fixed expenses that continue even if cash flow dries up. Do you have any suggestions for how to get started in these capital intensive fields and get off the fence about risking savings on an unproven venture?

  15. Pinyo – excellent point on the Bear Stearns employees! That’s EXACTLY the reason why I self-downsized from my massive-time-corporate job with constant travel to a local consulting job – it freed up my time for alternative income and frankly a life. If you make 100,000 per year working 100 hour weeks you are making less than someone who makes 50,000 per year working 40 hour weeks. Seriously.

    I don’t mean to say I’ve got it all figured out – I’m making $.02 per hour blogging right now, but I am confident it will grow. Adfecto, don’t get started in capital intensive business. There is no need. If you return $100 on a $0 investment you’re a lot better off than returning $10,000 on an $8000 investment – plus, as Pinyo said, this may not be the time to start. I know everyone buys into Buffet’s “buy when others are selling” but sometimes when everyone’s selling it’s time to be cautious…

  16. @Ron — Thank you. A job that you like and willing to invest a lot of time in is both a blessing and a curse. The important thing is to think about when that job is no longer there. I am sure there are plenty of Bear Stearns with six figures income that now wish they had thought about other income streams.

    @Adfecto — I am reading a book by Terry Sprouse and he has some good ideas on how to get started in residential real estate investing. I am in the same boat as you — not really ready to start a more capital intensive business — although, I am not sure if this is the right time to do it.

  17. Nice post. There’s no question that passion and commitment are key factors to successful income streams. The key is finding “work” that doesn’t feel like “work” to you. Those things that are aligned with your interests so well that you would do it for free are the things that would make a great place to start looking for income.

  18. Commitment and persistence are definitely things to keep in mind.

    It took me 3 years to become an “overnight success” 🙂

    At first it may seem like you’re not getting anywhere, but you never know when one of your ventures will start to prosper.

  19. Having the passion to find your passion is a mission all on its own. Getting crystal clear on what your passion is really does help you become an expert which can be turned into a profitable venture.

  20. I am currently going through the learning curve in terms of balancing multiple future streams of income. I am happy to have made my first real estate investment this year, and am continuously improving in the internet marketing/internet affiliate arena. One of the great things of multiple streams is that it satisfies my desire for varied learning. But I do have to be disciplined to spend time on the most profitable things, not wasting my time on low priority items.

  21. @Studentomist — Thank you for your question. I certainly understand your point regarding over-diversification. Personally, I am naturally like diversification and it reflects in my career, my blog income streams, and my investments.

    I think there’s no one right answer. It’s about your risk tolerance and your value. Personally, I am more comfortable knowing that I will have steady income and growth, without any spectacular spikes or dips — and I can live with that.

  22. I absolutely LOVE this post, because it represents so much how I think. I think it was an earlier post of yours which stated that in the 21st century, our new job is to work on multiple streams of income. Also, I like what you said about patience and persistence. Everyone needs to look up Zig Ziglar’s “Prime the Pump” video on You Tube!

  23. Excellent post with very good points to running a home business. You must do something that you love to do and be persistent If you do something every day, whether big or little to build your business, it will eventually grow.

  24. This is so True. Many Streams of income Remove the Risks and Worry of being defeated in the job market. The Less stress factor creates a better Life. Thank You for the Tips.

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