13 Creative Ways to Generate Extra Revenue

Question: What alternative revenue streams do you use to keep your business afloat during rough patches?

Question by: Frank

Get Creative With Coaching

"Are you an expert in something? I'm guessing so. Take your knowledge and develop a coaching/training service for additional revenue. Hold a free workshop to get the word out and so that people trust you, then offer one-on-one sessions, webinars, or handbooks so customers can get your knowledge."

- John Meyer | Founder/CEO, Lemonly

Can You Consult?

"Complementary brands occasionally tap us for information on how we accomplish various goals. When time and work flow permits, we supplement our revenue by privately working with select clients."


Diversify Your Portfolio

"As any financial advisor would tell you, the best thing to do is to diversify your portfolio, and the same is true in business. Create different packages of service offerings to appeal to a wider audience. Especially in a difficult economy, people love to see proposals that have a list of different packages that they can customize to their budgetary needs."

- Kris Ruby | President, Ruby Media Group

Get With Google AdSense

"Add Google AdSense to your website in order to leverage your existing web traffic to create a constant revenue stream. This will keep you website generating revenue, regardless if the visitors are buying your product/service. Make sure you monitor and remove direct competitors from appearing on your AdSense listings."


Affiliate Marketing

"Across many of our web properties, we are able to generate additional income by becoming an affiliate with some of the products and services we recommend. If the product is a good fit for our audience, we receive a commission if they buy. This not only diversifies our income but it also provides additional cash flow at little to no cost. In many cases, we would recommend the product anyways."

Gift Cards and Discounts

"With bars, our customers come in and spend money on the spot. So we try our best to give the best customer service and entertainment to get the most out the customer. But sometimes, we hit slow patches in the seasons and need more revenue and fast. At times like this, we offer discounted gift cards and offers with expiration dates, strategically picked to not affect our busy times."

Go B-to-B and B-to-C

"The primary focus of my company is offering time coaching to individuals, but since the coaching works, those business-to-consumer contracts come to an end. I've found that also having some recurring monthly "retainer" contracts with a few businesses help to bring in more consistent cash flow."

- Elizabeth Saunders | Founder & CEO, Real Life E®

Monetary Mentorships

"I love to help younger writers and entrepreneurs get a glance into what their possible career might look like. I use Vocation Vacation to give people a week in the life of a writer. It is a win-win because they get to see what their career choice might be like, and you get to supplement revenue with a fun mentorship."

- Vanessa Van Edwards | Behavioral Investigator, Science of People

Real Estate Is Real Money

"I always have my pulse on the real estate market and invest in trustee sales and trust Deeds. Done correctly, investing in distressed assets (the resulting opportunity of this economic downturn) can provide steady cash flow with a good-sized upside, five to ten years down the road."

- Kent Healy | Founder and CEO, The Uncommon Life

Sell Your By-Products

"One way to generate extra revenue is to sell the by-products your company makes. Is there anything of value that is produced while making your product or service? For example, to bootstrap our startup, we had to learn online marketing and social media. We became very good at getting noticed online. We therefore started a side business -- selling online marketing services to small businesses."

- Kwame Kuadey | CEO & Founder, GiftCardRescue.com

Speak and Write for Life

"You would be really surprised at what it pays to be an expert in the industry your startup operates in. When you add up consulting, speaking gigs, guest writing, etc. this can account for a considerable amount of additional revenue. This also isn't short-term thinking, as being an expert in your industry will always be in your favor, even after your business gets out of its rough patch."

- Derek Johnson | CEO/Founder, Tatango

Author It All

"I’ve written several books and eBooks based on my expertise as a career expert and hiring manager. It’s important to develop products that can continue to generate revenue without much ongoing work to keep your business afloat during rough times."

- Heather Huhman | Founder & President, Come Recommended

Create Cross-Promotions

"When times get tough, working with complementary businesses can be beneficial to getting some extra sales and affiliate income. Running a cross promotion and delivering their marketing messages to your customer list -- and vice versa -- is a great way to increase your revenue."

- Lucas Sommer | Founder CEO, Audimated

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.

About YEC

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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