Recently, I’ve realised that several people online are able to use multiple streams to generate income. In the coming sections, I present examples of how people are making money through blogs, online courses and as consultants, with all of these streams connected to and enhancing each other. I’d love to be at the point where I can take advantage of such an opportunity! The models I elaborate on below stem from observations I’ve been making over several years, and have culminated in a realisation that something truly profound is happening. But like most things, it takes a lot of time and dedication to get to. And more importantly, it requires a massive change in one’s mindset.
In my view, the foundation for such a mindset is a ruthless level of confidence in one’s capabilities, and immense dedication towards reaching such a level. This post is not about how to gain confidence or change your mindset, as there are numerous resources for that. It is about something more fundamental. In essence, how does one go about rethinking the way they earn money? This post will do just that. It presents three different models that build on each other to show how others are taking advantage of the internet and the immense opportunities it enables.
3 Models For Rethinking Income Generation
The first model is called The Income Triangle with three levels that each represent an opportunity to reach people and gain income. The Rectangle Model then explores what it takes to make generating multiple streams possible. And finally, The Circle Model shows why this rethink is not only necessary, but possible.
The Income Triangle Model
In the simplest sense, a triangle has a broad base and narrows as it gets to the top. It has become obvious to me recently, that some people use their blogs, online courses and offer consulting services, in a way that connects each of these sources to generate multiple streams of income.
So for instance, a blog can be used to provide short informational posts and monetised through advertising to enable anyone to access the content.
And then online courses are used to provide specialised content for those interested in gaining more depth into a certain topic.
A further iteration of this is when this blogger, and in many ways teacher, has amassed significant knowledge, and then proceeds to offer consultation services.
The specific example I’ve seen involves people who write informational posts on business related topics such as social media analytics, marketing a fashion brand, or search engine optimisation (SEO). These posts are monetised using Google banner ads or other more specialised advertising services. And then courses are offered to those who require more information on growing their Twitter followers or marketing a new fashion brand. These courses last anywhere from half an hour to several hours. Lastly, consulting services are also offered to those who either view the content and require further guidance, or need a specialist to manage social media marketing.
Beauty & Greatness
The beauty of this model is that all the tools exist today that are needed to take advantage of the immense opportunity that the internet enables. From free and powerful blogging tools, to cheap web hosting, sites to manage consulting services, and increasingly capable mobile devices, the possibilities are truly astounding.
I think the Triangle model is a great way to think about income generation for two reasons. From observations, (1) I’m inclined to think that even though fewer people may access one’s content as you go from blogs, to courses, and finally to consulting services (thus the narrowing of the triangle), there are still opportunities to monetise each level of that content per unit (course or person). And (2) in the opposite direction, from the narrow top to the wider base, scalability increases; meaning, when hundreds or even thousands of people start using or accessing your content, it doesn’t necessarily mean your workload increases (as long as servers are optimised to handle potential usage spikes).
The Rectangle Model
Now for the hard part; the time and resources one needs to dedicate to get to such a level! The rectangle is a very simple model that I use to conceptualise this stage of the rethink. I imagine the height of the rectangle as the level of resources and effort one needs to expend; a lot! From setting up analytics and metrics goals to monitoring Google Search Console and SEO with each new post, the work involved in building a commercial blog is immense.
Likewise, from everything I’ve read and watched, it takes several months to see any meaningful results, at least through organic means or without paying for ads (hence the longer x-axis). Currently, my blog is solely focused on documenting the ideas, insights, and processes involved in my PhD journey. But each day, I’m thinking of it more and more as the foundation for a future business.
So in summary, time and resources are central in this model. As such, patience is key. And so is hard work!
The Circle Model
This can be repeated multiple times as one feels necessary. A trend that I’ve observed that supports this model is one where people are developing websites as they would real estate. How crazy is that?! Ever watched TV programs where people buy a house for cheap, spend immense time and money to renovate it, and then resell it for a profit? Well, the same thing is happening online as well. I call it the Virtual Real Estate trend.
Basically, entrepreneurs from every walk of life are buying websites for cheap, working on it for several months by creating content like blog posts using refined SEO strategies, developing backlinks (or other prominent websites that link to yours), and affiliates (linking to other products to receive a commission), and then selling the site for a profit. There are even dedicated websites that facilitate this! Why start from scratch, when someone has already built a good foundation? But that’s another post.
The preceding sections have attempted to articulate a set of trends that I’m observing. It’s a very rough start, but I envision it as a very dynamic way of thinking about income generation. For instance, in the triangle model, what was a level 2 source of income for one, can be the starting point for another person; with all of this likely depending on one’s skills, interests and goals. To me, this is not a strategy to take advantage of people by offering less and less at each level so they require more and more at the next level. It is a visual and creative way to rethink income generation using the powerful tools that exist today. There’s a lot of money out there! With hard work, the right network, and an open mind, I intend on getting some of it.
I’ll end this with a quote from part of a poem I’m developing called Live or Die.
There are only two states of existence. On or off. Alive or dead. You either live or you die. Anything in between is simply out of the question. And to live, is not just to survive, it is to thrive.
In other words, increasingly I’m inclined to think that if I cannot thrive, then I’m not alive – which begs the question, what does it mean to thrive? Or be alive. The ideas above have at least given this some thought.
Thanks for reading! Check out my blogs where I write about anything from interesting books, journals or articles I’m reading, to insights and processes involved in my PhD journey.
My poems are also quite unique and are another way I intend on documenting my interests, and academic progression.
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