There are many Hustle Culture tropes that I can’t help but roll my eyes any time i see them. The whole “bigger, stronger, faster, harder” just seems to me like a set up for permanent feelings of failure. You could always do more, be more, have more. More will always be an infinite number that will never be reached.
There is one “more” that I do get behind, though, and that’s the theory (“theory” like the way scientists use it, like the “theory of gravity” and not “the theory your crazy uncle spews off during Thanksgiving dinner) that we should all have multiple streams of income.
Now more than ever we’ve seen how unreliable the 8-5pm paycheck can be. You cannot rely on one source of income to set you up for a comfortable life; you need to have multiple buckets of cash pouring into your bank account so that when one dries up, the others balance it out.
That’s why I love blogging and bloggers, as it’s a field of professionals who embrace having multiple avenues of income as soon as they can get their hands on it. Long-time bloggers have known the sting of having their primary revenue stream go dry (banner ads, anyone?). So they’ve been the champion of diversification. How lucky you are to be in an industry like blogging that embraces this way of earning money so readily! How many times have you heard of contracts from businesses that do not allow their employees to have side-hustles? Long live the blogging industry!
So let’s get down to it now that I’ve gushed enough about it. If you’re a blogger, no matter where you are in your journey, there are some tried-and-true methods of creating revenue that you can start trying today.
How to Create Multiple Streams of Income as a Blogger
Despite smarter ad blockers coming out seemingly daily, ads aren’t going anywhere because they generate too much income from heavily-targeted audiences like the readers of your blog. If you aren’t at a spot where you have enough traffic to apply for something like MediaVine (25k monthly impressions minimum), then open an account on Google Adsense and start allowing ads on your blog. It may take you a while to get to the $100 minimum threshold (it took me seven years before I got my first payout!), but the sooner you start accruing it, the quicker it will pay.
Affiliates do most of the work for you: they create a product, handle the transaction, customer service, shipping (if needed), and inventory. Your job is to market their product for them and take a cut of the sale. While there are big-ticket items that pay bu-koo bucks (mattresses apparently are huge which is why you’ll see SO many mattress review websites), I usually prefer to find affiliates which will pay you a recurring affiliate fee. These are usually services that have monthly subscriptions. In my opinion, it’s a better way to earn residual income than a one-off product but your opinion may differ.
3. Print-on-Demand products
If you’ve got an artistic side, having your work printed on physical products can create an entire brand for your blog. Even if you aren’t artistic, there are ways to get around that. Places like CreativeMarket have a near-endless supply of graphics and vectors that have commercial licenses available for purchase.
4. Sponsored Posts/Ambassadorships
If you’ve got a good media kit and a way with cultivating relationships, sponsored content deals from brands can be a lucrative way to pad your bank account. Ambassadorships are like sponsored posts, except these are usually more long term relationships with brands where you create multiple pieces of content in exchange for a bigger payout. (Usually over a longer period of time rather than a one-time payment.)
Printables are a huge market and can be very lucrative if you hit the right target with what your followers are looking for. These printables are just .pdf files that you’ve created that customers can download and print out on their own. Thereby saving them money (and you the inventory or shipping fees) and is a great way to create passive income. You can even host them on Etsy, CreativeMarket, or your own Shopify account.
6. Stock Photography
If you’re skilled with photography, creating stock photos can be another avenue of income, though it’s not as lucrative for beginners as it used to be. Still, it’s a passive income stream that can send you a few bucks a month for little effort on your part.
If you’ve got a subject you’re passionate about and can crank 150 pages out about, then e-books can be another passive income stream. You can also offer them on Amazon and have a physical book created! Amazon will take a cut of each sale. But you won’t have to do anything besides write the book and market it to your fans.
If you’ve got more to say and teach, upgrade that e-book into a full course (or flip it: write a course about a subject and create an e-book that covers some of the talking points and directs them to the course for more in-depth advice). In my experience, creating a course is way harder than you’ll anticipate, especially if you’re unable to accept an MVP and build as you go. But the more courses you do, the more of an authority you’ll be seen as. And the more students/press/fans/followers will show up.
Level up further an offer group or 1-on-1 coaching for a subject you have some knowledge about. Coaching isn’t for everyone, as it’s not very passive and you will have to take on some mini-therapy sessions (it just happens), but coaching can also command a higher price point and can be a fantastic stream of income as long as you can give your clients the attention they need.
10. Photo Presets
If you’re great at Lightroom or Photoshop, selling your own custom presets, brushes, and filters can be a great passive income stream. Here’s a great video about how to create presets easily
11. Enhanced Content/Patreon
If you’ve got more content ideas than time, then consider reworking your time to be paid for all of those content ideas! You can set up a Patreon or Soundwise account to offer paid audio files (courses, audiobooks, exclusive interviews) or access to a monthly subscription of files, like Jasmine Star did with Social Curator. This won’t be as passive, as your subscribers will expect regular updates. But it’s a great way to do what you were doing already (creating content) and getting directly paid to do it.
12. A Donate Button
Lastly, but not least, if you’re bold enough, there’s nothing wrong with asking your audience to support you as a content creator by sending you a couple of bucks. Some might cringe at the idea, but remember that they’re not the ones paying your bills. Do what you gotta do and if it works, awesome!
A couple of things to consider:
- The more platforms you have, the better your chances are at making income. If you can repurpose blog posts into podcasts, videos, or e-books then you’ll have the ability to hit more audiences and grow your brand.
- You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) do all of these. I think 3-5 income streams are probably manageable for the average blogger, especially if you’re just on your own. Pick a few ideas from the list that appeal to you and dip your toe in. Once you get into a better groove and establish your stream, branch out if you want but don’t try to do it all right out of the bat. Baby steps bring the most progress!