Uncovering New Income Streams

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Paulina Sáez

Two months ago I decided to take the plunge: I left my job with a year’s worth of savings. I thought that this would be more than enough to get something up and running.

But after a short holiday and a launch, I find myself with less and less time left. I can almost hear the clock ticking in my head… TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK...

Seeing my savings account shrink can either make me scared or inspire me to take action. I choose the latter. I’d rather use this spark to quickly find a way to survive. And services can help me do just that.

I took a look at how others are blending consulting or coaching with their main gigs to see if this is feasible:

  • Michael Houck‘s main business is his newsletter. On his website, you can schedule 30-minute and 1-hour consultations with him.
  • Kevon Cheung of PublicLab offers 1:1 Coaching alongside his Build In Public Mastery Program and other courses.
  • The certified financial advisor Treyton DeVore combines financial consulting with content creation about his financial journey on Creator Bread.

Adding a service to my streams of income makes total sense. And if they can do it, I’m sure I can do it too.

Why Offer a Service

  • Survival First: One of the main lessons I got from Daniel Vassallo’s Small Bets course is that your main goal is to stay in business and keep doing what you’re doing. This means finding solutions that might generate income in the short term (“What’s the easiest way to pay the bills this or next month?“) and avoiding having to find a full-time job.
  • Healthy Pressure: Having so much free time has not been productive for me. I work better under pressure. I know that decreasing the amount of slack will boost my motivation to seek things that will allow me to survive intrinsically.
  • Learning Maximization: Consulting will allow me to be more in touch with my clients’ problems. While freelancing, people came at me with their most urgent problems, which allowed me to increase my learning and get to know better my clients.
  • Positive Optionality: Adding consulting to your offer allows you to open up an option to generate more income, which you can either take or leave. It allows the freedom to accept new clients that might represent a good opportunity, without the daily obligation of a traditional job.

Caution: This strategy works as long as it doesn’t obstruct the development of other products or services. Because you’re trading time for money, which is not scalable. The goal is to be able to build a portfolio of money-making businesses.

Now, with a clear purpose, it’s time to decide what to offer.

Deciding What to Offer

One of my biggest challenges is dealing with too many ideas, making it hard to focus on the most viable one. The goal is to narrow down and leave only those that are feasible and also have a higher likelihood of success—or at least, a lower risk of failure.

If you are already running a business, this process can help you build a more appealing service package for your clients. You’ll reveal hidden opportunities to improve your current offer or introduce complementary services.

Step 1: Identify Your Assets

First, do an inventory of what you already have: skills, knowledge, experiences, and certifications.

Take a look at Michael Houck, who leveraged his startup experience to create his offer:​

My last startup raised a Series A from a16z, grew to a $3 million run rate, and hired a team that included high performers from Stanford, Uber, and Y Combinator.
We ultimately shut that company down after nearly 3 years — I’ve seen everything from both the highs and lows of the founder journey.

Avoid filtering your ideas, that come later. Initially, list as many items as you can.

If you like overthinking (like me), I created a Notion template to create your assets list that you might find helpful. I added a list of questions you can use to get ideas into a built-in database where you can add the answers and later filter down on selected criteria.

Step 2: Narrow Down Your List

In the past, I made the mistake of focusing on things I was good at but didn’t particularly enjoy. It didn’t take long to realize that this approach isn’t sustainable in the long run. Learn from my experience: do things you excel in and also enjoy.

Kevon Cheung, for example, chose coaching because it brings him joy:

Step 3: Check the Demand

Look for proxies that can be a sign that your services have demand. Here are two ways to do this:

  1. Competitor Research

Search what your competitors are offering. Browse their websites for client testimonials or case studies. Take note of the industries these clients are in. This will give you a better understanding of the market and potential clients for your services.

For instance, this testimonial from a HubSpot agency website features Wimp 2 Warrior, a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) training program. It’s a niche you might not consider at first, but it’s a great example of the diverse types of companies you can target. Keep an eye out for unexpected opportunities like this.

  1. Jobs Market Research

Look at job listings for insights on the demand for similar services.

Here’s what I found for HubSpot-related jobs:

These two methods are great for understanding which companies could be interested in your services and what they want. Pay attention to how these offers are presented. Do these offers resonate with you? Can you see yourself providing these services?

If you can’t find anything relevant, you might want to reconsider your service offering. Finding few or no competitors can be a red flag because it might indicate a low or non-existent demand. It’s easier to give people what they want than to educate the market about a new need (aka “creating demand”).

For those already providing a service, this research is an opportunity to deepen your understanding of the challenges and needs your potential clients are trying to solve. It can also be a chance to uncover new client segments, helping you expand your reach and grow your business.

Why Not Start with Choosing an Audience?

While many start with a specific user segment or niche in mind, I prefer acknowledging randomness and not limiting myself early on. The problem with narrowing your audience too early is that you can’t know what’s one you’re going to have more success with. It might happen to resonate with an industry I have never thought of.

Other criteria you might want to consider:

  • Consider how easy it will be for you to fulfill the service.
  • Ensure it allows time for other projects.
  • Think about how to combine your assets to create a unique offer.

Now you should have a clear idea of what to offer.

I’ve chosen Revenue Operations as a starting point, to help businesses improve and automate their Marketing and Sales processes. I think that my background in managing business process improvement and automation projects, and the fact that I find genuine enjoyment in this work, makes it a sustainable and fulfilling choice for me. Offering services in Revenue Operations lets me use my skills in a specialized area while also allowing me to expand into more specific services if needed.

The goal is to define something that you can start with and test. You can refine this later according to what you find afterward.

It’s better to start with what you have and iterate later. Continuous improvement FTW!

I would love to hear your feedback! Leave a comment below.

Stay humble,

​~Paulina

PS: Don’t forget to grab your Assets Picker Template! Grab it here: Asset Picker – Notion Template.

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Paulina is the creator and main writer at UpGroves. She spends her days analyzing how successful creators and entrepreneurs grow their businesses. She's a curious generalist that likes to spend her time going down on internet rabbit holes, reading, and walking in nature.

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