- Brooks Conkle and his wife have 19 streams of income, from real estate to marketing.
- He has a diverse portfolio, so when the unexpected occurs — like COVID-19 — he can stay afloat.
- Last year, he generated $65,800 in income from his Airbnb units, one of his most lucrative streams.
My wife and I are business partners and firm believers in having multiple streams of income.
Because we have 19 different income streams, we were able to easily shift our attention last year when the pandemic stopped some of our projects in their tracks and focus our energy on other areas.
Here are our five favorite ways to make money — not necessarily because they pay us the most money. Some pay really well, some help grow passive income, and others line up with our passions and lifestyle.
Airbnb and real-estate investments
I hopped on the Airbnb wagon in 2013. I was already opening my home up to couch surfers at the time. We sold one of our Airbnb rentals last year because of our heated local real-estate market in Mobile, Alabama.
We operate two more in Mobile and use different strategies for each. We don’t own one of the units. Instead, we asked the owner if we could lease and then sublease it as an Airbnb property.
Last year, we generated $28,400 in revenue from this property, making a net profit of about $7,000 after factoring in the cost of maintaining it. We’ll look to start more of these, since the cash outlay is lower than purchasing the unit. To make sure our units are competitive with other Airbnb properties, we search the competition in our local market.
We love real-estate investing, and since we’re self-employed, it’s part of our retirement plan. We generated $65,800 last year in total income from our Airbnb units.
We also own a standard single-family-home rental that we plan to hold long term but doesn’t fit well into our Airbnb business strategy.
Affiliate marketing pays you a commission when a product sells because you recommended it. We all do this already — we just don’t necessarily get paid for it.
For example, you might recommend a mechanic to your friend because the one you went to did a great job on your car and had excellent customer service. You don’t think twice about it. Your friend goes and gets their car fixed. The mechanic just made $1,500. But what did you get paid? Nothing.
Affiliate marketing gives you that opportunity. I love this income stream because I get the benefits of business ownership without worrying about the product, customer service, or overhead. It also can be passive, as I get traffic to my blog from search engines when people are looking for answers. I help provide solutions and get paid for them.
We can make sales from dozens of companies that we know, like, and trust. I’m averaging $23 a day in affiliate income, and it increases as my online traffic increases.
I create content on my blog that helps entrepreneurs with their businesses. So when I recommend email-marketing software, a podcast host, or website hosting, I get paid a commission when my website visitors make a purchase.
You have to sign up with the companies and get approved before you can refer them. I started with companies that are best for beginners.
I’ve been working for a few years to grow my YouTube channel, where I make videos for other solo entrepreneurs. I record videos covering marketing, real-estate investing, making money online, and personal finance.
I recently crossed the 1,000-subscribers mark, and I’ll make money directly from my videos with the YouTube Partner Program by sharing revenue from the ads that play on the videos people watch.
But there are a lot of ways to make money from YouTube, and one of them is sponsorships.
I’ve been hired to create videos for companies showing their software or tools and how I use them in my business.
Based on the size of my channel, I was paid $500 a video. What’s great is I got paid to make videos that I would’ve made anyway for my channel.
Most people mistakenly think that you have to have a large channel to get sponsors on YouTube, but it’s just not true.
Who says print is dead? Not us.
We started a local media company in our hometown nine years ago. After growing our online presence, we had the idea to launch a magazine that promotes nonprofit organizations in our area.
Creating a print publication wasn’t part of our business plan, yet this project generates thousands in net profit for our company.
I love this income stream because it shows that if you can find the right target audience, niche print publications can be pretty successful — and do good for your community in the process.
Selling our belongings
We make the least income from this method, but it’s my favorite because it allows us to stay flexible and mobile.
You could say that selling items you already spent money on isn’t making income, and I can see this perspective — but if you keep unused items, they’ll become permanent sunk costs.
I like to think of items as long-term rentals. Maybe I’ll find a set of weights for our home gym that haven’t been used in the past year. If I’m savvy with my purchase, I can often sell an item for the same price I bought it for.
Sometimes, you get to sell items at a profit. My wife still rolls her eyes every time I talk about the chair I bought for $30, used for a year, and then sold for $100. I got paid $70 to sit in that chair.
If we haven’t used an item in 12 months, it goes on the sale list.
We sell things the quickest on Facebook Marketplace and its local sell groups. If we need a wider reach, and we’re OK with shipping, we’ll sell on eBay. We haven’t needed to go outside these platforms, and we generate thousands in income every year from this method.