Countless corporate escapees are yearning to leave the rat race and become financially independent entrepreneurs by monetizing their expertise. I left my corporate job five years ago to do just that (and to broaden my platform for making a difference in people’s lives).
I’ve learned a ton about how to build a successful business across multiple streams of income. If I can do it, you can too. Here are the income streams I’ve created.
1. Speaking from stage
This is the core of my business. Nearly every other element of my business model feeds the generation of speaking opportunities. I started by doing leadership talks as an “extra-curricular” activity for my former corporate employer. This allowed me to build my shtick and hone my craft, eventually leading to doing paid keynotes on the side, and then to keynotes as the centerpiece of a monetization model that allowed me to leave corporate and go full-time entrepreneur.
2. Authoring books
Reality check: The vast majority of business authors don’t make enough money writing books to live on. For perspective, I have two multi-award-winning books that hit some best seller lists and the sum total of what I’ve made from book sales can be eclipsed by booking a few keynotes. Writing books does, however, establish your credibility and draw more people to want to book you as a speaker. Plus, if you love to write, it’s obviously a great outlet.
Content I develop for keynotes or books also fits into a workshop format. I often get booked for a 60-75 minute keynote for employees and for a 3-4 hour workshop (that expands on the keynote) for the leadership team. It’s an efficient revenue-generating duo.
4. Teaching classes
I’m faculty at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business for Executive Education. Many business schools eagerly hire former corporate execs as “adjuncts” to teach classes. I enjoy the change of pace and it feeds my business model; on multiple occasions students have brought me into their companies to keynote or serve in another capacity.
5. Writing for online publications
Obviously I wrote for Inc.com and have dabbled in a few other publications that pay for contributions from qualified business experts. Each article also allows me a by-line, meaning that beneath title of any article I’ve written is a line explaining that it’s by “Scott Mautz, Keynote speaker and author …” Thus, each article is an advertisement for my keynote services.
I narrowed my focus to primarily coaching young to mid-level executives on being an others-oriented leader and a once-in-a career boss and coach, and helping people to monetize their expertise like I have. You can’t be all things to all people but you’d be surprised how valuable your targeted expertise is to others.
7. On-line courses on your own platform
I wrote the script for a course on inspirational leadership, built a video studio in my basement to film it, got practice talking to a camera, built my own course hosting platform (Thinkific and Kajabi are a few options), and sold the course to my e-mail list/social following.
8. On-line courses on someone else’s platform
I’m developing courses now for LinkedIn Learning (it pays an advance and royalties). While you keep 100 percent of the profits when selling to your e-mail list, the universe of potential customers pales in comparison (even if you have a big list) with the number of customers you get access to through platforms like LinkedIn Learning or Coursera.
9. Remote keynotes and workshops
Not every company can afford to pay for a keynote. But what if a speaker could give a keynote by video conference right from his or her home, at a lower rate? Many companies (like Geniecast or SpotMe) facilitate this.
This is a small part of my model because I don’t like wrangling over scope. Too often I’ve agreed to a project with a company with specific deliverables, but then the scope of what they want you to deliver magically expands, leaving you to either push back or suck it up and give them substantive free hours of work. Others are better at controlling scope creep–not my strong suit.
11. Referral fees
I don’t say yes to many consulting gigs, but I do refer those inquiries to connections who primarily consult. I also refer requests to ghost write a book to other writers I know. In both cases, I ask for a referral fee, which happily gets paid; it’s a win-win.
There are other income streams I haven’t taken on, like monetizing a podcast, generating affiliate income (earning commission by linking to products on Amazon), and selling blog subscriptions and memberships for an inner-circle mastermind group.
Net, there are many opportunities to make a living off what you know. Now you know.