I’ve never believed it’s a sensible idea to keep all my eggs in one basket. The idea of creating diverse income streams is therefore one that sits comfortably with me. In Making a Living Without a Job, author Barbara Winter describes this approach as creating multiple profit centers.
This approach to making a living will appeal to many of us multipotentialites, because it fits well with the sheer breadth of interests and skills we have. We can excel at creating multiple profit centers by drawing on our various interests and skills.
With this approach, whether you opt for a Renaissance Business or a portfolio career, you can choose a combination of income earning activities thats suit you. This means you have less chance of becoming bored or feeling guilty for wanting to start something new.
The Income Ideas Matrix
To create a map of all of the different ways you could use your skills and interests to make a living using your multipotentiality, you can create an ideas matrix. Using the matrix, you can cross-reference your interests with money making activities. Here’s how to make your own.
1) List Your Interests
Start off by listing all your current interests, plus any interests you come back to again and again, even if they’re not currently active. You might also want to include any interests that you’ve got planned or that you really want to explore in the future.
Nothing is too crazy or “out there!” If it sounds interesting to you, there’s sure to be a way it’ll appeal to other people too, so note it down.
2) List Your Skills
Think about all the different skills you have that you want to use. Remember that finding something easy or having the ability to do it, doesn’t necessarily mean you want to spend your time doing it. You might be great with numbers but have no desire to do accountancy work. That’s fine. Be aware of this.
First, list your practical skills, like graphic design, playing the piano, speaking several languages, and problem solving. Then list your interpersonal (or soft) skills, like being a good listener, being empathetic, and being able to make others feel comfortable.
Your list of skills and your list of interests will be the foundation upon which you will generate income stream ideas.
3) List Anything You Don’t Want to Monetize
Before we move onto the next step, take a moment to consider whether or not there are any interests or skills you don’t want to monetize. Maybe you play the violin to de-stress or running is the thing that gives you quality time on your own. That’s fine. Money can change the dynamic, so if you’re worried it might affect how you feel about a particular interest, take that interest off the list for now.
I know plenty of creative folk who happily sell their art, and plenty of others who feel that selling their art would be the equivalent of selling their souls! You don’t have to monetize anything you don’t want to monetize, so get clear on that now.
4) List Income-Generating Activities
Next, think about the types of activities you could do to make an income. These are services you can sell and products you can create. Here are a few examples you might want to consider:
- Teaching (running workshops or classes)
- Coaching (providing custom support for individuals or groups)
- Consulting (offering your knowledge to an individual or group)
- Physical products (art, clothing, stationary, etc.)
- Digital products (music, websites, membership sites, etc.)
- Information products (online courses, ebooks, audio recordings, etc.)
- Industry-specific services (project and event management, graphic design, translation and interpreting, etc.)
5) Fill in Your Matrix
Using a sheet of paper or a spreadsheet, create a table for your matrix. List all of your skills and income-generating activities in the first column. These are all the activities you can do to earn money.
Then, along the top row of the table, write down each of your interests (one interest per cell/column). These are all your areas of interest.
Now go down each of the columns (your interests), comparing them to the rows (the activities you can do to earn money). Tick any activities and skills you’d like to make money with using the interest in question. For example, if one of your interests is learning languages, you might like to tick the cells that line up with teaching, mentoring, creating online courses, or services like translation.
Now you’ve got a quick reference guide to show you what you like to do and how you can generate money from that. All that’s left is to get out there and start earning!
Over to you!
Do you have a diverse range of income streams? How do you decide which interests you want to earn money from and which are just for your own enjoyment?
Bev is an artist, creativity coach and founder of Kickass Creatives, a website offering practical support to frustrated creatives. She’s over 20 years of working in the arts: experimenting with everything from performing in a fire circus and managing a hiphop dance company, through to web consultancy and jewellery design. Bev is passionate about using her experience to enable others to fully develop (rather than hide) their multitude of talents too. Connect with her on Twitter @creativekickass.