“Look for the ever-flowing fountains of creativity within you.” -Andy
This is one of many strange quotes from May’s Rise & Design where we worked through various ideas and strategies to explore alternative revenue streams.
As creatives, we don’t want to be stuck in doing just one thing. Sure, we could be wicked good at logos or photography or jewelry making, but if we’re just doing that...I mean...that's so boring! You are more than just your position.
If you’re reading this you’re probably (1) getting close to burnt out on the ever-churning nature of client work and (2) have at least 4 filled journals of half-baked ideas that you wish you had more time to explore.
Great! Let’s explore them and how we can turn those ideas into alternative revenue streams so you don’t have to solely depend on client work.
I’m Anna Hetzel, resident copywriter and brand strategist.
What should you do?
Cool, you’ve decided to expand outside of client work (or whatever your main form of income is).
There are so many options for alternative revenue streams to choose from though!
And that’s just to name a few.
The biggest takeaway (in this writer’s humble opinion) is this: figure out your ‘why’ before you do anything.
If you approach alternative revenue streams with the mindset of “gotta make money” you are going to miserable. You didn’t get into your profession with that mindset, so why do it when you are expanding?
To horribly misquote Gary Vaynerchuk, “Instead of creating content, catalog what you’re doing.”
Don’t just jump head first in creating a course or a product. The first step should be to catalog what you do and how you do it. Once that’s written or photographed or whatever you can begin to see where you do things differently than everyone else.
That means you have a unique spin on your industry and you know exactly where you are unique. That is the key to open up a new source of income. Figure out what kind of content or product you have and use your work to elevate it!
Part of figuring out your ‘why’ is identifying your passions. Passion persuades, plain and simple. You have the passion to create whatever alternative revenue stream you choose, so really think deeply about this one.
We work so much in isolation but what would happen if we share how we do things? It could open up possibilities heretofore unseen. Wow, that was fancy English...
Teach (or speak), because you know your stuff
There were a lot of questions on how to break into the teaching space. Well, we had a lot of answers. I’m going to break this main section up into little sections because it’ll be easier for you all to digest.
I’m going to put this at the beginning of this section: be careful how much you share! Don’t overshare because you don’t want to create the scary possibility of copycats out there.
You know a lot of stuff. The hard part is figuring out how to articulate and explain these ideas. Teaching is perfect for not only putting yourself in front of a bunch of people but it also boosts your authority for your clients.
Think of teaching or speaking like a prep for speaking to clients. We speak in “designerlese” just like lawyers speak ‘legalese.’ That means we need good analogies and tool to help explain our process to clients.
What better way to do that than teach a bunch of strangers?
If you’re self-taught you’re probably already more relatable than highly studied technical people.
How to position yourself
If you’ve never taught or spoken before breaking into that space may seem like a daunting task. There are multiple ways to start building yourself up as a capable speaker and teacher.
Danielle, one of our fearless leaders, started giving interviews. From those interviews speaking naturally came about. She got great practice and proved to conferences that she could hold her own under pressure.
If you’re not sure you can get an interview, think about other ways you can break into the space. Andy created a podcast to not only catalog his processes but to have something to prove he was a great speaking candidate for spaces.
Find a low buy-in option
A podcast or interviews are a great first step, but wait there’s more!
Try hosting a webinar. It’s basically free and even if you only have one person show up you still have a recording of yourself. AND you had to put the time and effort into developing the curriculum for that webinar.
Find a teacher friend and offer to be a guest in their classroom one day. Offer an AMA style lesson where students can meet REAL LIVE CREATIVE OUT DOING THINGS IN THE REAL WORLD.
Make a SkillShare course!
How to become a teacher
We had some brilliant advice from quite a few professors and teachers in the room.
Look at their curriculum and where you could be the most valuable and helpful.
Write to the department head and start with “I can help and I want to give back.”
Give them a sample idea of how you would teach a particular course in their curriculum.
Keep that up until you hit gold!
Putting on a workshop
Ok, the main thing here is to remind you are a total badass. If you are creating something, anything, you have something to offer to the world.
There is something you do that people want to learn. Everyone has something to say!
Take what you’re doing, find the deepest lesson, and expel that out to others! If you’re struggling in how to develop a curriculum or topic for a workshop approach like you would any other design problem.
If you put on a Photography/Design/Jewelry 101 workshop please please don’t discount it. Just because you think it’s super basic doesn’t mean anyone else in that workshop thinks it is.
Places to possibly teach or put on a workshop:
Hey you're not an imposter
The biggest hurdle to getting a teaching gig is to just get started. If you have no experience before you might be thinking: “What gives me the authority to stand in front of a group of people and tell them stuff?”
All I have to say to that is- you’re here at Rise & Design which means you are professional creative. Which means you are already more experienced in what you do and how you do than anyone else in that classroom. Own it. You are a total boss.
Side note: Listen to this podcast and just replace ‘copywriter’ with whatever you are.
Non-speaking things for the introverts among us
Not all of us like standing up in front of people and talking. And that’s ok. There are other options for us!
“One of my hobbies is developing hobbies.” - Sean
In order to figure out a new product or service that you offer, do some serious exploration. The key here is to not go 100% in to a project without doing a little bit of R&D.
Minimize your risks. If you want to do t-shirt design, cool, but you have to minimum orders and then you will have all this inventory you will need to sell. What can you do that would minimize that risk?
How can you make a system that is on-demand creation at first to then move into more bulk orders?
Before you do all of this though really think about if that income-generating hobby turns into a significant source of income- would you be happy if it took over your main job?
What other things that you think are outside of your profession could possibly help inform and describe your profession?
Mainly, what makes you different? Do you love cooking? Glass blowing? Tree houses? Share it. Use it as an inspiration to something more you could offer the world.
Learn something on the side and if it makes money, awesome.
Be a woodchuck
“Look for what kind of a ‘chuck’ you are.” -Andy
I had to make this it’s own section. Woodchucks chuck wood. They have their purpose and they go for it 100%.
The lesson in this weird quote is this:
We can’t just be output all the time. What is your input? What is your purpose? Find it, let it rejuvenate you, and if it happens to make you money, cool.
Go follow Kate on Twitter, because it’s the cool thing to do.
Myths of Being Human: Brandi Lust -A fellow Rise & Designer!!!!
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking: Malcolm Gladwell -Understand your inner mind.
Creative Pep Talk: Andy -Didn’t get enough weird quotes from Andy? Listen to his podcast.
The Elegant Universe: Brian Greene -Learn string theory in a super cool way.
The Copywriter Club Podcast #47: Overcoming Imposter Complex with Tanya Geisler -We all need to listen to this.