Regular monthly pay checks: How can you create one?
Getting away from corporate life was great, wasn’t it? You are your own boss now and you have the freedom to do whatever you want!
But what about the monthly pay check?
Do you miss that guaranteed money each and every month?
One of the biggest reasons that small businesses fail is cash flow. If you haven’t got enough new clients coming through the door every month and paying your invoices, it’s easy to end up with just an expensive hobby.
And how many of you honestly feel as if you are stuck with an expensive hobby?
It comes down to the age old feast or famine trap. You spend hours at networking events and following up on leads. You rummage through your LinkedIn connections to try and get some meetings. You get some clients – yeah!!
But then as you get busy with your new clients, your marketing starts to slip and slide. You don’t mean to … but you just don’t have the time or energy to get out networking, make follow up phone calls and spend time connecting on LinkedIn.
Your pipeline dries up and there goes your cash flow again.
It’s tough. It’s soul destroying. And I know because I remember those months all too well. I remember my supportive husband (and he was being genuinely supportive – just honest!) asking me if I was ever going to make any money now that I had decided to start up my own business.
This business model of going out to get new clients, servicing these new clients and then going back out again to find more is, well frankly, not going to work.
If you want to avoid failing because of cash flow – because if you are stuck in this feast or famine trap, it’s going to happen to you eventually! – you have to start thinking about how you can create a regular, steady income each and every month.
Ideas on how to create a regular pay check for your business
Subscription based newsletter: This may sound daft in this day and age of free information, but if what you specialise in can give enough value, then there will be people who will gladly pay a monthly or annual subscription for the privilege of receiving it. Yes, there was no doubt that major newspapers, such as The Times, struggled initially to get their subscription going but with development of apps and paywalls, digital subscriptions are certainly a key revenue stream for a lot of major media companies.
Your selling point is more likely to be from being a specialist, rather than a mass market, so focused on a small niche and this could be a great product that shares your inner most secrets or latest industry developments that are only shared with those who subscribe.
Sockscriptions: Wine clubs have been going for decades now. But the concept of paying a monthly or quarterly direct debit to receive the “wines of the month” works really well for some customers.
And in fact, there is a great example how this concept has been applied to a sock retailer. Yes, really! BlackSocks.com claim to have more than 50,000 customers in 75 countries that pay an annual subscription to receive 3 pairs of socks, 3 times a year.
How could you apply this to your business?
Taster Clubs: These work really well for foodie businesses – restaurants and wine traders. An annual or quarterly subscription gets you invited to wine and food tasting events throughout the year. A top idea of rewarding the top customers as well as encouraging them to come back for more. I remember a fabulous present from my brother one year to a 6 month cheese club subscription, where I was delivered a cheese selection once a month.
If you aren’t in the food industry, there are plenty of other industries using this taster model, from Birch Box which delivers beauty tasters and Taste Trunk for monthly gourmet gifts. How could you create Taster Events on a regular and subscribed basis?
Gym Memberships: I’m sure most of you have been sucked into one of these at some point in your lives … and probably find that you never use the darn thing after the first few months!! But this concept can work really well for those who offer marketing, coaching or consulting services, for example.
Offer fixed number of hours of your time each month in exchange for a monthly direct debit … it can really be that simple.
I already have a number of these set up for my own purchases, where the cost of regular bought products is spread across the year and I love the convenience of paying by direct debit. My dog’s annual inoculations, flea and worming tablets are done this way and my local vet includes a free annual check up to sweeten the deal.
Membership Sites: The concept of a Members Only website that contains useful and valuable information is nothing new. However, so few businesses consider this to be a viable option. Not only does a Members Only website give you the potential to create a regular and ongoing pay check, it also allows you to spend less time helping more people.
I ran a membership site for almost four years (The Web Tech Club) before closing it in 2012 and once set up, it was incredibly simple to run. The tech that goes on behind the scenes of a membership site has improved massively over recent years and, although it can feel overwhelming to start with, it doesn’t have to cost you thousands of pounds to set up and create. There are plenty of off-the-shelf packages to use and there is no need to build something from scratch.
Has that got your creative juices flowing? There really are so many opportunities for you to take your business into a regular pay check model.
Yes, it may take some thinking – especially in making sure the product that you create is something that your clients will desire (not what you think they need … never give your clients what they need – give them what they want. Some basic market research is essential here.)
And if you want some further reading on this topic, then I’d recommend John Warrillow’s book “The Automatic Customer”.
But do something different and stand out from the crowd and create a regular income in the process.