[quote style=”boxed”]”…we keep our overhead as low as possible. Call it bootstrapping or call it Lean – we call it ‘keep it in the bank.’” – Shannon Hughes, Spur Studio[/quote]
Okay, you’ve got your great idea. You’re taking action. The ball is rolling. Your bank account is dwindling. You need to keep yourself fed, clothed, and housed while you continue to work passionately on your project(s), but doing so is not your favorite part of the job.
Turn your ideas into revenue with nine creative ideas utilized by IdeaMenschers for monetizing project(s).
You like music. You listen to albums with Spotify – the free version. Later, you decide you’re tired of commercials and are willing to pay a bit to be rid of them. The freemium served its purpose and now you’re a paying customer. Brendan Fleming is taking the same approach with his app QuickJobs which “ lets you connect with other friendly people in your neighborhood to get things done.” Brendan says, “Right now it’s completely free. In the future, it will be a freemium. There will always be a free product but you will also have the option to pay to see higher paying jobs.”
Sell a Physical Product
Sarah Chalos, founder of i heart keenwah, a natural food company, sells ready-to-eat quinoa clusters to “… food distributors, directly to stores, and on-line directly to consumers.”
Similarly, “StanceTrader makes money through transactional sales. Listing is free and it always will be,” explains Ray Dipasupil, the founder, CEO, and product engineer at StanceTrader, a marketplace for automotive gearheads and hot-rodders to discover OEM [original equipment manufacturer] and aftermarket car parts.
Sell a Dream
The Gift Gather makes money on transactions as well but with a very different product than StanceTrader. Gift Gather specializes in bringing dream gifts to life. Says Co-Founder Cynthia Kellogg, “It’s like Kickstarter for your birthday, Christmas, wedding gifts, etc.” You create your personal registry and then friends, relatives, whoever can donate toward making your gift a reality. Gift Gather “handle[s] all of the payment processing … as well. So when someone gives a gift (‘gifter’), we add on a small processing fee to the transaction. We feel like it’s a win-win situation for the ‘giftee’ and the ‘gifter’. We think it would be such a bummer if the ‘giftee’ raised enough money for their dream gift and then we took our cut from it (to cover our costs). The ‘gifter’ is able to give right then and there. They don’t have to shop, there is no sales tax or shipping so they avoid the baseline hassles of traditional gifting.”
Sell an Experience
In the travel business, Matt Wilson explains, “there are two main variables– margins, and volume. We charge for the trips, rent the resort, hire guides, organize meals, coordinate transportation, and pay our staff to curate a really hands on experience. Because we try to keep prices low, and cap the trips at just 30 people, we need to make up for it by running lots of trips.”
Pay Per Project
Kimberly Crossland, Founder of The Savvy Copywriter, explains “I make money with each project I complete. Rarely do I do any hourly work. I do this because it benefits the client more than anything. Customers know what they are paying for when the project is started. They can scale it as needed. And they can be confident that they are getting the best work possible each and every time.”
At Spur Studio, Shannon Hughes, and her team “offer competitive rates for outstanding design and strategy work, and never half-ass anything. So far, our client base been entirely built on strong relationships and word-of-mouth referrals; we take performing to the highest level possible very seriously with each and every project. That, and we keep our overhead as low as possible. Call it bootstrapping or call it Lean – we call it ‘keep it in the bank.’”
Reoccurring Monthly Fee
Mike Munter of MikeMunter.com “provide[s] SEO, online marketing, and web design services to clients. The design work is quoted based on the job and the SEO work is usually a monthly recurring fee based on the client budget.”
Multiple Streams of Income
Complete Web Resources is just one of the projects Kyle Sanders uses to keep himself afloat and even there his “main stream of revenue comes from agency billings—which is primarily SEO—that said, we do well in the physical business too. I also run an online vitamin dispensary at the national level.” Vitamins and SEO. Looks like Kyle is embracing one of the main rules of good investing: diversify.
Sphyra CEO Shane Hurley would whole-heartedly agree with Kyle’s strategy. Shane sums it up nicely: “Just like any company we charge fees for our various products and services. The benefit of Sphyra is that because we offer a range of business products we don’t have to make our money on one product or service. Rather we look to offer our customers several products and services so that we can earn their business on multiple levels providing them value and the most competitive pricing.” Shane pursues multiple revenue streams within Sphyra as well as without as he “has ventures in several other industries including entertainment, real estate and transportation.”
Another IdeaMensch interviewee, Kytka Hilmar-Jezek, embraces the multiple income streams ideal as well for a specific industry: author services. “Our company has a wide variety of services we offer the soon to be author. From books sales, to a home study program all the way to done-for-you and ghost writing services, we work with authors whose message is packaged in a book for credibility and leverage. On the back end we also offer author website design, social media integration and speaking at various events. This July we will be having a large week long event in Orlando which will bring together some amazing other people in the industry, it is very exciting!”
Pay it Forward
Some things are better left free. “The Mailbooks For Good innovation is available freely to Non-For-Profits and Charitable organizations all over the world,” explains Alex Caredes. Mailboxes for Good is “an innovation in book publishing which encourages book donations to charities via specially designed book jackets that turn into pre-addressed envelopes.” Alex works for Australia’s leading creative agency, BMF.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.