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Arkansas, Speaking and My Fifth Revenue Stream

January 9th, 2009

A few days ago I blogged about having multiple streams of income, and said I’d share mine with you.  As I mentioned, I didn’t like the feeling of losing 100% of my income because one person could successfully politic his way into my job, or because one boss was crummy, or because a company didn’t handle management or finances well.

Not that any of those are reasons I got laid off, but over the last almost-three-years I’ve heard all kinds of reasons why people get let go.  Rockstars and rainmakers alike, there is just no such thing as job security.  That’s why I like the idea of creating income security.

Let me introduce to you my fifth income stream: “professional speaking.”

(I refer to my multiple streams of income as revenue stream, since I run my personal income like a business, since I’m the CEO of Me, Inc.)

When I was writing my first book on LinkedIn I asked my publisher how much money I would get from each book sale. How much would I get if someone bought it on Amazon vs. through an affiliate vs. through my website vs. if I were to buy it directly from him and sell it to people I met??  How would any of those change if I sold an ebook instead of a paperback copy?

I asked and asked and asked, with different scenarios.  At one point he said “Jason, you won’t make any money from selling books.  No one does.  If you want to make money, you do that as a speaker or consultant.”  He shared an example of someone who hadn’t made any money from book sales, but had made a significant amount of money from speaking and consulting.

However, I wasn’t interested in that.  I was running JibberJobber, which is an awesome replacement for the job search spreadsheet (and much more), and working towards something really big.  As the CEO I wore many hats and just couldn’t imagine fitting any hourly billing into my day.  Even though the money seemed good, I figured it would be a major distraction, and at a certain point I would have to make a decision about growing JibberJobber.

Then, one day, I got a phone call about speaking at a conference.  Long story short, the money was right, and the opportunity would allow me to strengthen JibberJobber’s brand while on the road.  Shortly thereafter, I got another call.  And another call.  And another call.  I realized I was able to generate revenue quickly and brand JibberJobber face-to-face at the same time.  Last year I spoke over 60 times, and even changed my JasonAlba.com site from a blog where I whined about things to my speaker site.

It became a real win-win.

I don’t see myself speaking forever.  I doubled my rate this year, so I’ll do less speaking than I did last year.  And, speaking is only ONE of TEN revenue streams for 2009.  I enjoy it, and some people say I’m good at it, and it helps me get to my big goals.  But if something happens to my speaking career, I’ll be fine.

As I write this I hope it doesn’t come across as bragging (I still pinch myself as I love where my career has evolved, since I got laid off almost three years ago).  I hope that some of you are thinking of how you can diversify your income, and make your employer’s paycheck less important.  How?  As you have other sources of income, you rely less on your employer’s paycheck (and their quirks, and the market volatility, and the stock market ups and (mostly) downs).

It’s a beautiful feeling.  I’ll share the other revenue streams in later blog posts.

14 Comments »

14 responses to “Arkansas, Speaking and My Fifth Revenue Stream”

  1. Rich Hopkins says:

    Great job Jason – you’ve worked a great niche for yourself, and you are entertaining as a speaker. Good luck in 2009!

  2. Jason,

    No you’re not bragging, you are giving us ideas. And remember when we spoke about 60 days ago? I am working on the main site and Minneapolis page this weekend in time for the career fair Tuesday I am presenting at.

    I met with a local self publisher Tuesday and am moving forward with my book idea.

    Will anyone want me to speak for dollars? Maybe, maybe not but as long as I have the web site, the book and the webinars and can help folks while I do my day job I will be happy with that.

    So thank you for continuing to share your experiences as I doubt I would have taken this step without first seeing the steps you have taken.

    Thanks friend.

  3. Rosa Vargas says:

    Great post, Jason. You make an excellent point. Many people don’t think of themselves as a Me,Inc. And, some that do, don’t often diversify their revenue stream! Thanks for sharing and giving me much to think about. : – ).

  4. You’re not bragging – you’re just sharing your experience and approach to business. Looking forward to reading about your other revenue streams.

  5. Tiffany says:

    Jason,

    Thanks for your insight on multiple streams of income and being a speaking consultant. I was laid off this week and I know the feeling of “losing 100% of my income because one person could successfully politic his way into my job, or because one boss was crummy, or because a company didn’t handle management or finances well.” As I’m in the midst of my job search, I plan to read this site often for inspiration. Again, thanks.

    Tiffany
    @TiffanyPR
    http://www.womenmakingmoves.org

  6. Sue Rostvold says:

    Nice work Jason. You are an inspiration and I really appreciate the honesty and openness in your posts.

    Regarding multiple streams of income, It’s just like the old saying right? I don’t even want to type it, but you know the one I mean with the eggs and the basket. :)

    I find this especially poignant since I’m just figuring out the multiple income streams myself right now. I agree with you, it’s the only way to go. Here’s to a prosperous 2009 for all of us!

    P.S. Remember it’s not bragging, it’s sharing information, it’s social networking.

  7. Great post, Jason and very inspiring. I’ve mapped out my vision for this year, purposes that really made me excited, goals, and the mini-steps I’ll take to achieve those goals. Congratulations on all of your successes–well deserved!

  8. Dan Blank says:

    Jason – It’s funny how the publishing world works! The book is simply a platform to be leveraged in other ways. I think most folks have a misconception about authors – that they just write a book and wait for the money to roll in. For the most part, it doesn’t work that way.

    Thanks for sharing more about how you diversify your income.
    Have a nice day.
    -Dan

  9. Vicki Kunkel says:

    Jason:

    Congratulations…and continued success in 2009!

    You are such an inspiration to so many people…what a thrill that must be for you!

    You are SO RIGHT when you say developing multiple streams of income is the key. And, you were also right when you mentioned that non-fiction writers don’t make money on their books. Most don’t. But your book will open many business partnership opportunties for you, as well as many more product (read: revenue) streams and other media opportunties. (As an example of how crazy this can get: I had a Hollywood producer who read my book call me just to “ask a few questions about how to apply the content.” Now, we’re in discussions about a multi-media entertainment venture together! Unbelievable!)

    So, it just goes to show…ya never know where one speech…or one book…or one product…or one phone call can lead.

  10. Jason,
    I think what resonated for me here was that you initially resisted speaking gigs and wore many hats already as CEO. When you were offered the right incentive ($$), however, your mind changed – and your speaking success spawned another lucrative engagement spawning another, etc. I think that often we don’t mind ‘giving’ our time for causes that ultimately will build relationships and ultimately a financial and/or intellectual and/or emotional reward (financial often resonates most, because we ‘do’ have to pay the bills after all), but we choose carefully how to expand our reach based on billable hours and ‘time in the day.’

    Dipping our toes selectively at first into opportunities with unproven outcomes requires following our instincts as well as solid research and guidance. However, sometimes we can selectively dip our toes into uncharted waters that also are offering a lucrative immediate return on investment with the possibility of building a whole new revenue stream that — if not permanently (i.e., you may not want to be a public speaker for the long haul) — at least temporarily will create further foundation for our overall business goals. This diversification of your revenue is key, I agree. No matter how tenured we are in our careers/businesses (for me, over 11 years in the career strategy business), we continually need to be diversifying and tweaking our day-to-day and strategic ‘work’ – to meet fluctuating challenges and needs. Sometimes we must exercise under-used intellectual muscles to capture new revenue and business development paths.

  11. […] from the third and fifth revenue streams I wrote that my publisher told me I wouldn’t make any money from book sales, […]

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