When I read articles promoting the value of multiple streams of income, I get excited in a good way, or I get excited in a not-so-good way. I get excited in a good way because everyone is capable of multiplying their income by managing a business (or businesses). I get excited in a not-so-good way because some of articles make it seem like creating multiple streams of income is a new concept, or that it's as easy as buying a $500 information product.
Neither is true. Multiple streams of income are not new. And while the right $500 information product can really help, you still have to roll up your sleeves and do the work. Consider my maternal grandparents, Sallie and Oren McWilliams. The grand children of slaves, they raised five children together on their North Carolina farm. Here are a few of the things they did to create multiple streams of income.
They grew and sold vegetables and tobacco. They leased their land to people who used it to grow and sell crops of their own. They sold eggs from the chicken coop in the back yard. My grandmother made money as a midwife. They sold the pecans that grew on the pecan tree in the front yard (at least the ones my brother and I didn't eat …)
My grandfather was an accomplished builder, and not only did he build his own family's home, but he also contracted workers to help others build their homes and barns. My grandmother canned and sold fruits, vegetables and preserves, and often gave them away to families who had little to eat. She also made and sold clothing.
What's my point?
Income Doesn't Start With Income
My point is that it's not about multiple streams of income. It's about a functional business model. It's about innovation. It's about staying up a little later at night. It's about figuring out what you're good at and using it to create and sell something that other people need but cannot get on their own.
It's about resisting the urge to start something new before you make a viable asset out of what you've already started.
It's about turning off the television.
It's about asking for help. It's about hiring people to help you. It's about facing your fears, and overcoming the lizard brain.
It's about meeting other local business owners (physically and virtually) so you can collaborate, brainstorm and inspire new ways to be more efficient and cost effective. It's about minimizing the use of credit cards. It's about finding the answers for yourself rather than looking to others to find them for you.
Multiple streams of income are great, but you first need to do the above so you can create an asset (or assets) from which multiple streams of income can flow.
So, anyway, I'm just sort of bummed when I see people being taken advantage of by all the “make multiple streams of income now” jargon. It can be so misleading, especially for people who feel desperate in this economy or who think they can take a class or two this month and replace their full-time job income next month.
What To Do?
Most of you already know what to do, and you're doing it. But you may have friends who are looking for a magic bullet. They may be saying, “I'm going to have multiple streams of income from these affiliate programs or that network marketing opportunity.” Those things are great, and I'm not suggesting that you burst anyone's bubble.
But I am suggesting that, as a business owner, you help our new-to-business friends understand that creating multiple streams of income is not the same as owning an asset that creates multiple steams of income.
Build the Asset — Income Will Follow
To truly secure your future, and that of your family, you must own assets, not just streams of income.
An asset is something you can use to create streams of income, not only for yourself, but also for others.
An asset can be used to create a new asset. It can be sold, licensed, leased, or bartered to create new assets that can, in turn, create new streams of income.
Question: What do you think of all this? Do you have friends who can benefit from this discussion? Am I being obtuse?