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7 Alternative Revenue Stream Ideas for Your Business

Most people think of businesses as specializing in one specific thing, and they often believe that making enough money from that one specialization is the only way that a business can be successful. They think of a business, especially a small business, as analogous to a manmade canal, where the water flows on a single path to a specific destination. However, the reality of many businesses looks a lot more like a river with many different streams feeding into the main body of water. Finding a niche in the market that you put most of your focus on is important, but there are many ways that you can find other avenues for making money with your business.

Having alternative revenue streams and passive income can make your business much more profitable and your wallet much happier. Having alternative revenue streams can also help your business thrive and be more resilient when your primary source of income is not as profitable as you would like, whether that is temporary, such as a bad season, or endemic.

Coming up with alternative revenue ideas can be fun. It's exciting to hit upon a great side hustle. But coming up with lucrative ideas can also be difficult, and often sites will list ideas that don’t actually work in practice. That is why it is important to learn about some of the best alternative revenue stream ideas and passive income stream ideas out there, and that's why we have narrowed down the list of ideas to the 7 best alternative revenue stream ideas, all of which have real potential to make you money.

Alternative Revenue Stream Ideas

1. Get a content player for the TVs in your business

The first idea on this list is so easy that it might seem too good to be true. Most people think that a business has to pay for the content that plays on their TV screens. This assumption is completely reasonable. Most of us either pay for cable tv or some type of streaming service to watch TV, and many business owners probably also pay for these services. But what many people don’t know is that they can stream content in their business and actually make money.

Loop offers businesses a free content player stocked with material that is sure to keep your customers entertained. In between the videos, the player also has advertisements, and your business can actually get paid for showing these advertisements in your business. This is practically passive income, and it does not even require an initial investment, making content players one of the best passive income ideas out there.

2. Run an affiliate marketing business

Affiliate marketing is when you recommend a product or service offered by a brand or business to an audience. It's a great way to make passive income because once you make the recommendation, the brand or business that sells the product or service will pay you every time someone makes a purchase using your referral link.

There is very little upfront investment needed for you to start affiliate marketing. Many big businesses like Amazon will have affiliate programs that you can join. Of course, there is a considerable upfront time commitment since you need to generate traffic to your website so that people will see and click on your referral link. However, once you have people going to your website, there is little else that you have to do. The best part is that while you are coming up with new recommendations, you can still have cash flow from your past recommendations. As you generate more and more recommendations, the amount of money you can make increases significantly.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best alternative revenue stream ideas because it is easy to execute since all you have to do is market products while the brand handles production, storage, and shipping. It is also a low risk since it is free to join referral programs, and it is highly scalable. If you think you are an entrepreneur who can handle product promotion, then affiliate marketing can be an incredible source of additional revenue for your business. Who knows, it might even go from being your side hustle to your full-time gig!

3. Start an e-commerce business and sell digital products

Your primary source of revenue might be selling physical products, but an incredible way to make additional revenue is to sell digital products. Digital products are assets or pieces of media that customers can not touch physically, such as kindle books, streamable files, pdfs, plug-ins, templates, apps, and stock photos.Digital products can be an incredible source of revenue because they have such high profit margins.

You only have to make the product once, and then it can be purchased indefinitely. That means you don’t have to pay for storage, inventory, or shipping. Moreover, you will never run out of the product, so you can continue to sell more digital products while your other products remain a viable way to build wealth. You don’t have to be a professional digital developer to sell digital products.

There are many digital products that don’t require a ton of training or education. One of the best examples is templates, such as resume templates, web design templates, or social media templates. Another great example of a digital product you can sell is online courses. Teaching online courses does not necessarily mean that you will be teaching to a live audience of students. Instead, you can produce the course or tutorial in its entirety and allow people to purchase the course to be completed on their own time or purchase memberships to have access to some or all of your courses.

There are quite a few sites that specialize in online courses, such as Udemy, so you do not need your own site for people to find your courses. Another option that has some similarities to teaching an online course is starting a youtube channel or a podcast. You can make videos or podcasts on just about anything, from car maintenance to comedy sketches to movie and music reviews, and the more people who view your youtube videos, the more money you make from the advertisements that play before your video starts.

You can also do youtube videos and teach online courses. For example, you can make tutorials on youtube and direct your viewers to your online course. This way you can make money from youtube and increase customers for your online course, which will make you more money.

4. Rent out your spare room or invest in real estate

Buying real estate is one of the oldest and most proven business ideas to build long-term wealth. If you buy real estate, you can rent out the property and, in many cases, the money that you receive from rental income can actually pay for the property. Being a landlord can require a sizeable amount of time, especially if you have multiple rental properties. A great way to make renting out real estate a truly passive source of income is to hire a property manager or enlist the services of a property management company.

You will have to pay the manager, but the amount of time you will save will often be well worth the money. Of course, buying property requires a significant initial financial investment, but luckily there are now many ways to make money renting property without needing to invest in a totally new property. With sites like Airbnb, you can make a significant amount of money by renting out spare rooms in your house, apartment, or guesthouse.

Airbnb has been an incredible alternative source of revenue stream for many people, so it is no wonder that this website has become so popular. If you do not have time or space to manage properties, then there is still an incredible way to invest in real estate with almost no effort at all. You can invest in REITs (real estate investment trusts). REITs own and manage properties and pay dividends to investors.

You can even use your credit card for the initial investment and use the dividends to pay off the investment. All you have to do is put some money down, and then you can let the REITs handle the rest while you watch the money flow to your wallet from the comfort of your couch.

5. Invest In the Stock Market

Although the stock market might have a steep learning curve and can be confusing, it is one of the best passive income opportunities. A common mistake most people make with stock investments is thinking short-term instead of playing the long game to reach financial goals. The goal of investing in stocks is to diversify your portfolio and reduce risk while still making money.

A great way to do this is to invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and high-dividend stocks that earn you extra cash slowly over time. By building a portfolio of high dividend stocks, you can create regular passive income at an annual rate that is much higher than what you get on bank investments.

Just as important, since high dividend stocks are stocks, there is always the potential for capital appreciation. In that way, you can earn passive income from two sources – dividends and capital gains. Online brokerages give you a bit more flexibility to choose which ETFs (and individual stocks) you want to invest in. Incumbent online brokers like TD Ameritrade and E-trade have done very well with low fees for individual stock and bond trades.

If you are looking for an even easier and less risky way to make money through investing, then you can invest in CDs or high-yield savings accounts. CDs are much like savings accounts, except that you make more money from interest rates because there is one catch: once you invest in a CD, you cannot access your money until they reach full maturity which is a period of time that depends on your choice during the initial investment. The amount of time your money will sit in CDs can range from months to years.

6. Start a blog

Becoming a blogger can be a great source of revenue. Once you have people coming to your blog, you can engage in some of the practices that we have outlined above, such as affiliate marketing, and you can also sell advertising space on your blog as a way of making money.

The thing about blogging is that it usually takes time and some upfront work to get the ball rolling and have people regularly coming to your site and engaging with your content. But blogging can truly be worth it since it is a highly scalable option. You can continue to produce content while all of your past content is still working for you.

To create a successful blog, you will likely want to focus on a specific thing or theme that your blog covers. For that reason, you may want to focus on something you are passionate about or about which you have a considerable amount of knowledge.

Of course, blogs can become a truly passive source of income. Once you have started to generate some traffic to your site, you can actually hire other people like freelance writers to write your blog posts for you. Eventually, you can be as little or as much involved in your blog as you would like.

7. Start a Dropshipping Business

Dropshipping is one of the best ways to start earning from wherever you are, even if you don’t have plenty of cash flow. Of course, dropshipping is not a get-rich-quick scheme. There is some up-front time investment.

The dropshipping business model involves creating an ecommerce store where customers browse and buy products. The great thing about dropshipping is that you don’t have to see the products you sell physically.

With dropshipping, your supplier handles everything from manufacturing to packaging to fulfillment. And since you don’t need to send money to your supplier until your customers pay, there’s limited cash risk. You don’t have to worry about storage or production, and you outsource much of the hard work to the supplier. A dropshipping online store can be incredibly lucrative source of passive income and is definitely worth checking out.

Time to Start Diversifying Your Revenue Streams

In a world that seems to grow more precarious by the day, it is incredibly important to make sure that you have diversity in your streams of income. This will make your business much more resilient and can significantly increase the amount of money you make each year. Luckily, there are many good alternative revenue stream ideas for a business, and the ideas listed above are some of the best.