But let me share one of the smartest decisions I've made so far in my business, and how you can do something similar. Here it is...
I started out online working as a website designer and virtual assistant (though when I started I was called a "webmaster" because the term VA wasn't common 11 years ago). My income depended completely on how many clients I could get and how many hours I could work for them.
One of the challenges with the pay per hour worked (or per project worked) business model is that you can't grow beyond how many hours you've got available for work.
Move Beyond the X Hours x $X/Hour = $X Formula
A few years back I started offering website hosting to build recurring income. It was an easy service to offer since I was doing design work and many of my clients were looking for hosting. It's been a great way to keep a steady monthly income that helps me avoid the roller coaster income that so often happens for online business owners.
Then I stuck a toe into affiliate marketing. Just a little. And I get steady checks from several services I recommend. I've started to explore that more this year.
Next came information products. I offer a variety of ebooks and home study courses that allow me to create the product, then automate the sales process so many people can benefit from what I've shared in each of them without me having to recreate it and present it one on one to the client each time.
All of these do require work -- mostly the initial setup (writing an ebook, recommending products, attracting clients into a recurring service) -- and they require ongoing customer service. But it's much less time intensive than hourly work.
So, what might work for you?
Over the next couple of posts, I'll be sharing ideas on how to create your own recurring income streams and some tools to help you make it happen. If you aren't subscribed to the RSS feed yet, now's the perfect time: http://feeds.feedburner.com/MichelleShaeffer (or just scroll up a bit and you'll see the subscribe option on the top right of this page)
What smart decisions have you made in your business? What's worked out really great for you?