This summer I took July and the first week of August off. I traveled and spent time with my family. And there was plenty of laughter and tears as we said goodbye to my Papa.
The past several weeks hanging out with my niece, I learned the basics of juggling. Although I still can’t juggle three balls at once for more than a few throws.
When I brainstormed the Creative Business Guides, I made six. Each of them representing different revenue streams a creative business might have. And when I created them, I intentionally didn’t have one with multiple revenue streams.
And I kept reminding people that at any given time; your focus should be on a single revenue stream. And to pick the Creative Business Guide that most aligned with your current focus.
But that didn’t seem to work, so after a few months, I begrudgingly created Jillian the Juggler. (Although I rarely give you her as an option when I talk about the Creative Business Guides!)
So while hanging out with my juggling niece and learning about juggling, I returned to this idea of Jillian the Juggler.
And the more I think about it, the more I believe that I’m more successful if I focus on one revenue stream at a time.
So I’m taking these three of my niece’s juggling rules and applying them to my creative business.
Rule #1: Look at where you are going, not where you currently are
The first rule my juggling niece taught me was that you don’t follow the balls with your eyes as they go from hand to hand. Instead, you look at a point in the air where you want the ball to peak. And focus there.
I’ve always been a goal setter, but sometimes I only pick a goal for a single revenue stream. So, my first task is going to be to pick a goal for each revenue stream.
And then once I have that goal, I can measure each project that comes my way against the goal.
- Will it help me get there?
- Will it hurt/slow me down/detour me from getting there?
If it doesn’t help me get closer, then I’ll kindly decline. (I use these four ways to kindly say no all the time!) Because I need bandwidth to tackle the projects that will help me reach my goals when they land in my lap.
Rule #2: Don’t throw the next ball until the current ball peaks
The next rule I learned is that you only throw the next ball when the ball in the air hits that spot that you are focusing on. Only then can you toss the next ball.
Once again, this has a direct relation to how I can juggle multiple revenue streams in my business.
I’m both Thomas the Teacher and Frank the Freelancer. And if I try to focus on getting a book published by a traditional publisher (one of the goals I’m picking) and launching a 1:1 virtual retreat (something I beta tested this summer), I’m going to drive myself crazy. (And probably not be 100% happy with the result of either.)
So I need to develop a rhythm where I allow one revenue stream to ramp up. And then once it starts coasting, I can turn my focus to the next revenue stream.
Rule #3: Focus on one ball at a time
The final rule my juggling niece taught me was that you only focus on one ball at a time. And that’s the ball in the air. And you can ignore the balls in your hands.
This rule ties into the second rule and the rhythm that I’m going to develop to toggle between each revenue stream.
At first, I was afraid that following these lessons would mean that I’d ignore a revenue stream for a long time. But then it hit me.
Instead of working towards my huge goal, I could create mini-goals, each of which was a step towards my huge goal. And after I reach each mini-goal, I could switch to a mini-goal for another revenue stream.
How might that work?
Using my big goals above, I might create these mini-goals and move onto the next once each is complete:
- add 3,000 people to my email list by consistently promoting my 3 best content upgrades (psst…. you can see how I’m doing this below!)
- email each of the 1:1 retreat participants to gather feedback and testimonials
- have 3,000 total followers between my Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube profiles
- create 1:1 retreat sales page building blocks and draft a sales page
- research and select the best book proposal template
- get feedback on the 1:1 retreat draft sales page and revise
Each of these mini-goals helps me get closer to my huge goals. And by staggering them, I keep them all moving forward without burning out or dropping the ball.
Of course, life will get in the way, emergencies will happen, and goals and plans will change. But I’m going to try to keep these juggling lessons in mind (and give myself a little grace) when it doesn’t work.
Which of these lessons resonated most with you? How can you build off them to add ease to juggling your own revenue streams? What are your best tricks for juggling multiple revenue streams? I’d love to know your thoughts below.
P.S. If you want to see some really skilled juggling, watch this kid. He simultaneously solves and juggles three Rubik’s cubes (and fast enough to break the current world record).
Does your creative business have a business plan?
I think every creative business should have a plan. But it doesn’t have to be long, formal, or traditional.
You should create a plan in the way that works for you. Because it’s important to not only create a plan but use it as you make decisions for your business.
But it’s also important to remember that this isn’t set in stone. Because it’s almost impossible for a new, young business to predict what it’s going to look like five years in the future. And so what you put in your business plan will inevitably change and evolve over time. And that’s good.
Which is why I created a quick and easy way for you to create a business plan. And I call it the Creative Business Model Canvas. Grab a PDF copy by entering your email below.
Your privacy is important to us. Learn how we protect it here.
Want to dive in deeper? Then check out these resources:
- Check out this 48-minute workshop where I walk you through the Creative Business Model Canvas and explain why a business plan is critical.
- Once you’ve filled out your Creative Business Model Canvas, members of the artist’s Courtyard can share their Creative Business Model Canvas’ here to get ideas and feedback.
- Once you’ve got your business plan, read this article to discover which legal projects should (and shouldn’t) go on your to-do list.