New revenue streams for professionals

For most self-employed professionals, the standard revenue scenario is based on billable hours –which may limit your ability to grow a thriving practice because there are only so many hours in a day to serve your customers.

For most self-employed professionals, the standard revenue scenario is based on billable hours –which may limit your ability to grow a thriving practice because there are only so many hours in a day to serve your customers.

If you are interesting in exploring different ways to run your practice, these three revenue streams may help to increase your income.

1. Subscription-based services

One of the great benefits to offering services on a subscriber basis is consistent, predictable cash flow.

Rather than serving customers only when they decide to schedule an appointment or request your services, this model involves charging your customers a set fee each week, month or year for access to a defined service.

For example, for a set annual fee, a law firm could offer its small business clients a yearly “legal issues review service” under a subscription model. The subscription model is easy to set-up and can be used for services rendered in-person, over the phone or online. 

Consider which services you could offer on a subscription basis that could add revenue. Introduce your new service in your e-newsletter, on your website and through word of mouth.

2. Provide advice as a consultant

Consulting can be a profitable side business for professionals with specialized skills and in-demand expertise.

Depending on your line of work, you may choose to provide advice to large organizations, non-profit groups or business owners. For many professionals, the perks of consulting include schedule flexibility, an ability to develop a specific area of interest and the opportunity to apply knowledge to a variety of projects.

For example, physicians are routinely hired as consultants by pharmaceutical companies to provide input on new products.

Look to your network for contacts who can help you explore consulting further – and for your first customers.

3. Sell information products

Digital technology makes sharing your expertise through e-books, audio CDs, DVDs, online courses and video downloads very simple and cost-effective.

It will take some of your time and money to create digital products and you’ll need a website that can manage the sales process. However, this business model can be highly profitable because you are selling one product to multiple customers.

Professionals who are most successful at selling information products maintain an active mail list, produce new material on a regular basis, and “bundle” their products to make more sales.

Some final tips

As you consider which revenue stream might work best for your practice, make a list of your professional interests and aptitudes. Discuss your ideas with your customers and do some online research to confirm there’s a real need for the services you want to offer. Finally, be realistic about how you want to spend your time – for example, starting an information product business requires a real commitment.

Of course, be sure to consult with your professional regulatory body about any proposed new revenue strategy to ensure your practice remains compliant with the rules.

Experience to help grow your practice

At Scotiabank, our advisors understand professionals because we’ve helped thousands of professionals like you to start and grow a practice.  Get more business advice, access helpful resources and learn about available financing solutions by speaking with a Scotiabank Small Business Advisor today.

Next steps

(Disclaimer: As a professional certain laws, regulations and professional standards may limit the services you provide and the way you provide them to customers.  Be sure to check with your profession’s regulatory body to make sure your approach is permissible.  The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only.  You know your business best – so be sure to implement what works for you.)