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What and how many income streams should you pursue?

The Sensible Flutist: What and how many income streams should you pursue?

Monday, May 14, 2012

What and how many income streams should you pursue?

In my last post, I asked you some pointed questions to help you identify potential income streams. As musicians, teaching and performing are primary income streams for most of us. What if that isn't enough? What if you have additional interests that still relate to music, but you would like to expand your list of income generating activities?

While some people may not have enough income streams, others may have too many ideas that they can't focus on one long enough to get any real work done. While my last article was meant to get you thinking about any additional skills you could bring to the table (including the possibility of getting a day job to help you build skills), this is going to be a post to help you focus and refine the income streams.

1) What do you value? Time with family? Fame? Money? You can determine the number of income streams you can handle answering this question first. As I refine my own streams at this time, I'm discovering that I must preserve a work/life balance and this is my current priority. My goal is to eventually be able to work no more than 4-6 hours a day, so I cannot handle more than 3 or 4 different streams. A great site to help you figure out your strengths is the VIA Character Strengths Profile which you can take for free. My profile says my best character strengths are curiosity, gratitude, judgment, appreciation of beauty and excellence, and honesty. All my current income streams of performance, teaching and writing play to these strengths.

2) Do you thrive on multiple projects or would you rather work on just one or two? Again, this goes back to determining your strengths and values. I'd argue that no one is able to multitask too much. Our brain simply can't function at its optimum level. Instead, determine your work preference and choose your streams from there.

I would also point out here that this question is important to consider when you get calls for gigs or new students. It's so easy to take any opportunity that comes through the door when we don't have a full performance schedule or teaching roster. I don't believe that it's necessary to take every opportunity. If it doesn't align with your values, don't do it. Instead, spend your time on efforts that play to your strengths. Long term financial security is much more important than the short term.

3) Do you have an idea for a new business but don't know how to get started? I discovered Lea Woodward through colleague Marion Harrington. Lea has now begun offering free e-courses to help you establish your path. Consider her latest offerings from her Path Finding for Pioneers site.

I am currently working through Path Finding for Idea Pioneers and working through it task by task (which come to you every other day in an e-mail so you can work on the course when it's convenient) has left me focused and energized. I see great value in what Lea is offering and I'm happy to be able to take these courses to determine whether I want to invest in her paid options down the road.


When we're working on our own, the hardest thing to do sometimes is to maintain laser focus when you don't have a separate office outside of your home. If you can discipline yourself to set work boundaries for yourself to preserve focus and concentration, I believe the payoff is worth it. If you begin laying the groundwork by answering these guided questions, finding your strengths and taking advantage of the resources available online, you can begin working in a new way that doesn't take every waking minute.

Regardless of whether people understand what you do, the key is to communicating what you do to prospective clients and customers so that they understand the benefit to them. Focus your income streams for maximum results.

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