Planning For New Crops

Crops In the way old caveman days, the experience of “eat for today” was soon found to be too risky, and so we learned how to gather, and then ultimately to farm. Being able to plan for tomorrow got really important way back when. But these days, that’s a bit muddy.

Lots of people got jobs. Jobs feel like planning for tomorrow. But are they? You get paid. You may or may not have a 401k that may or may not be worth money some day. You may or may not have a job tomorrow.

Then, some of us left those “secure” jobs to run our own projects. And we learned how to hunt again. For work. For money. For something to feed us today.

But are we planning any crops? Do we have food (money!) put away for when the hunt is sparse? I have some thoughts on that.

Planning for New Crops

Let’s say you’re a consultant. I learned a lesson early on From Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications. He said: “Never let a client account for more than 15% of your revenue. That way, if you have to lose the client, you still have the other 85% to keep you going. I never forgot that. Plus, I have started applying it to my business.

Last month, shifted more of my revenue into courses and pulled a lot of my attention away from corporate consulting (except for a bit of executive mentoring and some brief coaching calls). In doing this, it allows me to plan some different types of revenue that aren’t so time-based. Booking hours for consulting is time-based. It’s also very custom, so it can never be re-used. The courses are the opposite of that.

That’s one way to plan some ways to keep eating. But just one.

How Do You Make Your Money Right Now?

Start there. How are you making your money? What would cause you to stop making that money? What’s another way to make money if that stops? These are the questions to start asking.

What Can You Sell?

I took my business to a cool hunter friend and asked him what was useful and what was worthless? His frank appraisal of what I had and what I thought I had shifted my thoughts dramatically, but still let me work within my strengths. I don’t intend to sell my business any time in the near future, but the question – asking it and thinking hard about the response – gave me a lot to work with, and I’m still implementing what I’ve learned.

What could you sell? What could you do to make money without you being right there to earn it? These are the questions that will help you plan for those crops.

How will you eat when what you’re doing right now runs out?

Think like an owner.

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  • UpbeatBrain

    Good points, Chris. I’ve worked for myself full-time for 15 years, and I learned the 15% rule the hard way. At one point early in my career, one client made up about 50% of my business. That client paid so well that I ignored my gut feeling to diversify. It worked great, until that client changed its business plan in a way that did not include me. I scrabbled to cover the loss, but I’ll never forget the stress and strain that the transition caused. Since then I’ve always listened to my gut when it comes to diversifying my client list.

    • Chris Brogan

      I feel that lots of us get the opportunity to learn the hard way. I’m glad you recovered. : )

  • Alan

    Hi Chris,
    Wonderful post today.

    As a lifelong entrepreneur and “gun for hire” I completely agree and it comes at a timely point in my growth. I am in the relatively new place of soon becoming an “empty nester” with both of my boys grown and out of the house. In short my wife and I are now portable to go ANYWHERE in the world we like to live, work and play.

    This will not happen however without the revenue streams to support it. I’ve been spending the bulk of my time getting The 365 Effect up and running but as of yet I am not seeing the ROI (but I know this is just a timing question). I appreciate your post today as it gives me a bit of a kick in the butt to seek out some of the more traditional income sources that have sustained me for years to add into the mix.


    • Chris Brogan

      Oh, the opportunities you COULD choose to have if you decide to turn that nest mobile. Wow!!!!! : )

      • Alan

        I would love to connect with you and hear your thoughts on the possibilities

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Chris,

    Timely post but then again, your posts always seem to be that way.

    I opened 3 income streams yesterday. My team members sparked the creative juices in me, to identify a need, provide a service, and solve the problem. More income streams.

    I can provide this service to my team and to other bloggers. Neat. Add in a few other income streams and I am diversifying myself in case one of the streams closes.

    The tough idea to grasp is that abundance exists. You can always open 1, 2 or 10 streams through which you prosper. The challenge lies in thinking creatively, or in adopting a new skill to effectively open the stream, so you can keep eating, or at least, planting new crops you can feast on during reaping season.

    Thought provoking post buddy. I look forward to your newsletter. Thanks for sharing with us.


    • Chris Brogan

      But then beyond that, what do you sell? When the time comes that you’re not selling blogging, how do you eat?

      • Ryan Biddulph

        Keep the mind engaged on the end goal, eating…..rendering specific services….and thinking more about your question ;)

  • Srinivas Rao

    I lost a client last month. I hated working on that client. It was easy money working with somebody who didn’t have the same vision I did.

    I also was writing my book, and it looks like it’s going to replace the income from the client. I loved that because i’m in control of that. Really looking forward to seeing the newsletter Sunday. BTW, I’ll see you in SD right?

  • Kris Pennella

    I always enjoy reading pieces that reaffirm “eating what you kill” tastes so much sweeter. Planning reusable content is a great way to turn yourself into a “product”. Thanks for the post and the reaffirmation!

  • Copywriter Matt

    Interesting post, Chris. A lot of this pertains to exactly what I’m trying to do. I currently receive about 60-70 percent of my income from one place, and I’m trying to turn that around. I’m doing this by reaching out to more potential clients, marketing myself more consistently, and writing an eBook (I couldn’t agree more about the time thing.)

    This post is a good push!

  • Tisa

    Good message and one I have not seen elsewhere!

    • Crystal Carey

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