Earning

I created 4 new income streams using 3 valuable lessons from my millionaire mentor

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Jen Glantz is the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire.
Photo by Susan Shek Photography
Key Points
  • Success doesn't happen alone: The relationships you build along the way can make all the difference, writes Jen Glantz of Bridesmaid for Hire.
  • If you have a few ideas that interest you, don't be scared to try them out at once.
  • Find low-cost and low-risk ways to try out new ideas. 

For the past seven years, I've been a full-time solo entrepreneur running a handful of businesses, from Bridesmaid for Hire to a profitable personal brand that includes books, coaching, courses, and partnership deals. 

When I first started out as my own boss, I relied on conferences, podcasts, and internet research to figure out how to continue to grow my ideas and make more money year after year. As time has gone by, being the only decision maker for my business has started to feel lonely. 

During the pandemic, when many of my projects were put on hold and a lot of clients had to back out of contracts, I felt like I needed help and mentorship to get things back up and running again.

One afternoon, I was listening to a podcast from James Altucher, an entrepreneur and angel investor, and heard about a new series he was starting called Make you a Millionaire. In this series, James was going to pick a handful of people and mentor each of them and record the conversations to turn them into podcast episodes.

I've been a longtime fan of James's writing and podcasts. I valued his insight and considered him something of an unofficial mentor, even though we had never met. I decided to apply for the series and unexpectedly, I was selected.

Since May 2021, I've spoken to James once a month for an hour or two, and have used his guidance, advice, and challenges to develop new ideas. Since we have started working together, I have created four new income streams. 

Here are the biggest lessons I have learned from my millionaire mentor.

You have to exercise your idea muscle 

When I started working with James, I felt stuck and had trouble coming up with new ideas. When I told him that I didn't think I had it in me anymore to innovate and come up with future strategies for my business, he gave me a simple task to do.

James advised me to try a daily habit that he has been doing for many years: creating idea lists. 

Every day, try to sit down and create a list of 10 ideas about any topic. It can be as simple as a list of 10 recipes you want to try out for dinner this month, 10 ideas for books you want to write in your lifetime, or 10 people you want to reach out to and ask to get coffee.

I tried doing this for the first time in May of 2021. I created lists of 10 new products I wanted to launch for my business, 10 ideas for new newsletters to start, 10 habits I wanted to fix, and even 10 professional skills I wanted to learn in the next year.

I found that sitting down to make these lists took me anywhere between five and 30 minutes, depending on the topic. My goal, every day, was to make it to the number 10. Writing down the first few ideas was easy but by number 7, it felt like hard work. Pushing through that mental block brought out some of my best ideas.

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Have I done this every day since May? No. But I do make these lists at least three times a week and often make them to help out friends when they have a challenge or need help.

Creating these lists helped me figure out a new product to launch (a card game for newlyweds) and a newsletter about odd jobs. These were ideas that only came to me once I sat down and did this specific kind of brainstorming.

If you've never made an idea list before, start with a topic that addresses a problem you currently have in your day-to-day life and write down 10 potential ways you can solve it. See if this experiment brings you clarity or next steps to try. 

You don't have to focus on just one thing 

Over the past seven years, I have created more than seven streams of income. I have two full-fledged businesses, a podcast, three books, a few newsletters, and some digital products. But lately I had been wondering if being the only person in charge of all of these different things was hindering my potential for success and growth.

Other mentors I've had in the past told me to quit 90% of what I was working on and focus on one thing, whether it was one business or just on writing books. That advice never sat well with me because I've always been the kind of person who has multiple interests and skills.

James advised me to ignore that advice and instead, pursue all the different ideas and projects that interested me, so that I could assess which were working, which had the most potential for growth, and which are worth focusing on right now. And also to listen to my gut.

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There were a few projects I was working on that I knew didn't resonate with me anymore, but I felt too stubborn to stop working on them. James reminded me to listen to that as a sign that it was okay to put those on pause.

If you have a few ideas that interest you, don't be scared to try them out at once. Even though you're splitting your time and energy on each idea, it can be a fast track for you to figure out which ones to put aside and which ideas to run with. 

Do low-cost and low-risk experiments to test an idea 

One of the hesitations I often have as an entrepreneur is taking on risk, especially risk that requires me to spend money. That's why I often find myself playing it safe and not creating new lines of business or products and instead just optimizing existing offers that I have.

A big piece of advice that James gave me was to find low-cost and low-risk experiments to try out new ideas. 

For example, when I got the idea to create a card game for newlyweds, James recommended that I do a low cost experiment to see if there was a need for this game before investing my own money to produce it and manage inventory. That's when I decided to do two different tests. I first sent out a survey to my past clients of my wedding business to see if this is a product they would want. Their initial validation made me pursue the idea even more with my next experiment, launching a Kickstarter campaign.

Launching the Kickstarter was a way of getting pre-orders for the game and receiving proof that people would buy this concept. It didn't cost me a penny to do either of these experiments.

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When it came to my newsletter, I started it for free using a platform called Substack and devoted a month to seeing if I could get 1,000 subscribers. I then ran giveaways to get subscribers using a free platform called KingSumo and spent $5 a day in Google ads for a week to see if I could attract subscribers who were searching for the topics I was covering in the newsletter.

If you have an idea you want to test out and validate, think of two to three low cost and low risk experiments you can do (surveys, low-cost ads, social media posts, giveaways, competitor analysis) before launching that idea at scale.

My mentor's advice has helped me launch four new projects that all have the potential to grow and expand. It's helped me create new income streams, from the sales of the card game and advertisers in my newsletter. 

If there is someone whose work you admire, my best advice is don't be afraid to reach out to them. Success doesn't happen alone, and the relationships you build along the way can make all the difference. 

Jen Glantz is the founder and CEO of the business Bridesmaid for Hire, the voice of the podcast "You're Not Getting Any Younger,″ and the author of the Amazon-bestselling books "All My Friends Are Engaged and "Always a Bridesmaid for Hire."

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