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Courier MBA Day 5: Your Sources of Revenue

The most important letter in that title may just be the “s.”

SourceS of revenue.

Where is your money coming from? How are you making the money that is supporting your business?

There's a bit of a progression here – we started touching on this yesterday, where we talked about your market. When it comes to a business plan, you have to start getting into the money, and the sources of revenue ties nicely into your market. Yesterday you identified the potential. Today, we start evaluating the money that can come from each.

Related: On the podcast, we talked about this in Episode 5.

Tomorrow, we start asking: How much do you need to meet your goals and purpose for your business? How much is enough?

Eggs, Baskets… You get the idea.

Eggs and Money All in the Same Basket

It's another Doorcrash Friday. The app is down and you can't make money.

A diner figures out they can get free food by lying and claiming they didn't get their delivery. The gig companies are all about minimizing the time involved in management, which means they just take the liar at their word, and you're deactivated. Yeah, you can appeal, but you're unable to deliver until that happens.

Uber Eats has over-contracted once again and there are way more people out there trying to deliver than there are deliveries.

It's the old putting all your eggs in one basket thing. When you rely heavily on one source of income, and something happens to that source, you are in a bind.

About one third of the people who signed up for this class do this full time or close to full time. This is especially important in this situation.

There's a little more leeway if you do this part time. This is your side income or backup income. But even as a part timer, I would encourage you to ask yourself how that impacts your why if the income from a particular gig company dries up.

What are the other delivery alternatives?

I'm going to start with delivery for one reason:

I'm amazed at how many comments people have made in answers that included the word “addictive” or how many people have stated they were surprised how much they enjoyed doing this.

It's easier to do a business when you enjoy the work you do. In most markets, there are alternatives. Each has their own quirks and different ways of doing things, but when you boil it down it's pretty much the same thing.

I really recommend having at least two or three alternatives. How you juggle them depends a lot on what your personal preferences are.

Personally, I'm on Uber Eats, Grubhub, Doordash, and Postmates. Okay, maybe I'm on only three right now – I went a long time without doing any Postmates and I can't get logged in now, and I can't get any response from support. And they're not a high enough priority for me to put enough effort into getting that fixed… My priorities with those three have shifted, all depending on how things are going.

In 2019, Uber Eats was at the bottom of my list of priorities. In 2020 I've earned more through them than anyone. Doordash has been almost non-existent for me, but now that I'm doing some more bike deliveries, they seem to work the best in that area in my market.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. If I lost the ability to deliver for any particular delivery platform, what would that do to me?
  2. Is there a way to replace that income?
  3. Are there any platforms you haven't tried out yet?
  4. Which platform seems to be the most profitable for me right now, and why?
  5. What do you like the most about each one as far as revenue? What do you like the least?

What are other income alternatives?

There are other gig economy alternatives. How do they fit within your why? How do they fit within your personality? Are they worth the time?

The answer is different for different people.

I don't find many things that fit my why and that are as enjoyable to me. When I'm using my delivery business to support things I want to do, I want to leave as much time as possible to DO those things, so the return for the time is important.

But you know, when I first started doing bicycle deliveries, I had a different approach. I loved riding my bike, and if I could make a few bucks while doing that, I was okay with not making as much per hour.

It really comes down to who you are and what fits.

If you want to explore other options in your market, you can check out Appjobs. They compile a list of different apps you can sign up for in different markets. Full disclosure: I may receive referral fees for some of the services.

Looking into a different kind of businesses

What are other ways you can earn money?

Some folks will wrap their cars and make money. Others snap pictures of help wanted signs. I heard from one guy who writes reviews at all the restaurants he visits and has learned how to earn some money that way.

Maybe flipping is your thing. Buy stuff on sale or at yard sales and then flip it on eBay or Amazon.

Some folks do social media or Youtube. I do this blog and get a little for advertising or from affiliate sales.

Sometimes the gig life is a gateway drug into running other types of businesses. If you're interested in other ways to earn money, maybe you can learn about ideas when driving. I've learned a lot through podcasts, listening to Gary Vee, Pat Flynn, or Entrepreneurs on Fire. There's a ton of them.

Keep your options open.

Here's my best advice: Don't listen to the popular opinions out there when it comes to what's good and what isn't.

I found that the truth was often the opposite of what I heard from others. When everyone was saying Postmates was the worst, I was making more per hour on Postmates delivery than with anyone. For the longest time I just assumed Uber Eats was a last resort, until I did a challenge in February and was blown away how well I earned.

Give different options a try. Find out for yourself if it works for you.

The way I would encourage you to go about it is, make sure you are very comfortable with where you are now. Then add on a second option. Set aside time periods where you focus on that option so you get a chance to know it well. Then you can determine how much you want to regularly integrate it into your day to day earnings.

But be selective

Yes, you can make money at a lot of things.

But this is why I encouraged you first to get to know YOUR style and YOUR why.

Do these things fit who you are? Do they help you accomplish your why?

Sometimes you can spend a lot of time on things that only give you pennies.

The main thing here is, if you can avoid it you don't want to rely so heavily on one customer, to the point that you're screwed if something happens to that relationship. But that said, use your why, your core values, and the makeup of who you are to evaluate the opportunities so you can focus on the ones that fit you best.

Could this help someone else? Please share it.