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Old April 17, 2003, 10:42 AM
Dien Rice
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Default More on Multiple Streams of Income...

Hi Mike,

That was a great post....

I thought the part about Multiple Streams of Income was interesting. However, when I read them, it made me think about Richard Branson. He seems to be the opposite example, perhaps of someone who takes "multiple streams of income" to the extreme.... His "Virgin" brand name is in many different industries. Even from his early days, he was diversifying....

His first venture was "Student" magazine. Then, he had the idea of selling music albums (in the pre-CD days for you youngsters) by mail. He advertised this in his own "Student" magazine, and soon it eclipsed the magazine. Eventually, the magazine folded, but the mail-order record business survived.

Now, I wonder... If he hadn't experimented with selling the records through the mail, and instead had "focused" on the magazine, would he have survived? The magazine could have folded, and he would have been out of business.

One way to look at Doris Christopher's story might be that she was a bit "lucky".

You said that she never did any market research, and so on. She started one business, and stuck with it, and she's still doing the same business 23 years later (though on a much larger scale). It sounds to me like she was very lucky - she hit on a "winner" with her first shot. But how common is that?

Now, what if her first business was not one that was viable. Nobody, let's say, was interested in her products. In that case, would she still be where she is today? Or would she have given up and gone back to teaching?

I think the main benefit of experimenting with multiple streams of income is it gives you little "windows" into many different businessses. Then you can compare, and see that one business is better than another.

For example, in Richard Branson's case, he was in the magazine publishing business. But he "experimented" with the mail order records business. He found his magazine wasn't viable, but his mail-order records business was. So he folded the magazine biz, and kept the mail order records business going.

To me, this is the "correct" way to use multiple streams of income. Keep what works, and ditch what doesn't.

I actually think this is "safer". That's because not everyone is going to be as "lucky" and get a "winner" with their first business. Many people "strike out" several times before they hit on a winner - Richard Branson is one example, but it seems to be a common story.

I really did like your article and thought it was EXTREMELY valuable.... But I read it, and Richard Branson sprang to mind, and raised these questions....

A part of me wonders whether it's a personality thing....

Perhaps SOME people do better when they stick with just one thing. And perhaps others do better when they have their multiple little windows into many businesses, so they can see what works best.

- Dien Rice

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