As a lactation consultant, you may be used to running your practice a certain way. And there’s nothing wrong with that–you know what you’re good and what you love most. But if you’re feeling like your earning potential is stuck, you may want to consider diversifying your lactation practice.
Diversification means coming up with more than one way to make income, and there are so many different options you can explore.
The best reason to consider diversifying is to help balance out those times when consults are slow. Additional revenue streams can really help during those lean times.
Generating Passive Income
Coming up with a way to generate passive income for your business can also really help provide you with some kind of cushion. Think about developing a course, or writing a book. The key with passive income is that it doesn’t require active, ongoing effort to maintain. You create it and it’s done. You may need to put in a lot of time up front, but then you’re reaping the rewards of that for a long time after that.
So are you asking yourself, “Well, what would I even offer? How could I even generate passive income? I can’t even imagine what that would look like.”
Start to think about what you are most passionate about. You might have a niche that you’re really passionate about, a certain population that you’re really passionate about, a certain topic in your field that you just think, “this is what I live for.” Just because someone else has written about it or taught on it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t jump in with your own take and expertise on the subject.
Or you can look at other skills and passions you have. Maybe you’re also a great bookkeeper, and know how to teach lactation consultants all about Quickbooks. Brainstorm those things that you know and that you do well and that you love .
Some examples of passive income include
Selling or Renting Equipment
Locally you could sell things or have pump rentals as part of your business. What are the ethical considerations here? The big one with pump rentals, or any retail product that you are selling that your clients might want to buy, is to make sure you are are staying free from conflict of interest.
Be transparent that they can rent the pump from you or they could rent it from these two other places, and always offer options. Legal and Ethical Issues for the IBCLC by Elizabeth Brooks explains the ethical pitfalls of accepting freebies from pump companies.When you take something for free it engenders a warm feeling towards that company. You may think that you’re impervious to the influence, but research is pretty clear that incentives work.
In offering any of these things, it’s always smart to disclose and be open about your offerings. Let them know, “I’m doing this, but I also have this side gig and I do this. I just want you to be aware of it.” There’s never anything wrong with being open and letting people make an informed choice about any of the things that they might be exchanging money with you for.
You’re also going to want to make sure that you’re up to date on any kind of applicable laws or regulations around your business. So if you are selling products, do you need to pay sales tax in your state?
This can apply to online offerings, too. There are laws about how you’re allowed to market things online and what disclosures you need to make. If you have people from other countries who are potential customers of yours, you may need to know about things like the GDPR and what disclosures you need to have on your website and how you’re protecting the privacy of your customers.
Managing Your Time
Also, be smart about your time management when having new ideas. I’m always generating these big ideas. But you have to be smart about your time because you can’t take on the world because you could hit burnout at.
I write all my ideas down so I stop thinking about them, and then I can come back to them at a calmer moment and decide which ones I actually want to do. Sometimes I look at my ideas and actually think, “Do not do that. That is going to make things worse for you.”
Don’t be afraid to try some of these things out and see what happens. If they don’t work or they fizzle out or you just realize, “Gosh, I thought I had a passion for this and I really, really don’t.” then you’ve learned a realy good lesson about yourself. Sometimes our steps to success are up and down. It takes some failures before you get successes.
If you have a good idea and you feel passionate about it, throw it out there, try it and it may or may not work for you, and that’s okay because that’s how you’re going to hone in on what is going to work for you in the long run. It takes those failures to figure it out. I know that from experience.
Your ideas make a difference
I want to live in this world where we’re all having great ideas and making them happen because our ideas really make the world a better place. I think that by making things and buying them from each other, we’re going to raise the level of our profession and make us all better lactation consultants. When we’re better at what we do, families are better served. So don’t sit on that good idea you have, because it might just change someone’s life.