How do you manage 19 different income streams at the same time? Just ask Brooks Conkle.
This serial ‘micropreneur’ and expert side hustler has it down to a science. So much so that he’s created a few courses, a podcast, and a YouTube channel with actionable tips and tricks for hustlers interested in leading a similar lifestyle.
Brooks has tried various income generation ideas, from fashion trucks to real estate flipping. And here, he shares his thoughts on everything from diversification and intuition to patience and failure.
In this interview, you’ll learn more about:
- How and why Brooks became a serial side hustler
- His views on growing his personal brand
- Why he created his podcast
- His multiple income streams
- How he validates new business ideas
- His thoughts on failure
- How he approaches SEO
- His opinion on link building
- The tools he uses the most
- The biggest challenge he’s faced
- His main accomplishment
- His advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
Meet Brooks Conkle
I’ve been an entrepreneur for 15+ years. I tried working for a corporation about 8 years ago because a friend asked me to. I had no idea there were unspoken rules at this company, office politics that apparently I wasn’t great at.
After a few months, HR asked for a meeting, where I laughed out loud. Everything brought up seemed ridiculous to me.
I resigned the next day. Hey, at least I tried.
Since then, my wife and I have created 19 different income streams.
Why He Created His Website, Podcast, Courses, and YouTube Channel
I created all of these as spokes for the hub of my brand. I feel that a personal brand can adjust and adapt as time goes on. Mine has, and it will continue to do so. It’s also something that you can build without asking permission to do.
For example, I created my podcast, Destroy the Box, to record ideas and connect with others in my space.
It’s one thing to ask someone in your industry to catch up for a call. But by putting in a bit of extra effort, you can record that conversation and produce it as a podcast episode. So you’ll get to connect with someone you’d like to connect with, and you’ll benefit them by potentially helping expand their reach as well.
This is why I expanded into courses as well. Yes, you can get all of the answers in the world for free. Courses can be a great source of condensed information. Plus, I get to play my part in disrupting the education system, which is a nice bonus.
I prefer to teach as a new expert. For example, I recorded videos for my Blogging Roadmap to $1,000 a Month in Income course less than six months after crossing the $1,000-month mark myself. The information was fresh, and I had recently put it into practice over the previous 12 months.
My goal is for my courses to cost less than 1 hour of education at your local university. And again, I don’t have to ask permission to do so. I have the freedom to adapt and shift to new ideas and opportunities as I decide, all the while continuing to build out my brand.
I encourage you to build your personal brand over time as well!
Brooks’ Multiple Income Streams
We have a lot of income streams we’ve built over the years. Some I might make hundreds per year.
An example of this would be credit card offers and cash back. We get 2 – 6% cash on every purchase. We’re game to open a new card each year and get a $200 – $500 bonus. Of course, to make this work, we pay our cards automatically in full each month.
But other income streams are thousands per month. For example, a site like my blog will earn monthly from display ads, affiliate marketing income, and sponsorships.
And some are just strange.
My wife used to run a fashion truck and a small women’s clothing boutique.
We sold it three years ago via seller financing. So the new owner made a down payment and still makes monthly payments to us.
And there’s more… We have other income streams that include:
Real estate: broker license for commissions, renovation flip deals, a rental, and Airbnb property
Agency items: some social media assistance, website builds, etc.
Hustle income: gotta keep the tools sharp, and we’re always looking for something to sell! (my latest flip was a few weeks back… a free golf bag that we sold for $75!)
But adding them up equals our living.
Brooks Conkle’s Current Income
In 2021, after all expenses shook out, our adjusted gross income on our tax return was $141k.
His Business Validation Process
I have a ready, fire, aim mentality. This might not be the best approach, but it keeps life exciting. This means I don’t ponder for months and analyze something to death. If I do some research and feel confident there’s an opportunity. I prefer to take action.
I can adjust along the way. Most projects take years of consistent effort to build anyway.
I should add that most things I start cost me hundreds or thousands. I’m not betting our life savings on any project.
How He Approaches “Failure”
I can give you an example of a failure; it was partially by choice.
I had a partner in a franchise-based business I purchased six years ago. After 5 years of operations, the number of U.S. stores was less than half of what there used to be. Our sales were also less than half of what they previously were.
We could have invested a lot more capital to continue growing the business, but we only have a certain amount of energy. So I strategically closed the business and sold off its assets. While this business failed, it allowed my energy to flow into my other projects.
A great example is my YouTube channel.
I’ve made hundreds of videos, and my channel isn’t even monetized with ads yet (although it might be by the time this article is published). Is that a failure? Maybe to some. Many people have told me that they would have quit by now if they were me!
But I believe if I continue to get 1% better every day and keep improving, I have no choice but to grow. I feel like I’m just getting warmed up. I’m just now beginning to find my “voice.” Every video is an opportunity to get better at delivering on camera and trying to improve in storytelling.
I want to get better at it.
Plus, I’ve made thousands of dollars because brands feel they know me and have reached out to collaborate on projects.
So even though the channel is not large (yet), I’ve still managed to turn it into an income stream.
How Brooks Conkle Grows His Businesses
Currently, my top marketing strategy is SEO. The majority of my website traffic comes from search engines. I have a team that helps me with keyword research, writing, formatting, editing, and publishing content.
I help manage this team and jump into different aspects of the above as needed. Plus, I still love hunting for new topic ideas for posts. It’s just fun – like digging for gold!
I also aim to build email lists and on additional platforms, like YouTube.
I love watching the link building debate. Some say you have to build links to rank. Others say if you write great content, you’ll naturally earn links.
I think either way you see it, it’s pretty clear that links are essential. Yes, we build links for our brands in different ways.
We have done some HARO outreach. I also am just a firm believer in building genuine relationships. You might join a networking business group and build business relationships in real life.
Achieving Current Revenue Levels
It took me years to achieve my current revenue. This is a long-term game for me, and I’m ok with slow and steady growth.
My goal is to have a positive cash flow in life. Meaning, generating income that connects to business projects passively and not my daily activities.
Is my goal to retire and stop working? Nope. I just don’t want my income to be tied to my direct activity. Being cash flow positive provides ultimate flexibility in life.
Canva for building images.
Trello for project management.
Slack for team communication.
Brooks Conkle’s Biggest Challenge
It can be a lonely road. You have to find your tribe and connect with them.
Get out there and look. Facebook is a great place to start. Join a few groups around your niche and get involved in the communities. Provide real value to folks. Try to help out where you can.
Real relationships will come from this.
There’s also nobody to wake you up in the morning and force you to get going. You have to self-start!
Create a morning routine that works for you. Mine is ever-changing, but currently, mine consists of a morning walk.
I usually listen to a podcast, but I’m also game just to take in my surroundings. Weather pending, I’ll hop in the pool to swim some laps. Nothing gets my day going like getting the heart rate up!
I also find that it helps if I change my location. I have a stand-up desk in my home that I work from, but on certain days of the week, I’ll plan to work from a coffee shop, my studio, or just a different area. Something about changing up my environment helps my focus as well.
His Greatest Accomplishment
We’re getting close to being cash flow positive with passive activities. It’s very exciting to wake up to see affiliate sales that my website made from work I did months or even years ago.
Most ways I’ve made money in life have been transaction-oriented:
I sell a house, then I get paid. I flip a house, then I get paid. Then you have to do it all over again.
For the first time, our efforts are really beginning to compound and build upon themselves.
What He Wishes He Knew When He Started
That it’s even tougher than I thought, it’s probably better that I didn’t know!
His Main Mistake
Not listening to my gut.
It’s your spirit.
Sometimes it knows better than the loudest “experts” out there yelling at you.
Don’t listen to me; I’m just a guy on the internet.
But listen to your gut!
His Advice for Other Entrepreneurs
As you build income streams, know that they don’t happen overnight. It’s taken me 5 – 10 years to build most of ours.
Be patient. Your efforts will compound if you keep improving and pushing forward.
There are many ways to make extra cash and business ideas to pursue. Find what works for your personality and plays to your strengths.
I’m not a YouTube expert. As I build my community, I have been motivated to hear how most of the larger channels I follow also had to be patient with their growth.
I’ve made notes when I hear them talk about it. I’ve heard things like, “It took just as much time to go from 0 – 1k subs as it took me to go from 1k – 100k subs,” and that’s from a channel with more than 500k subs today. Hearing from others just a bit ahead of you on the journey is motivating!
You’re going to fall off the bike a few times.
Even when you get good at it, sometimes you’ll hit a bit of a pothole and fall anyway.
But as long as your legs are still working, you’ll be able to get back up and keep cruising.
Enjoy the ride!