How to Plan Your Income When Business is Unpredictable


You started your creative business because you’re passionate about what you do. You crave flexibility to create, be your own boss, make your own hours and call all the shots.

You love seeing the look on your client’s face when they get their final product. Coming up with new ways to creatively show off your messy behind the scenes on Instagram is your favorite way to blow off some creative steam. Learning new ways to get even better at your craft is what makes your heart happy.

What doesn’t make you happy is thinking through how much money you need to make from all the different ways your business brings in income. These are better known as revenue streams.

Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as you think. In fact, there’s an easy peasy free worksheet you can download below to help plan your revenue streams. So take a few minutes, snag it and follow along so you can stop worrying about how to plan your money goals and get back to what you love!

How Much Money Do You Need to Make?

How much money do you need or want to make each year? Take that yearly amount and divide it by 12 to see what you need/want to make per month. If you’re not sure that your money goals are high enough to support your business and lifestyle, check out this post to break it all down. There’s a worksheet to help there too.

Define Your Revenue Streams

What’s a revenue stream you ask? It’s the different products and offerings in your business. One of the best ways to help create more stable income as a small business owner and entrepreneur is to create multiple revenue streams.

My friend Brittany is a family photographer. These are her different revenue streams:

  1. Family Photography Clients
  2. 1-on-1 coaching for photographers
  3. Young Living Essential Oils Reseller

Melissa, a graphic designer and branding expert has a few revenue streams as well:

  1. Graphic design packages
  2. Hourly graphic design projects
  3. Etsy shop with her custom cards (and within this you can even break down the different kinds of cards as revenue streams to determine which are best sellers and where to spend the most time)

Erin is a pattern designer with many different revenue streams that include:

  1. Online course and E-book
  2. 1-on-1 coaching
  3. Affiliate marketing
  4. Etsy shop

On your worksheet, write out all of your different revenue streams. If you have more than 7 products or services, make sure you print the worksheet as many times as you need it.

How Much Do You Profit From Each Offering and Product?

Now let’s define how much money you profit from each offering and product. This can be different than how much you charge. If you sell products and charge your client $100 for the product that costs you $20 then your profit is $80 ($100-$20). If you charge your client $150 an hour for a service that is just your time, then your profit is $150. If you need help calculating your profit, check out this post. Surprise, surprise, it has a worksheet to help too!

How Many Can You Sell Per Month?

The next step is determining how many of each revenue stream you have the capacity for each month? Are all of your offerings based on the number of hours you have in a day or can some of them be sold an unlimited amount of times like a digital product? Either way, make sure you actually have the amount of hours you need to reach your goals without over extending yourself. Remember, you have other tasks to take care of in your business than just client work.


Let’s see if your planning gets you to your overall money goals. Download the worksheet below to calculate your revenue streams and plan your money goals!

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Amy Northard, CPA

The Accountant for Creatives®
+ taxes + bookkeeping + consulting
+ Hang out with me over on Instagram!

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