7 Great Recurring Revenue Business Ideas

May 26, 2019

7 Great Recurring Revenue Business Ideas

Many business ideas and models require a lot of hard work and eventually pay off in the long run. Consistent income streams allow businesses to grow slowly and steadily.

However, with a recurring revenue model, businesses are able to generate income that’s reliable month after month. This allows business owners to shift their focus to providing better customer support and delivering enhanced user experiences.

Here, we’ll go through some of the most popular recurring revenue business ideas and share some useful tips to help you get started with a step in the right direction. But first, let’s take a look at what recurring revenue is.

What Is Recurring Revenue?

What Is Recurring Revenue?

Recurring revenue refers to income generated by a business on a regular basis – mostly monthly or annually – which is steady and predictable.

A recurring business model allows companies to forecast how much their business will grow each month and how many new clients are likely to sign up for their services.

Building a reliable source of recurring income requires a lot of work and patience. By offering a high-quality product, you’ll be able to attract new customers and convert existing ones into recurring clients.

7 Ideas to Generate Recurring Revenue From Your Online Business

7 Ideas to Generate Recurring Revenue From Your Online Business

Let’s look at some of the business ideas and models that you can use to generate a recurring income stream for yourself.

#1: Recurring Membership Sites

Membership sites are one of the most popular and profitable online business models. They offer you a source of steady and recurring income. In addition to this, you’ll also be able to create an online community centered around your business.

Your membership site can help you increase your customer outreach, generate more leads for your business, and build a recurring income stream.

The membership site model enables you to streamline your purchase funnel by automatically billing your customers for the services they sign up for. So, when someone registers to your site, they’ll be able to avail your services as long as they are paying the monthly (or annual) fee.

For instance, you can create a forum on your membership site allowing members to engage in conversations with one another by posting messages. Chat rooms can also be added to your membership site so people can talk to each other in real-time. This way, you can build an active and engaged community that can be turned into paying customers.

#2: Physical Product Subscription

According to Zuora’s CEO, soon there will be a monthly subscription plan for everything you buy including groceries, transportation, and entertainment.

From book subscription boxes like OwlCrate to beauty product services like Ipsy to hair accessories subscription box like The Hair Bow Box, we see examples of physical product subscriptions everywhere.

A product-based business model allows you to keep selling physical goods to the same customers and get paid on a monthly or yearly basis.

There are several components to starting a physical product subscription business namely connected to manufacturing, marketing, and delivering goods to the end customers. So, in the start, your costs may be high and revenue may not be much but once you get going your revenue will exceed expenses as you start receiving subscription fees.

An important thing to remember is that you need to come up with a simple product idea that can easily be sourced, produced, packed, and shipped to the customer. And if you already are in such a business that can be switched to a recurring revenue model, it’s definitely worth considering.

#3: SaaS – Software as a Service

SaaS (Software as a Service) is also a great way to generate recurring revenue. This involves offering software in exchange for a monthly or annual subscription fee.

There are several benefits attached to a subscription-based SaaS model:

  • It’s easier to sell as the customer doesn’t have to pay a large up-front fee.
  • SaaS applications can easily be accessed using a web browser and an internet connection.
  • You can offer your clients several options and flexibility to upgrade their subscription as their business grows.

You can even offer clients a single software or bundle multiple add-ons together to maximize your sales funnel. Here is how LifterLMS – a WordPress powered learning management system – uses the subscription model to sell its premium add-ons:

  • Individual Add-Ons: Access to a single add-on for $99 per year.
  • Universal Bundle: Access to all add-ons for $299 per year.
  • Infinity Bundle: Access to all add-ons for $999 per year, with advanced features.

Selling software this way can help you generate a recurring, steady income flow for yourself. If you already own software that others would like to buy on a subscription, you can move to the subscription model right away.

#4: Earn Recurring Income With Affiliate Subscriptions

Affiliate sales are also a very rewarding way to generate a recurring income stream. It involves directing your paying customers to another product or service that you personally use to grow your business. They’ll appreciate you for recommending a great solution and, as a result, your customer satisfaction will improve.

Every time you refer a person to buy the product, you’ll receive a commission out of the sale on a monthly basis as long as they keep paying their subscription fee. As a result, you create a constant revenue stream for yourself without spending any money or investing a lot of time.

The same would work for affiliate websites, too. When you direct a customer to a subscription site, you’ll get a share. To do this, you need to find an affiliate product site whose product you can promote to your existing clients and write a convincing marketing pitch that informs them about how they’ll benefit by making the purchase.

For instance, if you sell guitars, you can recommend an online guitar course to your customers to help them improve their playing skills.

#5: Create Service Plans or Retainers

If you sell a product or service that requires regular renewal, creating service plans may just be the right option for you.

Instead of reaching out to your customers (or clients) every time you know they’ll need your product, you can offer them service packages so they pay for the things they’ll need on a monthly basis.

This enables you to sell your products and services to an existing customer base without having to spend extra money on advertising and marketing. Additionally, you can offer them special discounts if they sign up to your monthly retainers.

For instance, say you’re a financial planner or a corporate lawyer and your clients come to you for financial or legal advice every two months. Instead of billing them every time you provide services, you can offer them a service package or retainer on a monthly or yearly basis to cover their expenses.

Additionally, you might consider selling supplemental services. This will enable you to boost your income, improve the overall value of your business by diversifying your offering, and enhance customer satisfaction. So, for example, if you’re a graphic artist you can create a collection of vectors and clipart.

#6: Combine Online Membership and Physical Product Delivery

This is another great idea for creating a recurring income stream for your business. It involves combining the membership model with the physical product subscription.

Blueprint, for example, offers creativity courses like knitting, sewing, and cooking. In addition to this, it sells the materials customers will need to follow along with the classes they teach. For instance, its knitting course kit contains supplies including skein, needles, tapestry needle, wak label, pattern and packaging. Customers can take knitting classes to improve their skills and get help if they hit a snag.

So, by utilizing both information and product you too can maximize your income stream.

#7: Online Courses Set Up As Evergreen Programs

Online courses work similar to membership sites. They offer courses around a specific topic to paying students while enabling you to share your knowledge and expertise with others.

Online courses require a lot of effort in the start with content creation and marketing, but in the long run they can become a source of reliable recurring income.

For instance, you might consider teaching students how to play the guitar by creating an online course membership site. You can build your own course membership site using a WordPress plugin like LearnDash, where you’ll upload your pre-recorded lecture videos and resources. Another way is to hold live classes for your students to improve student engagement.


With a recurring revenue business model, you’ll be able to generate income reliably month after month. The best part is that there are many different successful business models you can use.

We shared some of the most popular ideas for generating recurring revenue and, hopefully, you’re in a good position now to take the next steps. By following the tips we shared above, you’ll be well on your way to creating a steady and regular income stream for yourself.

Which of the above discussed recurring revenue business ideas are you thinking of trying out? Let us know by commenting below.

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