When I look around, I see a lot of people playing a really risky game.
While there’s no harm in taking risks, you only want to take on risks that make sense. The right risks. Risks that benefit you in the long-term rather than the short-term.
One of the worst risks you can possibly take is putting all of your eggs in one basket, and this is exactly what many people are doing.
Let me explain.
You’ve Got The Power!
You are presumably a business owner. Theoretically, this means you are your own boss. You make the decisions. You control what goes on with your business, how you make money, where you spend money, and how you grow.
Yet, many people take the power away from themselves and give it to other companies. Think of people who rely solely on Google to send them traffic. Suddenly, a vital part of your business is no longer in your hands. It’s in Google’s. And Google is their own company. They can do whatever they want, and you need them a heck of a lot more than they need you.
If Google decides to update their search algorithm and you get screwed in the process, than you have paid the price for putting control of your business in another company’s hands. Google won’t care. They will keep doing what’s best for their users, even if that means you no longer have any visitors to your site.
This is why it’s so important to diversify your traffic sources. Organic traffic is actually my least favorite traffic source because it’s the one source of traffic I have absolutely no control over. Yes, optimize your website for search engines, but don’t waste your time obsessing over it. Do what you can and then put your focus somewhere else.
Adsense, Affiliate Marketing, and More
The same can be said for methods you use to monetize your website. Say you’ve been working hard to build a lot of traffic to a website made solely for Adsense revenue. Without warning, you’re banned from the platform. You have no email list, no products for sale, and your only source of revenue is gone.
What are you going to do?
Once again, this is an example of relying on another company to make your business successful. It’s not just Adsense either – even marketing products as an affiliate can cause harm if you don’t pay attention. Products come and go. Sometimes products are still listed, but are no longer supported by their creator. This is made evidently clear every time I go through my autoresponder and old posts and have to update or remove affiliate links.
Selling Your Own Products May Not Even Be Safe
Even if you do create your own products, you’re still taking a huge risk by relying on other companies to sell them. Case in point, Amazon recently made a huge change to the way they pay authors that ultimately hurts more people than it helps, including myself.
In case you’re not familiar with publishing on Kindle, Amazon has a program called Kindle Unlimited that certain authors can enroll into. If your book is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited, readers who have paid for the program can read your book for free. Previously, you would be paid a flat amount (around ~$1.40) every time somebody borrowed your book and read at least 10% of it.
Heading forward, the program is different. Now you get paid for each page read, and while the amount paid per page is not yet known to authors, it’s been predicted that this number will be extremely low (between 1 and 3 cents a page.)
I have a friend who publishes 20-25 page adult fiction books on Kindle. Her income primarily comes from borrows rather than sales, with a borrow to sale ratio of 5:1. That is because adult fiction readers make up a huge percentage of the Kindle Unlimited subscriber base. Anyhow, where she previously made ~$1.40 a borrow, it is assumed she will now make anywhere between 20 and 75 cents a borrow.
Her income could be cut by as much as 75% overnight solely because she depended on Amazon to make money, and Amazon decided to change their program. That is scary.
I’m Not Trying To Scare You
I’m not trying to prevent you from taking advantages of services that other companies have to offer. Not at all. There are plenty of benefits to using third-party programs, just as there are benefits to networking with other bloggers / marketers in your niche and making friends. If there weren’t, none of us would be using social networks or email marketing services to help us stay in contact with our audience. Ignoring the benefits other companies offer is just as dumb as putting all of your eggs in one basket.
The answer is to have an alternative available if and when something bad should happen.
Google deindexes you? That sucks, but it’s no problem because other websites are still sending you traffic.
Banned from Adsense? No worries, you can make money through affiliate marketing.
Your payment processor decides to charge you 10x as much per transaction? Who cares, you can switch to another one.
Here’s the thing – you need to have these alternatives in mind before you need to use them.
Building a business around one traffic source, monetization method, or company is a recipe for disaster.
If you have alternatives ready and available however, you have nothing to worry about. You’re safe.
A 5 Step Guide To Protecting Your Business:
1. Build An Email List Already!
Don’t put this off. Even if your website gets hacked, shut down, and deleted, if you have an email list, you still have a way to bring those people back. A loyal email list is not tied to any one website or platform and will follow you around wherever you end up going. Having an email list is the number one thing you can do to keep your business safe.
2. Export Your Email List Every So Often
Even if you’re using one of the world’s leading email marketing services such as ActiveCampaign, you’re still relying on the safety and security of that company to continue reaching your subscribers. Even a company as large as ActiveCampaign can go down very quickly without warning – and what if your account gets hacked and / or banned? While ActiveCampaign will notify you beforehand and allow you to download you to export your email list, don’t run the risk of it being wiped out without your knowledge. Export your email list regularly and keep it stored safely on your computer. In the event something happens, you can always import it into a different service later on.
3. Keep As Much Control Over Your Business As You Can
Do not rely on another company to handle a vital part of your business unless you can afford to get by without it. Again, companies can do whatever they want at any time with no prior warning.
4. Don’t Rely Too Heavily On Any One Person Or Group Of People
While it’s a good thing to network, at the end of the day the only person you ultimately have control over is yourself. Relationships tend to be mutually beneficial, but in the end most people will put themselves first, even if it means you suffer. This just the harsh truth.
I mentor quite a few people in the town I live in. A few people in particular rely on me quite heavily, despite telling them exactly what I’ve been telling you. Anyhow, I often wonder how they’d get by without my help. After all, I could get hit by a car tomorrow and die, never to come to their rescue again. Would their businesses go on to fail? If they relied on me too much, the answer would be a definite yes.
5. Don’t Be Lazy
Laziness is ultimately what leads to people taking on stupid risks. If something seems to good to be true, it probably is. If it isn’t, it probably isn’t sustainable. Take my publishing friend for example. Adult fiction publishing has been a gold mine since Kindle Unlimited came out, but Amazon could not keep paying authors an attractive royalty just for people borrowing their books. These authors chased the easy money, the income source that seemed to good to be true, and now they are paying the price. Instead of building a brand, building a following, and building a sustainable business, their income source relied solely on churning out as many short books as possible and reaping the borrow payments. Now it’s gone, and they will have little left over. Haven’t we all learned from an early age that slow and steady wins the race?
If you’ve been putting all of your eggs in one basket – in ANY section of your business, you need to start making changes right now. Don’t put this off until tomorrow, next week, or whenever it’s ‘convenient.’ Do it right now, because if you wait until tomorrow, it could already be too late. The damage could already be done.