You can either rent or own your business.
- Own: Build your own platform
- Rent: Build on top of someone else’s (Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Google, etc.)
These days, renting is more popular than ever. And it’s easy to see why.
- Renting makes getting started feel easier (even though it’s not)
- Renting gives you instant access to millions (sometimes billions) of eyeballs
- You can build a massive business on rented land
But there’s a major downside to renting that most people ignore:
You’re beholden to the whims, policy changes, and algorithms of someone else’s platform. Which means everything you’ve built can be taken from you at any time.
Here are some examples of this in action:
1. YouTube cutting off a popular user’s monetization capabilities for no obvious reason (link)
2. Google shutting down a well known business’s ability to advertise on their platform (link)
3. eBay suspending accounts for no reason (link)
4. Amazon changing the terms of its affiliate deals with no notice (link)
This story repeated itself with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter shutting down accounts and refusing to reopen them.
I experienced this firsthand in 2009 after building an eBay business. I’d scour yard sales, Craigslist, recently closed restaurants, etc. for underpriced items, then I’d flip them on eBay.
It worked great until eBay decided I could no longer sell on the platform. They banned my account for no reason and froze all funds in my PayPal account ($30k) for 6 months.
I had no recourse. The business I had poured 18 months into was done.
How do you protect your business from a similar outcome? Own your platform.
Build a website. Drive traffic to it from a variety of sources. Convert that traffic into email subscribers.
Owning your platform and having 100% control over direct communication with your audience/customers is the safest, most effective way to grow an online business.
This is how it works:
- Website visitors subscribe to your email list
- You build a relationship with them via content
- You present your products to them
- They buy
There is no middle man. No algorithm prevents them from getting your message. No Twitter mob can shut down your account and take your audience from you. It is bullet proof.
You get to do business on your terms, your way, with no outside influences or existential risk.
You own it.
“But wait…does this mean I shouldn’t use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. at all for my business?”
Like I mentioned at the beginning, these kinds of platforms offer lots of benefits. You should take advantage of them when it makes sense. But view them as extensions of your platform, rather than the whole thing.
For example, we run Facebook ads. We also put effort into getting certain pages on our website to rank higher on Google. These platforms are valuable traffic sources for us.
But we watch the numbers to make sure none of them ever becomes more than a small percentage of our overall business.
Own your platform. Own your communication.
Anything short of this puts you at risk of having your business shut down overnight.
If you want help growing your email list and building a sustainable business on it, we help people do exactly that.
Schedule a free Strategy Session and we’ll audit your business, put together a custom plan for your unique situation, and walk you through every step.