Surviving In A Tough World
Lesson 3 Chapter 1
We live in a tough world. COVID is just one example. Such 'negative event' dynamics have always been at play, for a long time, even if not that obviously.
1. YouTube erasing a popular user without warning
The Startup Bros shared that their channel was shut down and they lost access to all of their videos (YouTube just completely removed them). The Startup Bros are well-known for their Amazon FBA and general digital marketing advice.
They had over 30,000 subscribers and one morning they woke up, it was completely gone.
2. Google shutting down a well known business’s ability to advertise on their platform
Google Ads and Google Merchant Center has updated its “Enabling Dishonest Behavior” policy to not allow you to advertise products or services that perform partner surveillance.
I knew it was going to happen someday.
Google finally decided to wipe me out.
I can no longer advertise products to
• business owners who have employees stealing from them.
• women who are being sexually/verbally harassed at work.
• concerned adults who need proof their parents are being abused.
3. eBay suspending accounts for no reason
I asked eBay why my account got suspended & why I have to send in receipts for all of the products I’ve sold...
“You’re a new account & the spike in sales triggered an audit”. 🙄
4. Amazon changing the terms of its affiliate deals with no notice
On April 14th, 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, right at the start of pool season, Amazon rips the proverbial rug out from underneath me and millions of other online business owners.
That’s a 60%+ drop! And Amazon announced this seven days before it happens.
This time, however, my primary business’s affiliate revenue has been cut by about $176,929.
5. Facebook censoring user content with its “Fact check”
“These messages will connect people to COVID-19 myths debunked by the WHO including ones we’ve removed from our platform for leading to imminent physical harm. We want to connect people who may have interacted with harmful misinformation about the virus with the truth from authoritative sources in case they see or hear these claims again off of Facebook.”
As ever with censorship initiatives, it all comes down to who decides what the truth is, what is harmful, and so on. Pretty useless when the WHO changes its recommendation every 2 weeks on subjects like wearing masks, etc.
6. PayPal withholding business funds
I opened a Paypal account. I wanted to protect my identity and therefore used a nickname to open the account.
I then sold £200 worth of goods on ebay. I actually sold another £2000 worth of items, but cancelled the sales and refunded the buyers when I realized my account was limited. I explained to the buyers that I could not ship expensive items, while this was going on.
Paypal requested proof of ID at which point I explained that I had used a nickname on the account. After many emails going back and forth, they now inform me that they are holding funds for 180 days, after which time I will be able to withdraw them.
What right have they got? I have sold items, paid for postage, and sent the items. They have all been received by buyers and confirmed through tracking numbers. I am out of pocket, with no goods and no money.
Why do we get slaughtered?
Russell Brunson explains this in his Traffic Secrets book:
Google only wants the big brands: the companies that spend a million dollars a month in ads, not the small guys like you who would be just spending a hundred dollars.
The small entrepreneurs only make up a tiny percentage of their overall revenue, but they are likely the ones that cause 90 percent or more of their headaches.
In 2007, Mark Zuckerberg introduced his new Facebook Ads platform. Just as Google did when they first opened up their platform, Facebook made it easy and affordable for entrepreneurs to buy ads.
Facebook’s goal was adoption: to get as many people as possible (and as fast as possible) to use their ads service. And that’s exactly what happened.
The patterns of Facebook have almost identically matched what Google did when it started.
- Step 1) The Adoption: Make the barrier of entry easy to get everyone in and using the platform.
- Step 2) The Price Hike: Slowly raise the prices to squeeze out the margins, killing off any entrepreneurs who don’t understand how to use funnels.
- Step 3) The Slap: Kill off the 50 percent of advertisers who cause 90 percent of their headaches. (If you spend less than $1 million per month on ads, you only make up a tiny percentage of their revenue, yet you’re 100 times harder to support than a big brand who just cares about seeing its name everywhere.)
The greatest predictor of the future is the past. There will be other storms coming, just like there was with Google. These storms are headed our way, and thousands of entrepreneurs are unaware.
- If you rely 100 percent on Facebook for your traffic, then this is your warning that a storm is coming.
- If you rely on Google SEO or Pinterest for your traffic, there’s a storm coming. Pinterest is banning accounts left, right and center.
- If you use Adsense for monetization, the same. There are tons of complaints in various Facebook groups about getting rejected for Adsense.
- Mediavine recently raised their entry limit from 25 to 50,000 page views per month.
- Ubersuggest started out as a free keyword research platforms. Last time I checked, you could only see the first 10 or 20 results. If you want more, you need to pay $30/month.
How do you protect your business from the storm?
Similarly to soldiers that become tough in the pressure of fight, a durable business not only survives bad events, but becomes stronger as a result.
Own your platform and build a durable business, website, a funnel. Drive traffic to it from a variety of sources.
Convert that traffic into email subscribers. Build your 1,000 fans.
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.
There is no middle man. No algorithm prevents them from getting your message. No censorship 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?”
It doesn’t mean that.
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.
Own your platform. Own your communication.
Build your own base of 1,000 true fans.
Anything short of this puts you at risk of having your business shut down overnight.