I've said it time and time again—diversifying your business is the key to its longevity. I think this is especially true now, because in May of 2020, there were plenty of people who were negatively impacted by three death blows.
There was the pandemic, the Amazon commission change, and a Google algorithm update; it was a pretty ugly month.
This post will explain why it's so important to build your business on multiple platforms, how to diversify, and some examples of things that I'm doing myself.
That being said, let's go ahead and jump on in.
WATCH THIS BLOG POST IN VIDEO FORMAT
Online Business Can Be Brutal
To begin, let's be real you guys—online business can be absolutely brutal. It's just the reality of the situation.
Pandemic reduced organic traffic to most websites
The pandemic has impacted some websites positively because a lot of people are at home. However, a lot of websites were impacted negatively, including mine, because the traffic to the websites is down compared to usual.
Amazon commission changes crushed many Amazon affiliate websites
We also had Amazon come out with some pretty insensitive commission changes that dropped commission rates much lower than they were previously.
On one of my websites that's really focused on Amazon affiliates, I personally saw that commission revenue decrease by about 50%, which hurt.
Google hurt a lot of websites with an algorithm change
Finally, Google came along and they were like, “Hey, you guys who are hurting from the pandemic and from Amazon—we're going to do a really big algorithm update.” I wasn't negatively impacted too much by this, but at the end of the day, I know a lot of people who were.
It was the perfect storm, but with an online business, this is just how it is. It can be really brutal at times and only the strong survive.
Diversification is How to Build a Business
Let's back up for a second. I always talk about this, but diversification is really how you should build your business. I have a really interesting example here and some things that I'm going to show you that will probably make you think, “Wow, that's actually very true.”
Amazon as a case study
The company I'm going to use is, of all companies, Amazon. Now, I know Amazon is what it is today, but you have to remember that at one point, it was just a little itty-bitty e-commerce store.
Yes, this was in the beginning of the internet days, a long, long time ago, but it's really interesting to see the history of what Amazon has done. You can click on this link to watch a video from CNN that shows a timeline for the history of Amazon.
I think that it's important to look at what they've done and understand how they've done it and diversified themselves to where they've become the unstoppable behemoth that they are today.
7/5/94 Started with books
On July 5th of 1994, they started with books. They were selling hard-copy books online, which was a crazy concept in 1994. This was early on when the internet wasn't really big on e-commerce, but that's what they started with.
11/18/97 Built out second distribution facility
Then, in November of 1997, they built a second distribution facility. At that time they only had two different facilities. They had their main one, and then they built a second one to fulfill more orders. At this point, they were still focused on books.
6/11/98 Expands to CDs
In June of 1998, they expanded to CDs. Anyone remember CDs? I do, and I still like CDs, but I never use them anymore because why would you? They’re super inconvenient.
The point is, they expanded into CDs in 1998. They had the books, they had the CDs, and things were rocking for Amazon. They were making money hand over fist just by doing these two things.
9/30/99 Launched third-party seller marketplace
In September of '99, they launched their third-party seller marketplace. Many of us know what this is now, but the Amazon seller marketplace didn't even exist until 1999.
When they did that, it really opened up the business because it allowed other people to sell on their platform and increase the amount of goods that could be sold. They handled a lot of the fulfillment just like they do today, really.
11/7/02 Starts selling clothing
In November of 2002, they started selling clothing. They partnered with a bunch of different clothing brands and they started to sell those.
As you’ll notice, they were expanding their product offering. They were getting bigger and bigger, which is what the focus was. They were diversifying.
That's the thing with any business—you start small, but you start diversifying and getting bigger and bigger. I've done it for my websites, and Amazon did it on a much larger scale with theirs.
6/10/03 Launches AWS
Then, in June of 2003, they launched Amazon Web Services, which is their hosting. It was a multibillion-dollar business at that point.
I'm not sure exactly how much it was worth, but it was worth a lot of money. Every quarter it brought in billions and billions of dollars, so that was a very large business that they started.
8/19/04 Entered China
In August of 2004, they entered into China. This is diversification that lead to the point where they are now. They’re not only in the U.S. but they are diversifying and bringing international folks into their platform as well. They’ve actually diversified quite a bit from there.
2/2/05 Amazon Prime Introduced
In February of 2005, Amazon Prime was introduced. Now, we all know Amazon Prime now, and we know how it has fast shipping and how great it is. But in 2005, they were just introducing it.
Again, they're diversifying. After they diversified themselves as a business in products, they then diversified geographically and eventually started branching out into even more product offerings.
11/19/07 Amazon Kindle introduced
In November of 2007, they introduced the Amazon Kindle. We all know the Amazon Kindle, and most of us probably have one, but it was first introduced in 2007. Now, they were getting to the point where they were introducing physical products and technology.
1/31/08 Acquired Audible for Audiobooks
Once they got to that point, they acquired Audible for audiobooks in 2008, which was obviously a big acquisition. If you want audiobooks these days, where do you go? Although there are other platforms, you’d probably go to Audible.
7/22/09 Acquired Zappos for Shoes
Then in July of 2009, they acquired Zappos. A lot of us know Zappos now, but they acquired that for their shoe business. They used their understanding of how Zappos did things to really build that into the Amazon infrastructure.
3/19/12 Acquired Kiva Systems for Robotic Systems
In March of 2012, they acquired Kiva Systems for their robotic systems. They were basically trying to make their warehouses function as well as they possibly could, and Robotics helped them do that.
So, they bought this company and brought in the technology, the understanding, and made their company even more efficient. Again, they were diversifying and getting even bigger and more efficient as they went.
11/11/13 Adds Sunday delivery
Then in November, 2013, they added Sunday delivery. They took their current offering and expanded it even more for Prime. That was a big thing that other companies at the time were not doing.
8/25/14 Acquires Twitch streaming service
Next, in August of 2014, they acquired Twitch, which is a streaming service. If you're not familiar with it, it's a place where people go to play video games and other people go to watch them.
It may not be your thing (it's not my thing) but there's a ton of people who love it. My nephew is here right now, and he's doing it; he loves watching other people play video games.
They acquired that because it worked really well with their hosting services. Again, they continued to grow their core business by adding products that fit into the compliment of what they already had.
11/10/15 Create Amazon Echo (Smart Speaker)
In November of 2015, they took another foray into the physical product space and they created the Amazon Echo, which we all know as Alexa. Once they did that, then they got a smart speaker and more technology that continued to grow their portfolio and diversify their business.
6/16/17 Acquires Whole Foods for grocery delivery
In June of 2017, I remember the day they acquired Whole Foods and they did this in an effort to focus on grocery delivery.
We are not all Amazon, but there are some things to note
They've done a lot of other things, as well. They’ve expanded to other countries, expanded product offerings, and created their own generic line.
I know we're not all Amazon and we're not all Jeff Bezos, but what we can do is take a lesson from this and understand that you can start small and then slowly add things over time to get bigger and bigger.
If you want to just start one small business, grow it to a certain point, and then stop, you could do that too. If that suits your lifestyle and you'd rather do that and make an extra couple thousand bucks a month, that would be an option.
However, if you want to get bigger, you should start small and continually add other businesses, products, and services, and grow that core business as time goes on. Again, Amazon started as a website, and Jeff Bezos was just a skeevy little dude on his keyboard, but now it's a behemoth.
How to Build Your Business Out
Now, let's talk about how you can build your business out.
The first thing to understand is that if you're watching this and you haven't started yet, you will never have success in this area. You have to start.
Key: Start with a simple website
I recommend websites. If you want to start now, you can click here to learn how to start a blog. Or, if you're not fully ready to start and you want to get some inspiration, you can check out my income reports. It's a great read for people who want to understand how I've grown over time.
I started those years ago right when I first got into the website stuff in general. My first month was actually negative. These reports help you understand the growth over time and what you can expect. You could also visit my homepage to learn the truth about online business because I have a lot there as well.
Once established and getting Google traffic, build on other platforms
But assuming that you've already started, once you are established and you're getting Google traffic and SEO traffic, you can build your platform slowly; you can make your business into a real diversified monster.
I don't know if you'll be able to become an Amazon, but it’s possible that someone watching this could become the next Jeff Bezos—I don't know. For that to happen, you need to start building up your business. That starts with different traffic channels and building your online business on multiple platforms.
If you have a website, then what can you do? How can you grow up beyond that? First, you need to have a Pinterest presence. Social media is important in general, but Pinterest in particular is a pretty good one.
You can build a full-blown profile on Pinterest and use it to get other traffic to come to your website.
In addition to Pinterest, you can also use YouTube channels to grow your business. You have to realize that YouTube is a search engine, just like Google is a search engine. I know that some YouTube channels or some YouTube videos show up on Google, but they aren't the same, you guys.
I have a YouTube channel for One Hour Professor, which is totally separate from the Google search engine, so I'm growing my platform in two different places. This is really beneficial because now I'm diversified into those two different areas.
Like I said, with Pinterest you can also grow a following in Facebook. I feel like years ago that was a better move because Facebook really did a number on a lot of businesses when they reduced the reach for pages. But you could still use Facebook groups and build a community there.
I've done that personally with one of my websites, and it's gone incredibly well. I have 25,000 people in this group. That can also be a really good way to diversify your brand and to build it even bigger onto another platform.
Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok
I'm not as big of a fan of these other ones, but using Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or TikTok allows you to diversify your platform to really grow an audience through the profiles that you create. Like I said, I don't do this personally, but I know that there are other businesses that do, so it's definitely an option.
Build an email list
This is one of the biggest things you need to do, and that is to build an email list. I have my own email list and this is a list of people who follow me. They're interested in me, they're subscribed to the things that I do and no one can really take that away.
It's not on a search engine or on a social media profile, this is something that I entirely own. Granted, it's on an email platform, but I own the information and I can use that to connect to my own readers and to teach them how to do different things and inform them of the information I'm putting out.
Build a COMMUNITY of people
The key with all this is to focus on building a community of people. Don't just think of them as profiles or email addresses; think of building a community of people.
And in doing that and being really focused on expanding your business onto different platforms is going to help your community of people grow even bigger because you are addressing them on the platforms they prefer.
Rely on NO ONE specifically
When you diversify like this, you're not relying on any one particular platform. You're always going to have your website, but let's say you've grown really well on social media, SEO, and you have a great email list.
Then, let's say SEO goes by the wayside and you're hit, and that hurts. You still have the other two and you've built your brand in different areas to where you're not just reliant on Google anymore. Now you can expand and you can use these other platforms to get in touch with your people as well.
Doing it this way is also nice because you can repurpose content and give it to people where they prefer. For example, I take my YouTube videos and I put them on my website, like the one you’re reading right now.
I do that because I'm trying to make sure that people can get my content wherever they want it. They can watch my YouTube video, or they can read this blog post.
If I'm repurposing my content fully, then I'd have a podcast and I'd have all these other platforms. But right now, my business can't sustain that, so I'm on YouTube and I'm also on my website.
At a certain point in time, you can start to acquire other businesses to roll them into your business, just like Amazon did. That can be incredibly helpful and powerful to grow the business beyond your single platform that you had in the beginning.
After you diversify the platform, you need to diversify the revenue. I've talked about this so many times, but display ads are a good place for a lot of people to start. Then you can get into info products, courses, memberships, and dropshipping.
When dropshipping with other businesses, don't be scared to create a complimentary physical product. Amazon did it, right? I just talked about all the stuff that they did. You could do the same thing; it's not completely outlandish.
A lot of people aren't doing it because it's hard, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. That just means that if you do, you're going to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Hopefully this makes sense and helps you understand the importance of building your online business on multiple platforms. I've been trying to do this for years, and I'm trying to do it even more with my brands now to make sure that I build a sustainable business that’s not just a little niche website but a true, authority website that's diversified both in traffic sources and revenue sources.