Is Online Business Sustainable In The Long Term?
Q: Dear Tomaz,
Your website is really inspiring. I am going to buy Site Build It pretty soon (off your link) and get started.
This might be a stupid question, but do you think that making a living online is sustainable? In other words, do you see yourself making a living online 15 years from now doing the same thing?
A: You’re welcome and thanks for a very interesting question. I’ve considered and contemplated on this before – whether online business will work in 15 years or more.
Here are some of my conclusions:
1. Having a job, especially now, is not safe. There were around 600,000 people laid off in USA in December – if I am not mistaken. So I don’t see a normal job sustainable in the long term. Even CEOs get fired. (I hope more bankers get fired soon…)
2. The only thing certain in this universe is change. 😉 Everything changes and you have to change with the time to keep up and prosper. The Internet (for most people) is around 10 years old or even less. And see all the changes; Yahoo, Google, Myspace, Youtube, Facebook, … Maybe in 10 years there will be Shmooglehoo and we’ll just have to adapt.
3. The Internet is definitely here to stay and in will just get faster and more interactive. People will still use the Internet in large extent to find information online and they will definitely search with keywords for quite some time. Large content sites with lots of text will do well for a very long time. There would have to be some extraordinary evolution and revolution in digital world to change that. Check my Interview with Ken Evoy on the future of the Internet for more ideas…
4. The first future that I see is that search engines will read audio from videos (and audio files) and index those too. Meaning, if your site has embedded videos, Google will know whether the videos on your pages are relevant or not and will rank your pages accordingly. But if you really want to have a high quality site, then video is surely even now present on some of your pages.
5. The online business is scalable while a job is not. If you have one full time job, you cannot have another full time job. But if you have one mature website, you can easily start working on another. I see stats from 2 sites that were not updated (one added a few C2 pages) in 1 year, I just exchanged a few not very valuable links. The traffic of the first one increased by 20% and the traffic of the second one by 25%. So did the earnings… Meaning; no work on the sites for 1 year still earned money and gave me enough time to start new sites or improve existing ones.
6. The real key is not really in what kind of business you are but whether your knowledge (or product) is valuable. Do you know something that other people need? Can you offer products that other people need? I believe the knowledge is more important and more valuable. Online business allows you to share this knowledge with the whole world and be rewarded for that – of course many times more than if you share this knowledge with just a few people.
7. The Internet will change but not in its key function – allowing people to search for information. You may have to change HOW you provide that information (text, video, audio, video conferencing, …) in order to benefit the most from the current state of internet, advertising and selling options. But if you have valuable knowledge, then you have nothing to fear. And remember, on the Internet, even knowledge of how to tie a tie is very valuable and can be very profitable.
8. And finally, don’t put all the eggs in the same basket. People who invested heavily in stocks feel the pain now. (Luckily for me, I didn’t have enough money to buy stocks before. 😉 ) I am not a financial expert, but having some money in the bank, some in stocks, some in real estate and some invested in websites will definitely allow you stay afloat in any kind of recession. (Which by the way I don’t feel at all with my online business. Traffic is growing and so are earnings.)