“Tom, how’s your business doing?”
My dad asked me that yesterday during our weekly FaceTime call.
I could tell he was worried. This virus has the entire world on their toes, and it’s an understatement to say this isn’t exactly the best time to own a business.
I own and operate a content creation company. I create blog posts and videos for a living.
I monetize with ads, online courses, and the Medium Partner Program to name a few.
That’s my business. Make no mistake–I’m lucky. In a time where everybody is staying at home getting TikTok famous and scrolling YouTube all day, they’re also watching my stuff. And I’m getting paid for it.
“Yeah Dad, I feel fine. I haven’t felt too big of a hit, actually, all things considered. As long as I make any money, I’m feeling good,” I said.
Last month I made more money than I spent. Like I said – I’m lucky. But I also unknowingly set myself up for success for a moment like this a long time ago. Let me explain five reasons my business will survive the COVID-19 crisis, and how you can corona-proof your business, as well.
1. I Have About Five Different Revenue Streams
Two years ago, I had a terrifying realization.
I was making all my money as a writer.
What if the platform I make all my money from decided to call it a day? In short, I’d be screwed. I’d have no platform, no money coming in, and I’d be back to square one, which was making salads at Panera Bread for $8.00 an hour.
I decided on a whim I wanted to be a vlogger.
Two years, 100 videos, and 500,000 followers later, here I am. I grew a money tree, sprouted a few new revenue streams, and have a better foundation to stand on.
One month I made $6,000 from one video. It paid off.
Here’s the thing:
Every investing book says you need to diversify the stocks you invest in. Why? To cover your losses in case one industry takes a big hit.
Diversification splits your revenue in many different directions. There’s a downside to this, though.
It also splits your attention to many different places.
I can’t focus on being the best writer ever because I now have to spend half my time making videos every week.
The good news is, I’ve covered my losses in case Medium goes under, though.
Lately I have seen a minor hit in my Medium earnings. I have seen a minor hit in my online course earnings. My video earnings, however, went up a good bit last month.
2. I Have Very Low Costs
I have about four or five tools that I pay for every month to make my business run. Teachable, ConvertKit, WebinarJam, and PicMonkey all come to mind. That comes out to about $400 every single month.
Then I have an editor who helps me run my publication and online courses.
And that’s the extent of my costs. I don’t have to pay rent on an expensive office in downtown Manila. I don’t have 30 employees. I don’t have a lot of overhead. My apartment is my office. My personal rent is basically a business expense.
I work from a computer.
The world of online business was particularly attractive to me years ago because of how cheap it is to operate.
Starting a website these days will cost you about $50. I think every business owner, regardless of what industry they’re in, needs to keep costs at the forefront of their mind.
Trying to haul part of your business online is a great idea. For me, I do not sell any physical products. I sell information. Try to think of ways to create products that aren’t physical to augment your current business.
Conor McGregor fights for a living. He is one of the highest-paid athletes in sports right now, however he started a media company called The Mac Life that generates additional revenue for him every month.
Take a page out of their book.
3. People Are Doing Nothing But Consuming Content All Day
Here in the Philippines, TikTok was temporarily banned because too many people were using it. I’m guessing they didn’t have the server capacity for endless Filipino uploads.
Two of my friends started YouTube channels since the lockdown. Heck, even my girlfriend and her sister made a new show together.
Bored, without work, and left to their own devices (literally), what are people going to do all day?
The answer is a delicious cocktail of Netflix, social media, and spying on neighbors. Wait, forget that last part.
I’ve always said that every business should create content for social media. I’ve seen YouTube channels that are all about air conditioning and how to fix common household AC problems.
So what should you do?
Use this time to start creating content. Or use this time to start thinking about a content creation plan once the pandemic ends.
I don’t foresee YouTube, Facebook, or LinkedIn going away anytime soon. Through economic highs and lows, these platforms will remain open for business, and not only that, they will thrive during these tough times.
4. I’m Using This Time To Create a New Business
Right now, I’m secretly writing two blog posts per day for my WordPress site. I hope to write 100 posts in less than 60 days, and those 100 posts will likely grow into a $2,000-$3,000 per month revenue stream.
My question to everyone is, what are you doing?
Are you just sitting at home doing nothing?
I see things a little differently than everybody else. Right now, there are no excuses for not having enough time to work on a side hustle.
The universe is giving us a gift. We now have 30 plus days of white space to work on whatever we want. When is the last time we had four-five weeks to do whatever we wanted? For me, that was probably the summer before freshman year.
Want to know how I spent that summer? I watched YouTube all day and played PS2. Don’t make the same mistake I did. You have loads of time to work on something that can outlast this pandemic and potentially help you rebound after it’s done.
You can use this time to create a new revenue stream, business, or at least lay the foundation for one.
Here’s a trick that you can use for your planning stages. I always lay out my business in six-month increments. Since 2018 I’ve made a series of Google Documents and I basically used them as a journal and progress report. I talk about what I want to get done in six months, where I went the previous six months, and my weekly progress.
It helps. Some of those google documents reach 40-50 pages in length. Because of that exercise, I’ve never felt lost with what I wanted to accomplish.
5. Bet On The Jockey, Not The Horse
My last reason I believe my business will survive is attributed to a quote.
“Bet on the jockey, not the horse.”
I don’t know who said that quote first, but I know there’s a lot of truth to it.
It means that those who see true success in something one time will likely see success again. Strong horses come and go, but strong jockeys know how to succeed time and time again.
John Velazquez is one of the most decorated jockeys of all time. On one list of the top 10 most well-paid jockeys of all time, he is number two.
To prove this point even further, John Velazquez was supposed to ride a horse named “Uncle Mo” in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, but instead had to ride a horse named Animal Kingdom. Uncle Mo was having some stomach problems.
John raced Animal Kingdom to victory – his first Kentucky Derby crown.
John’s impressive flexibility with racing whatever horse he could to victory is a testament to the truth of this quote.
This COVID-19 pandemic is going to put a lot of business owners up against the ropes, if it hasn’t already. Just because you fail, though, doesn’t mean you’re going to stay down your entire life.
Remember, if you have seen success in business one time, you have all the tools you need to succeed again. If that means you need to rebuild your entire business from scratch, I’m confident that you will.
And that’s where it ends with me, too. If this pandemic lasts for longer than anticipated, and if my business takes too many punches, I know I’ll come back from it. I’m confident because I was able to create multiple revenue streams in multiple areas.
I can just do it again.
A lot of times in business, it comes down to the intangibles. That’s why everything Steve Jobs touched turned to gold. That’s why Elon Musk has built many successful companies. They just know what works.
You need to bet on the jockey, not the horse.
This Will End Eventually
This pandemic will end eventually, but what happens during the next pandemic or economic downturn? Will you be ready?
I hope this terrible moment in human history will help you make the necessary changes for your business.
And if it did put your business up against the ropes a little too much, just know that you will come back stronger than ever. It’s not about the horse, it’s about the jockey, and you are in control of your own destiny once this pandemic ends.
I wish you the best. I wish you all the best.