Some of my readers have online businesses or are interested in the topic. I’m sharing something that’s become increasingly important to anyone who works from home, and that is: the importance of diversifying your online income.
Diversifying Your Online Income: why?
Things change online, quickly. Social media outlets change what they show your audience. Google updates their algorithms and sometimes website owners are dropped from searches. What used to work to generate traffic last year won’t work so well this year.
Not only should you not rely on one method of driving traffic to your site, you also shouldn’t rely on one main source of income in your business.
It’s far safer to mix it up.
Let me backtrack a bit.
Several years ago when I got serious about my online business, I owned several websites. They generated income in various ways, but the largest source of income was Google AdSense. My AdSense payment each month was enough to cover all my regular monthly bills.
Yep. That means my rent, my utilities, my internet… all that stuff.
(I miss those payments!)
And then, Google did one of her famous ‘dances’ and dropped one of my sites like a hot potato. Nobody knows exactly why this happens, especially to a webmaster who doesn’t resort to spammy tactics to trick the search engines. But algorithm changes are one way Google keeps everybody on their toes and says one step ahead of the hucksters.
That was bad for me, because my Google traffic (and hence, my AdSense income) was drastically cut, overnight.
It was ok, because I was able to bump up the other parts of my business. At the time, I sold information products, offered services as a writer and virtual assistant and blogging coach.
But I learned an important lesson: never put all my (income) eggs into one basket.
Diversifying Your Online Income: How?
Things are always changing on the internet. While it’s been a wonderful blessing for me to be able to earn money from home, I have to stay abreast of those changes in order for my income to remain reliable.
Now, my main source of income are my Amazon ebook sales, and commisions from affiliate marketing. But I also started a side hustle selling a lip color product I love.
My Amazon ebook sales a couple of years ago made up the bulk of my income. But Amazon changed up the way they do things and that source of income dropped like a hot potato.
This kind of thing happens.
I’ve heard of eBay sellers being booted off eBay for no reason they can discern. This also happened to me several years ago! For no reason that I can figure, eBay decided to cancel my account. I hadn’t done anything tricky or dishonest, and they just deleted me without warning or explanation.
Some of these companies (eBay, Amazon, Google, etc) drop you like a hot potato and you’re guilty until proven innocent. You may or may not be able to reapply to their program. You may have no idea what you did wrong. Maybe you did indeed go against their terms of service innocently out of ignorance. Perhaps it was just a mistake on their part. Sometimes you aren’t even able to argue your case. I’ve even heard of Google deleting Blogspot blogs with no explanation.
This brings me to another crucial point:
Always own your own platform.
Never publish on a Blogspot or WordPress subdomain. Own your own domain and hosting. Collect email addresses because that list of subscribers is YOURS.
If Pinterest or Google or Facebook decides they hate you all of a sudden, you’re still good.
From networking online with other business owners, I’ve noticed that many have a variety of business models working at the same time.
Some have service businesses (graphic design, Virtual Assistant, proofreading, ghostwriting, etc) but create information products on the side.
Others do eBay full-time, but create blogs for affiliate income.
Some write ebooks for Kindle but also ghostwrite content for others.
Others do coaching mostly but have a full line-up of information products (ebooks, videos, etc) for sale as well.
Some do direct sales but create multiple streams of income using affiliate marketing.
I’ve noticed more and more bloggers lately who are now dabbling in direct sales, for instance. I’m no different! I started a side hustle slingin’ LipSense, a lip color product I love.
What do you think? If you’re a blogger or otherwise earn money online, how do you diversify your income? Have you experienced a sudden drop in income because of a large company booting you out of their program or an algorithm change?
You might also enjoy:
- 100 Free Blogging Tips – a collection of the best advice I’ve learned in 14 years of blogging
- How to start a business at home: 4 moms tell all
- How to publish an ebook for Amazon Kindle
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – a course I took that exploded my traffic, Pinterest success and affiliate earnings
- My LippyChic direct sales business
Beth Anne and Sarah says
Great advice here! I hadn’t realized how much a Google algorithm change can directly affect one’s income online.
My sister and I run an etsy shop together, started a blog in January, and are now launching a Podcast in June! (Talk about diversifying!) Sometimes we feel like we are biting off more than we can chew, but we know that as we work to grow each segment of the business into a well-oiled machine, it could really pay off in the long run.
Ways we diversify: our etsy shop focuses on terrarium kits and other educational nature kits. (theamateurnaturalist.etsy.com) Our blog ties into this by featuring fun outdoor activities and nature-related crafts. In this way, we can earn an income both from etsy sales, and from affiliate (and maybe one day, Adsense) advertising on our blog.
Our Podcast will interview Brilliant Business Moms to get their best advice for growing a business online. Again, we hope to grow the Podcast and ultimately monetize with the right sponsors, and we hope to utilize all the great advice we receive to continue to grow the other branches of our business.
Eventually, we hope to write some ebooks, and we’re also trying to put more videos related to our blog on Youtube.
Phew…. diversifying takes a lot of effort!
Thanks for sharing your own experiences and for having such helpful advice!
I’m glad it was helpful! Your business sounds so interesting. 🙂