Dan Miller is the author of 48 Days to The Work You Love and No More Mondays.
This is the 79th session of Smart Brand Marketing.
It’s not often that I get to meet someone with 20 years of under the radar success that has made millions of dollars online.
He has created an online community that helps people discover the work they love.
Rough breakdown of his pricing:
- $36 per month – online community
- $500 per month – menthorship
- $5300 fee – become a coach (cap of 40 people)
His main traffic channel is a weekly newsletter that was started in August of 2000. Dan never missed a week.
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- Finding a calling
- Life work balance
- What is retirement?
- The three legged stool
- Books, blogs and guest posts
Can You Earn Profit While Staying Under the Online Radar?
Growth and Profit.
Believe it or not, these two are not mutually exclusive in the world of business. Just because some businesses do not have to choose one over the other as time passes does not mean that these two outcomes are mutually exclusive to one another.
So since both profit and growth are not one and the same, does that mean that you can be a profitable business without being popular? The short answer is yes. The long answer is that you will have to keep mind of a few things first in order to do that.
Why You Might Want to Consider Keeping a Low Profile
Let’s get it out of the way first. Every single person who has opened a business out there does so with the aim to succeed. If you don’t want to succeed, as they say, it’s best that you don’t even set your business up in the first place.
However, when you do le your business grow at a rate faster than what you have planned for, you open it to a whole slew of risks that can hamper your business and even cause it to stagnate. The way it does this is through one way: It exposes you to unwanted attention.
When you start growing as a business, you start exposing yourself to a wider section of the industry. And with exposure comes the disadvantage of you dealing with more competition.
It’s a bit like in sports where the rest of the industry ignores you because you are nobody until you start expanding your operations and succeeding with your goals.
Make no mistake. Competition is healthy as it allows you to expand but it does put a lot of unnecessary pressure on your part. Not only will you have to impress your target market now but you will also have to deal with competition from almost every direction. However, if you can exercise restraint in improving your business’s range while maintaining a low profile, you can allow your business to strengthen itself and earn money while until the time is right for you to go for a high profile campaign.
How to Earn While Flying Under the Radar?
So, how do you go about becoming a success in the market while keeping a low profile? There are many strategies out there like the ones down below.
- 1. Look for a Niche of a NicheYou might call this a micro-niche and it basically just you looking for an even more specific section of an already specific part of the market to target. For example, if you have a restaurant that is already targeting people who love chicken wings, you can offer some products that cater towards people who are looking for extremely spicy chicken wings or those that just love a good food challenge.
The reason is simple: the food challenge sector is still relatively uncongested right now in a lot of smaller markets. Being the first to venture there gives you a lot of time to establish hone your craft there and build a loyal fan base while you’re at it, too.
Or let’s take a look at the videogame industry recently. When everybody was going crazy with hero-type shooters like Overwatch, here comes this relatively incomplete game in mid-2017 called PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds which offered a new style of gameplay: battle royal survival. Basically, all players in a match are dropped onto a large island where they have to scavenge for weapons and armor and, hopefully, be the last man or team standing.
Soon enough, PUBG-like games started popping up like Rules of Survival and Fortnite, each with their own unique take on the mechanics introduced by the game that preceded them. And if there is something in the videogame industry that you have to be aware of, it’s that if everybody else starts copying your format, then you have become the trendsetter for a new niche in the market.
- 2. Go for Local
Rather than aiming for a wide reach that covers multiple areas in the map, why not aim for a smaller, tighter reach and then spread out from there? You’ll find out that you can reach your goals, no matter how modest they are, at a rate faster than most businesses.
Let’s take that chicken wings example. What if you started offering only dine-in and then started deliveries for only a select number of neighborhoods or, if you want something smaller, only to tenants living within a 500-meter radius? Your scope might be smaller than your competitors but you can deliver your product at a rate faster than what they can offer.
- 3. Address Customer Complaints – ASAP!
Do you know what the number 1 drawer of unwanted attention is? Bad publicity, Always remember that negative comments tend to be louder and, most of the time, they won’t air those complaints at you but to everyone else who wants to listen.
Let’s take a look at what happened to Amy’s Baking Company, that restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona and the first ever restaurant that Gordon Ramsay ever walked out on Kitchen Nightmares.
Quality of the food and service notwithstanding, the one thing that truly killed the business is the owners not only failing to address issues regarding their customer’s but adding fuel to the controversy with poorly planned PR stunt after PR stunt.
Since your customers have the tendency to air their negative experiences publicly, it’s your duty to respond to them in a manner that is appropriate, efficient, and, if possible, privately. Handle it well and your niche will think better of you. Handle it poorly and the rest of your competition will find out about you in the worst way possible.
- 4. Aim for that “Overnight Success” Angle
The beauty of remaining unknown for years until you break out with a winning product or service is that you do not allow the competition the time to copy your unique format until you perfect it.
Let’s take at former Youtube star turned rising music artist George “Joji” Miller as an example. As far as the mainstream media was concerned, he is a promising music artist who has been producing consistently good tunes for months.
What not a lot of people know, however, is that he has been in YouTube for years as FilthyFrank, an extremely offensive character known for his gross-out, uncomfortable humor along with a cadre of other characters. He was even the one who started the Harlem Shake meme which trended during 2013.
In this instance, it’s assumed that no one has heard of you yet and it will be your strategy to make that so for as long as possible. If you can avoid the spotlight, you can focus on improving your business until you are ready to break out.
What to Do When You Become Popular?
One thing you must realize is that maintaining a low profile forever is never assured when it comes to business. Eventually, your loyal customer base will grow until enough people know who you are. This will eventually cause your business to break out into mainstream consciousness which should open you to new competition, new markets, and better income.
Assuming that you have prepared your business for this event, how then can you maintain consistency with your operations while also dealing with your newfound popularity? There are ways to do so and listed below are just some good examples.
- 1. Be Loud (But be Careful)Do you know why people gravitate towards the loud and extremely opinionated? It’s because it’s hard to miss them. Even if you don’t like what they have to say, you have no choice but to listen to them. Their very own way of speaking out their mind invites conversation which is always good for branding.
Once you are already well-known in the business, take the time to speak your mind so you can connect with your new audience. However, it is best that you toe the line when it comes to controversy since you are still in the business for making money. Just make sure that your opinions, before they are heard, are grounded on logic and some truths and the way you say them is not abrasive. This way, you don’t bring in unnecessary attention to your business.
- 2. Be a Teacher
If there is one lesson that you can draw from e-learning is that there is quite a lot of benefit from helping those that are around you. Teach everything that you have known to your audience. Introduce to them your secrets to managing your business, your practices, your quick fixes to problems, anything that they themselves can use later on.
And since we’re not perfect, you can also capitalize on your failures by teaching your audience how NOT to approach a certain topic or problem. Remember: nobody is going to listen to you if keep silent.
- 3. Abandon the Shame
People are hesitant to share their content and ideas out of the fear to be seen as arrogant or, at the least, be heavily bashed online. Of course, nobody wants to make a scene whether online or the real world but think of it this way: if you don’t speak your mind, people will turn to another person who does.
Always remember that making mistakes publicly is part of the risks of becoming popular with your business. As soon as you make one, expect for your competitors and critics to flock around you; there’s no escaping that. With that said, it’s time that you develop a layer of thick skin if you want to survive in a larger market.
- 4. Build Your Own Platform
Always remember that no successful empire was built on rented land. One thing you have to remember when it comes to social media is that you don’t own your followers, your likes, your shares, and even the information you have on that site. When that site gets shut down, everything you have built there will be gone.
Let’s take a look at what happened to Vine. A lot of people there rose to Internet fame by creating those short, 7-second videos and had a strong following numbering by the thousands to millions. However, when Vine was shut down, none of those follows mattered and the Vine celebrities had to migrate to other sites just to maintain their popularity.
Sure, some ex-Vine people eventually recaptured their popularity in places like YouTube (even if they were seen as invaders) but for some, like Jake and Logan Paul, things have been downhill as far as popularity goes ever since the late 2010s.
The reason? Let’s just say that the thing that made them popular in a relatively smaller community like Vine did not translate well when they hit big in a bigger market like YouTube (and partly because they tend to be obnoxious SoCal bro-dude stereotypes when they appear on public).
As such, if possible, never forgot to maintain your own site as well as your own email list. Always use these as your main base of operations with every social media profile you have linking to them in one way or another. If traffic is not flowing from these sites to your main website, then it’s time that you should reorganize your online presence.
Keeping Things Down Low
With all things considered, should you maintain a low profile for your business for as long as possible? The answer is really up to you. If the goal for your business is limited only to the local area, then there’s no harm in remaining unknown to the rest of market for as long as that business is existing.
However, if your goal has always been to take things as far as possible, then what’s stopping you? Your business’s growth and profit are only limited to your tools and your creativity. It’s just that your business should be ready for the challenges of going big once it gets big.
Have you ever considered maintaining a low profile for your business? What other ways have you used to better prepare your business in case it goes big in the market? Let us know in the comments below!
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
- Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being
- 48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal
DAN IN ACTION
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