What High Gas Prices, Inflation And A Falling Dollar Mean For Your Online Business

OK, now THAT's a weird title for a post on a blog like this. ;) But, all kidding aside, I have a point to make today. An important point - especially giving the times we find ourselves in. My aim is to help people as much as possible, and I figure I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't talk about this a bit. Usually, our little blogging and social media bubble doesn't talk much about the "real world". That stuff is relegated to the news headlines and the political talking head shows. And, those of us concentrating on our online businesses don't like to pay attention to that crap. We'd rather talk about the stuff we're interested in. I know I would. But, there's big things happening right now. And the "real world" will affect our online world. And it will have an impact on us as bloggers, too.

OK, now THAT’s a weird title for a post on a blog like this. πŸ˜‰

But, all kidding aside, I have a point to make today. An important point – especially given the times we find ourselves in. My aim is to help people as much as possible, and I figure I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t talk about this a bit.

Usually, our little blogging and social media bubble doesn’t talk much about the “real world”. That stuff is relegated to the news headlines and the political talking head shows. And, those of us concentrating on our online businesses don’t like to pay attention to that crap. We’d rather talk about the stuff we’re interested in. I know I would.

But, there’s big things happening right now. And the “real world” will affect our online world. And it will have an impact on us as bloggers, too.

If you look around right now, we see a lot of things. High gas prices. Rising food prices. An economy in recession. On the surface, it is easy to get political about this, blame one of the political parties or a particular president (I don’t care which one), and think this is all just par for the course. Just more stuff that you think won’t impact you very much.

But, I think what’s going on right now is going to impact all of us. The government is racking up debt faster than ever and printing money like crazy. That is a recipe for sky-high inflation, which is what is causing much of our problems with high gas prices, higher food prices, etc. What many don’t understand is that once the dollar reaches a tipping point that causes other countries to start abandoning the dollar, it will trigger a large rush away from the dollar and ultimately cause the dollar to hyper-inflate.

To cut through the economic jargon, this means your dollar won’t buy much. And things will be difficult to buy.

A lot of smart people right now are seeing this coming and adjusting. Many are buying metals like gold and silver because these limited resources have an innate value and, historically, has been the basis for currency. Many are working extra hard to get out of debt themselves. Many are also looking to commodities and things which people need all the time.

Which brings me back to our world of online business and blogging. I have two main points to make that I think people should at least think about.

#1 – Pay Attention To New Niches

One of the things about business is that you need to help people and fulfill a demand. Doesn’t matter whether you’re online or offline, it is all about helping people with what they need or want.

A changing economy and shrinking currency is going to change the mindsets of a lot of people out there. There is likely going to be a shift to real-world value, but they’re going to turn to the Internet to find it. Things that matter will be food, real estate, ways to increase your income, wealth preservation, saving money, etc. Many of these are hot markets already, but they’ll be even hotter as these areas hop into the front burner of the national collective mindset.

You can see it happening already, BTW. If you go out there and look, you’ll already see online marketers selling info products on wealth preservation, “investment secrets”, etc. Unfortunately, many of them are capitalizing on fear, but it is a natural occurance because they’re reacting to changes in market demand. I’ve seen people selling seeds so they can grow “crisis gardens”. I’ve seen sites talking about handguns, food storage, etc.

I’m not here to judge any of that or the validity of it… I’m simply pointing out that these people ARE reacting to changes in demand in the market.

My gut tells me that potential markets of interest would include things like:

  1. Making money (obviously, nothing new here)
  2. Keeping money (i.e. wealth preservation and saving money, maximizing buying power)
  3. Food & Gardening.
  4. Security, guns.
  5. Home schooling.
  6. Real estate.
  7. Do-it-yourself.

Simply put – there IS opportunity here for bloggers and (obviously) competent marketers to help people and make money in the process.

Just keep in mind that people are really focusing on value, and people will always spend money on things they need.

Is the niche you’re in going to be relevant? Do people need it? Does it have a real-world impact in improving their lives?

#2 – Pay Attention To Your Online Assets

Here, I’m talking more to those of you with established online businesses. For everybody else, think about how this translates to your own personal assets.

I encourage you to simply look at your assets in a strategic fashion. And by this, I mean preserving value and safeguarding against loss. We all make whatever money we make online in the form of currency. That currency has no real value outside of what we commonly agree the value is. Therefore, if the agreement changes, so does the value of the money we make. At the same time, many of us have never really thought about weathering our businesses from a storm from the outside. For example, what if a web service you use ends up closing shop? Does that put you at risk?

So, a few common sense recommendations might be:

  1. Make sure you keep backups of your site(s) so that it could be moved/restored on another server if necessary.
  2. If you put any data on the cloud, ensure you have it backed up, too. This includes your email list (if using a third-party service like Aweber), documents in Google Docs, your email, videos on Amazon S3 or Youtube, etc.
  3. When you use an outside company for a service, consider their size and staying power. Small shops might be more subjected to economic winds than larger companies with more inertia.
  4. Consider diversifying your business assets so not everything is stored in cash. Cash is subject to inflation, so if your business value is measured by cash in the bank, your entire business is losing value because of inflation.
  5. Put a lid on waste. Spending money is always a necessity, but don’t waste it. Consider the real ROI of where you decide to spend money on your business. Also, keep in mind that modern technology has provided us many free/cheap ways to do things that used to cost a lot.

This is common sense stuff that we should always be doing, really.

Some Parting Thoughts

I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m pretty sure it is going to look different than today. Change is the only thing guaranteed in life, as they say. πŸ™‚

The best way to deal with things is with eyes wide open, a positive outlook, and a “get it done” attitude. Putting your head in the sand is practically a guarantee to be caught off guard.

While I could get quite animated with you right now about how bad the politicians in Washington have screwed this up, it ultimately does little good. I also don’t think ignoring it is a proper course of action. Many people out there are unaware of what’s going on – and those are the people who will be most caught off guard. Others are fear-mongering and getting people worked into a frenzy, and this isn’t helpful either.

Human beings are consistent in many things. Certain demands will always be there. People will always be buying things.

Also, I think the Internet is going to remain a STRONG force in the world economy regardless of adjustments going on. People will be going online to find what they want – without a doubt. I mean, just look at the huge valuations in dot-com’s going on in Silicon Valley right now despite the current recession. It even has some talking about a new “bubble” going on there now. Whatever the case is with that, it goes to show that the Internet is and will remain an AWESOME platform for business.

So, we’re in the right business, my friends. And, if you’re still trying to get that online business of your own going, there is no better time than the present (just don’t waste much time).

Provide value that others need… and be in the business of manufacturing happiness in whatever you do.

In all economies – even the worse of them – there are winners and losers. Which do you intend to be?

 

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