What Happens When An Online Business Owner Disappears For 3 Weeks?

 

During the course of the summer break, I have taken a total of one month off. First it was a week in a mountain cabin, then it was almost a 3 week trip with my wife and kids in our RV.

The RV trip was a lot of fun. We clocked 3,100 miles of driving, visiting Stone Mountain, Falls Creek Falls, Mammoth Cave, Gettysburg, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Jamestown, the Outer Banks, then back to Florida. It really gave me a renewed appreciation for RV travel, especially while having young kids. Just no better way to go.

Business-wise, however, I left town with the best of intentions. I had grand plans of getting some work done and planning out some new projects. It just didn’t happen, though.

So, what happens when the owner of an online business (in this case, me) disappears for 3 weeks?

Does income drop? Does traffic disappear? Does all hell break loose?

Let’s take a look.

Traffic Drop? Nope.

For all the talk by many bloggers of the constant need to post fresh content otherwise you’ll lose all your traffic, I can happily report that not posting anything for 3 weeks had essentially NO impact on traffic.

We track traffic on a weekly basis and look for trends. While there are always little increases and decreases, the overall pattern of traffic stayed the same while I was gone. Which is awesome. πŸ™‚

Personally, I think the key to this is:

  • Posting resource content which stands the test of time and doesn’t go stale too quickly.
  • Structuring things so that older content is still being read (via SEO, autoresponder, resource pages, etc.)
  • Removing dates so that the site isn’t time-based and operates, instead, as a knowledge center.

I’ve talked many times about the “hamster wheel” that many bloggers put themselves on. And, true, there’s a lot of people out there who are leery of the idea of having a blog because they believe they’re just creating a beast which constantly needs food and demands time. Thing is, that isn’t true. It all depends on how you set things up.

Income Drop? Yep.

Our weekly gross income did drop, and my weekly gross for the last week I was away was one of the lowest I’ve seen in awhile.

This really wasn’t too much a surprise, however. I saw it coming. And it didn’t worry me one bit. However, it did bring to mind a few lessons that I’ll pass on.

  • Recurring income is where its at. My business does have a decent volume of recurring income, but I can also see it should be higher. Honestly, this is one of the few reasons why I recently ended the lifetime single-payment option to the Academy VIP.
  • Your autoresponder funnel is important. While I do have a decent autoresponder in place, there is still some work to do to make it more complete. When that is in place and it drives sales, then all you have to do is “add water” (in other words, put new leads into the funnel). I talk a lot more about setting up an effective autoresponder in my Master Your List course in the Academy.
  • Outflowing communication equals income. In other words, if I want income (aka money), then I have to be constantly promoting. The moment I stop my outbound marketing, income begins to dry up. In my case, I didn’t post any content or send an email in 3 weeks. My outbound marketing ceased… for 3 weeks. This is why I wasn’t surprised that my income dropped. I KNEW it would happen. And, I also know that the solution is to pour on the outbound marketing when I return.

All Hell Break Loose? Nope.

Honestly, the only real way that things could blow up during this period would be if I completely ignored everybody. And, of course, I didn’t do that. I still monitored my email from the RV and I replied to the important messages. My two assistants were still on the job (one who deals with customer support, and she’s awesome at it).

So, business carried on just fine. In terms of my VIP members, I notified them in advance that I’d be away.

So, the real lesson here is not to ever ignore responsibility and ignore people. I didn’t, and it worked out just fine.

Can an Online Business Truly Be Passive?

There is a lot of talk of passive income out there. The dream is to have income sources that go on whether you’re paying any attention to them or not.

The truth is… yes, passive income does exist. It can be done. But, that is ONLY after busting your balls to create a business which CAN be passive. A passive income business would only be passive if it was specifically designed that way.

And, I would argue that even then, it isn’t TRULY passive. Because, ALL businesses will eventually run dry and die if you’re not there to pour on a little energy every once in awhile. It is just like a car. If you completely ignore a car and just let it sit in the driveway unattended, it will eventually rot away. It will rust, parts will deteriorate, and eventually it will be undriveable. All without ever touching it.

A business is the same way.

There are two primary components to a passive income business:

  1. Constant stream of incoming leads.
  2. An automated marketing funnel to convert those leads into sales.

Those things can be built. The necessary tools would include a well-developed blog, probably some constantly-running native advertising, and a good automated followup marketing system (from the likes of Aweber or Ontraport).

Most online businesses will remain a hybrid… and by that I mean that it will have a passive income component as well as a real-time income component (i.e. first-time sales). That’s how the Blog Marketing Academy works. Because I have paying members and clients, the Blog Marketing Academy is not a business which is designed to be truly passive. There are deliverables to be met, and I’m the guy who does it.

I think the big lesson for me here is that some attention needs to be paid on the automated followup funnels of the Academy so that it doesn’t require me to personally engage in outbound marketing in a real-time sense, but would allow the marketing to continue effectively on its own. This would increase the passive component of the marketing and income, however the deliverables would still need to be done.

The True Purpose Of Your Business Is…

I’ll end this post with this…

I’m a firm believer that a business should be created solely to fuel the desired lifestyle of its owner, not simply to create a job.

In other words, the business should work FOR you, and not you for it. Your business should provide value to others, and in exchange you are able to fuel the life you want.

I know some business owners who wouldn’t even dare to take 3 weeks off. To me, that’s sad. You’ve literally become your own worse boss. You’ve created your own slave master.

So, I think all entrepreneurs need to ask themselves, first and foremost, what they want their life to look like. Then, from there, you DESIGN a business which can make it work.

In my case, it is important than when my kids are on summer break, I want to play and play hard. This summer, we took a month. Next summer, I’d like to do that, or even more.

It just so happens that an online business is best suited to this kind of thing. One of the many reasons I love it so much. πŸ™‚

Do you have a business which allows you to take time off?

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Responses

  1. Hi David.

    Good to hear you enjoyed your vacation and the world didn’t fall down around you. πŸ™‚

    I’m still in the early stages of my business start-up, so long vacations are not possible at the moment.

    But, I know that if I work hard now to build the foundations, I’ll reap the rewards in the future.

    Thanks for sharing your findings with us.

    Much appreciated!
    Kerry

  2. Hey David,

    We are excited to take an RV trip next summer. Did you have to get a special license to drive your RV? I’m just going to rent for one week. Did you guys have all the amenities you were used to at home?

    Glad to hear the business side of things carried on. I’m looking forward to that day when I can do the same thing with my own blogging venture.You are a great inspiration.

    1. You’ll enjoy it. πŸ™‚ And, no, no special license required. And, it has *most* of the amenities of home, but obviously an RV is always going to play hell competing with a house. Most of them lack a dishwasher and laundry, for instance. Plus, it is smaller. My wife walked into our house after getting home and was practically giddy with how big it was. πŸ˜‰

  3. I really like the ending when you talk about the purpose of a business. That really hits home and makes you think.

  4. Toying with the idea of doing a RV travel blog? πŸ˜‰

    I was half-expecting a rant about campground WIFI. Catchy headline got me here.

    PS: I loved Stone Mountain camping as a kid.

    1. I’ve thought about it. Might be fun. πŸ™‚ Thing is, I’m not exactly full-timing in it or anything, so whether I’d have enough to talk about is debatable. But, you never know. Also, not sure if it would be good niche for a business or not. Haven’t really looked into it.

  5. A lot of really good points, David. What especially resonates with me is “So, I think all entrepreneurs need to ask themselves, first and foremost, what they want their life to look like. Then, from there, you DESIGN a business…”

  6. David, this was a pretty insightful post. I know that. Not yet ready to commit more time to my blog and fleshly website at the moment, given I just started a new job AND relocated to new city. The insights you gained regarding the effects of taking a break are inspiring, because I know that once I’m ready to move forward, I can ease into it, without fear of creating another another job for myself.
    I too, like to enjoy my summer breaks!

  7. I’m also an RVer, David. It’s so relaxing (once you get settled at a campsite, that is!)

    I agree with the fact that traffic doesn’t drop when you don’t post for awhile.

    In fact, I recommend to my clients that they only post once a week or even once every other week and make that piece a longer, high quality post. I see too many new bloggers posting too often and getting discouraged that no one is seeing their hard work. I feel that guest blogging is a better way to get traffic in the beginning of your blogging career.

    Glad you had a great vacation!
    Sue

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