The Value In Diversification

Earlier in the week, I was having lunch with one of the guys I work with in my day job and he asked me what I was going to do over the long weekend coming up.  I told him that I was going try and finishing implementing a new shopping cart into one of my sites, I might sit down and plan out my next book, I will probably write an issue of the newsletter and if I have some spare time I’ll probably start working on a new video course.

He looked at me dumbfounded.  He said, “I’m tired just listening to you.  When are you going to get some time to relax?”

I laughed and explained that unlike most people, I actually didn’t find “work” stressful or all that mentally exhausting, so doing all the business things was fun and interesting.

His next question was probably more to the point, “Why do you do all that stuff?”

I’m not being disrespectful when I say this, but he’s not entrepreneurial and he’s not what I refer to as a “Casual Marketer”.  He views his earning potential through the prism of his job and accepts all of the limitations that brings with it.

There’s nothing wrong with that, I’m not one of those people who guffaws and makes snide comments about people who have jobs.  The problem for him though is that he has no diversification of his income – he’s single source dependent.

I see myself as a corporation.  I have a really good consulting client, my employer, that pays me really well for a portion of my time.  I have other divisions in my personal corporation that are building out their own markets and strategies, all earning their own income.

My job is great, but the growth potential is reasonably limited.  My other little “kitchen table” businesses are all about growing all the time.  Those businesses are about diversifying my income streams all the time.

I think this is a really key lesson that everyone should learn, it doesn’t matter if you have a job or if you run your own business working for yourself, you always need to have a goal of diversifying your income.  Your income streams might be lumpy – if you have a job then it’s likely that your employer is your best client by a fair amount, but that just means there’s an opportunity for you to grow elsewhere.

A few years ago on a long trip around the world for work, at an airport bookstore, I picked up the book, “Jack” by Jack Welch, the former legendary CEO of General Electric.  This book had a massive influence on me then and ever since.

Welch had a bunch of unique things that he did with how he ran GE and he basically revolutionized how the business operated.

For this discussion, there was one overarching theme that I wanted to talk about.  Welch drove GE really hard to diversify and grow.  He had a philosophy that if a business unit became the dominant player in its market, that he’d break it apart and move into established related markets where GE could start out being #2 or #3 and grow to become the largest player.

Some people viewed this as relentless competition, which to a degree it was, constantly having to compete to be the best keeps you sharp, but the reality was that diversifying and going into markets with growth potential from both organic and by taking it from competitors is the ultimate diversification strategy.

The impact on me was that I realized that I needed to be constantly striving to do new things to give myself the ability to grow new income streams.  Even Casual Marketer is effectively a new business that I’ve grown from nothing in 2016 into a new source of income over this year.

Think about this in what you’re doing.  Look at your activities and figure out if there are new ways to grow, can you change the way you’re doing something now and make it grow faster or can you start something new that doesn’t damage your current sources of income, but adds a new opportunity for you to grow in 2017.

Diversification.  It’s important and you need to be thinking about it.

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