It’s been awhile since I wrote on this topic, though I love it. If you’re interested, click the tags for more posts on this topic. Today I want to write about trying to survive as a small, independent business in this climate.
First, a person like me has to compete with Facebook. This is equivalent to a mom and pop store trying to survive, alongside Walmart. I actually think I will be able to do this. I’m good at what I do and I’m tenacious as hell. I’m going to be here as long as I want to be here, however, it’s a war.
There’s another war I have to fight. It’s hidden. It’s a secret war against American business.
I am talking about the constant attacks on websites like mine, from Russia and China or whereever. This stuff is not personal. I’ve certainly been attacked, personally in the past. But my struggle today is completely impersonal. These hackers don’t care about me. This is outer planet stuff. It has to do with the collective.
Facebook doesn’t care about me, Elsa P. Amazon doesn’t care about Tom and Stella or Fred who might be trying to survive selling X or Y widget. They want to be monopolies and vacuum up all the money.
I’m not complaining about this. I grew up playing cards. Bitching about your cards is very bad form. It’s just disgusting to me.
I believe in playing with whatever’s dealt me, on faith, with as much skill as I can muster. I think this is the best way to prevail on every level so that’s what I’m going to do. But I think we’d do well to think about this and to talk about it.
As these companies gain more control, they exert more control. For example, a small business might promote themselves on facebook. It’s free to do…right up until it’s no longer free.
At first their posts show up in the streams of their followers. Eventually this free press dries up and a business must pay facebook to “boost” their post. If they don’t pay, the post will not be seen. If they do pay, facebook cuts into their profit margin which may already be quite thin.
Facebook can also censor content. It’s their site! They can refuse to “boost” any post they want. So what can a person like me do?
For one thing, I can be of use. I am profoundly geared towards service and as long as I can provide value, I will have customers. But I have to pay for the site, too.
Take, satori. She doesn’t do a lot of consulting, but the value she brings to this site is undeniable. I have to pay her and I have to generate the money so I have it to pay her! I have to sell, basically. How else will I get this money?
But you can help me and I’ll tell you how.
You can link this blog. You can link posts that you like on this blog. You can retweet posts on twitter, share links on facebook.
You can also buy your astrology reports here, recommend the site to others, buy reports as gifts or whatever.
You can forward your free newsletter. You can attend one of our workshops or buy a transcript.
You can also set up a donation (one time or something monthly) to help keep us going. Because we are committed and we’ve proven we’re in this for the long haul, 365 days a year.
What are your thoughts about Pluto in Capricorn and the death of business?
Separate but related, we were discussing gas prices, in the forum, yesterday. It’s a safe bet the price will continue to drop until the US refineries are put out of business and, whoosh!
Not related – but somewhat tied together as I just read your Blog on Pluto in Capricorn: The end of the United States As We Have Known It! I couldn’t agree with you more. And, I noticed that you wrote that in 2008. Very profound of you to see that 8 years ago. I said the same thing and agree with you wholeheartedly. I am a former school teacher and would not teach today for all the money in the world. I would be shot or sued, for sure!
Just know that you are NOT alone in stating your views and you are admired for your courage in doing so.
I have also been berated and ostracized for stating an opinion different from some . . . and they are brutal in their attacks. Just be tough and know that you DO have a large contingent of believers and followers surrounding you and watching your back!
“Just be tough and know that you DO have a large contingent of believers and followers surrounding you and watching your back!”
I appreciate this. Thank you. 🙂
And here is the link:
“For one thing, I can be of use. I am profoundly geared towards service and as long as I can provide value, I will have customers…..”.you are also very personable and fun to talk to..cant get that from big business.
Thank you! 🙂
Happy New Year Elsa!! l think there are always people looking for quality and will find it, no matter what the big businesses are doing. But l get the picture. l really think smaller business helping each other is a good option! This is my vision at the moment about the matter. l am seeing that a lot small businesses linking partners (other starters for example) in order to help each other! That really resonates with me! This are weird times only last year the coin dropped for me and l saw what has changed since Pluto went into Cap. and Aries sqauring it. Not my favorite times somehow…but we will survive!!!
The coins will eventually rain down. We’re getting to that point, now. Thing is, a lot of people don’t know what to do about it.
I started writing about this about ten years ago. Anyone who goes back to look will see that what I’m saying is true.
Every day more and more people are affected. I think this is the year when thing will accelerate. I was looking at February for a client in regards to something unrelated. I looked to be quite speedy.
Oil storage is becoming quite an issue. I do not know if that is unrefined oil… i assume so. http://ourfiniteworld.com/2016/01/07/2016-oil-limits-and-the-end-of-the-debt-supercycle/#more-40491
In other news I’m working with two companies that provide very exclusive, niche products. Highly valuedoubt by those who use the product but hard to stay afloat with the crap quality competition from china. Quality takes time, effort, people with skill… all of which costs and i see many who refuse to value american made and better quality than china etc. Can produce. They want to argue with me about the cost of my product. I find i do not want them as customers… either you see value or you do not.
I know you have to pay facebook for your post to reach out to more people..
I had to block about 20 ips today, for trying to log into wordpress as me or as admin or as whoever.
Part of the reason this is happening is because I recently deleted all the ips I had blocked because if you leave them there for years…well eventually ips change so you can block legitimate users. So I flushed my block list, knowing I would have to rebuild it.
One thing is this is all matter-of-fact at this point. The software record the ip, the other software blocks it. Eventually this will be even more automated. I just feel sorry for anyone who winds up with an ip that used to belong to a hacker or a troublemaker / spammer. You do get on a list of bad ips. Not with *me* but on the broader internet. Once an ip is known to be bad, it’s very hard to get yourself removed from one of these lists (so I hear).
My parents had a small business (restaurant) 1956-1983, which we kids grew up in (it was next to our house which we only slept in). Most of the time we were across the parking lot, in the drive-in. So, though I’m not an entrepreneur, small businesses resonate with me. 🙂
I think there’s going to be a a tipping point when most small business & entrepreneurship go necessarily underground. Either yelp FB twitter become a moot point because folks won’t have time/resources to fool around on the web or it is used more for a word of mouth thing. Who has X item right now. Since FB has control of what users see & don’t see in their stream, I’d say FB would be out. Maybe there will be a new blackmarket private twitter or something. Something like GOTZdotCOM “I gots fresh eggs who has 10d nails” Depends on what the tipping point will be. Maybe it’s localized in pockets (in USA here).
This sounds right to me. And I see it happening already. My own small businesses operate this way. Not a bad model so long as you add value, as Elsa says.
Hey Elsa, join the club! I’m completely invisible on facebook! But do I care? I’m a free agent. I can create my own Universe.
And you know what, I visit your blog every single day. I invest my energy and interest in your blog because it’s cutting edge, chock full of intelligent, questioning ideas, and leaves an impression long after other blogs or social media are forgotten. You’ll be around a lot longer than those who are ‘liked’ on face book.
‘…At first their posts show up in the streams of their followers. Eventually this free press dries up and a business must pay facebook to “boost” their post. If they don’t pay, the post will not be seen. If they do pay, facebook cuts into their profit margin which may already be quite thin.’
‘Facebook can also censor content. It’s their site! They can refuse to “boost” any post they want. So what can a person like me do?’
Our country was sold out by our upper class. I’m not talking about upper middle class (100 grand a year) I’m talking about our millionaires and billionaires. They decided to wash their hands of our lower class and “gave up” on what America used to represent. George Bush took the tariff taxes off imported goods from other countries so his corporate buddies could take advantage of cheap labor in under-privileged countries (like China). Since labor is the single biggest cost for any company, cheap labor is a HUGE deal. Minimum wage laws, workers compensation, and health insurance are very expensive. The problem this created is our workers are left with even lower wages, too, because the company can easily threaten to move their business overseas if we aren’t willing to take the wage cut. Normally shipping costs wouldn’t be worth it because they would incur the tariff tax and the two together would exceed whatever profit they made off cheap labor. Without having to pay a tariff tax, which would actually BENEFIT our country, there’s no reason for a corporation to stay local. The money they save of the cheap labor overseas is high enough to cover their shipping costs back to the united states AND they still will make a profit. Unfortunately, the profit is also sent back to the origin of the company, or CEO, and not spent on anything local. Hence the concentration of power and the sudden phenomena of millionaires and billionaires. Small businesses are being cut out of profit in both foreign countries, where american corporations are moving in, and the United States, where corporations are capitalizing on the cheap foreign products out-pricing mom and pop corner stores…and all because there’s no pesky tariff taxes eating into their profits. American small businesses can’t compete with cheaper foreign products. In the Phillipines you could pay rent and buy a household of children a month worth of food on only $40 a month. The cost of living is extremely low so a little bit a goods sold here is a big profit over there. Our residents, however, could only buy gas for a car with $40. That would be like a week of food in this country. Try to find something in walmart that doesn’t say “Made in China” on it. It will be difficult to find. They can incur the cost of shipping it here only because the savings from cheap labor overseas is more than the cost of shipping it. Tariff taxes were created, in the first place, to encourage profits being spent within our own local economy. If a foreign country wanted to sell their products here at a higher price than they would pay the tariff tax to at least benefit the local economy while removing the profits that are being siphoned elsewhere, in a foreign economy. There literally was no reason for those tariff taxes to be removed, other than to encourage businesses to move overseas and ship their products back here to the US to be sold at a “cheaper cost to the customer.” Eventually the cheaper products cuts out the small business who can’t compete with foreign pricing AND it lowers the wages of our workers because they’re now competing in a global economy where corporations are exploiting workers in countries so poor they don’t have indoor plumbing. Wages are determined by what people are willing to work for. It’s only when people refuse to work a lower wage that the wage goes up (unless, of coarse, you have expensive minimum wage laws). Add a country with no human rights (like China) and your competitive edge is gone…when people are starving they will work for virtually nothing. The united states is being dumbed-down because the government has no money to educate our poor. If wages are lower, so are total tax collections (especially since the upper class deregulated their own taxes). The financial aid is nowhere near what it used to be. It’s not spoiled brats who are lazy and don’t want to put the effort into their academic future…it’s poor folks not having access to the means for attending college. Now the colleges are barring student loans because the economy is so bad they aren’t getting paid back. What do they do? They raise the price of tuition and stop offering student loans. That means only people of means (the upper class/daddy warbucks) will have an education. The upper class literally sold this country out to the highest bidder when they removed those tariff taxes. That is why your small business doesn’t have a chance competing against these corporate giants. There is no shortage of poor people to exploit. If one country decides they want to implement human rights the corporations will simply move to another, even poorer, country. They are getting richer and richer, while the gleaning is still legal, and our poor will continue to cannibalize each other over the low wage jobs that are left. If you are a small business and want a fighting chance, you should vote for tariff taxes to be reinstated!! At the beginning, our top %1 became filthy rich on the influx of immigrants flooding INTO this country. They were new so willing to work whatever wage they were given. Now that our immigrant forefathers are wiser, and have spent the last decade voting for their own human rights, corporate interests are taking their exploits OUT of the country. Either way, they won’t get rich without desperate people willing to work for virtually nothing. It’s the same story but with a different playing field.
Small business has to deal with so many obstacles today. Its very hard because you need to utilize social media to grow your business today.
First, the hackers. Most of them are just automated bots that go from server to server to see where they can get in using basic passwords. They try, 24/7, looking to login as someone that uses “password” or other common things as their password. Sometimes they exploit unpatched system security holes. Its so hard for any small business to keep up with the security aspect of running a small business unless you’re a tech.
As for Facebook, you have to pay to get any worthwhile advertising from them, but even then I wonder if thats the best way to use it. Maybe Facebook groups might work for you because you would benefit from the group.
I think you’ve been very successful at maintaining this site for so long and all the credit goes to you and Satori for excellent content. Maybe it would be worthwhile looking into a social media PR company that can help you build up your business. Even if you don’t choose to go with them, you might learn a lot about their methods of utilizing social media to grow a business.
i know you know, they don’t think you see everything, they’ve probably tried to hack your site. try to screw with her and you’ll pay she knows
I use small vendors more and more. The muchness of the biggies makes me nauseous. On the bit about hackers, I am overwelmed by the amount of attention and money that goes into security in business. The downside of technology: the abuse. I have been working at larger companies as of late. In the smaller business arena, I was just closer to the scamming. It happens on all levels. The common sayism is that you have to cheat to get ahead. Crap, it happened in my bio unit. It’s everywhere. Starts with me I guess. And yup, playing it straight, I sure ain’t getting ahead of anyone else. But am surviving somehow.
It used to be telemarketing that filled up my answer machine. I checked the numbers that dial in thru the reverse white pages and they are all scam numbers.
I was hoping that Trump could win and help businesses…but yeah, that is a pipe dream. Sighs.