When you turn your knife making hobby into a business some things start to matter. Risk management is one of those.
What does that mean?
What if Instagram suspends your account?
Let’s look at an example.
With much time and effort you build up your IG account to 12k followers. You drive a steady stream of eager customers to your store.
And then 💩 hits the fan.
You never find out exactly why but IG suspends your account. Do you ever get your account back? No one can tell you. You don’t know.
In fact, you can consider yourself lucky already if you ever find out why your account was banned. Apart from “violating community guidelines”, of course. (Google that if you want. It’s quite real.)
So, what then?
The weeks drag on, and your account remains frozen. You try your best to get your IG back, you try reaching out to past customers, but your traffic never returns to old levels.
And what’s eating you:
#1 Spread out the risk
You can’t rely only on Instagram, only on Facebook, only on any single marketing channel. Because if that one becomes unavailable to you, ỳou’re out of business.
Instead, spread out the risk.
Use Instagram and Youtube. Facebook and Twitch. Instagram and TikTok. Consider building up an offline marketing channel, too. Something completely different.
Slowly, but surely, reduce the dependency on only one channel. Reduce the risk.
#2 Develop a way to reach out to your audience
So you can’t post content anymore—that means your fans won’t see your new work.
How else can you tell them?
Well, give them a call. Shoot them an email.
One common way: a newsletter.
Yes, from a business perspective a newsletter isn’t just another marketing channel.
Your IG content only speaks when your customers go on IG. News on your website relies on someone visiting it.
What you want, what you need is a way for you to reach out to them.
The newsletter topic is so important that we’ve dedicated a separate blog article to it.
#3 Use Platforms—to drive traffic
Social media like IG and marketplaces like Etsy have their place in your marketing strategy: they are supposed to drive traffic to you.
Use them for that!
The danger is if you start relying on them for critical business functions like selling knives and being able to reach your customers.
While they may make things easier at the beginning, mid-term you’ll want to rely less on them.
The ultimate goal is to own your assets.
#4 Own your assets
Like you eventually want to own your own shop and own machines, you want to own your marketing assets, too:
Own your web domain. Buy it. It’s $10, worth every penny. (Online Shops, too, suspend accounts and freeze funds—even when you make culinary knives. Read here which platforms to avoid.)
Build your website. Start dead simple, but start. Google ranking builds up slowly. When is a great time to plant a tree?
If email matters to you, make email work for your domain.
All of this advice is opinionated in a way. You can argue, discuss and dismiss every piece by itself—if you remember only one bit it’s this:
As a business owner, you owe it to yourself.