The Secret Sauce that Will Save Your Business

Transcript of my newsletter from 29th March

Hey there,

Q. What’s the secret sauce that will save your business?


It saved my business in the pandemic.

When I started out, I was working on a project-by-project basis. A project, by its nature, has an end date, and when that end date came, I needed to find a new project to earn some more income.

So my business life was a sequence of landing a project, delivering a project and then looking for another project.

It was tiring!

Had that still been my business model during the pandemic, I would have been out of business by now.

Luckily (and thankfully!), I had decided a few years ago that I needed to develop an MRR – a Monthly Recurring Revenue stream.

At the time, it was designed to remove the pressure of having to continually find new projects.

So I developed a maintenance, security and disaster recovery service, that I sold on a monthly subscription basis to customers for whom I built websites.

As I built up maintenance plan customers, the revenue from that grew to the point that my monthly expenses were covered, and then some.

This enabled me to become choosier over which projects to take on – I could take interesting and challenging ones, without the need to be constantly worrying about next month’s bills.

And having that steady monthly income from my subscription customers enabled my business to survive the pandemic.

Without it, I would not have survived, because the new projects dried up.

The first article I’ve linked to this week goes through some ways you could consider for developing an MRR for your business.

This week’s articles

Also, this week, I’ve linked to ways to make it easier to land SMEs as customers, how a Shopify seller lost US$55,000 when their website was hacked and how to stay safe online.

How to Achieve MRR in Your Business

Stephanie Burns goes through some ways to grow the Monthly Recurring Revenue that will stabilise your business and give you a platform from which you can grow it.

How to grow an MRR in your business

How to Make Your Business Seem Bigger than it is

For me, the ideal client is an SME but many are leery of contracting with a one-person business. They seem too small and unreliable.

Here in Hong Kong companies will only contract with other companies – self employed freelancers don’t get a look in.

So I took several small steps to make my business appear bigger than it really is, including setting up my legal entity as a limited company rather than as a sole trader.

That, and other steps I took, helped me win some clients that I would not otherwise have been able to – despite the fact that, in reality, I am just a one-person business.

Incorporating your business differently is a way to safeguard it against corporate buyers who invoke California’s recent AB5 employment law to refuse to do business with you.

Here are some ways to make your business seem bigger than it is:

Make your business seem bigger than it is

This Shopify seller lost $55,000 after her account was hacked

This is a timely reminder that you can never be too careful working online.

As a business owner selling stuff online, you have the responsibility of protecting your customers’ financial and personally identifiable information.

If your online shop gets hacked you could be in for big penalties if an audit of your online shop finds that it was not Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant.

The case of Andi Rosenberg, whose Shopify site was hacked, shows that you can never be too careful, even if you’re using a hosted platform.

Hosted platforms, like Shopify, are supposed to take care of site maintenance and security but, in this case, Shopify appears to have fallen short.

Here’s what happened:

This Shopify seller lost US$55,000 when her account was hacked

5 ways to stay safe when doing business online

Continuing the theme of security online, the article I’ve linked to below covers 5 ways to stay safe online.

The second one, ‘choose a secure hosting service’ should actually read ‘Choose a secure hosted service’. It refers to hosted platforms like Shopify.

As I said earlier, they are supposed to take care of security and maintenance, but the previous article shows that you can’t rely on that alone.

Ultimately, security online is your responsibility – especially if you are taking payments online.

I’ve published a number of articles on keeping yourself safe online on my Security Basics website – they are listed here.

And here are 5 more ways:

5 ways to stay safe online

Fun flashback

I’ve been a lifelong fan of Jeff Lynne’s ELO. I once heard that Paul McCartney had said that, if the Beatles had stayed together, they would have sounded very like ELO.

Whether that’s an urban myth or not, I have no idea!

Here is ELO with ‘Last train to London’:

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Martin Malden

Martin Malden
Owner – WealthyDragon

Website owner: Martin has been working online since 2006 and focuses on two areas: 1) affiliate marketing and 2) designing and building websites based on WordPress. He has his own WordPress agency, and serves clients in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK.