Some businesses are like the newest addition to a family. They start out as tiny projects that require a lot of initial effort to nurture and grow before striking out as full-fledged businesses that can sustain themselves.
For Harsha Reddy, SmallBizGenius became his second home. It started out as a simple blog that posted product reviews and helpful business tips aimed at entrepreneurs. Over time, it grew into a hub for industry analysis and in-depth product comparisons.
Harsha stayed true to his roots. While SmallBizGenius makes a big portion of its income from affiliate links, they kept their reviews free from bias and made helping small business owners with free and useful resources, their first priority.
Building an Information Hub
His blog, now a popular business information hub, has created opportunities that didn't exist before. Harsha runs the show, on his terms, and for the benefit of his employees, whom he views as a part of his family.
I wanted to be the master of my time, but the very idea of growing and nurturing something you own was attractive for years. I see my company as my child and my employees as my family. I am extremely proud of the fact I was able to create jobs and an environment where people feel safe and happy to come to every day. Ultimately, I'd say I was dreaming of a place where work will become a second home, where each family member works towards the common goal.
But it wasn't all fun and roses in his startup journey. His latest pivot for SmallBizGenuis: being a reliable source for contextualized industry analysis — in other words, reliable insight based on fact-checked data — was born from both his desire to offer genuine value to his growing readership, and the need to combat information mills that churn out content that is raw, unsourced, and often entirely motivated by cut-and-run sponsorship deals. In the purpose to avoid low rated content it's always recommended to use various proofreading tools, like Grammarly or Essay Tigers online attributes.
Part of the problem in the tech and software review space stems from the nature of data silos forming around SEO-driven content. Timeliness trumps quality. So, getting the latest scoop on new software and new product releases can mean the difference between a first-page SERP ranking and almost zero page views.
In spite of the competition, Harsha decided that in the early stages of SmallBizGenuis, reliable content needed to be a priority. And the way to get there was to rely on employees that shared similar values and knew how to balance brevity with clarity.
My business journey has taught me to double-check everything, but also to listen to my gut feeling. I've learned to "bulletproof" my business with business plans, and budget plans if something unexpected happens. Lastly, my business journey has thought me to value my employees the most, as they are the ones who can make or break my business, regardless of the time and effort I make into dealing with the technical side of leading a business.
Becoming a MeetFox Affiliate
SmallBizGenius grew quickly and with that growth came a lot of big decisions, most of which were made in touch-and-go meetings. Harsha sought out a tool that would make managing his hectic schedule easier, with a simple way to organize and run meetings online.
His search eventually led him to MeetFox, an all-in-one scheduling tool that supports browser-based video calling. That made booking appointments as simple as sharing a link to his booking page, where meeting attendees could conveniently book a time in his schedule.
Automated Email & SMS reminders reduced no-shows and kept everyone in the loop.
With this firsthand experience, Harsha decided to join the MeetFox affiliate program because he understood the value that an effective scheduler could bring to business owners that want to focus on more important tasks instead of having to manage the minutiae of both internal and client-facing meetings.
The businesses that could find MeetFox interesting are SaaS companies, a consultancy agency, online therapists, and teachers, for instance.
Running a Successful Affiliate Program
Harsha has since joined many affiliate programs which have spurred even more growth for SmallBizGenuis. He narrows down the affiliate programs he selects for promotion based on whether they are a good fit for his audience.
Utility and ease-of-use are always top of mind.
Other considerations, like the 30% lifetime commission that comes with the MeetFox affiliate program, were still important, but the ultimate deciding factor remained the same: the tangible value that his audience would gain from his review and recommendation of MeetFox.
Deciding on which affiliate programs to participate in varies on several factors. But the most important thing is the reliability of our affiliates since we won't recommend just anything to our readership. Later on, we think about commissions and more business-side of the process.
Harsha would like to see others enjoy similar success, and run their own family businesses. While there is no single path to success, he does have a few recommendations for entrepreneurs that are just starting their own affiliate-backed content platform.
There's not a recipe for success, and I think we all learn from our mistakes. I don't think that I'd do better if I did it now, after years of experience. But I'd invest in Quora, Reddit, HARO, link building, and writing quality content. I would mingle more on LinkedIn and engage with others from the industry.
The key takeaway that Harsha believes can bring entrepreneurs closer to their vision of success, is to focus on value-driven content.
I'd say to always value quality over quantity. Be sure in what you recommend as your readership won't give you second chance.