The Importance of Owning Your Platform (& Why You Shouldn’t Be a YouTuber)

July 10, 2017 - 17 Comments

This Monday, we're here with another Mixup podcast episode. The topic for this episode is rarely discussed on the web, yet we find it extremely important: true ownership of your platform and business. 

Owning your platform is one of the three main pillars we talk about on ActiveGrowth. We find these three pillars so essential that it's the first thing you can read about on our homepage

So, what exactly does "owning your platform" mean? And what are the mistakes entrepreneurs make, that leave them with a business they don't truly own? Listen to today's episode to find out!


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Episode Transcript

In This Episode, You'll Find Out:

  • Why you shouldn't be a YouTuber, Instagrammer, Snapchatter...
  • What monopoly platforms are and why you need to avoid them.
  • The crucial difference between using 3rd party platforms and products and being dependent on them.
  • The most important assets of your online business, that you must have 100% ownership and control over.
  • How to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket, when building your business (especially if it turns out to be the wrong basket).
  • Why we don't recommend using a platform like Udemy for creating information products.
  • Why building your personal brand is a huge advantage (and how we do it).


We'd Love To Hear From You

If you've listened to the intro episode of the ActiveGrowth Podcast, you know that we create the content of this podcast based on your questions and feedback. 

Leave any suggestions or questions you may have in the comments section below! 

See you soon with another podcast episode! 

About ​Alexandra Kozma

Alexandra is a traveling marketer. When she is not editing podcast episodes or writing blog posts, she's out there exploring a new city. She's the creator of the Morning Mindset daily mindfulness journal.

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  • Great Episode! I am listening to all your podcasts and I am planing to start an online business and I am sure it’s going to be with thrive. And all these tips are just on the right time for me. THANKS A LOT! You guys are doing a great job!

  • Great episode again, Shane and Hanne! Keeping control of things is indeed a huge factor. I’ve read a few horror stories of people putting all their videos on YouTube and then one day – for no real valid reason – their account got shut down and they lost everything.

    Third party platforms can be super valuable, but having your own brand/platform alongside of it and being able to switch your content to a different place when necessary, is a back-up you definitely need.

    • Hi Michiel,

      When this same thing happened to my YouTube channel, I went searching for solutions. And I was shocked to see forums and discussion groups full of people who had experienced this exact thing (YT account axed for no reason) and were desperately looking for a solution. Many posts years old, with no solution ever found.

  • Jonathan Denwood says:

    Great episode Shane and you have given me some stuff to think about connected to my own business!

    • Glad to hear this was an inspiring episode for you, Jonathan! Hopefully, it helps you transfer some of your eggs from baskets you don’t own, to baskets you do own. :)

  • Christine says:

    Thank you for this. I just published my first yoga course on udemy so this probably comes at the right time! What would you suggest though as an alternative? I don’t have any technical knowledge or the budget to build my own system. The only thing I can think of is hosting my videos on vimeo and send out emails. Would that work? I just don’t know if people would buy it… udemy looks so professional!

    • Hanne Vervaeck says:

      Hi Christine,

      Do you have any opportunity to get the contact information of your customers so that you can start building a list?
      Maybe offering an extra bonus or… (You’ll have to check to be in compliance with Udemy).
      We’re working on putting together, what we think is the best solution for selling online courses so keep an eye open for that :)

      • Christine says:

        Oh great! I’ll look out for that.

  • This is one of my favorite topics. I have my own version of this rant on my blog and I give it out so much that I have the link saved in TextExpander. Also, YOU READ MY REVIEW! :) #Superfan.

  • Hi Shane and Hanne,
    I’m just starting out building an online presence and business so your advice is very timely, many thanks.

    I’d like to ask where do you suggest to host your videos as an alternative to Youtube?

    You have a large number of videos on the Thrive Youtube channel, do you have these hosted elsewhere as well in case of YT problems?

    I’ve bought Thrive Content Builder and Thrive Leads and enjoy your plain-speaking style of video lessons, am busy working my way through them right now.
    Thanks again,

    • Thank you for your comment, Helen!

      For videos, my current solution is this: I host all of my sales videos and landing page videos (i.e. the ones that are on business critical pages and important for conversions) on Wistia. Vimeo Pro is also a good (and cheaper) solution for this.

      All of the other videos (blog content videos) I upload to YouTube.

      The thinking behind this is that if I lose my blog content videos, but all my sales and landing page videos remain, that’s not so catastrophic for my business. It would probably take a few days to re-upload and replace all the content videos and it wouldn’t cost us a lot in lost revenue. That’s a decent tradeoff compared to the extra traffic we can get from YouTube.

  • Is Patreon immune from the problems you associate with YouTube and Facebook? Their paid model means reach stays organic and I think they let you keep your own mailing list. Presumably no-one would pay for so many subscriptions that an evil algorithm would be needed to sort it.

    Also, isn’t it a bit dramatic to talk about losing all your content when reasonable people have back-ups on their hard-drives, the original Word and MP4 files they edited before posting?

    Interested to hear your thoughts. Loving the content. Thanks for all the amazing insight.

    • Hi Anna,

      Thank you for your comment!

      Patreon certainly isn’t immune to these problems but it is much better to have patrons than to be dependent on a social platform and shared ad revenue or such. With Patreon, you have a form of this direct relationship that I talk about and recommend: you are providing something valuable to people and those people are paying you for it.

      I have read about some creators having issues with Patreon as a platform and looking to move to something else. Patreon itself is, again, a platform that you don’t own. And as far as I know, they hold your patrons captive. You can’t export your audience to a different platform, so it’s more lock in and more dependence than I’d be comfortable with.

      About backups: what happened to me once is that a YouTube channel of mine was shut down, without warning or recourse. I lost 115 original videos. I had backups for almost all of them. I spent many, many hours over the course of several days going through my site and replacing the videos that had been rendered blank because of the channel shut-down.

      So, even in this scenario, I lost a lot of time. Now, if I had all my content ONLY on YouTube (or some other platform) and I had to set up a new website somewhere else and try to rebuild everything from scratch, using original files? And if this happened later on and it wasn’t 100 but 500 or 1,000 pieces of content?

      When this kind of loss happens, it does feel quite dramatic, trust me.

      Oh, I also lost $5K+ in monthly revenue from a Google update. Also felt a little bit dramatic. :D

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