An Interesting and Positive Outlook in Spite of COVID-19.
First off, I hope everyone is doing well. We are living in crazy times right now, and I want to let you know that we are here for you and we are all in this COVID-19 pandemic together. It is new for all of us, so I think we are all walking into this with a different perspective/outlook, and it is impacting all of our lives in a lot of similar ways, but also in many unique ways as well.
Today I am going to spend some time offering an update on the outlook of the "online" world, how this will impact Wealthy Affiliate, and the state of the world economy within the near/mid term future. There are many people that have been concerned about what this might look like, and we have been thinking about this (and discussing extensively) for the last week. I wanted to offer folks here my personal opinions on the matter, as this is something that we have been consumed with over the past few weeks.
So here we go.
How Long is Covid-19 Going to Last?
Although it seems like it has hit us by storm, there have been very smart people discussing this very topic for many years predicting the possibility of such a pandemic happening. Bill Gates, one of the most intelligent people on the topic of pandemics (and in the world in general), did a really awesome Ted speech on this very topic that I recommend you check out if you get a chance.
This was inevitable and we were under prepared for this happening. Why we were not prepared is another issue, but here we are and there is no sense looking back, let's focus on the future and what that looks like.
The current state of emergency that we are in appears to be pretty much worldwide (with the exception of a few countries). I can tell you that Canada is almost in full lockdown now, because there are really only a few ways you can tackle a virus like this.
- Social Distance. This is obviously important, and it is why this has become such a widespread term. Social distance, means keeping your distance from others. If germs cannot spread from one person to the next, the spread of this virus stops. Simple as that.
- Comprehensive Testing. South Korea exhibited a way to test and solve this issue through testing. The problem is that most of the world hasn't used technology, haven't followed the contact trails, and they haven't been able to centralize data in a meaningful way. As countries scale up testing, they will be able to efficiently quarantine those that have been exposed to the virus and will be able to eradicate it much quicker.
Outside of that, a vaccine is the other way that we can tackle this but realistically this is likely going to be some time in 2021. In the meantime, we are going to need to be smart and we are going to all need to be socially responsible to try to eradicate the prevalence of the quickly spreading COVID-19 virus.
I don't want to go on pretending to be a scientist, because I am not. But realistically, I think we can expect COVID-19 to be a part of our lives for some time, likely a year or more until there is a vaccine. This doesn't mean that we are going to be in a quarantine or lock down until then, but we will see trickle effects of this for years to come.
So, here at Wealthy Affiliate the big question is...What does this mean to your online business? Are there any positives that can come out of this? Let's discuss.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Online Businesses.
So what does the immediate future look like? We are currently on the verge of a full "lock down" on the west coast of Canada, as some other Canadian cities have already moved to full lock down. A lot of the world is experiencing some of the same, or more serious measures in their cities.
This means more people at home without the ability to really go anywhere. No storefronts are open, few or minimal restaurants are open, and people are trying to navigate their "new" and "isolated" world.
What does this mean?
Well I feel that for the first few months, people will be flooding online looking for something to do. There will be financial bailouts by governments, there will be deferral allowance on things like mortgages and bills, and these first economic stimulus plans are likely to be followed by further injections and by other countries. In the USA, the Feds have committed to spend "as much as it takes". I believe other countries will follow suit.
Outside of groceries, people are being forced to shift all of their spending online. Retailers who are online are temporarily closing their offline doors. They are keeping their online divisions open, and pushing all of their sales revenue through the Internet.
Where you may have gone to your local tennis store to purchase a racket or tennis balls, now you are going to be purchasing these same things online through their online store (or another online store that sells what you need). The same goes for every purchase. I know that in the past 2 weeks we've barely gone anywhere, we've made far more purchases than usual online and this is the new norm for not just me or Carson, but everyone.
Moving forward in the social distancing and isolation period, people are going to be forced into making all their purchases online. This is going to turn from the necessities (toilet paper, food, etc), to all other purchases that someone would have conventionally made offline. Most niches online will flourish (while the spending capabilities for people is still there).
So this is immediate. People are moving into isolation worldwide, they still have access to communications and internet, they have a lot of free time on their hands, and they are going to be looking for things to do out of boredom and out of the necessity to generate revenue and purchase necessities.
Isolation. A Time to Build Your Business.
As most countries are moving into a situation where people are being asked or mandated to "isolate" themselves from others, we are finding ourselves behaving in ways that we typically wouldn't have without these mandates. More people are spending more time online than ever. More people are spending more time-consuming digital media, to the point where services like Netflix, Disney+ and even most news sites are starting to throttle the bandwidth usage on their website and block HD streaming to certain regions.
You are also seeing a major shift in spending habits. I’ve literally left my house once in the last two weeks, and I’ve no plans on going into public unless it is out of necessity. I think my habits and behaviour is much similar to others. I’ve been spending money though, on entertainment, things to keep my kids busy and educated (toys, books, etc), and have been buying a great deal of my groceries online...in particular all non perishables.
This has actually led to more productivity in my daily business activities. I am not out running errands, not shopping, not wasting time driving to the gym every night. It just has taken a little getting used to the "new normal" and working out how my schedule will work in the coming months (or potentially longer) ahead. I think the first few weeks are going to feel a little bizarre for all of us until we settle into the reality and how to manage our new schedules and in many cases, newfound time.
So isolation, forced or not, has led to having more time to dedicate to our businesses generally speaking. It may come with some distractions and lack of motivation because of the current state of the world. These trying times are equating to an opportune time to build on your business to take advantage of the current state of the Internet.
And moving forward to the future, the "post corona" world. A world that is going to be rife with economic growth and prosperity (more on that later).
Amazon Moving to Essential Products Only.
One of the more interesting developments out of this is Amazon's move to prioritize the stock and delivery of essentials to the world. Anything that it feels that is NON essential within it's storefront, Amazon is letting the stock deplete and they are working on relationships with companies like Kraft to help acquire and deliver the necessities like groceries, sanitation equipment/products, and day to day necessities with their store.
Because of this, there is less inventory and long wait times for things that are nonessential. Say you were looking to buy a TV, you are now likely to wait over a month for delivery of this. This is representing a big opportunity to other competing companies and for affiliates to join and integrate other affiliate programs into their websites that have quicker availability.
The move is one that is necessary and is helping ease the load on stores (by Amazon), and is also a business decision they are making to spur further growth. More people buying more products from them, equates to more people that will buy from them in the future. That is their logic.
In the meantime, other merchants will stand to benefit and affiliates will stand to benefit by looking outside of the "Amazon" box for affiliate programs to promote. There are plenty of companies out there with affiliate programs, and you can use the Affiliate Programs search here at WA to find LOTS of these. There are 10,000+ within the database here alone.
The Outlook at Wealthy Affiliate.
We are as confident as ever in our platform, the community, and the state of the industry. Although this is different from the 2008 crash, we have seen a lot of peaks, and a lot of valleys over the years. We are pushing forward with innovation, evolution and improvements we have planned within the community and our team is running at FULL capacity. We have no plans to change this and you can have full confidence in Wealthy Affiliate as we move forward.
I can tell you that the things that we have going on behind the scenes are going to be setting us up for many years of high speed development, lots of innovation, a whole new world of education, and an environment that incubates more success than ever.
Although these times are certainly unique in every way, I can tell you that we are forging forward and anyone that is part of the platform/community here at Wealthy Affiliate is going to be well suited to build and grow their businesses through these times, and hugely prosper beyond the pandemic.
We are very much excited, we are on schedule, and we are ready to deliver some incredible stuff in the year ahead.
We Will Get Through This.
One last thing before I leave you today. I want to remind everyone that as tough as things sometimes seem, humanity is resilient. The more seriously you take this, and the more you do personally to help create social distance, the quicker we can get through this.
The brilliant thing I see is that people are truly starting to band together worldwide and doing so in a way we have never seen. Obviously the Internet and social media has served as an excellent medium to communicate this, and now that MOST of the world truly understands how devastating this virus can be, we can act in unity to overcome it. United, we are capable of anything.
We WILL get through this, but I think realistically we need to brace for the presence of this virus and lasting effects at least a year, maybe more. The world is going to go through economic strain, and there are a lot of unknowns as to how the governments are going to deal with it. Different countries are going to deal with this differently, and it is apparent that some are more efficient than others.
The economy is not dead. It is still moving. The Internet has never been more lively and more rife with opportunity. The future is bright. Stay positive. Remain resilient.
Stay safe, and take care of yourself.
Kyle (& Carson)