New media mavens would have you believe in the concept of the Long Tail as a religion. It’s no longer just the big things that matter. But those little things on the fringes, when aggregated, add up to a big thing. A lot of online entrepreneurs subscribe to this ideal. You set up several small sites or services, and try to market and monetize each of these. This is one model in network blogging. You try to run blogs in different niches.
However, it turns out that not each and every one of these can be as successful as you intend them to be. With blogs and web apps, branding matters. Usage statistics matter. Word of mouth matters. Community matters. Not everyone will make the grade. Sometimes you might have one or two sites that grow to be popular reads, and possibly high-earners, too. The rest might not be as successful.
The question here is how focused are you in running your enterprises and endeavors? How focused should your business be? I know a lot of online entrepreneurs who are fond of buying up online properties, developing these, but end up offloading (selling, cancelling, merging) these products when they turn out to be unpopular.
To some extent, I experience this with my own ventures. Some assets turn out to be non-performing and therefore have to be offloaded. Maybe someone else can better take care of my creations, and bring them to their full potential. Maybe someone else can put in better effort and time. Maybe someone else can create better value. Or in some cases, one would have to contend with the fact that some ideas are just not workable–at least at the present time.
My point here is that sometimes we are burdened with a lot of things in the fringes that we tend to forget the focus of our business. When things are hectic and busy, take a while to think. what is the core of your business? Are you keeping faithful to that core ideal or core thrust? How much of your effort are you focusing on this particular goal? And are those little things on the fringes working to complement this central ideal, or are these just taking your precious time away little by little?
For all you know, the long tail effect can also work the other way around. Rather than small benefits adding up, it could be small costs adding up to a big headache.
Keep focused. Keep the faith.