The Proverbial Eggs in a Basket

12 replies
It's morning on a mid-summer's day. The sun is just over the horizon, casting its happy beams across the land, yet not high enough that it's too hot to be running around outside.

And there you are, skipping around happily, through the meadow, smelling the pretty flowers just opening up for a busy day of hosting butterflies and bees. You're on your way back from the chicken coop, heading back to the house with the eggs you collected, but you decided to take the long way to enjoy tiptoeing through the fields of flowers.

Okay, so I know you're thinking, hey, wait, I'm not a six year old girl living in 1890! But, just grin and bear it for a few more moments as I approach the point...

You're smiling and giggling as you dance your way through the greenery...

...until you stub your toe on the gun of a plastic Army man your brother must have left behind when he was playing.

Never mind how your brother had a plastic Army man in 1890. Don't over-think this!

You grab your foot with your right hand, dropping the basket of eggs you were holding. Several eggs broke as they fell out and hit the ground.

Your mother is going to be very cross with you!

Fortunately, you had a second basket you didn't drop. Good thing you knew not to put all your eggs in one basket, right?

Lesson: You shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket.

Your mother scolded you pretty good. And scolded you again after you beat your little brother with your dolly.

And, since there was no form injected plastic yet, your dolly was made of solid wood.

Your brother probably won't leave his toy soldiers in the field again. At least not for a few days, until he forgets again.

Anyway, you still don't trust your brother to not leave his toys around where you won't trip on them, so, the next day, you realize that, if it's a bad idea to put all your eggs in one basket and if two baskets are good, then more must be better!

You get eight baskets. You can carry three in each hand, one in your mouth and the other jammed in between the others somewhere.

You spend the next morning collecting all the eggs from the chickens and fill all eight baskets.

Of course, you know to go directly to the house this time, and not get sidetracked in the field. Your brother may still be bruised, but that doesn't mean he hasn't left his toys about. So, why take chances, right?

After all, that's why you put all your eggs in eight baskets instead of just one, or two.

If one is bad and two is good then more must be better!

On your way back to the house, one basket slips out of your hand, you try to catch it, but that results in dropping two more baskets. Those bump into other baskets and, well, you've dropped all your baskets and you've shattered a whole bunch of eggs.

Your mother is going to be extremely cross with you.

It might be time to think about running away from home. You could run off to the circus and learn juggling. That would have been a useful skill about thirty seconds ago.

Lesson: You shouldn't put your eggs in too many baskets!

That's an under-learned lesson. People constantly advise you not to put all your eggs in one basket. I offered that advice this morning too.

But, there is such a thing as having your eggs in too many baskets.

For example, around these parts--and I mean the Warrior Forum, not your 1890 farm--it's often recommended to have more than one website. The more, the better! If one doesn't make money, maybe another will!

And so on.

Now, sometimes, it can be very good to have multiple baskets. For example, consider payment processing. It can be a good thing to be able to accept credit cards, PayPal, Google Wallet and so on. A wide variety of payment options can make it easier for your customers.

But, sometimes, it can be bad to have multiple baskets. Let's say you have ten websites. It's not easy to keep ten websites updated, especially if you're trying to do it on a daily basis. Some will suffer. Maybe all of them will. Maybe you'll keep them all updated for a while, but then you'll probably get burned out.

It could take months just to build a site up to the point where it's making a decent income. If you're juggling too many sites and spreading your focus around, it could take longer. In the meantime, you could just get fed up with doing it, especially if you're spending hour after hour every day doing something and only seeing a few pennies in your AdSense account.

You're like the little girl trying to hold eight baskets. Instead of mitigating the risk by distributing the egg load across multiple baskets, you've increased the risk by trying to balance more egg baskets than is reasonable. The end result is that, instead of losing just one basket of eggs, you could lose them all.

Which sort of undermines the whole idea of spreading the eggs across multiple baskets, doesn't it?

Of course, one could outsource the management of multiple websites, but that's not always feasible, especially for someone just starting out.

Lesson: Don't try to balance more baskets than you can carry.

Instead of trying to build dozens of websites at the start, build one, maybe two. Focus on that site. Build it up. Get it making money, then look into starting more. Don't start more than you can handle or afford to outsource the handling of.

Also, be nicer to your little brother. Beating him with your wooden dolly was kind of mean.

The bottom line: Putting your eggs in too many baskets can be as detrimental as putting them all in one basket.
#basket #eggs #proverbial
  • Profile picture of the author fin
    I just use egg whites. No chance of them smashing.

    I think you only need one business. If you have time to do something else then you didn't set it up good enough that it could easily be scaled. One business doesn't mean you need to have the traffic coming from one place, or only one thing to sell.

    The only way I can see people building extra is if the can leverage traffic or hire employees.

    I know there are exceptions and many people have successfully built more than one business, but what do you think the success rate is for the people who concentrated on one? I bet it's higher.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    I would add... make sure you've put some eggs in basket one before moving on to basket two. I see many people carrying around a whole lot of baskets but they're all empty.

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  • Profile picture of the author Joseph Robinson
    My head is spinning. I think I'll just keep going to Panera for breakfast and let them handle the eggs for me. Great marketing lesson regardless.
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  • Profile picture of the author mosthost
    "Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket." -- Andrew Carnegie
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    • Profile picture of the author fin
      Most of the problems happen when you let your little sister carry your eggs.

      If you're that little boy with the toy soldier you should carry your own eggs.

      Not put them in your sisters basket. Because she could drop them at any moment.
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  • Profile picture of the author marketinguk
    I got a bit lost there with some of that I wonder if i'm alone lol, but your overall lessons taught here Dan are so important on both ends of the scale. (I'll leave all the inevitable upcoming egg jokes to others) I have seen numerous threads with people writing how they learnt about x product and they now want to build 100 sites before they've even got one.

    The difficult part is reigning them in as they're really excited. However, many try to take on more than they can handle and fail due to overload.

    This thread should be bookmarked by people starting out building their sites and their business as a whole.

    Great thread Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author micromike
    never having been a girl in a sundress during ANY era, I had to imbibe much alcohol to achieve the proper mindset to get my eggs unscrambled (metaphorically). It's possible that would have happened anyway, but who am I to sneer at any excuse for inveterate over-indulgence?
    In a rare switch to a serious moment - good post. If you're a rookie, pick a niche you know and like, rather than one with a high per-click value. Put up two or three sites that approach that niche at slightly different angles - in other words, if your niche is radio controlled cars, make two more sites, one on batteries for them, and one on tracks you can race them on. Concentrate on just those three sites, until you have an average on-site time of more than five minutes.
    Congratulations! you just improved your chances of lasting at this a year, by almost fifty percent!

    "Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment".

    "We're the DARK SIDE... and you're SURPRISED we lied about the cookies?"

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  • Profile picture of the author lisakleinweber
    This is something I struggle with a lot. I did a lot better when all my eggs were in one basket, probably because of FOCUS. Then the big G smashed most of my eggs in that one basket (reduced my adsense income on one website by about $2000+ monthly.)

    But now that my eggs are in many baskets it is a struggle to give all the baskets attention. Especially since I only have about 3 hours a day to work (homeschooling mother as well as business owner).

    The good news is, while carrying 5 baskets, dropping one will at this point not cut me to the tune of $2000+ again.
    New Women's Health PLR - IBS, Acne, Allergies, Walking, and Foot Health

    Affiliate Marketing Plus Email Marketing PLR -- Mobile Marketing PLR
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    I think you should just train all the chickens to deposit the eggs in a basket by the door.

    Lesson: When possible, automate and outsource
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  • Profile picture of the author cashcow
    Are you talking about me, Dan?
    Gone Fishing
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    • Profile picture of the author Mary Green
      Very nice post and point, Dan! As someone who was easily distracted by all of the 'opportunities' when I started here almost 6 years ago, everyone, everywhere was warning me about multiple streams of income, but this is a hugely valid point as well. I hope the person you instructed this morning takes this to heart.
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