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Opinion: Does ‘Luck’ Play a Role in Business?

Opinion Does 'Luck' Play a Role in Business

During my three and a half years in the gaming website business, I’ve faced numerous uncontrollable events, both favorable and unfavorable. These experiences have led me to ponder the role of luck in business. Some believe in creating their own luck, while others emphasize taking control of their business destinies. However, in my journey, I’ve realized that both luck and uncontrollable events have played a substantial part in my success.

A Fortunate Start in Business

The first stroke of “luck” I encountered as a fledgling business owner was the serendipitous initiation of my venture. While I was attending college, a friend of mine began writing poker-related content for a contact he knew. Since I had some spare time on my hands, I decided to pen a few articles for him in return for a modest fee.

Subsequently, my relentless pursuit of online freelance work led me to secure my first writing job, working for a seasoned employer. Eventually, he encouraged me to launch my own website and imparted the necessary skills to manage and run it.

This initial guidance led me to establish fifty different websites and generate a substantial income. Were it not for my friend’s introduction to the industry, my employer’s faith in me as a writer, and the subsequent push to start my own website, I doubt I would have embarked on my entrepreneurial journey.

The Business ‘Luck’ Factor

Fast forward a couple of years, and I was enjoying a commendable income for a 22-year-old. However, with ninety percent of my revenue contingent on SEO and search engine traffic, a new search algorithm update named “Penguin” was rolled out, wreaking havoc on my entire business. My website traffic and income took a nosedive, and I found myself on the brink of throwing in the towel.

Nonetheless, I persevered. In a stroke of fortune, a month earlier, I had acquired a new website in the binary options niche. I entered this industry just as it was beginning to take off, ensuring that I hadn’t employed any SEO tactics that Penguin would penalize. This new website turned out to be a gold mine, ranking at the top of search engine results for all the industry’s major keywords and generating a five-figure monthly income. The fortuitous timing had catapulted me into a thriving industry.

More Favorable ‘Luck’ in Business

Another six months down the line, this new website was consistently generating substantial revenue. Still scarred from witnessing my entire business plummet overnight due to the first Penguin update, I decided to cash in on the website, selling it for the highest price possible.

However, there was a twist. Selling a website of this nature was no easy feat, given the limited number of buyers with deep pockets. By sheer coincidence, I stumbled upon a forum post from an individual searching for an affiliate site with a budget that matched my asking price. I reached out to the prospective buyer, and within a few days, the deal was sealed.

Here’s the kicker: Although we had agreed on a price one fateful Friday, the payment was scheduled for the following Monday. As fate would have it, Google released the second iteration of its infamous Penguin update that very Friday night.

If the Penguin update had penalized my website that Friday, the buyer would have withdrawn from the deal, and my business would have crumbled. I would have lost a six-figure asset overnight, with no conceivable means of financial or emotional recovery. Few individuals rebound from such an ordeal. In other words, it was a make-or-break weekend for me, and thankfully, the site remained unscathed, the deal went through, and I had secured funding for my business for the next two to three years.

I had absolutely no control over these turn of events that could either obliterate my business or provide me with the capital to reinvest in it for years to come.

Being Fortunate in Business

Another remarkable instance of good luck in my business journey transpired when I acquired a premium domain in the gold bullion retail sector. It marked my first foray into a five-figure domain investment, which was a significant gamble. However, my intuition paid off. The month following the acquisition witnessed an unprecedented surge in gold prices, and I funneled over £1 million in bullion sales through affiliate programs, achieving a 20% return on investment in a single month.

Additionally, when I procured the domain name Investing.co.uk in 2012, I paid a substantial sum for it. Four months later, I received an email from a friend, revealing that Investing.com had been sold for a staggering $2.5 million—a historical high in domain sales. Needless to say, my acquisition appeared incredibly economical in light of this news.

Indeed, many of my most prosperous business ideas and websites resulted from spontaneous inspiration or a casual conversation with a friend. It could be argued that entrepreneurs make money because they dare to take risks and seize opportunities that others overlook.

However, luck can cut both ways. Recently, I engaged in a private auction for another premium domain and was the highest bidder throughout the day, only to be outbid by a last-second snipe, resulting in the domain selling for five to ten times less than its true value.

Numerous other situations have unfolded where luck played a pivotal role in my business, including encountering a casino high-roller on a penalized site, netting me $10,000 in a single day, or securing upfront payments from advertisers far exceeding their actual value.

As I stand here today, managing a reasonably successful business with extensive industry experience and connections, I still find that a considerable portion of my business remains beyond my control.

It’s not only in my own personal experiences that I’ve witnessed the influence of good fortune in business. A friend of mine, a content writer (whom I even hired myself), chanced upon a business contact through an online forum. By a stroke of fate, his employer turned out to be a multimillion-pound entrepreneur, and over time, their collaboration evolved into a business partnership, now valued at hundreds of thousands of pounds.

In conclusion, I’m not suggesting that luck is the primary determinant of business success. Of course, you should exert control over the trajectory of your business and avoid dependency on factors beyond your influence, such as Google updates or rising pay-per-click costs. Nonetheless, I believe that accumulating a series of small strokes of luck can significantly impact the growth of a business, whether it’s finding the ideal employee or stumbling upon the perfect business partner at a conference.

From my personal experiences, I would estimate that circumstances beyond my control have contributed to around 25% to 30% of my business success, making it a noteworthy factor in entrepreneurial endeavors.

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