Can You Over-Automate Your Business?

coins.jpgThere is so much talk in the “Internet Marketing” world about automating your business, setting up processes, and creating “passive income” that the Nirvana would seem to be a business that is 100% hands-free. Of course, that is not possible — not entirely.

And there is also a very big downside in taking the “maintenance free” approach to building a business online. The downside is: it's possible to set up a website that is hands-free… and that makes very little money. Hmmm…

The meaning in this seems to be: the income you derive from a website is in direct proportion to the value you put into it.

Said more plainly: if you build crappy websites, expect crappy results.

There's a great post about how zero maintenance can mean zero money over at Self Made Minds. Worth reading.

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at

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  • I think you nailed in 8 words something it took me about 9 paragraphs to say Ray 🙂 “if you build crappy websites, expect crappy results”, that should have been my post title.

  • Ray Edwards


    I appreciated the fact that you share real results from your efforts. And I love your blog — it’s on my Reader list. Thanks for dropping by!


  • Cheryl Antier

    As someone who still occasionally writes articles for other people’s sites – I have to agree with what both you and Scott said.

    Here’s the thing – if you’re trying to build a content site – and you care about the quality – whether you’re trying to build links, generate adsense or other income streams, or to build credibility for your business, you don’t have to do it all at once.

    Just be consistent. Make a plan to write 1 or 2 or 5 articles a week – and then stick to it. 1 article a week means that by this time next year, you’ve got 52 new articles – and that’s a lot of content.

    If you’re writing the content yourself – whether you’re a new copywriter just getting started, or you’re the owner of the site – and you don’t know enough about your topic, here’s a great “secret” resource.

    Head over to your local library – and go to the children’s section. (Yep, that’s what I said!)

    You’ll find almost every topic under the sun – and even complicated topics like the Genome Project, Quantum Mechanics or dealing with Cancer – have been broken down into a few core ideas or concepts and are written about in an easy to understand way. Choose one or two books and read about your chosen topic.

    Then just put the books up and sit down and write.

    Chances are, you’ll have more than enough to put into an article, and your writing won’t be stilted and “high-falutin'” sounding.

    And then, as I said before – just stick to it.

  • “a business that is 100% hands-free”

    I’m reminded of a Heckle and Jeckle cartoon from my youth, in which the two crows (?) were responsible for working on a farm. The place became automated, and all they had to do was push a button first thing in the morning to set the machines in motion for the day.

    After a time, they became so lazy they wouldn’t even get out of bed to push the button! Chaos quickly ensued.

    In business, we can’t automate the “thinking” aspect of what we do: how to pick a market, how to select the right words in a headline, how to pick the right colors for our website.

    And we shouldn’t even attempt to automate a process that has not already been proven to work. Does the my market want what I’m selling? Do I know how to present the offer in a way that they will respond to?

    Ultimately, automation is about leverage. Sometimes the best leverage may be human interaction. The late Sir Halbert, as I recall, disliked online order-taking and recommended sending your buyers to a live operator.

    Imagine trying to sell a high-priced service — like copywriting — without some level of direct interaction.

    Ray, thanks for the post above. You really know how to make your readers think!

  • Thank you, Ray, for reminding us that our real task is NOT marketing, selling, delivering products, or any other such activity.

    Our REAL task is developing relationships. This can only be automated to a limited, and never static, extent.

    Keep up your excellent work!