What was the biggest mistake you made in your startup? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Noah Kagan, Chief Sumo of Sumo and Appsumo, on Quora:

Nine years ago I started a company called Kickflip Inc. At the time, I was the number one largest Facebook app developer. Every week Facebook changed its API and we had to change our apps and games constantly. We were forced to play by their rules and they governed how we interacted with our own customers/players. Kickflip eventually morphed into Gambit -- a payments company that worked with Zynga, Tagged, Gaia Online, Disney and more.

Then one day Facebook banned us. Within 24 hours, our daily revenue dropped from $150,000 to $15,000. Imagine losing an extra $135,000 every day! We had to play by their rules. It was their home turf advantage. This was a valuable lesson and I was determined not to repeat my mistake.

When you rely on other channels to obtain customers, you're at the mercy of those channels:

  • What if Google moves you to page 2?
  • What if Facebook reduces the amount of exposure to your fans?
  • What if Twitter decides to block your url?
  • What if Tacos were extinct? (False!)

How can you avoid making the same mistake?

Control your own destiny for your business. Email marketing I've found to be the only consistent, reliable and scalable channel for growing a business. Is it a coincidence that Amazon, Uber, NY Times and every major online site asks for your email? The best way to control your own destiny is to have direct communication with your customers and not depend on other platforms for your success.

This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

Published on: Aug 21, 2017