There is no shortcut on the road to online success

January 8th, 2014 by Bob Bly

Subscriber MN writes, “I’m thinking of doing an online
business. Approximately, what would you charge to create the
product, copywriting, landing page, everything A-Z? Or can you
recommend an existing package where everything is already done
that I can buy?”

I have some bad news for MN. What he wants – a complete “done
for you,” online business-in-a-box – and by that I mean one that
(a) he can actually afford and (b) would actually work – does
not exist.

Everyone wants the quick and easy way out. No one wants to do
the hard work. They want to wave a magic wand or rub a lucky
rabbit’s foot – and be handed the online business they seek on a
platter, already revved up and spitting out profits. Sorry, but
it ain’t happening, MN.

Reminds me of the scene in “A League of Their Own” where Gina
Davis wants to play baseball but complains to Tom Hanks that the
baseball life is too hard.

Tom snaps back: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard,
everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

I think that’s the case with entrepreneurship in general and
starting an Internet marketing business in particular.

The promoters promise it’s easy because – hey – we copywriters
know that “easy” sells.

But building a successful online business isn’t easy. In theory
it is simple. In practice – often tricky as heck.

Oh, in some ways DOING the business is physically easy – you can
work at home and make a good living devoting only an hour or two
a day to it.

I don’t have employees. I don’t have big overhead. I don’t talk
with customers on the phone or face to face. So in that respect
having an Internet business is not too stressful.

But it is not always easy to figure it all out, put the pieces
together, and make them make money.

Those of us in the business are constantly learning and
studying, and continually fine-tuning our e-mails, landing
pages, products, offers, ads, back-office systems, and just
about everything else.

There isn’t a day goes by that I am not reading blogs, trade
magazines, books, discussion groups, and online newsletters in a
frantic effort to keep up to speed on what’s new in Internet
marketing.

Most of what I learn I will never use. But since I don’t know
what will be the next breakthrough until I learn and try it – I
am learning all the time.

To answer MN’s question: no, he cannot hire me or anyone else to
create the whole business for him, get it running, and then hand
it over to him to enjoy.

That’s because if I or anyone else puts in all that effort, we’d
make MUCH more money by just keeping that business and running
it ourselves than we could selling it to someone else, no matter
how much they offered us for it.

Yes, there are some promoters advertising “done for you”
Internet businesses-in-a-box. I haven’t reviewed them all and so
cannot comment on them all.

But the ones I have seen are thin. Typically the quality of the
products and promotions they sell you is pretty pitiful – a lot
sell 5-page e-books some elance freelancer probably wrote for ten
bucks — and the business is not actually making money for
anyone but the promoter selling it to others.

Again, if the products and landing pages the promoter was
selling really pulled in the dollars online, he’d be buying as
much traffic as he could to drive buyers to the micro sites …
and making his money on product sales … not trying to pawn the
whole kit and caboodle off to unsuspecting prey like MN.

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3 responses about “There is no shortcut on the road to online success”

  1. M.R. Maguire said:

    Bravo, Bob! This is a great “wake-up call” for anyone considering internet marketing.

    One entrepreneur I admire is Gary Vaynerchuk. Admittedly, his language is offensive (i.e., dropping the F-bomb onstage while he’s making a presentation) but he did one video that had me cheering.

    Many younger folks (Millennials or Gen Y) would ask him, “How did you reach your success?” And Gary said they were looking for a quick and easy answer.

    In the video, he simply said, “You want to know how I became a success? I worked my tail off, that’s how! If you want to be successful, there are no shortcuts!”

    The young turks need that truth. So do some older adults who think the Internet is like a magic ATM machine that will spit out cash if you just upload the right content.

    Marketing has and always will be an experiment of testing what works and what doesn’t.

    And that’s hard work.

  2. Sharon said:

    When I was trained in copywriting, I heard a lot of talk about problems. What problem does your copy solve for the reader? Why should they care?

    The same applies to a business model. Businesses are successful because they make the world better and people are willing to pay for it. The person who made this request didn’t seem to think about offering anything good to anyone.

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