I’ve written this post about online business myths to warn you. I’d like to see you able to achieve the goals you set out for in your business, so I’m hoping this short warning can interfere with any ill-intentioned promotions you might run across.
If you’re considering whether to start or grow a business online, the chances are, you’ve been doing your research. You’ve probably been looking at:
- Different business opportunities
- Different business models
- Different marketing tactics and strategies
And there’s so much information, it’s hard to decide what’s the best thing to do or the best place to get started. I’ve been in your shoes.
I started my online business 2 years ago. My goal was to find a way to make an income that enabled me location freedom and time flexibility. I wanted to be available for my kids when they needed me. I also wanted a profession that enabled me to help and reach lots of people. I’ve got what I asked for. You landing on my page now is an answer to my prayers (if you believe in that).
I’d like to see you happy with your career choice or business startup-whichever route you decide to take. I’ve written this to help point away from potholes out there.
What I’ve Seen More Times Than I’d Like
There’s lots of information to sort thru out there. I mean you type in “online business” and it’s MILLIONS of results.
The bad thing about that is there are honest and dishonest people out there, and it can be hard to separate the two. Besides, dishonest people won’t tell you, “Hey, I’m being dishonest on my entire website”. Hahaha.
As a result, you kinda have to shoot in the dark at times. I wrote this post to give you some preliminaries to watch out for. I’ve done reviews of hundreds of online products and services: some good and some bad. It hurts my heart to see people extending trust innocently and being disappointed–that’s why I’ve written this to warn you, and to give you some things to watch out for.
This is just 4 myths though, but if you’d like to see some more tips about how to avoid scams, check out my other article with tips for how to identify online scams here.
The Online Business Model Myths You Want to Avoid
It’s very common to see some myths from various sellers online. These myths can send you down lots of rabbit holes in search for a “shiny object” or loophole. Some common myths include:
Myth #1: The Paid Traffic vs. Free Traffic Myth
In order to make money in business, you have to have “traffic” or people who see your products or services–this is true online or offline. If you have a storefront that no one sees, then it’s unlikely that anyone will buy.
In the online space, there are a few common methods for acquiring “traffic” or potential customers. Those include:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Organic Social Media Marketing
- Paid Social Media Marketing
- Paid Search Engine Marketing
- Solo Ads
- Banner and Display Ads
Some people will argue that it’s best for new entrepreneurs to start with free traffic and others will say, it’s best for them to start with paid traffic.
Some will say one method is faster than the other, and I can vouch that paid traffic is faster, BUT…
- Paid traffic requires a significant upfront investment
- You still have to learn your audience and what works
- You have to perform a lot of testing
- Paid traffic is less likely to be loyal (because they don’t know you)
- and, paid traffic isn’t ideal for someone in financial distress
It’s not a loophole by any means. I wouldn’t recommend you taking your chance on paid traffic in hopes that your returns can pay your next mortgage or buy your groceries–that’s too risky.
Alternatively, free traffic is built from making content that builds trust. It’s likely you’ve met me thru some free traffic method. Maybe you were searching online and my article came up in the search rankings. You may have met me from a video. You searched organically on Youtube, and found my video.
You might not have trusted me on your first encounter. In fact, maybe you still don’t trust me. Hahaha. You might still be “testing me out” to see if my advice holds its weight, and that’s okay.
I’ve created lots of free resources, and over time, Google has recognized that people are enjoying what I’ve made and rewarding me with more and more rankings. Youtube operates the same.
- Requires less up front risk
- Builds more loyalty
- Starts with the “give first” mentality
- Requires more effort up front
- But, once trust and loyalty are built, the referrals build upwards from there
Is Free Traffic vs. Paid Traffic Better?
I don’t think either is better than the other. I think free traffic helps build a reputations and trust and paid traffic is better used to amplify the results of brand growth and organic conversions. Both, paid traffic and free traffic have their learning curves, and the process of learning can range for each person, so it’s very difficult to pinpoint how long a person will take to achieve results with either.
Myth #2: The “This Business Model is Better than That” Myths
Some people say Rank and Rent SEO is the best business model. Some people say drop-shipping is better. Some people say creating online courses is better. And, some people say affiliate marketing is better.
It can be confusing trying to figure out if any of these options can help you get out of your financial distress and if so, which is the quickest. Being honest, these are all businesses, and they will all require upfront investment.
Some business models will cost thousands for education and consulting to know what to do EVEN BEFORE buying any tools or acquiring customers. From my experience, affiliate marketing is the cheapest to start and requires the lowest amount of risk. It’s also the method that translates best into all of the others because you have to learn how to drive traffic, do market research, understand buyer psychology, and all things that will be necessary in every business model, but I still wouldn’t recommend relying solely on an online business for basic necessities without giving it at least two years to grow.
This is my opinion. Some people would argue that 6 months is reasonable, 1 year is reasonable, or 18 months is reasonable. I’d say, “Give any business at least 2 years to grow”. By the time you’ve invested two years of continued effort, you can see if the income has leveled out for you, how much you can expect, and make projections with more certainty.
Myth #3: The “Passive Income Myths”
I hate to bust this myth because I wanted this to be true so bad. Passive income doesn’t start out passive. In order to get passive income, you have to put in work upfront, then later down the line, you’ll be able to get royalties or dividends from the upfront work.
I’ve participated in several ventures that yield back-end passive income. My parents are real estate investors, and have done that my whole life. I’ve written books and I get royalties from that. I’m also an artist, and I’ve sold paintings before. Affiliate marketing has been my favorite form of passive income, but it still requires work upfront.
Real Estate Passive Income
With real estate passive income, the upfront work that’s required is the research and construction. You have to identify a good location to buy a property and this requires research. Once you’ve pinpointed a good location, then you have to either build from scratch or renovate an existing property before you can rent it or sell it, which is where the passive components come in.
Even once you rent or sell the property, there may still need to be meetings, maintenance, and so on. It’s not 100% “feet up on the beach passive”.
Book Publishing Passive Income
Like real estate, book publishing also has passive components. Upfront, you research your target audience, write a book that answers questions they’re looking for, and list it where they’d buy, but it’s not over there. In order to sustain high royalties, you have to consistently promote the book, so you’re getting new potential customers looking at it over and over.
Online Business Passive Income
I’ve had great times where I’m at the amusement park with my kids, and I’m getting messages like “Congratulations! You’ve got a new commission.” I’ve also gotten paid in my sleep, but the passive income didn’t come without days and months of me creating content, watching my rankings, strategizing about how to get more people to see the content, and so on.
Passive Income is a Component
Passive income is a components of active tasks. Even if you decide to invest money into something, so you can be a passive investor, there’s still the upfront task of transferring the money, and the backend maintenance of watching the performance. Every passive income has active components, so don’t think passive income means “set-it-and-forget-it” for life. Most passive income doesn’t work that way.
Myth #4: The “Free Business Startup Myths”
Yes, there are sites like WordPress.com, Tumblr, Wix, and SiteRubix that let you build a website 100% for free. If you’re in financial distress, but you still want to invest small activities in your business daily, this might be the best way to go for now. Here, go ahead and create your website…
Unfortunately, you can only get so far like this. Million-dollar businesses don’t run for free and neither do businesses that generate full-time incomes. I have yet to see ONE business that generates a full-time income or more and runs for free.
People who buy, want to know you’re legitimate and serious about your business. It gives off a bad impression to many people when you don’t invest in your business. There are a few areas that staying with freebies matters, and I’ve mentioned them to you: hosting and education are the biggest two.
For other businesses (like the landscaping business), business cards might be a bigger priority. Don’t stay stuck in freebie mode! It can hinder your growth and lower the likelihood of people buying from you.
Myth #5: Big House and Big Car Means Good Training Program
Many online course creators and “gurus” show their material possessions. Part of the reason they do this is because they know what their target audience’s aspirations are.
They know you want:
- A bigger paycheck
- A nicer house
- A nicer car
- and, Freedom to travel
What better way to spark your interest than to show you that they have what you want, right?
For some, they also want to build credibility. They know if they say they’re successful, you can think they’re lying, so they try to show you proof. I get it.
Marketing for training programs by showing paychecks and material possessions seems to be most common in the online business and online marketing space, and I’m not sure why that is. It’s even less common in the sales space where you’d think being flashy would be more common. Anyway, I’m getting a little sidetracked here…
Back to my point…The problem is…
Successful people aren’t always the best teachers. You see this in every career field. The best engineers aren’t necessarily the professors or the people who can teach others to become a successful engineer.
There are different skills required to be a good technician and to be a good teacher. Some people have both, but you can’t take this for granted, so don’t believe that just because a person has a huge paycheck, fancy cars, travels all the time, and is a great online entrepreneur, that they’re also a great teacher.
I’ve fallen for this before. Sometimes it works. Sometimes, it doesn’t. Be careful to do your due diligence first.
The Bottom Line About Online Business Myths
I’m sure some people who say these myths mean well. They might be repeating what they were taught. It’s no need to call them scammers or anything like that. In fact, I’m guilty of getting zealous about my way of doing things from time to time. It happens.
When I step back and watch people I care about getting trapped into these myths, then it reminds me about the delicacy of watching what we say online, and the impact it can have. Be careful of believing in absolutes like these myths I’ve disclosed to you.
If you have questions or concerns about this, leave them below. I’d love to hear from you. If you’d like support and encouragement as you grow your business, check out my Free Entrepreneur Support Group.
It’s a place where you can meet other Enterprise Builders, where I like giving away free stuff, and where I can learn how to serve you best. Check out the Free Entrepreneur Support Group here.