Monthly Archives: September 2006

How much easier can it get?

In my last newsletter, I wrote about how you need to put in a fair amount of hard work before your online business becomes successful – there is no such thing as an ‘overnight success’.

Despite this, setting up and running an Internet business is a hundred times easier today than it was, say, five years ago.  There are just so many more services and products available to assist you and I got to wondering how much easier things could really get?

This week, the UK Post Office has announced a new free service which allows people to buy their stamps online.  You simply pay for the stamps you require with a credit/debit card and then print off a label to stick on your envelope.  I haven’t used the service yet but as far as I can tell, the label even includes the address to which the letter is going so you don’t even need to write it out (or print off a second label)!

A similar service has been in operation in the US for some time but this is fairly new technology in the UK.  Just think how much time this new service could potentially save the average eBay seller….

One of the main reasons I stopped selling on eBay was because I couldn’t stand queuing up in the Post Office to get stamps for my packages.  Using the new online service, I could just print off my stamps and then drop all of my letters/small packages straight into the letterbox.  There would be no need to even go into the Post Office.  Admittedly this might not be the case for larger parcels but the PO/couriers will pick these up from your house for regular senders (how much easier can it get?!)

The other thing I used to have to do was venture out to buy packing materials from a local office supplies company.  Of course, there is no longer any need to do this as for several years it has been possible to get all of your packing materials (and in fact pretty much anything else) delivered to your door.  In addition the prices are cheaper than the local stores too!

Whilst taking my packages etc the Post Office, I also used to have to visit the bank to pay cheques/checks in and then wait for them to clear.  Again, this hasn’t been necessary for years with the growth of services such as Paypal and NoChex.  Now all an online trader needs to do is check their email!

With so much of the offline world gradually coming online, it is already perfectly possible to run an Internet business without ever leaving your house.  I used to joke that if the mood took me, that I could run my businesses without ever getting out of bed.  This was never completely true since there would always be one or two tasks that I couldn’t do from the comfort of my home but these are getting fewer and fewer. 

So we are heading towards a situation whereby you can build and manage your own business without ever going outside, without ever talking to anyone and if you wish, without ever getting out of bed!  Not only that but this business has the potential to earn you more money than you would ever earn by doing the exact opposite (ie. going out and working).  Ok, staying in bed for the rest of your life may not be the best thing for you and the lack of social interaction would probably drive you mad but is it just me that finds this possibility an incredible thing? 

I mean, how much easier can it get?

How much effort do you actually think you need to put in?

Before the Internet came along, if you wanted to set up your own business it took a lot of money and an unbelievable amount of hard work.  You would have to give up nearly everything and live hand-to-mouth for months and work every single waking hour.  You would never get a day off and eventually if luck was on your side, you would end up with a thriving business which generated a nice healthy income for you and your family.  You would still have to work most days (if not all) and when your normal working day was complete, there would always be paperwork to do in the evening. 

If you were fortunate enough to be able to go on holiday you would still have to ‘check in with the office’ – however good your staff were, you couldn’t possibly leave them on their own for more than a day or two without making sure everything was ok.  Of course, you could close the business down while you were away but this would mean that you would be losing money everyday that you were lying by the pool (which might take the edge off the enjoyment slightly).

(I could go on but I won’t because the struggles involved in building an offline business aren’t the point of this article…)

So then the Internet arrived.  Suddenly you could set up your own business for next to nothing.  All you needed to do was throw up a few web pages and a six figure income would flow from your computer directly to your bank account.  It was quick, easy and anyone could do it with little training and little effort.  Right? 

Er, no actually – in fact, absolutely and completely WRONG!

I have said it countless times before, if you want to build a successful online business, it takes time and a lot of effort.  You can do it on a budget but you still need to work very hard and really put the hours in.  I won’t bore you with the details of how many hours a  week I have worked in the past but believe me, it is more than I knew existed when I had a job!

Unfortunately these facts seem to have been missed by a large percentage of the online population.  Over the past few months I have received more and more emails from people who clearly don’t want to do any work whatsoever but seem to expect money to just pump out of their computer as soon as they turn it on each morning.  Not only that but they have this expectation that I and others owe it to them to help/guide/support them for free!  Some lazy so and so’s have actually suggested that I do all the work in building their website business and then take a cut of future profits!!  Why on earth would I want to do that?  Why don’t I just build the business on my own and cut them out of the deal?

I received an email from someone this week complaining that after buying one of my wholesale guides, he had been unable to find what he was looking for at a decent wholesale price.  The product he was trying to buy was incredibly competitive and has a very small profit margin anyway so the chances are that he was simply expecting to be able to buy it for an unrealistic price.  Either that or he had only looked at wholesalers on the Internet because he couldn’t be bothered to move from his chair and actually visit the huge number of excellent suppliers who don’t advertise online (I am beginning to suspect that this is primarily because they don’t want to deal with characters like this!).  Anyway, you know the funny part of this story?  The guy bought my wholesale guide in 2004 – it had taken him two and a half years to write to me to complain!  Does this sound like the kind of ‘go-getter’ who is going to put the required effort in and succeed in any kind of business? 

No one is going to do the work for you and you really only have yourself to blame if your business is not working out the way you want it to.  If something is wrong, change it.  If something isn’t working, try doing it a different way.  If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, find something else that you do enjoy.

Internet marketing isn’t for everyone and it isn’t a quick and easy route to easy money.  I haven’t had a proper day off work for over five years (even when I am on holiday I usually spend an hour or so a day dealing with emails).  Yes the money is good but if it is only the money that attracts you, believe me, you will soon get bored. 

Internet marketing is a lifestyle – it can be a very good lifestyle but like any business, you need to be passionate about what you do if you really want to make a success of it. 

If you don’t fall into this category then you could well find that your Internet business dream becomes just another JOB…