Taking The Confusions of Building an Online Business
And Making It Simpler

8 Cold, Hard Facts About The Successful Online Entrepreneur

There is something bad going on.

In fact, it is rather disheartening sometimes. It really is a cold, hard fact of life that we’re up against here. And nobody is exempt.

Today, I’m going to be blunt as a spoon. Because it needs to be said.

Simply put, the biggest barriers to online success aren’t tactical, or a lack of knowledge. The barriers are emotional.

The barriers are things like overwhelm, inability to make a decision and move forward, constant over-analysis, fear of failure, fear of making people angry, fear of making a bad decision, fear of… well, fill in the blank.

These feelings create a great, big hole and you simply can’t fill that hole with more knowledge, more posts, or more reading.

People make excuses for it. They say they’ll launch their site in a few months (even though, these days, you can build a quality blog in an hour). They’re waiting for the right time. They’re trying to figure everything out before making a move.

All of that is… usually… bullshit. They are delaying tactics. You don’t want to make a move because of fear of stepping out of your comfort zone.

The truth of the matter is that I can teach and guide people all day long, but people who come to me with those feelings are very difficult to help because they are their own worse enemy. I could point them to a pile of gold, and they’d stop and worry that the boogie man will get them as they walk over to it.

You just scan the scene of people who are successful in internet business. Spot the traits. They try things. They take action. They don’t over-analyze. They don’t delay forever. They do things ASAP. They don’t f**k around.

They’re launching things. They’re producing new stuff. They’re doing, and others are just spectating.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Some of those successful people have other problems. Their life isn’t all roses in many cases – trust me. But, those traits that are ideal for being an entrepreneur are, usually, in good shape.

I’ve observed and put together what I think adds up to a good mindset for success as an entrepreneur. Honestly, some of this is a little hard to put my finger on, but I’m trying. :) If anything, being aware of it can make a difference because you can then consciously make an effort to improve in those areas. Know what I mean?

So, here they are:

  1. You need to be able to make a decision and move forward. Dragging to a halt and getting stuck in a big “maybe” is NOT good. It actually holds mental energy hostage and it drags on you. It is like a little building pressure that needs to be relieved (kinda like a fart, as weird an analogy as that might be ;) ). Always lean toward a YES or a NO. A wrong decision is MUCH better than no decision at all. And, in this business, you can usually switch gears later. Just make a move.
  2. You need to be all in. In other words, you have to take it seriously. You’re not going to build up a full-time income by dealing with this stuff as an amusing side project you spend a few minutes on when you feel like it. If your life is so jam-packed that you have no time to dedicate to this endeavor, well, that’s tough. You need to re-align your life. Because, building a business isn’t done on minutes per day. It isn’t done by dabbling. It is done by routine, effective action. It is done by the need to succeed.
  3. You need to be willing to fail. People put such an artificial emotional charge on the subject of failure, when in reality, it is usually not a big deal. It is nothing more than a learning experience, in most cases. So, you make an offer and hardly anybody buys? Life isn’t over. Just figure out why that happened and do it differently next time. It is better to fail faster… because then success will come sooner.
  4. You need to be willing to march to your own drummer. If you need social approval for every move you make, you’re in for a rough ride. If you need to ask everybody if what you’re doing is right before you do it, you’re in for a rough ride. The social template of our society is to go to school, get a job, retire, then die. If you’re not willing to disagree with that status quo and do your own damn thing, this isn’t the endeavor for you.
  5. You need be OK with not everybody liking you. I don’t care how super-awesome you are, eventually, you’ll piss somebody off. There are a certain percentage of people out there who have it as their life mission to drag others down. You need to realize that and learn to recognize it. I see too many newbies get paralyzed into inaction for fear of upsetting their readers. Fear of selling things because you’re afraid of being perceived as a sell-out. Fear of promoting to your list for fear of being called a spammer. Nah, screw all that. Not everybody is going to like you… but you know what? People respect confidence. Do what you do. Do what you think is right. And let the chips fall where they may.
  6. You need to be willing to work your ass off. If you’re looking for easy money where you don’t have to work much for  it, you’ve already failed. You can keep paying out money to sheisters with their “get rich quick” schemes, but in the end, you’re the one with the short end of that stick. You know I’m right.
  7. You need to be willing to not have a safety net. If your entire life revolves around things like insurance plans, 401Ks and all those other traps of the socially accepted life, then go get a job and call it a day. Just like in #4, you need to be willing to march to your own drummer. You need to be willing to be top dog in your own world, make the decisions, and be responsible for those decisions.
  8. You need to be ethical, and guided by the best survival for all. Cheaters and liars might find short-term successes, but rarely do they last without a hard fall. The only sure way to rise to the top of your game is to do right by yourself and your fellow human beings, treat people well, and build goodwill.

Just remember, mindset comes first. You come into this with the right mindset, the right sets of decisions…. and nothing will stop you.


And only then can one escape the never-ending rate race of reading blogs, reading about others’ successes, and merely dreaming of your own.

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Got a Question or Comment?

  1. Great tips. I’m working on #7 to get the confidence to for #3. But I feel like I’m definitely on my way there!

  2. Yes you need to be all in and keep pushing forward…some people are all over the place..keep you attention on one thing and make the best of it…

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  3. Great tips David! I really love the #3 and #5. That’s just the fact :) Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. All of these are so true – I came to the online world from public education, and our students are also trying to transition from a job where they are used to paychecks that start the day their job starts, and #7 seems to be a really big issue. Being an entrepreneur is so different from being an employee. And #6 is also a very important point – especially with all of those ‘push button riches’ products out there claiming that people can get rich in just a few hours a week. It’s so great to have people like you out there telling the real story. Thanks!

    • Yeah, I really wish more entrepreneurial skills were taught in public schools. It is really unfortunate that most kids come out of there as unthinking little robots.

      As you can tell, I have opinions on the matter. ;-)

  5. Anonymous says:

    What a great list! I have never heard anyone else put it in these terms but I think you are right. The fart analogy sure cracked me up! I think many people have a huge barrier to sales. They do not want to be perceived like the obnoxious car salesman or something. Emotional barriers are huge. If someone does not feel comfortable in the role of decision maker and front man, then that will be very hard to overcome. Thanks David. I always enjoy your articles!

  6. Great tips david, the mind sets, yup… it come first.

  7. Brad Gerlach says:

    I completely agree with this list. My biggest hurdle was what my friends would think about trying to make money online. I what I did was start with a pen name when I wrote my first ebook 6 years ago. The name has now followed me and I still use it.

    The thing is that all my friends have now known about my multiple online endevours and are supportive, which help make me strive for success. It isn’t easy, and it happen over night, but good things are happnening. The funny thing is that my success is coming from other avenues and opportunities that have presented themselves through contacts and networking.

  8. Good stuff, David. I would also add that you need to be able to put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and walk around in them; be able to talk their talk.

  9. Great points, David. I think these types of blunt comments are what people really need to hear. There are too many people out there half-assing their attempt at an online business. They need to realize that they’re wasting their own time by trying to succeed without being fully committed.

  10. Well-said, thank you. Helps to have strong intelligent voices reminding us all to keep on keepin’ on, no?

  11. Getkidsoutside says:

    You are reading my mind.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Have to add one more (currently going through this and coming out the other side)…

    You need to have a work plan.

    Married? Kids? Girlfriend? At the end of your life, you will be remembered for your involvement in the lives of the people you love. And when you start down the entrepreneurial path, you’ll want to do it all – play with the kids, spend time with the wife, and spend your free time working on your project. Welcome to burnout and disappointment.

    Get a plan in place. Maybe Tuesday and Thursday are your work nights. Maybe you are an early riser so you work from 5:30am to until the kids get up for school. You must develop a plan.

    When you don’t have a plan, a few things can happen;
    1. Burnout and everyone looses.
    2. Procrastination and nothing gets done.

    Get a plan and stick with it.

  13. This gives new meaning to the phrase, “I am my own worst enemy.” Great advice all around!

  14. Debt Eye says:

    @ christhesoundguy – good plan, the hardest thing about being an entrepreneur is forcing yourself to get work done, no one is bossing you around and you need to make a plan and execute on it

  15. #2 tip open up my mind. I need to be serious in growing my online endevour that needs my full-time attention in order to succeed.

  16. Hey David
    These really hold true for success in general. I guess the biggest difference is that as an entrepreneur there is no place to hide. Not caring what other people think about you is something I try to improve on daily…this with a good dose of integrity and kindness is a pretty powerful combo

  17. Anonymous says:

    You need to be able to say you blog for a living. ;)

    • I totally agree. Blog can’t be a bad word!

    • Exactly! You have to admit that this is what you do. Sometimes that can be the hardest part before the success and/or $ comes…and not being able to admit it may be a mental block preventing someone from becoming successful and creating an income.

    • At first, I thought you meant that you had to be in the “make money blogging” niche. But, if you meant you need to be willing to tell people what it is you do, then I agree with that. :-)

      • Anonymous says:

        One of the first working bloggers I met was at a cafe. Her husband and I started a conversation about film and she was not distracted. After about 30 minutes she looked up and explained she was a food blogger. I always have that image of her working, so focused, when I think of being a blogger full-time.

  18. Was going to comment, then was going to click the “x” to just close the tab…

    1) Just do it!
    2) Don’t have kids. Why do you have them anyway? Urge? Need? An expression of love? Selflessness? Propagation of the species? or issues that you haven’t yet identified? The latter is most likely the answer.
    3) There are no rules. I developed a “money machine” that provided nicely for me for 5 years with about one hour of work/day. If you hit it right, it just flows. It took a bit of xtra work to get it flowing, but all in all, it was a joy, a rush, and easy as cherry pie!

    6:40am on the Big Island of Hawaii now… kinda weird, the difference in time, but kinda cool as well. Aloha!

    • Speaking for myself, not having kids just to pursue cash seems like a life without meaning. But, that’s me and me alone. Everybody has to make that decision for themselves.

  19. As a WAHM #2 is my biggest hurdle. I have a toddler who demands all my attention and I want to be there for him as much as possible. I’ve found a part-time child care option that’s helping a lot and alleviating the guilt. But it’s hard to justify the expense when I’m not seeing an income from my biz yet.

    • Totally understand. And you know what?… kids are more important. So, do what you think is right.

      Speaking as a dad of two little ones (3 and 1), I think ultimately the kids won’t be happy unless the parents are. So, there is a balance there. My wife went back to work recently after 3 years of being home with the kids… so my 1-year old is at daycare and I really think it is GOOD for him. He’s loving it.

  20. Ah, working in a plug to the Inner Circle at the end, very slick.

  21. Guilty of 3 and a little guilty of 7. But I’m working on letting go of both fear of failure, and the need to have a safety net. I actually did build a very minor (but better than nothing) safety net before I started a career as a writer/blogger. As for 3, I am doing at least a couple of things a day to accept that rejection/failure is a fact of life. Just bugger all, do your best and move on. I don’t always get motivated by motivational posts, but this one does kick ass. Tweeted, liked, stumbled:)

    • Thanks. :-)

      On the safety net, keep in mind… you can build your own. I always had insurance, for instance. I just paid for it. There’s no need to get a job just to get things like that.

  22. *Standing ovation*

    GREAT article, David. That’s why you’re one of maybe 2 or 3 internet marketing folks I diligently follow and listen to and give my money to on a monthly basis (shout out for the Inner Circle!).

    It’s like I heard Seth Godin say, do something that’s risky, remarkable, or a little weird. Do something people will ridicule you for. The worst thing that could happen is you fail and nobody notices.

    We all freak out early on, agonizing over a million tiny decisions. When you’re just starting, you don’t even have an audience, so just get yourself out there and course-correct along the way.

    All the knowledge in the world won’t get you your first visitor, your first sale, your first year of making full-time income. It’s ACTION. ACTION ACTION ACTION.

    I’m not the most talented or knowledgeable person in my niche, but I’m running a successful business because I’m DOING what everyone else just TALKS about.

    I say this to encourage you guys, not to brag. It’s doable. It’s possible. The answer isn’t in training or software. Or tricks. It’s all about you…creating value…and selling it.

  23. Thanks,
    Yes, clearly your own mind is your biggest obstacle.

  24. It took me three years to figure this out for myself. But the problem is, I was having awesome people like YOU telling me these things, the WHOLE TIME. Unfortunately, because of the nature of these things, someone simply posting about it in their blog never helped me. It had to become MY reality, true for ME. I had to realize it to be true for myself… then, and only then, did I start to see success and change in my life.

    The money won’t come from the best course. It’ll come from your mind. Thank you for a down-to-earth, spade-calling, motivation charging, reality check. :D Kudos.

    • Very true. People need to adopt it for themselves, and that is the stumbling block that others (like me) can’t really help with.

      Really, the best bet is to be a fantastic marketer, because marketing usually puts people over the edge on a desire they already have within. And, often, once somebody makes a move to BUY something, their commitment level increases.

  25. I love this post David. Ready, fire, aim is often better than Ready, aim, fire:) You shook me a lot with this post.

  26. I believe in pushing the envelope to succeed in life. Those who do take the risk can have great returns. Those who like to analyze thing usually miss the boat. Great article here and I will be back for updates. Thanks

  27. Naw, I don’t blog for a living, the blog is one part of my five part business.

    Dave, I hear you, the thing is do others hear you?

    Another day another dollar in the bank.

    To your success!

  28. David, What a great post. I love the fact that you’re not afraid to say it like it is.

    I just started using social media last fall and I’ve already seen people give up who haven’t put in enough time to expect any success. I’m just beginning to have a pretty good understanding of the way things needs to be done and kind of work that’s required to be successful. There’s a huge learning curve from doing a traditional business.

    Points 1 thru 3 and 6 and 8 are the points that I feel are the most accurate in describing what the right mindset is for success. The people who think they can just dabble are the same people who will say it doesn’t work.

    I have to repeat what your said: “Just remember, mindset comes first. You come into this with the right mindset, the right sets of decisions…. and nothing will stop you.”

    Thanks for saying it like it is.


  29. David,

    I totally agree that we can be our own worst enemy. I see a lot of people I teach that they enjoy the material presented and are bascially “info” junkies, they mean to execute what they learned but they fall prey to non action because they feel they are not ready or that they need a step by step, exact action by action method to take. They don’t get that they should take all the information in and process it and then execute in their own style. I like the part you wrote about “marching to your own drummer.”

    We all should take information given by you or any instructor and execute with our own personality into it. If we let go of the formal school daze training that really robbed us of total creativity, then we can get on with our lives and make things happen on our terms and be wildly successful.


    • Agree 1000%.

      And I see those info junkies all the time. I mean, on one hand, I appreciate the money they bring in. On the other, I want them to USE the stuff they buy and that part is frustrating.

  30. Awesome post! mental & emotional roadblocks stop so many from succeeding. I’ve been on both sides…breaking the barriers and allowing them to stop me.

    I’m glad you put #7 on the list…that is a BIG one…hit home with me.

  31. Stylerinc says:

    Dave…thanks for all the awesome info! I am trying to figure out how to share to multiple lists with a single opt in…ie: I have an online summit w/ several JV’s, the prospects will fill out my infusionsoft webform but how do I then share the opt-ins with my JV partners?? any thoughts?

    • Why do you want to share your opt-ins with JVs? JVs are usually in it for the commission, but it if is YOUR product, then it is YOUR list. Don’t give it to them.

  32. We are our own worst enemy. I love the internet and the prospective life it can bring, but when it comes to focus, I am not the best at it in my business! Which is really weird! I love cycling and recently signed up for my first sportive cycle ride – 85 miles, all my friends thought I was nuts, but I just wanted to achieve something… And I did, I got a silver medal, which I really was not expecting, I had set my sights on bronze and figured that it would be a really great start to sportive cycling, but I pushed myself completely out of my comfort zone and achieved way beyond myself on Sunday!!!

    Now all I need to do is apply some of that to my business and I am all set, LOL, were it that easy!!

    David, great post, I will be signing up to your inner circle shortly.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Spot on, David.
    Thank you for the reminder.

  34. Totally agree. Marching to your own drummer can seem foreign at first, but once you build some momentum, not doing it will then seem foreign.

  35. Anonymous says:

    That’s a really good list!

    No but seriously. I don’t know what I was expecting, but that just picked me up, slapped me across the face and sat me back down again.

    Brilliant mate

  36. I certainly agree with you. When you try and fail, you learn more.

  37. Great post! especially agree with #5

  38.  #5 is a big one for me. People seem to phase out whenever I start explaining what I do, like it’s not a “real job” or something. So usually I just say I own my own business, for some reason that gets more “respect”.

  39. Great list!  I’m guilty of sometimes spectating more than acting.  Thanks for the kick in the Heinie!

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