Forget About Internet Business. It’s Just Business.

Since when did internet business or internet marketing become a different kind of thing from what people have been doing for hundreds of years?

The Internet is a new medium, yes. But, on that medium, we conduct BUSINESS. And we conduct MARKETING.

Since when did internet business or internet marketing become a different kind of thing from what people have been doing for hundreds of years?

The Internet is a new medium, yes. But, on that medium, we conduct BUSINESS. And we conduct MARKETING.

Internet business and internet marketing aren’t different animals in any other way except that the medium is different.

And along that note, I wanted to highlight a comment – and my reply to it – from my last post: Don’t Chase Chump Change On Your Blog. Think Bigger. Moe says:

I understand the concept but for many people starting out that chump change keeps them going and believing. Most new blogs do not have the authority yet to successfully get people to pay a subscription or buy their premium products that you 10-15 year Gurus can.

I wanted to highlight this because I know this sentiment is a popular one. The idea is that…

  • The model that works is to sell info products and expertise.
  • And in order to do that, you have to be a “guru”. If you’re not a “guru”, then you’re basically shit out of luck and you’re stuck doing small-time things.

This notion has been propagated along with the idea that the Internet is somehow different than the rest of the world. And, quite frankly, this idea comes from spending WAY too much time with your head buried in the internet marketing world. When you are spending all your time reading IM products and browsing sites like the Warrior Forum, then you end up with this tunnel vision that the “guru business” is the only way to go.

Well, here was my response to Moe:

Sounds to me, Moe, like you’re a little bit stuck in the “internet marketing” mindset. Just forget about the whole IM space for a minute, with “gurus”, training courses and masterminds.

Just take it down to plain ‘ol business.

Businesses start up all the time in the “regular” world. And, with the right marketing and the right offer, they make money. They don’t require that the owner of that business be a “guru” to have any chance.

So, why can’t you translate the same thing over to the Internet?

Find a market with a demand, and serve it with an offer. It doesn’t require you be a “guru”. What it DOES require, though, is to stop comparing yourself to IM “gurus” and start realizing that this is just another medium for BUSINESS. The rules aren’t any different, and this Interwebz isn’t merely the land of gurus and prices that end in 7.

Off the top of my head, let’s come up with a couple examples:

  • Zappos sells shoes and clothing. They happen to do a lot of marketing on the Internet. That’s internet marketing, isn’t it?
  • 37Signals solves business problems with software. They also do a lot of their marketing on the Internet, and their software runs… on the Internet.
  • Dominoes Pizza has an awesome platform on their site for ordering pizzas and having them delivered, and they do engage in online marketing. Its a medium for marketing, not the business.

If you were an executive consultant who sought leads on the Internet via a website, then you’re conducting marketing on the Internet.

If you do web design services, then the Internet is probably going to factor pretty highly into how you find clients.

If you sell an ebook on how to remodel basements, you’ll likely be selling it on the Internet.

My point is…

This isn’t “Internet Business”, or “Internet Marketing”. This isn’t some special class of thing, where only the “gurus” win.

No, this is just business. It is just marketing.

And the same rules apply as anywhere else. It is the same rule a budding entrepreneur would need to think about if they were opening a pizza shop downtown, or a supply store in the suburbs.

Find a market with need or want, produce what they need or want, deliver it to them, and get paid for it. (click to tweet this)

That’s business.

Do it well, and you make a lot of money.

And it doesn’t matter one iota if your product comes in the form of an ebook, a membership site… or a pizza, or a consulting call, or a physical product in the mail. The point is, are you serving a market with a solution they’re looking for?

Inside The Academy, we’re focusing on building a real busines which happens to be on the Internet. Much better foundation than chasing tactic after tactic.



  1. You’re post is very captive, simple,direct and something that I can relate to. In this complex world, simplicity is just the kind of thing that we need. Thanks

  2. I have finally found someone who described my own feelings about using the internet for business. David did this perfectly.

    Many people are beginning to get stuck in this internet marketing mindset that can be very detrimental to their businesses. These folks seem to suffer from the idea that in order to really be successful online they need to actually become some type of big shot guru.

    This is simply not true. There are so many ways to market yourself and your business online that it literally defies imagination. The fact of the matter is that thinking of this as internet business or internet marketing is backward. It is simply business. Or, simply marketing. The internet is only a medium for how we get the word out.

  3. Indeed, internet business is just plain business. The technology may indeed be different, but the ideas behind a successful offline business works just fine for the online industries. What is the best route to take to build a stable business online?

  4. Marketing is very important for any type of business. Your business promotion and expansion depends on good marketing tactics.  This is very informative post. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I think what trips people up is waiting until they feel like a “guru” enough to be online…when in reality they have something to offer that is beneficial.  So true, it’s just business, and internet is just another way of marketing your offering.  There’s nothing shady or anything about it (unless you’re shady about it.)

  6. Dude, this is *exactly why I got out of the IM Guru industry LOL. I found this industry by marketing a fence contracting business using nothing but a blog and Twitter, grew it to $50k per month in sales in less than a year, then sold it when the housing industry crashed. It was (and still is) internet marketing, but it was just ONE of the tools I used to build my business and make it successful. 

    Now I have a moderately successful consulting biz, but am getting back into the fence biz. I see a hole in the market where I live now, there is a need, the market is showing signs of rebounding, and I plan to capitalize on the fact that this particular industry is seriously lacking in the online marketing part. I bought an exact match domain, put up a quick site to test the waters, it’s already #3 and I haven’t put any real content on it yet. I plan to blow them out of the water!
    Really, it is just as simple as you put it: Find a need and fill it.

    The other issue is, far too many people are just looking for an easy way to make a buck. IM is no different than any other brick and mortar biz, when you decide to go into business, plan on not having a real life to make it succeed. You will be making sacrifices, working harder, and sleeping less if you want to succeed. 

  7. Business is business, no matter where it gets done.  I think the message of this article is tremendous and if I could give any advice to a new business owner, whether they are primarily on the internet or not, I would say that as long as you have the best interest of your customers in mind and you have a product that is truly valued, you will succeed.

    Good marketing can only carry you so far but without real substance behind your product or service, the word will get out that the company does not live up to the hype.

  8. I don’t agree with paying subscription, it is better to sell a product to get money. For example, selling ebooks or collection of  our writings, outfits, printed books…etc.

  9. AMEN! Business is business regardless of where you conduct it – online, offline, on the moon – whatever. 

    I feel that so many “guru / ninja / experts / mavericks” have successfully scared people into thinking that the tools are the answer and online is big and scary … opportunists have launched online, with actually no real life business experience and some get lucky, the most don’t. 
    The veneer that coats the idea that the internet will turn everyone in to rich entrepreneurs is thankfully losing it’s lustre! 

    A blog is NOT a business – it’s a tool. Use it, don’t become one. Love your straight up advice. Super refreshing!

  10. Thank you David, this is good idea and mindset. Your quote- “…Much better foundation than chasing tactic after tactic…” Absolutely agreed.

  11. Hi David-
    Your post is one that is probably is hard for many readers to swallow. 

    Having worked in the media industry for nearly a decade before starting my SEO firm, I will confess there is a stigma associated with fast money to be made online. The truth is actually quite the contrary. My firm started with no budget. However, after a few years of 15 hour days, I was lucky enough to discover my niche in SEO.

    Markets cannot be made. They need to be found. Then you must invest eons of time and energy into carving out your place in them. 

    Persistence is key. Shoot for the stars. When you fail a few feet off the ground, pick yourself up and try again. Failure is a state of mind and too many people give up too early.

    Something many of my clients want is fast, easy organic rankings to reach #1 on Google. However, walk down to any brick and mortar business in your hometown and you’ll find businesses that succeeded through blood, sweat and tears to stay afloat. Online entities are no different.

    David, thanks again for your advice and devotion keeping many of us plugging along to profits.

  12. Well said David, very well said. 
    The problem is that there are too many ‘gurus’ out there selling 6-figure programs when they themselves are incapable of replicating the success they achieved online.

    I started in business 10 years ago, brick and mortar, heck we used fax machines and face to face meetings. The skills I picked up there are 100% transferable to what I do online. 
    Building relationships, partnerships, establishing trust, knowing what I am good at and who I can help, this is not media specific.

    Thanks for cutting through all the BS I see everyday online and saying it like is.

  13. David that’s a great perspective. I’ve been seeing a lot of marketers talk about capturing “Offline Gold” — you know, approaching and doing business with brick and mortar companies. Which is funny because isn’t that simply ‘doing business?’ I think people confuse having Internet fame or popularity with making money and running a business that happens to be online. 

  14. Well said, David. And it aligns very well with the way Google’s search results have been moving.

    Become a brand. Do real business shit. Don’t fake it till you make it. Live, breathe, eat your website — and you’ll succeed.

    Everyone is passionate about something. Take that passion, elevate it to a website, and market it well and you’ll have a business.

      1. I disagree. If you build a website that generates traffic and an audience, you can then build an offer around what that audience is looking for.

        Alternately, there are many other ways to monetize a website besides generating your own products/offers.

        1. You just said “build an offer around what that audience is looking for”. You don’t disagree with me. You agree without realizing it. 🙂

  15. Someone had to say it.

    I agree this is what 90% of the Warrior Forum is. There are lots of good guys, but most people are looking for easy ways to make money online instead if building a business. Not their fault. Just what gets drilled into their head every day.

  16. As you say David… 

    The Internet is just the medium – the rest is Marketing and delivering a great deal 🙂 

    Thanks for the insights once again !!  

  17. Agreed Dave,
    When its all boiled down, business is business.  By the way, love the following quote.  You should have made it tweetable!

    “Find a market with need or want, produce what they need or want, deliver it to them, and get paid for it.” DR

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