Reader Q&A, from the Starting an Online Business Series
David asks: I have considered the whole online business thing as an option to help supplement my traditional income. I recently started a new job, which pays well, but I would still love to set up some addtional income using the whole "for only 10 hours a week" model everyone tries to sell.
Now I know it's not that easy, but the problem is there is way too much information out there on the subject, and most of it is very vague...
Even some of the more "reputable" sources, such as your site and those you promote, seem very vague. Now having said that, there is a lot of good information out there - and your site seems to be one of the best to get legitimate online business information.
I guess my top question about getting started in an online business would be: how do we sort though all the information, and figure out who to trust and where to start?
In all honestly there is way too much out there on the subject and lots of it runs in circles, only to try to get you to buy something, which only tries to get you to buy something else.
Maybe thats how people make money in internet marketing, they sell how to make money online guides that tell you to buy other online money making guides, and so on and so forth.
Just my thoughts, I would love to here more from you, I do enjoy reading your blogs.
Great question! I've put quite a bit of thought into my reply, and consulted a few friends on the topic as well. Truth be known, I think that most of us started out on the same rabbit trail - searching and researching until we finally landed on something (or someone) of value.
Consider how you ended up here, for example. I'm not sure how we were originally connected, but we ended up as friends on MySpace and then you replied to my bulletin about this topic.
The internet is an intricate web of trails and connections. It can be particularly hard to navigate in the world of online business opportunities, given all the scams - and of course the variety in options.
People are generally skeptical enough to avoid most scams (and even some great opportunities) when they first start their research for a legitimate online business - so its all those options that stump most people.
They are searching for a starting point, a definitive answer - and unfortunately, there really isnt one. Not a cookie-cutter step-by-step system where you can do step 1, step 2, etc and have a successful online business up and running.
The reason is because it requires user input. You have to choose a business model. A niche or a topic. Select products to sell, or services to offer. Its all of these options that stump and overwhelm people it seems.
Those that stick with the quest, continue researching and learning, and ultimately take action on something are the people who end up with a legitimate online business. It may not be the first thing they chose even, but those that follow through eventually end up finding something that works for them.
Therein lies the key: follow-through, making a decision, taking action.
I think the secret for most of us who already have a successful online business is that we found someone that helped us along the way. It may be on a social network like MySpace or Facebook, or on a discussion forum - but finding someone who has already been through the research and can give you some solid resources is invaluable.
That would be my advice to you, or anyone looking for legitimate online business help - join a few networks or discussion forums and ask around. You have to take the advice with a grain of salt, as there will be people there trying to "make a sale" - but if you get enough recommendations to check out the same site or person... you'll know its a good bet.
Many thanks for the thought-provoking question, David. As you know, I help people start an online business for a living, and your perspective was very helpful to me in framing my goals to reach those people in the coming year.
I'll also work on being less vague, and on publishing more specific how-to posts - and also making those easier to find and follow from step to step. Great feedback!
To help you - and anyone else still searching - you'll want to start here:
And yes, it is possible to make a good living with a legitimate online business, with less than 10 hours per week of work-time. That is the end result though, not what you can expect to invest upfront when you start your online business.
I'll open up the discussion in the comments section below - perhaps others will have some advice on cutting through the confusion and how they managed to find their place in the wide web of online business options...
In the meantime, you're in the right place. I have an online business forum where you can post any questions you have along the way, and be sure to sign up for my free internet marketing tips as well.
Before you know it you'll have that online business up and running - and you'll be managing it in less than 10 hours a week 😉