How to Find Legitimate Online Business Information

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.

Lynn's reply...

Hi David,

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:

Starting a Free Online Business

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.

You really should check out my personal story that talks about making it to the 10-hours per week mark - it's good 😉 . You can also get an inside look at how I make money online for even more ideas.

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 😉


About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Lyn you're the first im expert to say it'll take time and effodt before you reach the 10 hours a week level. Wish i'd known that sooner. I was shocked that IM can be worse than a fulltime job.

    My breakthrough started when i joined mom masterminds and met other wahms like me. So your advice to find a trustworthy network or forum is completely right.

  2. Lynn, if one does not mind the hard work, how can a business be started online legitimately?

    And most businesses that run online do have some legitimacy to them, that provides a solid service to others.

    Is there any help and resources to point a newbie (making a small amount over $100 a month from clickbank) to make a sustaining business that goes for over $3000 a month?

  3. Hey Lynn and David, Your'e right, there is so much content about making money online, the task is daunting to those whom may want to make an extra income but really have no idea where to start.

    Its very easy to get overwhelmed because of the multitude of options from blogging and monetizing, to business opportunities, mlm's, selling information products and affiliate marketing.

    One first has to do some research to understand the world of internet marketing and what one desires to be satisfying.

    Not everyone sells recycled content about 'how to make money' online. There are very comprehensive courses to get you on track.

    The number one thing that helped me was to first learn about the many 'ways' to make money online. Choose an area, research it, learn it, take a course and apply it.

    First find something you like to do because then you will stick with it. Focus and don' t keep looking for the next best 'way' or 'how to' ebook. Learn the basics, they apply to every business model.

    Once you have a fundamental comprehension, then you can expand into other markets and business models.

    Affiliate marketing is always a great place to start. You don't need much, just time and effort.

  4. I have done quiet a bit of looking and the best places I have found for good free information and advice to get started are:

    The internet marketing this week crew:
    Ed Dale (and the 30 Day challenge)
    Michelle MacPhearson
    Lynn (from here)
    Paul Colligan
    Subscribe to the IMTW podcast on itunes for some great information on current issues in int marketing with great advice and resources.

    Also, Eben Pagan
    He is a great speaker and gives a ton of great content for free.

    I recommend not spending any money on your business (except for hosting etc) until you get it going and you know specifically what you need to learn how to do. Look at various launches and observe what they are doing to make you want to buy their stuff, but don't buy! Buying a product or course will most likely leave you overwhelmed.

    I am working on trying to get my stuff up and running for hours everyday and I am still like 10-15 days behind on the thirty day challenge. There is just so much to take in especially if you are like me and are oblivious when it comes to computers.

    Despite being behind I am confident that I will be up and running pretty soon once I sort out issues with domains and hosting and wordpress.

    Once I get up and going I will look into investing into buying or subscribing to content to help me grow my business.

  5. Hi Lynn
    Is affiliate marketing a feasible business without a website?


  6. I would echo Tim's comment about not spending any money yet. Not that you should think you can do all this for nothing (although it is possible to do it for very little), but simply that there are loads of people out there trying to sell you a solution, which in reality is only going to make them money, not you.

    The best advice you can get initially will be free, and you'll get that by reading Lynn's blog and forum, as well as the Warrior Forum. Those are the only resources I would use if I were to start again, and I would read them avidly. Read more, absorb and ask questions. After a while, you'll et to see what's going on.

    Just don't get fooled by IM products that claim they will make you $30K in 30 days (or whatever).

    Above all, TAKE ACTION! That's the one single thing that will create success. You need ot read for a bit and get some ideas, but don't get sucked into the trap that most of us have experienced at some time, and that is reading instead of doing. Reading is <b.NOT going to make you a penny, doing is.

    Hope this helps,

  7. Hi !
    Both, the question of David & the answer by Lynn are thought provoking. Wish and hope that all newbies get to see these sorts of questions and equally befitting answer of Lynn prior to jumping to bandwagon and go on buying spree of systems/products/auto-pilots(?)/free websites - an endless list !!!

  8. Online business is hard. Every one should do it part time. Some times it could work as well. If online business works you can do it forever.

  9. Charles Tillett says:

    Im still a Newbie and even though i have been online since 1995 i have only been involved in home business less than 1 year. One thing that i have learned that i feel is the most important. Having and makeing Relationships with people are the foundation of a online business.
    Lynn is a great example to follow in this area.

  10. Nothing bothers me more than the web pitched as a method to get rich quick. It is a lot of work to drive traffic and be successful online. And if you don't know what you are doing, there will be a lot of wasted energy.

  11. Charles Tillett says:

    This is true. It takes a lot of work.

  12. Well said. The Forum and Tips are one of the best I've seen. Very well put together. I just think people are so focused on making success, that they don't take their time, and just start doing everything they can to get to where they want, when it's so time consuming. You can't create a business, and make the money you want the next day. Which is why most fail.

  13. Hi Lynn & David,

    I too have been in the same boat as you, David. I have been searching for over a year to try to find a LEGITIMATE work at home position. Unfortunately, there are too many scams out there! I did find this one opportunity about 3 months ago, so I have been trying to become an affiliate marketer. I'll tell you it is definitely HARD WORK! I have spent more time doing this than any other JOB I have ever had. Hopefully, I'll soon start to see some results.

  14. Charles P Knell says:

    Cindy, You have motivated me to write an article on that subject. I'll tweet when it's done. Thanks for asking the question. Look for it in a day or two on my website home page, or on twitter. I think that you may find it interesting.

    follow me on twitter: @Charles_KnNell

  15. Charles P Knell says:

    Lynn Terry,

    I loved your articles on the new cameras. You should never feel like you need to apologize for missing an instruction, everyone who buys one is in the same boat. Based on your article I picked one and ordered it. In the time I thought about it after putting it in my Amazon shopping cart but before I ordered it 3 days later, they raised the price $30. So, that's a word to the wise and an internet marketing tactic to watch out for! The lesson here is don't leave things in shopping carts, as it may now apparently be a measure of buyer intent.

    Best Regards,

  16. Hi Lynn
    Did you use WordPress to create your website?


  17. Thank you for all of the wonderful contributions here - it really rounds out this post to have thoughts from others who have experienced it personally.

    To answer the questions...

    Did you use WordPress to create your website?

    Hi Tom - I used WordPress to create this site you're on now ( but I have a variety of websites created with a variety of tools - some of them are just HTML templates I created in Dreamweaver, or coded by hand. Others use software like WordPress or BANS.

    Is affiliate marketing a feasible business without a website?

    You definitely need a website - for any online business model. You dont have to start with one, however. If you need a quick-start before you invest in your website, see:

    Any other questions, feel free to leave them here - or join us at the forum:

  18. Charles P Knell says:


    You may want to read "You CAN cheat an honest man",

    Best Regards,

  19. I think it is all about checking the proofs provided.

    I usually meet 3 kind of proofs:

    (1) Money - screenshots (can be faked with PhotoShop)

    (2) Traffic stats - screenshots (can be faked with PhotoShop)

    (3) Position in Google - imp0rtant proof for SEO strategies that promised you to get traffic from search engines. Cannot be faked, but "gurus" quite often are showing keywords that do not have any link building competition - and thus it is very easy to get Google page 1 for that keywords.

    MY STRATEGY: before buying any product from a person that I do not know, I google the name of the person and name of the product - if there are complaints, you will find them.

    I know many people to curse the seller of one product (will not name it here). The product is sold for over $1,000 and it nothing but a compillation of free info.

    However if these naive product purchasers to the google search like suggested, they would see tons of complaints about the product and would never buy it.

  20. Flash Design says:

    I absolutely that those who persist and apply will eventually find their successful way. However, I have never thought about finding a personal mentor. I think that is a brilliant idea coupled with the advice in the first comment here - being in proximity with other people who want to reach a similar goal.

    Another thing that I consider very reliable when deciding on whether I should take advantage of an offer or not is my gut feeling. I just believe that truly great offers do attract my attention, so I don't care much about offers that don't get my full attention. Most of the time, this approach worked great for me 😉

  21. Mia - PLR Articles says:

    When I started I felt like I'm in a jungle - a jungle of articles by web "gurus" on how easy it is to earn money online. Well the truth it - it isn't. At least not at the beginning. You need to learn by trying what works and what not an after you have some experience, well only then it becomes easier and easier until you can comfortably work less than 10 hours a week. Can't say when, but somewhere along this process you will also subconsciously learn how to recognize what is a valuable content and what is fluff.

    Not trying to discourage anyone here, I just want to point out that there is likely that you will fail at the beginning, so you just take it as a part of a learning process.

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