I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” – Stuart Smalley (Saturday Night Live)

By Jim Daniels

I’m now in my 11th year of doing business online. This week, I discovered a shocking statistic: Since starting my business, I have answered more than 100,000 e-mails! I answer all my e-mail personally. So if anyone in the online business arena has a grasp on what’s keeping people from success, that person is me.

Without a doubt, one or more of the following online business myths reside in nearly every potential businessperson’s head. And these myths could be keeping you from earning your slice of the Internet cash pie.

Here are the myths… exposed and shattered.

Myth #1: I’m not smart enough to have my own business.

Perhaps. But doubtful. True, online business is NOT for everyone. But I feel that it is doable for almost anyone, including 99 percent of the people reading ETR right now. If you have a desire to learn, you can grow an income stream from the Web. You just have to do it the right way – and that means you cannot chase business opportunity after business opportunity. You have to build something of your own. Something of value. Something that will help other people. That’s the seed that can blossom into profits via affiliate programs, your own products or services, advertising revenue, and many other income streams.

Myth #2: I don’t have the time it takes to start or grow an income source online.

Working for “the man” can eat up quite a bit of your time. Add in a significant other, maybe a family, a commute… and what do you have left? For people working 80+ hours a week to make ends meet, starting a business may be (nearly) impossible. But for most folks working full-time jobs, it is possible.

Ten years ago, I worked 40-50 hours a week, plus I had a two-hour-a-day commute. I had a significant other and a baby on the way. But I found a couple of hours a night to get an online business started. I used my commute time to record ideas onto a small cassette recorder. I brainstormed during idle times in the day. If you want something bad enough, there is almost always enough time to make it happen.

Myth #3: I don’t have the money it takes for a new business.

That’s doubtful. The cost of an online business really can be dirt-cheap. Ten years ago, it was far more expensive to start a business online than it is today. Website design no longer costs thousands of dollars. In fact, you can do it for less than $50 if you are willing to do the work yourself. Even if you have to hire someone, you can get a pre-designed website template modified for a few hundred bucks. There are also monthly services available, for the cost of dinner out, that handle all your needs, including Web hosting, growing an opt-in list, following up with prospects, accepting orders, and even starting an affiliate program. None of these services were available 10 years ago. Now they are cheap and more effective than ever.

Myth #4: I’m not an expert at anything.

You don’t have to be. I decided I wanted to start a business on the Internet, and started researching every aspect of it. Before I knew it, I knew more about the subject than everyone I knew. When people started asking me questions, it dawned on me that I was now an “expert” on Internet business. So I decided to help more people by writing a book about it.

The point is, you can become an expert in almost any topic that interests you. There’s a world of information on the World Wide Web, and it is all at your fingertips.

Myth #5: I have nothing to sell.

You don’t need to have anything to sell right away. You can start by promoting existing products and services in the niche you choose. Chances are, you will not be the first person entering that niche. And chances are, there are already products or services for sale in that arena. You can promote those existing products or services on a commission basis, via merchants’ affiliate programs. And while you’re doing that, you can be developing something of your own to sell.

Myth #6: Someone is already doing what I want to do, so it is useless to compete.

This is one of the worst excuses, yet one of the most common I hear. Many people think that if an idea is already being implemented online, they “missed the boat.” What they fail to realize is that if their idea is being done, it may very well be a successful idea and worth pursuing.

Remember, there are hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of sites selling similar things on the Web. Heck, if I had that “it’s useless to compete” attitude 10 years ago, I would still be working for the man.

Myth #7: The only people making money online are people telling others how to make money.

Another excuse I hear a lot – usually from someone too lazy to ever succeed. Sure, there are a lot of so-called Web business gurus offering advice on how to make money online. But in the grand scheme of things, these businesses comprise far less than one percent of all businesses online. Your online business is what you want it to be. If you want to be an online business guru, okay. Do your research and join the fray. But only do it if that is what you truly want to do – not because it looks like the only way.

Myth #8: I’ve tried plenty of online business opportunities with no success. It’s just not for me.

Maybe it’s not. But chances are, your failure is from chasing different business opportunities instead of building your own business from the ground up. That includes setting up a website of your own, growing your own opt-in list, communicating with and helping people, networking with other businesses in your niche, and making it happen!

Myth #9: I’d need a top search engine ranking to get anywhere… and that’s almost impossible.

I’ll agree that it may be almost impossible to get a top search engine ranking in some niches. But the fact is, you do not need a top search engine ranking in order to succeed on the Web. I’ll say it right now, in writing, that a top search engine ranking can be grossly overrated. In fact, I have a site that has a top ranking in a hotly contested market, with the top keywords. How much traffic do you think that top ranking brings the site each month? 10,000 visitors? 5,000 visitors? Try 300.

Yes, search engine ranking, like all marketing strategies (online and off) does not stand up well on its own. Effective marketing is all about using multiple strategies – and many strategies work far better than search engine positioning.

Myth #10: I’d need a big advertising budget to get any results.

Wrong. The Web is a perfect medium for implementing grassroots strategies. A few that I’ve used with great success include joint venturing, networking, opt-in marketing with e-mail newsletters (with an e-mail follow-up series), and commission-only marketing with eBay and affiliate programs, ad co-ops, and more. These strategies are dirt-cheap and amazingly effective.

Before the Web, you could get away with the argument that a big advertising budget was needed to grow a business. The Web changed that long ago, and it continues to be true today.

There you have it. The top 10 myths about starting a Web business that are keeping literally millions of people stuck in that J-O-B (Just Over Broke). If you’re not on your way to generating profits online, you may find that you believe one of those myths. Don’t fall for it. Don’t let it keep you from one of the best opportunities in centuries – an online business of your own.

[Ed. Note: Entrepreneur Jim Daniels, who started his first online business with $300, can show you how to spin serious profits from the Web… right from your own home. Learn 10 simple steps to Internet riches – a $97 value – for free. (Just click on the Gold Key at the bottom of the site.) Jim’s special offer is only for ETR reader, so don’t share this secret backdoor with others.

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