7 Most Popular Myths About Starting An Online Business

It seems as if everyone wants to start an online business these days. Unfortunately, too many aspiring entrepreneurs expect the process to be easy, hands off, and streamlined. If you hear anyone say that starting an online business is any of these, it’s time to tune out and move on. These people are perpetuating common myths about the industry.

When we focus on the successful businesses, we get the impression that any idea can lead to success thanks to the huge online audience. That’s one of the greatest myths about online businesses.

If you intend to give your idea a try, you should first bust that one, and then focus on revealing the truth for many other myths about online businesses. 

Myth #1: You Can Start an Online Business for Free (Or A Small Amount of Money)

You’ve all seen the ads that tell you about certain online website building platforms that provide free services (or close to free) online shop creators. In addition, there’s always that self-employed friend that’s telling you how inexpensive it is to get started online.

Although the ideal online store building solutions are fairly inexpensive, you can’t possibly expect to spend less than at least $500 per year on just your website. 

After all, this is your storefront. It’s the primary way you’re going to make money, and if you plan on expanding that business, it’s going to require investments.

The free (or close to free) online business is a marketing ploy to prompt you into buying. 

That doesn’t mean you have to spend $10,000 your first year developing a site, but it’s prudent to budget for more, rather than nothing.

Yes, it’s possible to start a website without investing a great deal of money.  Let’s check only few of the costs you’ll have to deal with:

  • Business planning
  • Content development
  • Customer service
  • Taxes
  • Accounting
  • Domain name
  • Website hosting
  • Logo design
  • Website template or designer
  • E-commerce platform
  • Product inventory
  • Marketing and advertising expenses

I can’t give you a definite number; each business is related to different costs. I can, however, give you an important tip that will save your business from failing: plan the costs and save money before you start. 

Myth #2: If you’re passionate about your idea, you’ll do just fine

Business gurus keep telling you that passion is crucial for the success of your project. They are right… to some extent. In reality, passion will not inevitably lead to profit.

If you want to start an online business, but you’re still not sure about the niche, you should definitely pick something you’re passionate about. However, you should also make sure the market is ready for your idea, and the competition is not already offering something too similar.

There is a link missing between the find your passion and profit. It’s about doing the work. A lot of work and commitment! When you combine that aspect with passion, your online business will have a real chance of succeeding.

Myth #3: Social media marketing is free

You wish! Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms won’t charge you anything for creating a profile for your brand. In fact, that’s one of the first things you should do as part of your marketing campaign: develop a presence not only on Facebook, Instagram and, but on many other platforms as well. While we’re at it, don’t forget to create an impressive LinkedIn profile for yourself – the founder of the online business.

Your profiles will be there, but what will you do with them? If you want real traffic and conversions, you’ll need to pay for some advertising. Effective advertisements cost money, but the good thing is that you can set a budget that works for you. You’ll have to invest in the design of the ads, too. They can be in the form of videos or images with messages, along with content that attracts the viewers to check out your offer. Bottom line, social media marketing is not as expensive as TV advertising, but it’s far from free if you want to use its full potential.

Myth #4: You’ll have a lot of free time on your hands.

If you’re already dreaming about lazy afternoons, long holidays, and constant travel, think again. While starting a business online gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility, you’ll still be spending long hours—sometimes upwards of 80 hours a week—building and growing your business in the beginning, and it requires a lot of hard work and dedication on your part.

Books like The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss have lulled a new generation of entrepreneurs into thinking that all they need to do when starting an online business is to check in on it a few hours each week while the business generates passive income. If you want your online business to succeed, you’ll need to take an active hands-on role, at least for the first few years.

We’ve all seen the ads of entrepreneurs in our Facebook feeds. Images of people posing on the beach in Costa Rica, trumpeting how they work less, live more, and lead an amazing life.

True, all of that is possible. But is it likely? No. Being an entrepreneur is work.

Instead of clocking out at the end of the day, or taking a holiday knowing the team will be merrily doing the work in your absence, you worry. You fret. You think about your business all the time (mostly because you enjoy what you are doing! That’s hard to turn off).

Could you make a lot of money? Sure! Could you retire your spouse? Maybe.

Will you be working hard? DEFINITELY.

You just might enjoy the work more 🙂

Yet along the way, you’ll discover that trading in the traditional 40-hour work week is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever have done.

Myth #5: “I made 6 figures in my first 6 weeks in my Pyjamas and YOU CAN TOO!”

People who tell you this are definitely selling you something. And it’s probably something that smells fishy. If you break down the path of successful online entrepreneurs you will see that they spent YEARS in the making.

Jeff Walker was a stay-at-home dad who built an online business in finance and the stock market. When that blew up he then started what today is PLF, making tens of millions of dollars. But his first live sales pitch out of the gate for PLF? Only 6 people signed up.

Honestly, it just takes time. Building a business is work. It’ll take you months and years of repeat effort before you amass your pile of gold and your stable of ferraris in the garage

…and you know what? That’s okay!

Something worth doing is worth doing right.

Myth #6: You can run your online business alone.

Often it feels as though you have to do everything yourself when you’re running an online business. There are times, however, when you’re going to need help with tasks outside your skill set. At that point, you’ll need to have someone on hand who can help with developing website content, doing email marketing, writing advertising copy, or managing your social media presence.

Why hire a full-time staffer when you can hire a freelancer? A quick search of the internet will bring up hundreds of freelancers who are ready and willing to help you out on an as-needed basis for reasonable rates.

At the very least, it gets lonely at the top. Sometimes it’s helpful to bounce ideas off another online business person in your industry and tap into their knowledge base, especially if they’ve been in business for longer than you have.

Myth #7: “Anyone can do it, so why not me?”

Okay, this isn’t a snarky myth. But I had to include it.

Technically, anyone can start and run an online business.

But very few people will be successful at it.

Building a business is one of the most incredible personal development journeys that you can take as a human, and it’s a pretty incredible path to choose.

But it’s also hard. It’s challenging. It’s tiring. And it’s risky.

Which means that only a small number of people are going to be happy and comfortable taking this path.

And you know what? That’s okay.

Become an online entrepreneur if that’s the journey you really want to take. Don’t do it if you think you “should.”

Do it because you love learning. Do it because you enjoy selling. Do it because you are scratching an itch in your soul.

You absolutely can be an online entrepreneur.

Just don’t get caught up in the all the myths, keep your perspective, and maybe your sense of humour, and stay focused.

Resources mentioned in this episode:


 Awaken The Giant Within. Anthony Robbins

‘Tony’s incredible understanding of the world, people and human nature make him the ultimate like coach. He knows what it takes to make people excel… and win!’  – Andre Agassi

Robbins is a mass of walking energy and passion.’ – Time Out

Are you in charge of your life? Or are you being swept away by things that are seemingly out of your control? In AWAKEN THE GIANT WITHIN, Anthony Robbins, the bestselling author of UNLIMITED POWER, shows the reader how to take immediate control of their mental, emotionalphysical and financial destiny.

Further praise for Tony Robbins: A fascinating, intriguing presentation of cutting-edge findings and insights… including the growing consciousness that true success is anchored in enduring values and service to other.’  – Stephen R. Covey, Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

As always, thank you so much for tuning in. I really hope this helped. Hey, have I missed anything here though? 

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Phil Adair is the host of one of the most downloaded online marketing podcasts on the internet. (Go here to subscribe and listen to The Online Marketing Strategies Show.)

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