Newsletter #7

The 4 Biggest LIES You’ve Been Told About Starting an Online Business

written by

Kevin J. Duncan


It’s a lie, you know…

That idea you’ve been rolling around in the back of your mind for why it’s pointless to launch the online business you’ve been dreaming about?

The thing you’ve used as justification for why the whole “entrepreneurship thing” is too big and too daunting?

Most likely, it’s a lie.

But, we believe it. And because we do, we never launch, we give up too soon, and the world is deprived of the great course or product we wanted to share.

Today, let’s do something about it…

In this issue of Profitable, we’re tackling four of the biggest lies out there about starting an online business.

And we’re going to debunk them one…

By one…

By one.

Let’s jump in.

Lie #1: “You Need an Audience Before You Can Begin Selling Stuff”

Don’t get me wrong…

When selling a course or product, it certainly helps to have an existing audience.

But too many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of believing you simply can’t begin making money without one.

So, most don’t even bother trying.

And the ones who do, since building an audience is both difficult and time-consuming, usually trap themselves in an endless loop of frustration:

The Course Idea Lifecyle by

Here’s the thing, though:

Audiences can be bought.

If Jon lost his email list…

And everyone came down with a case of amnesia and forgot who he was…

He could go into Facebook’s ad manager, create a campaign, and snag hundreds of prospective buyers interested in whatever course he was selling.

And since Jon knows what he’s doing (because you CAN lose your shirt if you play around with advertising without proper know-how), those ads wouldn’t cost him anything. He’d put in X dollars and make 2X or 3X (or more) from course sales.

There’s no reason you can’t do the same.

“But Kevin, you charming but handsome rogue,” you say.

“I don’t know how to run successful ad campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.”

That’s okay. You can learn.

YouTube is a virtual treasure trove of free material for learning all sorts of things. And if you’re willing to invest, there are paid programs from Jason Hornung and others to guide you.

No audience?

No problem. And no excuses.

Lie #2: “You Need to Dot All Your I’s and Cross All Your T’s Before You Start”

When it comes to starting an online business, far too many of us believe things need to be 100% perfect before we can start.

We can’t launch our website until the design is flawless. We can’t begin the hunt for subscribers until we have an awe-inspiring lead magnet. We can’t create a newsletter until we come up with the perfect name for it.

This is procrastination disguised as perfectionism — and it’s a lie that’ll lead to a lifetime of dreaming rather than doing if you’re not careful.

Here’s what to do instead:


Even if you don’t think you’re ready.

No, this doesn’t mean you jump out of a hot air balloon without ensuring the bungee cord tied to your feet is attached to something on the other end.

But it does mean you should jump long before the balloon runs out of air.

Lie #3: “You Need Lots of Expensive Tools”

We’ve covered this one before (see here and here), but it bears repeating:

When you’re starting out, you don’t need expensive tools.

And you certainly don’t need lots of tools — most of which you’ll rarely, if ever, use.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to get you to click on affiliate links so they can earn commissions.

No, you need an email marketing service. You need a place to sell products. You need a way to process payments. A small handful of others and you’re set.

The two links above will show you what’s needed for a simple tech stack.

Read them if you need a refresher.

And speaking of simple…

Lie #4: “If It’s Too Simple, It’ll Never Work”

This final lie is a subtle but dangerous one.

In a vacuum, few would choose “complex” over “simple.”

Ah, but here’s the trick…

We don’t call it “complex” — we call it “sophisticated.”

Like restaurants changing “squid” to “calamari” because it sounds more appetizing, we’ve taken “complex” and rebranded it as “sophisticated” inside our heads.

And who doesn’t love a lil’ sophistication, am I right?

Why develop a SIMPLE business model you could draw on a napkin when you could do a SOPHISTICATED one that’ll wow and awe people when you tell it to them at parties?

And since we believe a successful business NEEDS to be complex, “getting started” sounds too hard. So we never start.


Sometimes, complexity is good. Sometimes it’s needed.

But most of the time? For most people?

A simple turkey sandwich is preferable to a plate of squid.

In practice, that means doing things like:

  • Focusing on one social media platform rather than several
  • Having a simple sales funnel you can easily refine instead of an intricate one an outsider would need a doctorate to decipher
  • Creating one really good course rather than developing an entire product line

You can always add sophistication/complexity later.

But unless yours is a very specific situation, you don’t need it when you’re starting out.

So keep it simple.

And start.

The Best Links:

Your Next Steps:

If you got value from this, and you know anyone who’s interested in starting an online business, please let them know about it.

Use one of the share buttons to the right (if you’re on a desktop) or below (if you’re on mobile) to spread the word.

The more referrals we get, the more awesome content we can publish.

Thanks in advance.

Kevin J. Duncan