You Cannot FAIL At An Online Business If You Are Never Really IN Business In The First Place

Jack Humphrey

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Statistics used in online sales letter are often abused and misunderstood in many ways. Both from the consumers’ standpoint and, either purposefully or unknowingly, by product and service providers of all types.

Have you heard the oldest marketing slogan on the web?

"98% of online businesses fail to see success. "

Since the first time I saw that figure I wondered what organization was responsible for concocting this seemingly scientific “fact. "

After starting several businesses and writing articles and books on the art of internet marketing success over 6 years, it is obvious to me that no one has a good grasp of how many people try and then fail to make a business take off on the internet.

First and most importantly, what was the criteria the unknown researcher of this statistical statement used to qualify someone as starting and failing at an online business?

I asked the question simply because I know from my own empirical data and years of experience that relatively very few business ventures are begun on the net by people with the experience, motivation, backing, and support it takes to even have a chance of success.

If the author of the statement in question intended to lump in all the unprofessional, untrained, novice, weekend-warrior, wannabe business owners then yes, that statistic is more believable.

If they intended to include in the data anyone who has gotten into network marketing and intended to succeed with the cookie-cutter website provided by that company alone - then YES 98% failure makes more sense.

I mean, how serious can a person be if they are hooked into a business model that promises success with no real work on their part?

My biggest problem with the overall statement is that by including the types of people and businesses above, people touting this famous phrase are not being fair to all the REAL business people online who work hard, who immerse themselves deeply in marketing and business training, and who work long hard hours in the beginning to see their businesses succeed.

Real businesses have tax status, (Corporate or LLC at least), an accounting and customer service system, a professional online presence, no dancing hamsters or other novice website distractions. . . and above all, real businesses are professional in all aspects of their presence in the business community.

Stuffing envelopes and filling out surveys for money do not alone constitute a “business. " Nor does signing up as an affiliate and promoting other people's products without having your own brand name, products or at least having a unique presence on the web.

Here is the reason people cannot say they are in business online unless they treat what they do as a real business:

No one who says they are in business online, who does not have simple corporate status to shelter their profits from the massive taxes you have to pay as an individual vs. what you'd pay as a corporation or LLC, is not really in business at all.

Even if you are “testing the waters" for the first time in online business, it makes no sense to, on one hand, tell yourself you are going to be a great success, and on the other hand you carry yourself as if you don't really believe you are going to make a thin dime because you don't have any form of a legal business entity set up for yourself.

If someone were dead serious about making a lot of money with their own online business they'd set themselves up first and foremost with all the knowledge, legal documentation, tax benefits, and other business organization steps to handle that success!

Now, considering the above, a poll on the success/failure rate of people who have qualified to call themselves real business owners would come out to a completely different number from 98% failure.

Many now successful people have started with failures. How does that figure into the final tally?

As you can see, a real logical look at the age-old statement above, when you place basic standards for qualification of what constitutes a real business, makes the statement very misleading.

People who are very motivated and set themselves up as a real business, train themselves basic to advanced business tactics and concepts, and present their business professionally online and, in some cases offline, are not likely to be satisfied for long with initial failure.

I failed at my first attempts at marketing online and it was precisely when I was doing it part time and looking for shortcuts.

But when finally I got serious and set my business foundation up properly and legally, trained myself as a member of business and marketing forums, at conferences, and through myriad marketing and business courses, I started to succeed in my business almost as soon as I finally set a direction and a plan up for it.

If you were to poll real business owners, you'd find a different statistic representing failure and success. Leave out the lazy, the uneducated, the unmotivated, and unethical people from the data, and you will soon get down to a more realistic number.

How does all this concern you?

It might give you pause to realize the above. You might not actually be IN business right now when you thought you were! But it should also give you hope that, if you work hard and are motivated, you can turn an idea into success once you start walking the talk.

You cannot FAIL at an online business if you were never really IN business in the first place. Armed with this information, you should start to distinguish what being in business is all about along with what it really takes to succeed at marketing yourself, your products, and/or your services online.

In the end, even if the 98% failure rate were true, your focus should be on that 2% and not on the misleading assertion that succeeding online is hard.

It takes hard work, but success in online business is not “hard" to comprehend. There is a learning curve, but it's not rocket science. Learning isn't as much the issue as is motivation and determination.

Whatever the real percentage of failure of online businesses is, (and believe me, no one really knows because everyone uses different standards for data on this subject, if they even go that far) you can beat the odds by getting dead serious about your success and setting yourself up as a real, bona fide business.

Once you have letterhead with Inc. or LLC. after your company name it is VERY difficult to let yourself fail, believe it!

Jack Humphrey is a marketing consultant and professional copywriter at as well as the author of Power Linking 2: Evolution at


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