There’s no such thing as a typical internet marketer

This is another one of those posts to skip if you’re looking for pure money making info. This is about the personal side of internet marketing.

I’ve posted before about how I made the slide from running my own offline business into internet marketing relatively painlessly, but I was the lucky one – since then my wife has dumped her well paid, extremely stressful job in education to mess about at home like I do. To be fair she did it quite a while back now and it was obvious from the first month that she’ll never go back to teaching, but she found it a lot harder to make the change than I did in most ways, yet easier in others, as I’ll explain.

Most self help books tell you to hang around with successful people if you want to be successful yourself. I think this is true but it’s not the whole story. It works because you pretty much become like the people you hang round with. It works both ways too.

 I’m a crap employee – I don’t have the right mindset to work for other people and I resent it when they earn more money than me from my efforts. As soon as one of my friends started his own business, three others from my circle of friends, including me did the same. It’s like getting married – in the space of 12 months from our wedding, three other couples we knew had done the same .

We’re a herd animal no matter how individual we pretend to be and you tend to imitate your surroundings. Ever wondered why many admin workers who start out as paid support for gurus end up with their own successful online businesses? It’s success by osmosis.

I’m typing this on a Sunday morning with my two year and a half year old daughter sitting next to me watching what I’m doing ( and pressing the return key when I’m not looking because it’s a game). My wife is uploading some pictures on her laptop for her online business and I’m wondering if we’re neglecting out children! Actually when I’ve posted this I won’t go near my computer because we’re off out for the day but the point is that our house is choc full of entrepreneurial vibes and that’s what motivates us to keep going.

We have all sorts of ventures on the go apart from our businesses online – we put honesty boxes and strawberry plants on our wall in summer for passing tourists ( we’re on a tourist trail) to buy – we buy and sell various things ranging from antiques to old tat, and occasisonally do a little import and export.

My wife has a natural flair for creative business but it would have been much harder for her to make the transition from 9-5 worker if I hadn’t done it first. BUT it’s also been very hard for her because of the people she used to work with. Teachers have to give HUGE notice periods in the UK – upwards of three months and in that time her colleagues naturally asked what she was going to be doing.

When her reply was something like ‘Oh I have afew ideas – a bit of this and a bit of that’ these professional educators – wonderful people – who had never had a day outside an education institute, either as a teacher or student since they started school, couldn’t handle it. They really couldn’t deal with what they saw as the insecurity of it all. They already thought I was irresponsible and had somehow passed some of my madness on.

 Likewise one of her closest friends still has trouble with the fact that neither of us work in the traditional way – and that’s because she’s in a very stressful, highly paid profession where security, pension, promotion and salary are put on a pedestal. Give her three months in an office with entrepreneurs and she’d change completely. But this won’t happen because most of her friends are their jobs if you follow me – they define theirselves by their occupation. Nothing wrong in thet – I did it for years, but it does give you a certain mindset.

For us there’s no other lifestyle – the money’s great, the free time is even better and we can’t imagine living any other way.

Most of our friends seem to live slightly unusual lifestyles and being able to go for a walk on a Tuesday afternoon when the rest of the world is at work is normal now. We often forget what day it is and still get people looking at us strangely when we invite them for lunch and they say ‘But I’ll be at WORK then’ because we forget how other people live.

Now before you start thinking how horribly smug I am I’d like to say that it gets difficult at times, especially at family gatherings where in the past I’ve been accused of being almost irresponsible with my family. If a 9-5 er had a financial disaster of some sort there would be sympathy and lots of talk about bad luck and things not being fair. If it happened to us it would be our own fault for not having a ‘proper’ job.

What I’m saying in a looooooong roundabout way is that maybe you need to hang around a bit more with people who either work full time in IM or aspire to the same dreams as you do. If you’re already a full-timer, spend some time with someone who wants to be in your shoes. It’ll help both of you because no matter how you look at it, society and the work ethic is really, really straight – it’s square man – and there’s not much forgiving goes on for anyone who wants to do things a little differently.

If you find just one person who’s in the same position then keep in touch with them and ask them what they’ve been up to. It’ll help your business more than reading a dozen motivation books while surrounded by people who keep telling you to ‘stop dreaming’.

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6 responses to “There’s no such thing as a typical internet marketer

  1. I love it! As someone new to IM and looking forward to being in your position, I’m impressed by your candor. I can see how it might look that way to some people, but IM is more than your job, it is your BUSINESS : )

  2. Hi Tony,

    You are so right. There are two kinds of people – those of us who ‘get’ the entrepreneurial mindset and those who don’t (and never will).

    After I left full-time employment to plough my own furrow my income exploded. Despite having spent 25 years in a high-paid line of work (advertising) I never earned as much as I did in my first couple of years working for myself. Yet my late father worried about me constantly and regularly asked me when I was going to get another ‘proper’ job. He never did ‘get’ it.

    Ten years on, like you, I’m utterly unemployable and I’ve never been happier, freer or more financially secure!

    What those who are wedded to working for others fail to undersand is that we who are able to generate income for ourselves are far more ‘secure’ than anyone with a job. These days, people who are employed by others are only secure for as long as their notice period – whereas you and I are secure for as long as we know how to turn on the good old Internet tap.

    And that’s like riding a bike – once you’ve learned how, you can’t remember what it was like not to know.

    Good post, Tony.


  3. Tony Shepherd

    HI Marie,

    Thanks for your post – and welcome to the wonderful and slightly weird world of Internet Marketing.

    Hi Martin,

    ‘Unemployable’ you say – now there’s a word that goes hand in hand with Internet Marketing if ever I heard one! And as you rightly say the unemployable ones among us are usually the happier, richer, more entrepreneurial people around. I think IM’s should all come out of the closet and wear ‘proud to be unemployable’ t-shirts!

  4. I’ve been a follower of yours and Sara’s for quite a while, and I’m ashamed to admit I’ve bought some of your products and have never followed through on acting on them.

    And it’s a shame, because when I read your posts, it brings tears to my eyes. I so want what you have, and have been telling myself I’ve been working to get there, but what I’ve been doing is running around in a circle. And the rut has gotten quite deep.

    But I won’t give up, I can’t give up…I’m so tired of 12 hour shifts and I want to quit so bad I can taste it. I’ve made some money sporadically, mostly from freelancing, and I find myself constantly facing the choice of finishing that writing project for someone else or working on my own projects. Sadly, my own stuff almost always takes a back seat, because writing is what’s paying me right now.

    When I talk about what’s happening online to my family, they’ve told me they haven’t seen me as passionate and excited about anything else in a very long time. I know this is what I’m meant to do.

    But it’s like stepping into Disneyland for the first time…so many things you can do that you just don’t know where to begin. So I’ve done a bit of this, a bit of that, and as I’m sure you know, that doesn’t get you anywhere.

    Sorry for pouring out my very soul here, I didn’t mean to hold my pity party on your blog. I actually came here because I’ve unsubscribed from almost every list I was on and as I was doing so, I thought “Hey…I haven’t heard from Tony or Sara in a long time”. How many times does somebody actually ‘miss’ hearing from a list owner? I suppose it could be because most of them don’t give you even a day in which to miss them. But I’ve missed you both and wanted you to know.

    I would ask for one piece of advice…if you were to suggest one or two of your products (or Sara’s) to focus on…to get serious about quitting 7pm-7am shifts…which ones would you suggest?

    If I already have it, I’m gonna dedicate myself to it…and if I don’t, I’ll buy it.

    It would be silly to say I love the two of you, because I really don’t ‘know’ you, but I will say I admire what you’ve done, I want to follow in your footsteps, and I respect and appreciate the attitude you have toward family, your subscribers, and your openness and honesty about what it takes to ‘make it’ online.

    Again, I’m sorry for taking up so much space. I’ll blame it on the writer in me.

  5. Tony Shepherd

    Hi Honey (sounds rather familar so for anyone reading this who hasn’t realised – Honey is this poster’s name:-)

    You’ve certainly got the passion for IM and that’s half the battle. Thanks for your kind words about missing the newsletters. In answer to your post my first reaction is to say sign up for Sara’s and my own newsletter (sara’s blog is and read through the back issues – they’re free and there’s plenty of info to go at.

    If you’re looking for a step by step plan to get yourself going in IM check out either or because both are complete systems aimed at getting things moving as soon as possible.

    Good luck!

  6. Hey Tony,

    Great post. I do look forward to doing full-time! 🙂

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