How long will it take me to build an online business?


Last Wednesday in the UK around 2 million people went on strike to protest about what is, in essence, government theft of their pension disguised as having to pay higher monthly contributions and having to work for a significant number of extra years until retirement. I wish them the best of luck.

Our village school was closed therefore and it was a chance to spend some times with the kids.

But my missus and I still needed to work. Christmas is a busy time, not least because of the offline business that is based at home, but also because it’s a GREAT time for internet marketing because people are used to spending lots of money at Christmas, so it’s a good time to put out offers in my experience.

Most of it was paperwork – planning, ideas and admin and would only take an hour or two of ‘power’ work.

The kids also needed to do their own ‘admin’ which involved letters to Father Christmas (still young enough to be doing this!) Christmas cards to classmates, family and friends and even learning lines for the Nativity play up at school next week.

The usual, boring, wonderful family stuff that I love.

So in true Shepherd style we relocated everything from the house to the pub up the road.

It’s a 17th Century Manor House (the pub) so we’re talking roaring fires, Christmas decorations, real ale and good grub, and apparently a Ghostly Monk who haunts the Gents toilets. Cottaging in the afterlife eh? (If you’re not sure DON’T look it up)

We took the usual notepads, stuff for the kids and redirected the phones lines from home to the iPhones which also doubled as our internet connection. Yep – this quaint old English pub has a wireless connection faster than ours at home!

We grabbed a huge table next to the fire and settled in. We got drinks in for all of us, and ordered food, then settled down to wait. The food takes a while to appear but it’s worth it and we were making the day up as we went along anyway. No rush.

Here’s a pic of my daughter about to tackle her Christmas cards with the same expression I had on my face when about to tackle this blog.

We got about ten percent the work done before the food arrived and the rest of it later, having a lot of fun, chat and taking the pee out of each other. I sampled a couple of their real ales and my my wife tucked into the the wine.

It was feeling very Christmassy.

Once you’ve got the foundations of your Internet Marketing business built, it actually doesn’t take that much to keep it ticking over if you want to take some time off. Even a serious amount of time off.

The important thing is making sure you do the RIGHT things.

In western countries most of us are conditioned from birth to have a ‘work ethic’. We feel that if we’re not working around 8 hours a day we’re not doing ‘proper’ work.

My own personal belief is that the Calvinistic worth ethic we’re stuck with is only about 500 years old and it’s purely there to keep people tired and unable to have too many original thoughts or ideas.

It’s social control. Keep ’em knackered and they won’t question the system too much.

What bright spark came up with 8 hours a day, 5 days a week anyway?

It’s arbitrary. Why not 3 days work and four days off?

The technology is in place to free us up. It really is.

Yet the more ‘time saving’ devices that are invented, the longer the average working week seems to become.

Doesn’t make too much sense to me. Yeah I know the industrial revolution changed the way we work, increased output needed a standardized workforce but I have to say, reading between the lines it all seems like BOLLOCKS to me. How come I can receive a bank payment from across the world in three seconds, my phone has more processing power than the first manned space flight but they can’t manage to give the world’s population Fridays off?


We’re here to make babies, look after the place and have fun. To me that does NOT include some corporate tit inventing ‘overtime’.

I could rant about this for a long time but here’s the point of this blog post:

Most of us find it VERY hard to shake the work ethic. Me included. I spent a LOT of time feeling guilty that I should be working on my Internet Marketing business 5 or 6 days a week when I first started, even though I just didn’t have the time.

Most of us don’t if we come from a full-time job and are trying to build an IM business. (Can you imagine how much easier it would be if we all had fridays off?)

Then I realised that wasn’t the point of what I wanted to do. For me it’s NEVER been about the money. It’s about the TIME.

My kids are both under 8.

No matter how much money I acrue in the future, I’m never, ever going to get back this time again. Once it’s over it’s gone forever, so I make sure I spend as much time as possible with them. Because at some point they’re not going to want to hold my hand when we’re walking up the street, they’re going to want twenty quid and to borrow the car.

Which is fine. It’s what happens. It’s natural.

But too many marketers bring their 5 days a week, 8 hours a day routine into their IM business. I know it’s fun working on your own business and doesn’t often seem like work, but ask yourself why you got into IM in the first place?

I get emails from marketers who spend hours every day doing stuff that isn’t vital to their business just to ‘put in the hours’. Trust me if you’re one of these people who put in an 8 hour day every day to ‘discipline’ yourself, you WILL find something to fill those hours.

It might be forum browsing or Skype chatting. It might be learning a new marketing technique or testing out a new method. But you WILL fill those 8 hours. Trouble is, as Pareto states in his law, probably only 20% of it will be effective. Think what non-work stuff you could be doing with the other 80%?

Personally, I’ve always preferred to take a ‘power hour’ or two a day and really hammer through the tasks that need to be done to put money into my business. I also have time I put aside for developing new things.

I didn’t get into IM to work 40 hours a week. Sure there are many marketers who earn a lot more money than me. That’s fine with me. I’m very happy.

Back to our day off…

After we’d got the ‘work’ done in the pub we headed up into the village and decided to go for a coffee at a great little coffee house where the kids can paint pottery. It’s then fired in the kiln and we pick it up a week or so later.

Here’s my son just having finished a piece of chocolate cake the size of his own head, while painting a ceramic Santa.

By the time we’d finished it was dark (as it is in Yorkshire at 4pm at this time of year) so we wandered home. A really simple, but pretty great day.

As I managed to wedge my stuffed belly behind my desk later that evening I saw that my ‘pub power hour’ promo had almost hit the four figure mark. This is possible from a business that was set up part-time, AS LONG as I concentrate the time I dO work on what really matters.

Here’s an example.

I’m writing this post on Friday and this afternoon I’m going up to school to take the kids round their school fair. Tombola stalls, visits to Santa (who looks spookily like the school caretaker) face painting and the rest. My wife is running one of the stalls.

So I’ve got another hour or so clear to work before I need to set off.

I’ve got a list on my desk of half a dozen items I need to do. Three of those will actively put money into my bank account, another one is to publish this blog post and the other two are instructions to send to my PA.

Now I wasn’t born with a personal assistant stapled to the back of my head, it’s something I implemented as soon as I recognised the need (far too late actually), but remember I’ve never worked 8 hour days (for any length of time) on my biz. Sometimes I’ve had to pull an all-nighter to get something done sure, but I’m talking about my ongoing business model. I work maybe 15-20 hours a week on my biz.

In fact since this is the first ever year that my children have both been in full-time school I haven’t wanted to work any more than that while they’ve been at home.

So my advice to you would be threefold:

1. ONLY do what matters. If something isn’t actively putting money into your bank account or isn’t more than ONE step away from putting money into your account (for example installing tracking code on a squeeze page won’t actually make you any money but the conversion tracking and subsequent tweaking WILL) then ask yourself if you really NEED to do it

2. Don’t start work with 8 hours in front of you. Write a small list and then break it down into an hour’s work. Once that’s done go get a coffee with someone you fancy or play a console game for an hour. It’s NOT about wasted time, it’s about training yourself to focus on what needs to be done.

‘Oh it’s alright for you Shepherd, your business is built! You don’t have to put as much work in!’

Yeah well my business didn’t plop out of my arse already built. And as I’ve said before, I’ve NEVER worked on it full-time for any length of time. That’s why I built into it the processes that really matter from day one – continuity, list-building and traffic driving. Do you need much else? Get those basics set up and you’ll have the freedom to experiment with other stuff without having to worry about your bread and butter income.

3 Finally, you are NOT evil if you work less than 8 hours a day. Nor are you lazy or ‘not buckling down to work’. You’re an internet marketer and thus you have a different set of rules to an employee.

YOU make the rules. Nobody else, and that includes your spouse, mother-in-law or anyone who spouts dung on the warrior forum.

I’d go so far as to say working 8 hours a day was actually BAD for you, bad for your business and bad for your personal relationship.

I know it’s easy for me to say. Why not make it easier for YOU to say too?

CLICK HERE to get a look at the ONLY internet marketing system you’ll ever need to learn!

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41 responses to “How long will it take me to build an online business?

  1. Leigh

    Heah Tony great post!!!!!!!! I am working in IM part time at the moment due to having an extremely stressful job. Time to get out of it and have some fun instead of gruelling for someone else for a change. Posts like this are really welcome because I agree with you that there is more to life than just work whether its your own business or for someone else. We are always just rushing around nowadays trying to do everything. Give me a good country pub a pint of ale and a warm fire and I reckin I would be happy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Tony Shepherd

    Thanks for posting Leigh.

    I reckon this post will piss some people off who don’t think that an IM business can be set up quickly in just a few hours a week.

    It absolutely can. But you’ve got to focus on the things that bring money in before playing at being an IMer by having fancy Facebook pages or 1000 posts on the Wariror Forum.

    Get your bread and butter money in first, then you can start on the rest.

    Thanks again for posting – and yep, there’s nowt like a country pub on a cold Winter’s day! Real Ale SHOULD be warm ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Melissa Ingold

    This is exactly why you are one of my favorite marketers – you actually live the lifestyle you teach others how to achieve ๐Ÿ˜€

    Far too often IM’ers forget about their WHY…the reason they decided to go into business for themselves in the first place, and it’s usually not about the money. But for some reason we get caught up in work because we start thinking more work = more money, so we work more and more. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but when you keep your WHY clear in your mind and you focus, you will find that you don’t have to spend all your time working.

    Thanks for the post Tony!!


  4. Tony Shepherd

    Thanks for posting Melissa,

    You’re absolutely right.

    We all need a metaphorical smack across the chops from time to time to remember why we’re doing what we’re doing.



  5. That’s why I’ve always liked you Tony ๐Ÿ™‚
    Not afraid to say you don’t have to be a millionaire to live like one!

    I’m reminded of a post you made years ago about paying one bill at a time with your internet money… until they all are ๐Ÿ™‚

    Having had my birthday a couple of days ago (and doing sod all cos I felt like it), I was asked by family and friends what I wanted?…

    Other than some bigger and better techy toys that I would like but don’t need – I actually had to reply that I have everything in life I could ever want!
    What a great feeling!
    And yeah – I earn less than you do from my efforts – but it is surprising how all the bills can be paid without having to slave away for 8 hours a day and specific days of a week!

    I do this for the time it gives me to do what I want when I want… more money would always be useful and spent – but do I really really need much more? (I wouldn’t say no – but I often do if it requires too much effort that might spoil my lifestyle…lol)

    Keep enjoying those kids Tony… but hey – get your backside out for a social once in a while mate!

    Chat soon


  6. Amen, Tony. Preach on, my friend.

    During the summers and holidays, I challenge myself to work only one hour per day M-F or less and that’s it. It’s amazing how much more productive I can be when I focus in on what matters in my business (and, more importantly, my life).

    The rest of the time, as you said, I find that I’m much more productive when I base my daily activities on my short list of activities that give me direct income, rather than on sitting on my keister for enough hours every day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    As always appreciate you.

  7. Yipeee I do actually have today off work and am bloody loving every minute of it. I agree with you Tony who ever decided to put froward ‘oh I know, lets all work 5 Days a week and have 2 off’ I mean come on!!

    I love it when you decide to do one of your rants Tony you make me smile and I’ve even been known to laugh out loud with your great Yorkshire wit.

    You are truly living the dream mate and ‘GOOD ON YA’ I say just keep your posts and training coming our way and things will be good.

    Have a great school fair today pal.


  8. Dave Everett

    Hey Tony,

    How did an ugly bugger like you manage to spawn two such lovely looking kids????

    Seriously though, your rant makes perfect sense (and, as promised, it didn’t try to sell me anything!). Perhaps, one day, I’ll have the sense to build a mailing list and I too can enjoy your lifestyle.



  9. Tony…this might be the best blog/rant I’ve ever read. I loved it and will print it out and keep it close. I’m just now jumping into the direct IM jungle and only ghostwriting for my longtime clients. My first project went live Tuesday and it is exciting.

    You are right about not spending all your waking hours working on anything…Been There! Done That! Had to do it for this first project, but I learned a lot about my abilities and my stamina. I got some help and gladly gave up the technical parts I didn’t understand.

    Wish me luck…Pat Graham

  10. Love the post Tony. My “other” business that I do besides IM (Registered Investment Advisor in the US) is run out of my house with clients that I have had for 14-17 years. I have to really concentrate on managing my time and only doing what is important not “keeping busy”. Other then 9 years as a stock broker for PaineWebber and Smith Barney I have always been self-employed.

  11. Tony Shepherd

    Randy – Always thought we think alike my friend! You’ve got it sussed.

    And ‘getting my arse out once in a while’ refers to the fact that I was quite a regular at the IM ‘do’s’ we’ve had for the past couple of years, but haven’t been to one for the last 12 months.

    2012 will be different mate. I’ll definitely be back out for a few beers with tha lads!

    Thanks for posting mate


  12. Tony Shepherd

    Hey Nicole thanks for taking the time to post.

    The more I see of internet marketing the more I realise I mostly read blogs written by marketers who have the same outlook on life.

    Yours is definitely one.

    Peeps – if you’ve not visited you should.

    Thanks N


  13. Tony Shepherd

    Thanks for posting Michael,

    Just got back from the school fair actually.

    Absolutely bloody mental.

    Too many sweet (candy) stalls so 300 kids were bouncing off the walls with sugar rush. Santa’s helper looked like she could handle herself so the grotto wasn’t breached, but the Tombola stall could have done with re-enforcements.

    A great do all in all and my kids are now counting up the spoils of war. Great school fair!

    …and thanks for your kind comments about my rants mate



  14. Tony Shepherd

    Hi Pat,

    I do wish you luck Pat – you’re a cracking ghostie and I’m sure your IM will be just as good or not better.

    Best of luck and thanks for posting


  15. Tony Shepherd

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for posting mate

    You said:

    “How did an ugly bugger like you manage to spawn two such lovely looking kids????”

    They got my wife’s looks and my brains.

    Other way round and they’d have been buggered!

    (Only kidding love)



  16. Tony Shepherd

    Hi Sam

    Thanks for posting.

    You’ve got it sussed mate.

    I know of a lot of people who go from employment to self-employment but never anyone who’s decided to dump their business to go back to work for anyone else.

    Being self-employed gives you time to slow down and think.

    And THAT’s where the money comes from.

    What’s the saying……?

    ‘Too busy earning a living to make any real money’

    Very true



  17. Tony; beautiful pictures of your kids, it remembered me that I loved the idea of an online business because I could free myself of a physical location.
    After 23 years, I moved back to my city where my family is, Iยดve been in birthdays, family parties etc. and it feels very good.
    I earn few dollars from my online business, But I am working on my mindset to make it serious.

  18. Thanks for the rant/reality check and replay of your wonderful day. At times I wish my kids were still that young, especially right now when I have a message on my answering machine from my 17 year old (while I was at the gym, which is one of the perks of MY internet lifestyle) saying he slid on the ice and hit a car. ๐Ÿ™

    Well, I’m off to take car pictures and talk to insurance people, then maybe find a relaxing place for a cup of tea and a good read. After that I’ll do some “work”. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  19. Thanks for these critical words of advice. Since I am still working full time at a JOB right now it always helps to have someone you respect and trust point out what should be obvious. Time management, prioritization, and taking some down time are crucial to success. And as for the question you asked about in your email, I do enjoy the glimpse into your life, I find it heartwarming & inspirational. Again thanks for a great(and for me a much needed) post.

  20. Tony Shepherd

    Hey Peggy,

    Hope your son is OK – I worry about my kids now so what it’ll be like when they’re driving, boozing and learning about the world God only knows!

    Hope’s he’s OK and that the car is too!

    Nice to chat to you on Skype the other day too.



  21. Tony Shepherd

    Thanks for posting Jennifer – it’s weird about the obvious stuff – it’s very often the thing you need most.

    Speaking from experience here



  22. Tony Shepherd

    Thanks Maria,

    The more I get into IM the more I realise that mindset is a big part of it.

    But it should be a big part of life too. Not in a forced way or anything that feels like a chore, rather just taking things slowly and enjoying the tiny bits that make up life.

    Thanks for posting


  23. This is so timely for me because it is one of the things I am working on. I’m trying to get out of feeling that I have to work 24-7. I homeschool and between that and working online it can be very time consuming.

    I always feel like I have to get everything done today, when deep down I know I can finish tomorrow. Thanks for sharing this!

    Sounds like you and your family had a wonderful day.


  24. Sandy

    Hey Tony,

    Love reading your posts and really DO enjoy seeing and hearing about your lovely family. Enjoy them now–my last one just left–but thank goodness is only 1 1/2 hr away in Orlando! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Yep–need to concentrate on the 20% instead of the 80%! The “thinking time” on the throne needs to end pretty quickly to get those $$ rolling in! Thanks for the reminder and Merry Christmas to you and your–or whatever you call it over on the other side of the pond! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. Tony Shepherd

    Hi Sandy thanks for posting.

    Merry Christmas to you and your lot too ๐Ÿ™‚



  26. A fantastic post that reminds me why I got into this game.

    As my business grew I ended up back in an office which is something I never though would happen as the dream was to work from home.

    However, I set my hours and work as much or as little as I want and that’s the best feeling in the world.

    Keep living the life Tony…


  27. Tony Shepherd

    Hey John how you doing?

    I worked from home, had an office for a year or so then realised I missed working from home.

    It’s quite a revelation when you’ve finally hit that point in life when you realise that dreams are a very personal thing – like a tailor-made suit.

    It’s not about Ferraris (unless that’s your dream) or three homes in exotic locations (unless that’s your dream) despite what the best salespages in the world would have you believe, we all DON’T want the same thing.

    It’s about living life on your own terms and whatever puts that big grin on your face.

    And that really IS something you can work towards.

    You’ve obviously cracked it too mate because I’ve never yet seen you with a frown on your face ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for posting


  28. This is the first time I have seen your work on the internet, I started trying to make it about 4 months ago, mostly with No success, but I will keep on going until I do make it.

    When I have more time I will be going through your blog with a fine toothed comb, I love the way in which you write.

    It’s a beautiful thing to enjoy the simple things in life, thank you for sharing it.


  29. Tony Shepherd

    Hi Chris and welcome to the tribe.

    You sound determined and I reckon that’s one of the main attributes you need to crack it in any field.

    Thanks for posting and hope to hear from you again


  30. Kenneth

    Hey Tony,

    First post. I am in South Africa. Strong Calvinists here.

    I really like what you have got to say about the work week.
    I am retired for one reason or another and I want to into IM.
    Probably Affiliate Marketing, it looks the easiest right now.

    Haven’t got a list to speak of, started with Triple your list but those guys all just want to sell not get into anything. I have even sent freebies and no reply. Ce la vie.

    Thank again for the encouragement.

    PS I am a bit lazy.

  31. Tony Shepherd

    Hi Kenneth,

    I don’t really know anything about Triple your list so can’t really comment on that.

    I love your P.S. about being lazy ๐Ÿ™‚

    Might be that you’re actually not lazy at all, it’s just that there are some things you like doing and some you don’t.

    I think the trick is finding the things you like doing and finding a way around the rest.

    That said, there’s always going to be some grunt work. That’s just life.

    Welcome aboard


  32. Great Rant, Tony!

    I got into IM to “retire” from 9-5 and to have
    time to chill in Sunny Spain.

    Still building up to it and so putting in more
    hours than I’d like but … already getting in
    some of my “dream lifestyle”… picking olives,
    tapas with drinks, chilling with neighbours –
    none of which I could have done with the 9-5

    I love the idea of the “power hour” and will
    implement it immediately!


  33. Tony Shepherd

    Hi Jennifer

    I think you’ve got it sussed.

    With IM you can ‘retire as you go’ really – a bit more money comes in which equals a bit more free time.

    It doesn’t have to come all at once – it’s a gradual thing.

    Like it!

    Thanks for sharing


  34. Chuck Manning

    Creating just enough money to create free time= SUCCESS

  35. Tony Shepherd

    Like it Chuck!


  36. I love to read your stuff – not the usual run-of-the-mill IM promo’s:).

    I am creeping up on the IM lifestyle slowly but am not in any rush. It will happen eventually but, for now, I only do the stuff that I enjoy.

    I am in the fortunate position of only having to provide for myself now that my children are all grown up and gone. So I am quite relaxed and positive about life.

    I live by this maxim “never mistake activity for acomplishment” and try to make sure that the stuff I do is productive.



    p.s. Who told you that you kids will only ask for ยฃ20 and the car when they are older – the cash requests are MUCH higher and they want their own car!!!

  37. Dee

    Hi Tony
    I am at home, but a full time carer so have limited time online.
    I am still learning, but aim to build my list this year.
    Like Randy, I have no patrticular desire to earn millions, just enough to pay the bills without worrying where the money will come from, be able to stroll into the village and have coffee outside the cafe and watch the world go by, an occasional trip to London without feeling giulty about spending the money on train fare.
    Happy New Year to you and your family (lovely children).

  38. Hi Tony,
    I read this post a few months back but now feel moved to comment as your friendly advice and down to earth approach really suit my way of thinking, and I’m almost ready to “work full time on line, in your Part Time fashion”

    I’ve recently moved home and severely down-sized into a small bungalow, so I’m still trying to find room to unpack – and spending quite a bit of time on trips to Charity Shops and local Tip….. Where did all this Blinking STUFF come from?? …… 45 years of married life, and even longer as a self-confessed “Hoarder”!!

    Once I’ve finally managed to sort out our debts (Offline Shop Business totally collapsed) and “retired” I am determined to follow my version of your Lifestyle Ethos. I’ve got 5 lovely Grandchildren and a whole parcel of friends I haven’t seen for years (having been chained to the Shop 7 days a week for longer than I care to think about).
    As you have pointed out, once that time has gone – IT’S GONE FOR GOOD! But at least I can concentrate on a better lifestyle from now on. I will make use of your material (the full Kickstart Course for one thing, plus all your Hippy Marketing Newsletters) and ally that to my drive to make Amazon Sites pay their way from now on so that we can actually enjoy our retirement!!

    Thank you for your inspiration, good luck with your own family working environment, and here’s to a prosperous time for all of us through these troubled times.

    John (still living in York).

  39. Earl

    “I work maybe 15-20 hours a week on my biz.”

    I’m confused. Here you say you work 15-20 hours a week, but on your “Kickstart Course” sales page, you say you work less than 3 hours a week.

  40. Tony Shepherd

    Hi John

    Sometimes adverse situations can be a blessing in disguise even though they probably don’t feel like it at the time.

    I have no doubt you’ll acheive what you want – you wouldn’t have stuck at it otherwise.

    Best of luck mate


  41. Tony Shepherd

    Hi Earl,

    What happened was my kids both started school full-time ๐Ÿ™‚

    So now I’ve more time to work and because I enjoy what I do, I put more hours in.

    15-20 hours a week sometimes even!

    I must be turning into a workaholic

    Thanks for posting


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