The Truth About Online Business

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There’s a seldom-discussed truth about online business:

No one really knows what they’re doing.

It’s a practice, a process, a call-and-response experiment. Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes blog posts get a great reaction and sometimes they’re met with crickets.

Sometimes the best laid plans go nowhere and sometimes the thing you create as an afterthought takes off.

Sure, there are systems and formulas and “best practices” to follow, but no one can guarantee success. Repeating someone else’s process doesn’t promise the same results.

And that’s the big secret; we’re all in the same boat.

  • Every professional was once an amateur.
  • Every bestseller started with a blank page.
  • Every rock star was once an unknown face in the crowd.
  • Every podcast starts with zero listeners; every email list with zero subscribers.
  • Every freelancer starts with no clients and no portfolio.
  • Everyone who’s “got it figured out” is still figuring out more each day.

The common denominator is practice. Forward progress. Learning. Continuous improvement.

Some people might be farther ahead, but no one really knows what they’re doing.

I certainly don’t.

I can report on what’s worked in the past, and what I think will work in the future, but it’s only a hypothesis. The only way to find out is to test it. 

There’s no secret sauce or magic bullet.

Learn from those who’ve gone before you. Help those who come behind you. Experiment, practice, pivot, and hustle on.

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Nick Loper

About the Author

Nick Loper is a side hustle expert who loves helping people earn more money and start businesses they care about. He hosts the award-winning Side Hustle Show, where he's interviewed over 500 successful entrepreneurs, and is the bestselling author of Buy Buttons, The Side Hustle, and $1,000 100 Ways.

His work has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Forbes, TIME, Newsweek, Business Insider, MSN, Yahoo Finance, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Financial Times, Bankrate, Hubspot, Ahrefs, Shopify, Investopedia, VICE, Vox, Mashable, ChooseFI, Bigger Pockets, The Penny Hoarder, GoBankingRates, and more.

6 thoughts on “The Truth About Online Business”

  1. Great article! It is hard to remember that the big names in your community of online businesses were once all unknowns too and that they used to not know what they were doing too.

  2. Wow. This is great Nick.

    Being a young entrepreneur only just over a year out of uni, sometimes I take a step back and have these very same thoughts…”Do I *really* know what I’m doing?!”

    I feel that the more important question to ask is, as you mentioned, “Am continually making forward progress, tweaking and refining my processes and systems while learning as much as possible in the process?”

    And that comes from an intrinsic drive for success that we as entrepreneurs/hustlers all share. It’s comforting to hear that my thoughts are shared by others (well, at least one other :)…

    Thanks again Nick for the post.

    Matt Kohn


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