The Internet Business Lifestyle Myth

Desert Island anyone?
Desert Island anyone?

We’ve all seen the websites. You know the ones… palm trees and secluded beaches, large mansion houses, convertible sports cars, and promises of massive wealth for next to no effort.

But how many of us actually believe them? Well, of course, if I was to ask you directly if you did, you’d say ‘no, don’t be silly’ (or words to that effect!)

And then, in a weak moment maybe, when times are tough and the promise of so much for so little charges through our minds eye, we are seduced by those ‘shiny objects’. We – fleetingly – believe that we can buy something and, by some sort of information osmosis, the information will be lodged in our brains.

Worse still, we succumb to the notion that purchasing information is tantamount to making loads of money. Obviously, it isn’t.

So what is the internet business lifestyle myth, and how can we deal with it?

Well, as far as I can tell, an internet business has customers, products, sales, after sales support, technical/logistical issues, and all of the other stuff associated with a traditional ‘brick and mortar’ business.

Actually, not all of it.

It doesn’t have (or doesn’t have to have) premises: I run my business from home.

It doesn’t have (or doesn’t have to have) staff: I outsource some tasks and until recently had no staff. I do have a right hand man now, in my fifth year in business.

It doesn’t have (or doesn’t have to have) inventory or fulfillment: I generally sell digital products, which cost nothing more to make second, third, fourth, 300th unit than it cost for the first. (Side note: the first unit’s costs are always high,  in terms of personal effort, research, presentation, and so on, and those costs are justified by the economy of scale I enjoy from the multiple distributions for the singular price/effort).

And the myth of the internet lifestyle not involving much more than an hour a day on the aforementioned dusty beach somewhere is ludicrous.

The reality of the internet business lifestyle is great, really great, but it’s not an hour a day.

Rather, this kind of business is one that can be operated anywhere in the world (anywhere there’s an internet connection and coffee, at least!). It’s one that can be put down for a day, or a week, or even a month, at a time while you pursue other things. And it’s one where you can call the tune.

In other words, the internet lifestyle business truth is characterized by two things:

1. Hard work as and when the business owner dictates
2. Real freedom around that: freedom of location, and of time

There are a few other more subtle ‘freedoms’ associated with the internet business lifestyle, as well.

I also have the freedom to choose in what area I operate my business. In my case, I’m passionate about horse racing and online enterprise. So that’s where my business focuses.

In other words, I love my job! (When I’m working, it is a job…)

And, one of the biggest points for me (because I’m such a stroppy bugger), is that I get to choose who I work with. No more putting up with buffoons in suits, just because they’re a grade up from me.

The reasons I chose this path, and followed it even when I went skint the first time I tried, are those.

I wanted more flexibility and freedom of choice about the who, where, and what. I also get to drive the ‘why’.

And guess what? After the first few years fumbling around for the right techniques (and there are techniques – nothing that I do is rocket science, and there are people who do far less than me and earn far more), I do get to run this little biz from anywhere in the world.

I did spend two months in San Diego, after three years working on my business!
I did spend two months in San Diego, after three years working on my business!

For instance, I spent two months at the end of 2009 in California, just mooching around, and answering a few emails and writing occasional blog posts. I wrote the  posts because I missed my readers and wanted to stay in touch with them, not because I had to!

Guess what else? Whilst I don’t have a car because I can’t drive, I do have a mode of transport… Yes, a racehorse, which is syndicated between me and 49 like-minded racing types. And dear old Khajaaly has won two little races for us this year, with the promise of more to come. He’s given us untold entertainment too.

I’ve got bits and pieces in other horses too: Night Orbit, Sail Home, Smarties Party are the current other ‘mouths to feed’, and they all provide plenty of entertainment throughout the year, with the occasional win thrown in for good measure.

And I get to work my hours. I’ve been having a bit of trouble getting up this last week or so. So I haven’t bothered! I’ve just lounged in bed until 9.30 or 10am. Sure, I’m writing this at 7.30pm, but that’s because I was in the mood. I don’t have to. I choose to. See that subtle difference?

And the ‘why’ as I say is also driven by me now.

To be brutally honest, I don’t like selling my own betting systems. Don’t get me wrong. I have a portfolio of the things, and I use them all the time. But I understand the mindset that needs to go with these things and, whilst a significant subset of people also understand that, a vocal majority do not.

So I no longer choose to sell my own betting systems. Can’t be doing with the grief. [Actually, I do occasionally open the doors for my premium Laying Service. But that’s relatively expensive, which tends to discourage tyre-kickers and people who are not accountable for their own actions. It’s sold out as I write.]

Haven’t sold anything online of my own since last May, I think.

In the meantime, I’ve been building an online infrastructure – a small group of websites – in the betting arena. I have geegeez.co.uk and horse-racing.ie and onlinebettingexposed.com and footballbettingsystem.com. And they’re all focused on slightly different parts of the sports betting world.

[Oh yes, I have a few other sites too: cheltenhamfestivaltrends.com and horseracingexperts.co.uk and laying-system.com/co.uk and geegeez.com and so on. If there were three of me, or I wanted to work full time all the time, I’d do more with them! But there aren’t, and I don’t.]

And now I’m moving more towards a situation where I can work with people who want help to develop their businesses. I’ve helped quite a few people – names you might know in the sports betting world, like Gavin Priestley (NagNagNag, TrainerTrackStats, Festival Trends), Kevin Laverick (Footy Plans), Kieran Ward (Jump Jockey Profits), Steve Ransford (Flat Ratings Pro), Tony McLaughlin (Irish Big Race Trends), and most recently Richard Ashdown (Percentage Profits).

In all of these cases, I shared what I’d learned and they worked hard for their rewards. We used levers to take their business to the next level.

We used peer levers to engage other business owners to help promote the products, we used the digital product lever to duplicate and distribute the products, and we used the launch lever to share the ‘who, what, how, where, why’ with interested people in a more accessible way.

And, when the hurly burly of those big launches were done, there was time to reflect, and to have a break, and to enjoy the fruits of concentrated, targeted labour.

That, to me, is the essence of an internet business, and it supports beautifully the lifestyle I wanted, sought out and now enjoy.

It is possible – of course it is! – and it does involve work. Which of us ever thought anything else? 😉

Matt

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