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An Online Marketer Meets A Normal Person

By Cathy Bryant
Posted Thursday, December 9, 2004

Are people who earn their living from the internet really all that different from those who don't? Often I get the feeling that normal people (you know, the ones that don't spend hours on end lurking behind their computer screens) think those of us who earn our living online are just, well...different.

For example, here's a composite of the type of conversation I have at an ordinary, everyday gathering of normal people:

Normal person: "So what do you do for a living?"

Me: "I own and operate an online business."

Normal person: "Really! So what exactly is it that you do online?"

At this point the normal person is showing genuine interest in learning more about my business. But when I attempt to answer their question about "exactly" what I do, that's when the fun REALLY begins.

Me: "I operate a website that helps people earn an income from home."

I know this doesn't really answer their question, because their REAL interest comes in their next inquiry:

Normal person: "So how EXACTLY do you make money doing that?"

Now, for those of you who work online, you KNOW how difficult it can be to explain that to someone who has absolutely no knowledge of how internet marketing works. And if they've had a drink or two, well...forget it.

But I try.

Me: "I publish a newsletter and review various products and resources that help people earn an income from home. In my newsletter I warn people of the enormous number of "work at home" scams that exist and keep them informed about the best products, opportunities, and resources available to help them create a home-based income. I feature a wide variety of items and because I own them and use them myself, I can recommend them as high quality products. I then make a commission on the items I sell because I am an affiliate of the companies that own them."

If you market online yourself, you know what comes next.

The polite smile.

Or the blank stare.

But more often than not, they feel compelled to respond, even though by this time you've lost them. Completely.

Normal person: "So what did you do before you started this online business?"


Have you ever had a "real" job? If so, let's talk about that because it's something I can understand. If not, I'm going to have to excuse myself and go get another drink because I'm clueless here and I sure don't want to admit it.

Me: "Oh, do you mean did I have a regular nine-to-five job? One of those ones that meant fighting horrendous traffic five days a week, putting up with difficult bosses and grumpy co-workers, and not being able to take time off when I wanted to or needed to? Yea, I had one of those once."

Suddenly, the normal person begins to understand that you aren't so different after all. A knowing expression creeps across his or her face. Then they ask their final question:

"Do you happen to have a business card?"

About the Author
Cathy Bryant is publisher of the popular online newsletter, HomeBizJunction Herald, which has been published since 1999. Through her newsletter and website, (, Cathy focuses on helping others achieve their dream of working from home.


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