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Insight: Failure and Success in Online Business

By Jack Humphrey
Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Creativity and Determination are the KEY ingredients in all online success stories. So many times, as a moderator and participant in the net's most active and lauded online marketing forum, The Internet Marketing Warriors, I have heard the same questions repeated by hopeful marketer after hopeful marketer. And mostly they begin with "How do I...?"

Similar questions, in a dead-heat in frequency, vary around a theme such as "What tool should I use to...?"

Know-how and tools. Go to any forum on the net, on almost any subject, and you will find hundreds or even thousands of people exchanging information on know-how and tools. "What is the best way to write copy?" "Which autoresponder script is best for my business?" "What hosting is the best for me?"

Very infrequently will you come upon a marketing discussion that talks about creativity and determination. Even more rare is a successful product that shows people HOW to be creative and determined. This is because tools and know-how are so much easier to write about.

If this, then that. Such a small phrase, yet it is the bulk of what internet marketing training is all about if you have read even a small pile of ebooks geared toward making you a better sales producer.

And the formula sells - bigtime.

But then, why are there so many people failing at marketing their business online? What is IT that separates the masses from the relatively few truly successful onilne small businesses?

It is this: You cannot teach people creativity very easily. Some would say it's impossible. Art classes are simply tools to weed out people that don't have IT so they can get busy pursuing another line of work!

And it is this: Determination (including work ethic, stick-to-it-ivenss, seeing something through to the end) is even harder to simply instill in a person with the written word or teleseminar. You cannot reach through your ebook to slap someone everyday to recapture their focus for them and keep them on-task.

The problem is compounded when you have one of the above and not the other. Creative people very often have no business sense or the drive necessary to acquire it. Determined people fail gloriously in a gallon of sweat at five in the morning without creativity. Nothing is probably more disheartening than having one or the other. It must be like being able to see over the fence, but not have what it takes to climb to the other side.

Tools are tools. We must use them in any profession to the best of our ability. Henry Ford used tools to create Model Ts. But did you ever read a story proclaiming that Ford won the day with his tools? Of course not. The stories are about determinaion and creativity and that's it.

You can go out right now and get the best software, the most expensive copywriter, the best programmer, and even the best product since sliced bread. And you can fail. It's been done more times than success by a long margin throughout history.

This article is not about how to succeed at internet marketing. It is not about tools that will help get you over the fence where the grass is greener.

This article is an observation. An observation that is seeded with clues that only creative and determined people will pick up on. And, despite all the success manuals and training you may have spent hard earned money on, this article contains the answer to why many people fail and some succeed at not only internet marketing, but in anything in life.

Creativity in internet marketing is being able to think beyond what others have accomplished to date. It's being able to take the pulse of the internet and the human condition and react by putting something together that is needed and desired.

Determination is being able to go out on a limb and work until you succeed despite obstacles and nay sayers. It is fueled by belief in yourself and your creative ideas.

Do you have these two key ingredients? Can you see what is possible that thousands of other great minds have overlooked? If so, can you then take that vision and turn it into reality with dogged determination and perhaps the hardest work you have ever done in your life?

If you have "it," then you can go learn about our trade from the technical (tools) standpoint and you can use them to succeed with your creativity and determination. The tools are worthless by themselves.

I hope one day to see a lot more questions about the creative process as it relates to business and success in forums in the future. I want to see questions (and honest answers!) about how much work it takes to create a profitable business online. Then I will know that a lot more people are on track and are asking the RIGHT questions. Most of all, I hope to see more training materials from experts that deal with not only what tools and systems to use, but with topics on how to think freely, on your own, about how you could make something better or make something new out of the situation at hand.

Finally, when you hear that this business is not for everyone, it means quite specifically that this business is not for people who cannot think outside the norm and work long hours. That's why businesses that people try to sell you that "do all the work so you don't even have to think" are so absurd.

No one has ever succeeded at anything without creativity and determination. Unless they have entered a couch potato contest. But even then the most successful people are going to be the ones who think creatively about how to sit on that couch longer than anyone else and watch more TV than was formerly thought humanly possible.

Here is an example using the above: 99% of the people who set out to be the #1 Couch Potato will simply start out by sittting in front of the TV for as long as they can. They think, "I will just out-potato everyone else by doing it 24/7."

And they will all fail. Because one person is going to think creatively and freely. They are going to buy 5 TVs and plug them all in in front of the couch. They are going to out-potato everyone else by being able to compound the amount of TV they can watch by 5 times the amount of everyone else while doing no more work than the other 99%. Through creativity and determination, the person who wins at anything is going to find ways to succeed that most people never would have thought of.

In the end, if you want to succeed online, you must ask yourself: Do I REALLY have the creativity and determination to turn my current situation into a better one through an online business? Don't worry about tools and know-how. Those can be learned and used by anyone. But there is no need to commit yourself to a big learning curve if you don't have what it really takes to succeed in the end.

About the Author
Jack Humphrey, one of the "luckiest" guys on the internet, is an Online Marketing Consultant and originator of several successful online ventures. You can find more articles by Jack at ( See also ( and


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