Marcus BakerFinancial profitability must form part of the success equation of every here Internet home based business.


If this was not the case, you’d do what you do for charity or as a hobby.

Ultimately to make money your business has to trade successfully. If it makes none or not enough then it’s possible you’re open for business but not actually trading. In effect your operation is masquerading as a business.

Masquerading meaning to appear as one thing but be something else in reality, in much the same way as participants at a masquerade ball appear masked.

Does Your Internet Home Based
Business Look The Part But Not
Do What It Must, Make Money?

How do you Turn a Masquerading Business Into a Trading One?

The short and most obvious answer to this is, by ensuring that your Internet home based business does what is required to trade. This means your business has to exchange what you’re offering in return for legal tender.

Your business does not have to make squillions of dollars. In fact as long as you’re happy and enjoying what you’re doing, you make enough to cover your expenses, can live off your proceeds and you’re growing your profit margin, then that’s all that’s required to achieve a fundamental level of success.

An online business is no different to any other but often Internet marketers seem to lose sight of the fact that business principles relating to trading, apply to their business too. Trading is trading no matter where or how you’re doing it.

Perhaps this happens because an online business is more ‘abstract’ in nature than a brick and mortar one?

Let’s face it when you’ve had enough of an Internet home based business, you can turn off your computer and to all extents and purposes your business is out of sight and out of mind. Dangerous!

Sometimes it’s helpful to look at more concrete models to understand the similarities at hand.


From Zero to Trading – the Journey of a Shopkeeper Versus Your Online Business


Consider the steps to success for a shopkeeper versus your own business.

Step #1

A shopkeeper decides to open a shop selling what they love for which there is a market. You decide to start an online business marketing what you love for which there is a demand.

Step #2

They decide on a location to get the best exposure and traffic to their shop. You decide on a marketing platform and keyword/s that will bring traffic to your site.

Step #3

They decide on a name and branding. You decide on a name and branding.

Step #4

They fit the shop out and purchase operating equipment eg: a cash register. You design or get your site designed and buy tools eg: an auto responder

Step #5

They have an opening party and hand out give always on the street. You have a launch, join social networks, make friends and give away valuable content

Step #6

They advertise that they’re in business. You SEO your site, advertise and /or write content to market your business.

Step #7

People start visiting their shop. They interact and find out their needs. You start to get traffic to your site. You interact and find out the needs of your leads.

Step #8

They offer solutions where possible for which they get paid. People who they can’t help leave. You offer solutions where possible for which you get paid. People who you can’t help move on.

Step #9

They repeat steps 6 – 8. Enough people visit and buy. They make enough money. You repeat steps 6 – 8. Enough people visit and buy. You make enough money.

Step #10

They have a profitable business – Happy shopkeeper. πŸ™‚ You have profitable a business – Happy online business owner. πŸ™‚

Did you notice that there is far more that is similar in principle above than not? If your business is not making money, at which steps above do you need to focus?

Shopkeepers don’t continually go back to steps 1 through 4, they focus on trading and that happens principally in steps 7 to 9.


How successful would a shopkeeper be if they were to spend most of their time:

– at the local community college learning how to market a business,

– changing products and suppliers every second week,

– re-decorating their shop,

– stacking shelves,

– giving everything away for free,

– ignoring their customers,

– pitching their customers about products they didn’t require and

– not uncovering their customer’s needs so they could supply a solution?

You will agree, not very and yet this is exactly what many online businesses do instead of trading.

How successful would shopkeepers be if they focused on being upset about the people they couldn’t help? Do you buy something in every shop you go into?

As a priority shopkeepers focus on getting people into their shop, execute the trading process then rinse and repeat.

A successful Internet home based business should be no different. It must offer solutions to common problems, attract people with these problems, offer solutions in exchange for financial payment, then rinse and repeat.

  • Are you more focused on preparing to trade or on actual trading?
  • What do you think are the differences and/or similarities in skill-set required between a shopkeeper and you for interacting with possible ‘customers’ ?
  • What if anything do you need to change in your business to become a more effective trader?
  • A shopkeeper counts their takings at the end of the day to measure their trading success. How do you measure your daily trading success?

Have your say in the comments section and I’ll meet you there!

Be Happy!


37 thoughts on “Is Your Internet Home Based Business Trading or Masquerading?

  1. Hi Janet,

    Thanks for leaving such a great comment on Marcus’ post!

    I knew Marcus would do a great job and I really believe he has exceeded the expectations with this powerful post! πŸ™‚

    I’m also looking forward to the comment thread.

    Talk soon,


  2. Mmmm… I just used the word Masquerading in a post as well – And what a word it is!

    Marcus – This is an unbelievably brilliant post. I’m going to share and bookmark it all I can.

    So many internet marketers fail because they miss out key elements of this simple process, but I think that sharing it in this way makes it unavoidably obvious what needs to be done to make the shift from masquerade to trade.

    I love the creativity you’ve applied to come up with this remarkable analogy, and I’m sure it will help many people who are struggling with their businesses online.

    Thanks, and thanks also to Elmar for hosting.
    All the best,

  3. Janet aloha. Another epic response Janet…. can’t wait!! πŸ™‚

    In the mean time thank you for your first class comment here Janet. It looks as if our epic comment exchanges are spreading their wings. Ha ha

    When Elmar asked me to write a guest post, this topic came to mind immediately and being one to follow his intuition, here it is!

    I agree with the distinction you make between online marketers and shopkeepers Janet.

    In this respect online marketers have to work harder in a way to get their customers ‘through the door’ so I find it sad when they don’t then at some point initiate the process that starts with “Tell me more and let me see if I can help you”.

    I find sometimes that people have been so conditioned “not to pitch” their ‘customers’ (and rightly so…) but they then neglect to substitute this with unearthing needs and matching their solution when there is a fit.

    I love your criteria for assessing your daily success Janet. I use the same criteria which is another difference between us and shopkeepers.

    Thank you for opening up the comment thread here Janet and wishing a great end to the week!


  4. Hi Elmar,

    Just wanted to say thank you so much for asking me to write a guest post here.

    I regard it as a privilege to be invited to guest post since one is being trusted to contribute in another blogger’s ‘personal space’ really.

    This post topic came up for me when I asked what it was I should write about so I followed my instincts and everything came together with ease which is the way it feels best for me.

    I look forward to reading and responding to other comments here Elmar.


  5. Good comparisons:-)

    The purposes of all businesses, on- or offline, is simply put to make money. If you are not making money you will not stay in business for long.

    The difference is, I believe since I’m not into online business, that you have quite a few people trying to run an online business that don’t know how to run a business. You guys should listen to Marcus. He knows what he’s talking about.

  6. @: Hi Jym,

    Yes isn’t it a fantastic word!

    I had no idea what headline I was going to use here Jym and so I asked the universe to please assist.

    The next morning while in meditation the word “masquerading” came through very strongly. It is an unusual word in my opinion and not one that I have need to use ever so at first I was confused. I had of course forgotten about my request.

    “Masquerading? What the heck are you trying to tell me? I remember thinking and then in a flash I knew why. Love those moments. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for your kind words here Jym. The whole post was inspired from within so it literally wrote itself but I do think it clearly demonstrates the important point that once we attract people our way we have to take the initiative in determining whether we can help them or not (or they us for that matter) in much the same way as a shop assistant would help a customer.

    I believe everybody comes our way for a reason so I make it a habit to ask “Why have I attracted this person into my awareness?” and so starts the process. If I can “trade” with them then I do. If not then I realize we were brought together for reasons other than this.

    Thanks for leaving an awesome comment Jym and for sharing this post on Elmar’s great blog. I appreciate you.


  7. @: Hi Jamie,

    Now isn’t that so true Jamie!!

    I have been guilty of this myself in the past. There are many ways to measure and “count” and as long as these assist us to know how we are doing daily then they are not only valid but an essential part of what we must do.

    As you say though if we are in business to make money ans it seems a tad ridiculous if we’re not, then there must also be a correlation between what we are measuring and our financial goals.

    Excellent point, thank you bringing this up and adding it to the discussion here.


  8. @: Hi Catarina,

    Since you’re a successful international businesswoman Catarina, I especially appreciate your comment here. Thank you.

    I agree with you that what is sometimes lacking for people who come online to run a business, is the foundational business principles that are universal and have nothing to do with online/offline or the specifics of any marketing strategy.

    I count myself as fortunate that I had offline businesses long before I came to the online world and I made it a priority then, not only to study the mechanics of offline marketing (at that time) but the principles of business.

    I believe more online marketers would be successful if they invested in that kind of education before anything else.


  9. Hey Marcus,

    Thanks for a great post. We often forget how transferrable the skills are from an online business to offline.

    As students of marketing and the game, it opens your eyes to commone blunders that traditional real world owners make. Unfriendly customer service can drive customers away, the business owners level of vibration either attracts or repels!

    This is why the marketing greats like Jay Abraham, write material that small business owners, retailers, corporations and online marketers like us can resonate with.

    Thanks again for a great post.

    Best regards,


  10. @: Hi Jane,

    Loved your comment!

    Jane I can just see that hub of activity happening in your offline businesses. You are wonderfully social and people enjoy being around your uplifting presence and your terrific sense of humor.

    I think you are right though, it is all about balance and not becoming too attached to being comfortable Jayne.

    This can happen so easily since we do spend a lot of time with like-minded friends online. We still have to be casting our net further afield though and when we don’t do this for a time it feels uncomfortable to do again.

    I think the many blogging communities that exist are incredibly special though. For me they, more than anything (even more than social media) put meaningful relationships back into business.

    Jayne like you I love blogging but I tend to also do a lot of net casting away from blogging. Activities I don’t always enjoy as much.

    Recently I stared to feel resentful that I had to be away from what I loved more just to attract “paying customers” so I asked the universe to show me another way.

    Hmmmm well a few have come up so it’s a case of be careful what you ask for! Ha ha

    One of these was that I started attracting lots of posts about guest posting and at the same time getting invitations to guest post. Elmar’s invite here was one of these.

    Although I have done a couple of guest posts, long before they became as popular as they are now, I have not made doing these a priority as my excuse has been, “I don’t have time”.

    Actually all that I was doing was deciding to spend my time elsewhere in places I didn’t really want to be!

    So I have decided to follow my inner voice and become uncomfortable again but at least it’s in an area I love.

    It is a fact that guest posting is an excellent way of “fishing” Jayne and spreading our presence around more.

    I want you to know that I was led to write this to you now so maybe it’s time for you to do the same??? You have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to share and you simply need to get it out to more people. Could I be right?


  11. @: Hi John.

    There’s definitely more that’s similar than not. Business is business at the end of the day and we must make sure that we are doing everything required to be successful.

    Great to see you here John and thanks for your comment.


  12. @: Hi Ilka,

    Thank you for the complements Ilka. πŸ™‚ As I said before I had big shoes to fill with you and Oliver guest posting here prior to me.

    I think your point about online marketers sometimes not treating their leads with enough value is valid. I don’t think it’s intentional but just a perception that there are plenty more leads to be had.

    As we know however it is easier and cheaper to keep the leads and customers that we already have rather than to always be looking for new business.

    I appreciate your comment here Ilka. πŸ™‚


  13. Hey Marcus,
    Online entrepreneurs and especially bloggers need to get this message very clear. We must be able to receive from all of the work/energy that we put into our online business.

    I still visit many blogs where the blogger has “hang-ups” about earning money online. It’s a business no different than a brick and mortar business as you stated above.

  14. Hi Marcus,

    No problem, it’s such an honor (and pleasure) to have you here as a guest blogger!

    Thanks for sharing a very good post! I can’t wait to read through all the comments here as well.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    Take care,

  15. @: Hi David,

    You are right, it’s all about having the right mindset for business. Sometimes online business owners don’t regard what they are doing as serious business. If we think like this we will also encourage little serious financial return for our efforts.

    Thank you for adding to the discussion here.


  16. @: Hi Justin,

    Most times I think it has to do with self limiting financial beliefs when someone does everything except allow themselves to hear their cash register opening.

    I appreciate you adding to the discussion here Justin.


  17. Oh Marcus this is an amazing reminder for all of us with online businesses that we must run our enterprise no differently than the shopkeeper down the street!

    I love the way you paralleled the two and your points about providing solutions and CHARGING for them is spot on.

    I think that one that that has stopped many online marketers is that they fail to charge for their talents and products. In many ways, we’ve been conditioned to “give away your best stuff” to attract more customers.

    Well, that doesn’t mean give away ALL of your stuff, but that’s exactly what many of us are guilty of.

    We say to ourselves, “But what if no one buys from us.” To that I answer, SO WHAT! You simply dust yourself off and try again.

    As you said, if you never bring money in, then all you have is an expensive hobby.

    Thanks for the great post, Marcus.

    Happily retweeted and FB shared!

  18. Hi Bob,

    I agree with you. I think we get so wrapped up in either giving away everything for free and/or we give our best value away for free and end up not being able to charge for what’s left.

    I love your attitude towards the “what if they don’t buy scenario”. Perfect approach. Never giving up is what gets us across that line.

    Thank you for your positive feedback Bob and for sharing this post. I appreciate your support.


  19. Hi Paul,

    That’s the best way of looking at the “trade” Paul, both parties get what they want out of the transaction.

    You are so right, a charity only mindset does not lead to long term sustainability of any business.

    I appreciate your comment.


  20. Hi Oliver,

    Excellent point. People do sabotage themselves so that they can then say “See I told you…” .

    As you say mindset is an important criteria to check if you are not making any money in your business.

    In fact mindset as we know is the most important aspect to have sorted. When it is, the rest just follows without any problems.

    Thanks for you support Oliver and for raising this important point.


  21. Hi Marcus,

    Great job with this post! For a second I had to look at the URL. I thought I was on your blog. πŸ™‚

    This is info needs to be spread. Running an online or offline business still has to be run like a business.

    Have a great day…

  22. Hi Marcus,

    I think I’m probably in the very beginning stages of your list, as far as developing a profitable blog. With patience, I will come to the “enough” stage that you mentioned. Thanks for the information.


  23. Nice post Marcus and I see the value in what your saying. Some knowledge of the structure on which an online business is built should be included in any introduction to internet marketing. Some systems fail to keep people on side but then some are designed to set you up for failure in my opinion. Thanks for the value and nice to see you doing guest posts.


  24. Really love the comparism you detailed in your post. We should all be in business to cash in on our value.

    We should all feel good about what we have to offer to the world and charge for it. If we are not making money we will not be able to share our message to the world.

    We should learn how to cash in on our effort.

  25. Hey Marcus,

    Of course I am late to this party. Thank God I didnt miss out πŸ˜‰

    Love the analogy. It is such simple comparison that bring what we do into focus. It’s so easy to complicate everything and not realize that such an analogy is so appropriate.

    This line particularly struck a cord

    “They offer solutions where possible for which they get paid. People who they can’t help leave. You offer solutions where possible for which you get paid. People who you can’t help move on.”

    That’s so true!

    Thanks for this. Puts all the noise into perspective. πŸ™‚

  26. Hi Joyce,

    Too right. None of us would open a shop and think about selling something we didn’t like or believe in.

    When we believe in ourselves and what we have to offer then we know it is valuable so asking someone if they want it in exchange for cash just follows naturally.

    I appreciate your comment here Joyce.


  27. Hey Tosin,

    Great to have you visit here and leave a comment.

    I am pleased you picked up on that line Tosin. I think it’s a very important one. If a shopkeeper got upset every time someone walked in and didn’t buy something they wouldn’t get very far. It’s not different for us. Don’t focus on this who are not interested, just find more who are.


  28. Hi Ilka,

    I knew Marcus would nail it! I am so glad he did a guest post here. It’s always an honor to have great minds like Marcus, Oliver, and yourself grace my site for valuable information/tips that I could share with my readers and followers!

    Thank you!


  29. Hi Rowena,

    Thank you for your kind words and the positive feedback Rowena.

    It’s usually the things that are most uncomfortable that we are not doing Rowena and that is true for all of us. The fact that you are aware of this and what you can do is where it starts so I am sure you will definitely put a plan a in place to become known in Asia too.

    I guess in many ways it’s easier to know people from around the world with the Internet making this possible. We probably all have to work harder at targeting a following in our own countries though.

    Thank you for sharing this post Rowena and wishing you all the very best in designing your business the way you want it to be. If I can ever help you with anything please just ask and if I can I certainly will. πŸ™‚


  30. Hi Marcus,

    Wow, this was one of the best articles I’ve read in a long time. What a fantastic analogy you made and one that many marketers need to hear! I wasn’t making any money with my blog for several months, and because I was so focused on blogging, my network marketing income went down as well. I did hit a wake-up moment where I realized what I was doing and made steps to correct the problem. I am making a profit not, but not as much as I would like, so I’m continuing to look into other ways I can monetize.

    Thank you for the insight and the information today! Wonderful post!


  31. Hi Ian,

    I think what you describe happens to most of us when we start this kind of business. We just get caught up getting ready to start and we never move off the starting blocks.

    It’s great that you realized this Ian and were able to bring about the changes you needed to implement.

    Attending to money making activities must become the most important activity we do on a daily basis and then as you say, one can add in all the other things.

    When I coach others and they tell me they are very busy and can’t understand why they are not making money, I always tell them to write down what they want to achieve for the day which has to include money making activities.

    Then I tell them to move those activities to the top of the list which have to be completed before they can do anything else. In the beginning it takes some of them the whole day to get those done but they soon realize that the sooner they do what they most fear, the sooner they get on to the comfortable stuff.

    Great to have you comment your insights here Ian. Much appreciated.


  32. Hi Heather,

    There is always so much to do in business that sometimes it’s quite unintentional that we don’t look after our “cash registers” too.

    As long as we do catch oursleves as you did Heather then we can put steps in place to rectify the situation.

    With your never ending release of ideas, services and products Heather I am sure your monetization goals will soon fall into place.

    I have to admit I have to focus on network marketing more than anything else because while I love doing all the other projects that business pays me the best. I guess this is why there are network marketers who only focus on that for an income.

    Always lovely to read your personal comments. Thank you.


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