How you’re being lied to about the online business space

Today’s episode of the podcast is a solo episode, where I talk about what I really think of the online business space! This might feel a little bit controversial, but it’s something that I am passionate about being more transparent on.


I talk about my frustrations with it, and how they have prompted me to look at how I show up online, how I sell in my business, and most importantly how I make sure I’m not part of the problem.


This episode covers some of the things you might want to consider before starting an online business, and why that life might not be for you.



  • What an online business is, and how it differs to other business models.
  • The dream you are sold, versus the reality of having an online business.
  • The things lots of online businesses don’t tell you when they are selling you their course.
  • The costs involved in a successful big launch and the overheads in running a 6-figure business can be huge.
  • Why a personal brand for an online business means it should always be you that your audience hears from.
  • A reminder that the huge success stories you see are not typical results.
  • Why I chose an online business and what I love about it.
  • The things I do and don’t do in my online business. Spoiler, I do most of it!



Having a successful online business is absolutely possible, but there are no quick or easy routes to success. You must love what you do.



  • The questions you need to ask yourself if you are considering an online business.
  • How to avoid falling into the marketing quicksand that promises you overnight success.
  • Why outcomes can never be guaranteed, and why no one factor will ever be the key to success.




Teresa and Ben live

Becci Hollis Instagram and Website

Becci McEvoy Socials and Website

Jasmine Star Socials and Website

Sian Pryce Socials and Website




Hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the podcast. How are things going? I'm really hoping that by this point, cause obviously, you know, I batch records. So I'm more about four or five weeks ahead. And the weather started to turn a bit nicer. I pray to goodness, by the time we're listening to this, you're listening in the sun, maybe going for a walk, maybe, you know, sitting in the garden, whatever it might be that is.

My thing, getting in the garden, doing a bit of gardening. I honestly don't recognize myself sometimes that I'm out there getting dirt under my nails, which is a real pain. My lovely nail technician tells me off. But anyway, so this we've got a solo episode and I want to talk about something that might feel a little bit controversial.

Now, if you've been following me on social media, you'll know that I have been talking. Over there for a little while about this, I paid attention to the online world and about my frustrations with it, even though I'm in it. And also if you get my emails, you might see that some of the emails that I've sent recently are talking about how I'm starting to look at how I show up in this online world and, and yeah.

How I sell and. How I make sure I'm not like the things I don't like. This sounds a bit confusing, but I promise. I can't promise. It'll make sense. I hope it'll make sense. Okay. So let's talk about what I mean by the online world first, shall we? So I don't mean doing things online because all of us do things online.

I'm talking specifically about an online business and what this normally looks like is a business like mine. I have a one-to-one. A high touch program, which is a 90 day program where you can work with me one-to-one and we can work through your business, but obviously it's online and you speak to me over zoom.

I have a membership, I have courses, I have three levels in the membership, depending on where you are in your business, your budget and your support that you need. And I pretty much lived my entire life online. And so that's the sort of thing I'm talking about. So memberships, courses, one to many offerings. So what you're going to hear in this episode is the fact that if you go back to some of my earlier episodes, I'm very likely to contradict myself and that's fine. And I will explain why. So, yeah, so that's what I mean by an online business now. Why would someone want to go into the online business space?

Well, if you are doing something that is a one-to-one thing. So I, obviously my expertise is in marketing and I was a marketing consultant when I first started my business. And then we did a bit of agency stuff, and then I built that and then I didn't want to do that anymore. And I wanted to help more people.

And I wanted to go into this world of, yeah great I can create one thing or do one training and I hit lots of people with it, and this is for various reasons. And for me, one of the reasons was I can help lots of people because I am super passionate about what I do and adore what I do and love helping people.

In fact, I'm not even kidding. It sounds like I'm making this up. This morning I got a message saying that someone wrote their gratitude list. And I was on it twice and I just, honestly, it makes my heart melt. I love this stuff. I love helping people. So that's one of the reasons, and that's the good reason.

That's why you would want an online business. And then there's another reason why people want an online business, because the way the people sell online businesses i.e. if I'm an online business expert, and I want to encourage you to do an online business or have an online business the way in which I sell it to you is by telling you that you just create one thing and you get paid for it over and over and over and over and over.

So rather than delivering that training, one-to-one you create one training and then suddenly you can sell it to as many people as you want. It means they sell it as a way to considerably increase your income, because again, then the same sort of thing in terms of like, you can't, you can only sell out your hours for so many hours.

So if you're doing one-to-one work, you've only got one. Even if you did them back to back every single day, you can do what's maybe six hours in a day because you need to breathe and eat and that sort of thing. There's a limit on it. There's only so much you can do, therefore, unless you suddenly charge a huge amount of money for the thing you're doing, which I was about to say, everything has its ceiling price and it doesn't in reality.

There are people out there paying, you know, I've had an example of a, um, a PT that does all the stars and obviously they will be charging them a goddamn fortune. So it's not that there is a ceiling, but there's how, do you get what I mean, like there is a ceiling, but there isn't a ceiling, but you've got to be something very special to stand out.

And it's the few and far between that can do that in terms of hiking their prices through the roof. So that's the other thing. So, um, they say obviously unless you kind of put your prices up hugely then you're earning potential is limited. However, it's not with an online business. The other thing that's sold to you is that you can work from anywhere and you can manage your own time and you don't have clients and you're your own boss and it's just heaven.

And. So you might be listening to this thinking, what the hell am I thinking? Why have I not jumped on this online business line? Online business line, online business world sooner. I need to get myself a membership or a course or whatever, because I want to earn lots more money than I'm earning. I want to do one thing and then sell it over and over and over again.

I want to lay on a beach and not have to worry about it, or they talk about passive income as well. Um, that it's passive. Okay. So what they mean by passive is you do it once and then you sell it over and over and you don't have to do anything. Money just rolls in. So it sounds flipping amazing, doesn't it?

Which is understandable. Why do people in their droves come to it? Why people who have businesses that they like and love, and they're happy with why they look at that. And they look at the experts out there and they go. Oh, oh no, I'm doing it wrong. Oh yeah. I'm trading time for money. And, and it's that big thing of you shouldn't trade time for money because you basically just an employee is what people say.

So people look at it and think, oh yeah, that's it. I've got to go into the online space. I've got to do it. And the other thing that people see, do you know how much control, sorry. This is taking me to stay calm about all this and not go into a rant. If you go back and look at my Instagram, I went live a couple of weeks back and it probably was a bit more ranty then.

And the other thing that people see is the experts that are saying this are wildly successful. Like. Unbelievable. My favorite thing is to do the math, right? So you will see, and I'm not going to use any names. And please don't think I am talking about one person in particular and they're not all the same.

Not everyone who has an online business is like this. There's a part of me that wishes to goodness, I could just go this person, this person, this person, this person. But I would never do that. So yeah, there, you know, the people who are selling it are wildly successful, so you're looking at a launch they do, or you're following along in a group and people are going, I've joined, I've joined, I've joined and it might be like a $2,000 program.

And you start adding that up and you start going. Well, hang on a minute. I saw about 40 names on there, times, 2000, what that, but geez like that is unbelievable. Look at how much money that is. And she just have to, he had to do that one thing and they just showed it with that one webinar or they showed with that boot camp or they literally put an email out and suddenly they've got this, like, who wouldn't want that? But there is a very harsh reality to this that I always feel worried about talking about this because I don't want people to think I'm being negative or I'm saying it's not possible. That is not the case at all.

What I'm trying to do is give you an honest, balanced opinion of the online world and why maybe you don't want an online business. So the first thing is, okay, let's talk about the making the money. Cause that's the one that probably brings most people into it. When I started my online business I literally like I had an audience. Okay. 

I think I had the podcast at this point. I'm pretty sure I did. I had people following me. I had people on my email list. I had an audience and I created a course and I sold it and I wrote in the book, how many people bought it. And it's jumped out of my head now, like 23 people.

And the course was like $49 or something. Yeah. Do the math on that. Okay. The sales that people talk about within their launches and within that testimonials are few and very far between. They are not the typical, not by a long stretch. So much so that within the terms and conditions of that page or there'll be an Astrix or there'll be something somewhere that says these are not typical results.

Okay. So that's the first thing that yes, they will have some people who have been wildly successful. If you listen to the episode where I bought in the coaching call, I talked about the amazing Becci Hollis, who has built a life for herself, that she can now go to Australia and travel and whatever. You know, and I've worked with her for many, many, many years, but I would not sit there and go, if you want a life like this, I can help you do it. 

Because there were many aspects that you know, helped her get to that level and get to that point in her business. Did I help? Was I one of them? Yes. Was it solely down to me? No. Does that mean you must join the club or pay me a huge amount of money to do the high touch program because you want exactly the same, well, no, it doesn't mean you must.

You can. But what I promise that you will have to say no, not in a million years, you know, I'll promise that I can help you, support you, work with you, drive you forward, focus you, but I cannot guarantee those outcomes. So this is the thing. Okay. So when you're watching something and I've talked about this before, you know, I've talked about the fact that one of my lovely friends is watching a webinar and they were like, oh my God, did you see that. That person had an I'm going to make up the numbers, cause I can't remember like 150 people on their email list and they made 30,000 in their first launch. Like how does that not sound amazing and attractive? But the truth is they just don't tell you the whole picture. They don't tell you that they might have. X Y Zed stuff, they might have had a big Facebook group.

They might have had an existing audience on a podcast. The problem is people look at the claims that are being made by some of the big experts out there who are living the life. I'm not, they're not lying to you. You know, they have an amazing life. They have lots of members that they also have a big team and lots of outgoing.

So we'll get to that. Um, but the fact is that is not typical for everyone. And I think the damage with that is they make out like go through this program, do these steps and you will have the same. I mean, they sure as hell don't probably say that for sure. You know, in terms of conditions would say something somewhere, but you you're programmed in your head.

And someone described it to me as like marketing quicksand. It is you get into it and you think, oh no, this is the one thing I need. This is the one thing that's going to fix me. And the truth is it never is just that one thing. Like I've done loads of stuff. I've done loads of courses, loads of programs, loads of coaching.

And. Some of them. I wish I hadn't done and haven't paid the money, but it still taught me something. Some of them I did and they were brilliant and they taught me a lot and really helped me, but not one single thing created the business I've got today. I did that, but I did it with the help of various things. But like I said, I just don't like the claims of this'll be it. This will fix it. 

So, so that's the first thing that the results that they're talking about aren't necessarily typical. And then you go through the course, join the program and you don't get those results. And then you feel like something's wrong with you. And that is not the case. The case is they're not difficult.

Okay. So then let's talk about the money. So the money bit as well, in terms of how much you can earn. So let's say you do get a huge audience and you are able to make some good money. And again, I, like I said, I do the math. I look at how many people have joined something, how many names I can see on a board.

I times it by the amount. And I'm like, wow. But the one thing they are not showing you. And interestingly enough, one of the group coaching programs I was in, which was probably one of my, um, I got to say my biggest financial mistake. I don't think I'll go that far. I don't know. I'm trying to think of another amount of money that I paid out at that level.

And, but it was a group program and I joined and, and I think. Sorry I got completely digressed of what the hell I was saying. I'll just come back to it. So yes, it's. Cause I was thinking about like group coaching program then forgot why I even brought up in the first place. So one thing that was quite good about that, which was helpful to see is within the group, only the group, this person shared the launch and the launch costs. 

Okay. The launch costs are phenomenal at that level. The money that goes into ads. I mean, you just literally have to go to ads manager or what is it? Ads, ads, ads. Uh, I can't remember, but where you can view ads, other people's ads. Should I say ads again? How many times do I have to say.

Stay with me, people where you can view their ads, just literally go and find someone big and look at how many ads they're running at any one point. They're spending a fortune. You know, they've got massive teams. They've got big overheads. It's not that all that money is going in their pocket. It's not that they're earning all that.

So even when they say I am a six or seven figure business, like it doesn't tell you how much profit they took, not by a long stretch. So again, just something to bear in mind. The other thing about, yeah, work from anywhere, you manage your own time, you're free. You can spend all the time with the kids. You can have the holidays, you can do that.

Now, I'm not going to deny that, that isn't a nice part of having an online business that I manage myself. I don't have clients. I have to say I really enjoy that just because freedom is really important to me. And I don't like the thought that someone. You know, it can be like, I need this by now. You know, that's not where I am in my world anymore. But am I free?

Am I living on a beach? No, no, very far from it. Can I, you know, earn money as I sleep? Is it passive? Am I not working very hard because I have an online business. Oh man. No. When you have an online business, you create business that you are the face of. An online business is often about a personal brand and you are the brand, so I cannot step away.

So what if one day you open up the podcast and some other person wents on and was like, “Hi, yeah, I do Teresa's podcast.” That is never, ever going to happen in a million years. I also don't have anybody script my podcast. I don't have anybody come up with my content for my podcast. So I've just, I said it in a previous episode that I've just taken on the amazing Becci McEvoy.

And we will have a brainstorm at the beginning of a month, not the beginning, but like a bit before. And I will sort of say, okay, I want to talk about these things. I think we should focus on this. Um, but it's very much collaboratively, but then once I've decided that theme and we've talked about. I go and do it.

So it's entirely, you know, me coming from me. So that's, you know, that's not passive. I do that every single week. I show up to my members every single day, whether it is in the Facebook group, whether it's on a live Q and A. Whether it's on a coaching call, whether it's on a mindset session that we do every single month.

So I am constantly showing up for them as well. So I have created a business where I am at the center, and if I wanted to stop. My business disappears. So Michael Hyatt once said, if you want to build a business fast named after yourself, if you want to have a business with longevity that you can pass on, do not name it after yourself.

So for me, I am very happy having an online business that is my personal brand because personally I love this stuff. Personally I am more than happy. In fact, it is my zone of genius, my happy place. Get me on a coaching call, answering questions, chatting to my members, having a laugh with them. Like that's what I adore.

I know people with online businesses who actually disliked that. Dislike being asked stupid questions. Even said to me, these people are stupid questions and I'm like, well, you know, it might be stupid to you, but it's obviously not stupid to them. Whereas this is the thing I love. I remember doing my first ever coaching call.

I'd started the membership. I'd got 30 or 40 members, 30 members? No, it must've been less, maybe 30. And I said to Paul, oh, I'm doing my first coaching call. And it was at night. It was like 7:00 PM. And I was regretting it because I was tired. And I was like, why have I done this? And what if I hate this and what if I ever.

Anyway, get on this coaching call. I do 2 hours. I get off and I walk in, he's already in bed and I'm like, oh my God, I can do that all day every day for the rest of my life. And I love it. So for me, me being the center of my business, me being the thing that has to show up all the time is no problem because I adore all of that.

I adore spending time in my members, being with them, getting to know them, having conversations with them. I love that. But if that's not for you then do not do it. Because that's the, like for me, someone asked me the other day about well my coach asked me about how much I wanted to earn and then asked me, what does my business look like when I earned that?

What does my team look like? And I sat and thought, and I was like, pretty much the same. Like I've got really good team where I'm at now. You know, we've been through a few changes with Becci Hollis going, but you know, the, the, the roles and the responsibilities that being covered, I'm pretty happy with, I can't see any other person coming in because all the other stuff it's me and it makes me a bit sad.

And I see it all the time when people are like, we're looking for a full-time copywriter or we're looking for, you know, a whatever, whatever that basically means then, oh, social media manager to do engagement. It makes me really sad. It's like, hang on a minute. You're the personal brand. You're the person that we want to hear from.

Why would I want to hear from a copywriter or why would I want to hear from. Like, if I DM you, I don't want one of your team coming back to me going, Hey, it's, so-and-so on the team. It's like, no. And I always bring Jasmine Star at this point because Jasmine Star account is massive on Instagram, way bigger than some of the people I can think of the right source, their social media engagement, like a gazillion times bigger.

And yet she still does all their engagement. Like if I DM Jasmine, she will DM me back, like voice DM me back, like. It's unbelievable. If she can do it at that level, everyone can, and it's dying to the importance of, for me, you guys listening to this, the members in my club, the people who buy my courses, you're my world. Without you I am literally nothing. 

Like I'm saying, talking to myself and I am turning up to coaching calls and I'm the only one on it. And that is just sad. Okay. I probably could talk to myself for a while. We know that's true, but. Without you, I am nothing. And therefore, whenever the touchpoint is directly with you, it's always me and always has to be me.

So for me even growing, I can't see any other roles coming in. I don't mind doing things collaboratively. Like I've already said, you know, I've got Becci McEvoy who talks with me about the content and we talk about what we can do. But ultimately it's me who does it. As in yeah. Okay. I don't physically create the post.

I talk about what I want in the caption and Becci might write it with me or I might write it or, you know, whatever I think. And then I have the lovely Shaun who will create the images for me, but it's all my brains. It's all my thoughts. It's all that sort of thing. So I can outsource stuff that doesn't has to be me, but as the business grows, I won't.

So like I said, that's the other truth of the online business thing. That sometimes when you think you're buying from them either they get so big, you don't even get a single second in their world. You are a mass number or you don't get them at all. Again, I've heard like horror stories of a particular coach.

Someone bought into a program, and I know this person very well, so I trust them implicitly bought into this other person's program. It was a high touch group thing. So again, it was about 15 grand. I mean, we are not talking small money here. That is insane. Like that's a car. Like that's how much some of these people.

And I know that, you know, that isn't seen about money, but even two grand, like even 500 pounds, it's all relative. So anyway, she joins this group coaching program and the person in it is never in there. She's never responding. So she decided to ask a question. She actually tagged in the person's whose group it was.

So, you know, so for instance, if this is my group, she just tagged “Hi Teresa. I needed help with blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” This person replied saying she tagged her one of her team. “Can you answer her question please?” Just give it a second there for that to sink in for you to go. And I hope you're swearing either under your breath or outlied at this point, like what, what the actual.

Like I'm lost the words seriously. That is the most insane thing I've ever heard, but that's what happens. I've like I said, I've been part of programs. I was part of a membership that can I talk quite highly about, uh, not that long ago in the premise of it. I love and the people in there, I love the persons who membership it was, I never saw once. Not ever. 

The only times I ever saw her live, which I obviously saw after the effect was introducing something new that could be sold. Every coaching call was done by other coaches. Every other call was done by other people, nothing by this person. And I am going off on a bit of a tangent now but.

Like I hope this is still okay. I hope you're still with me, but, so I think about this in terms of my growth and my membership. And as I get bigger and I want to, I want to help more people. I want more people in my world. I want to love on more people. I want to. Get excited about your business. I want to talk about your problems, be there for when you've had a terrible day and celebrate with you and cheers you with fizz when you've done something phenomenal.

When I think about know what happens when I grow, what happens when I've got lots of members in there and that the coaching call isn't just 12 people or five people. What happens when it's 50 people? How do I still make sure that I have that level of touch with them? And. We've talked about this and I will just do more.

I will do more coaching program at more coaching calls. I'll do more live Q and A's, I'll do more sessions. I will make sure I can still maintain that level of visibility. I won't get more coaches to come in and do it. The only people who do stuff in my Academy, in my Club, sorry that isn't me is a Co-working.

If you're in Club Plus you get co-working that doesn't need to be me. You're just working on your stuff. So one of my team take that and the other thing is a content hour, which is amazing by the way. And Becci McEvoy. Wow. You're getting some shout out this week. She does our content hour for us, which the members adore and every level of the membership gets this.

And she talks about what's put on social media, she gives you ideas and thoughts and, and how to plan content and schedule content and all of this great stuff. But the reason she does that is because she's more of an expert than I am. So I might have been at one point back in the day, but now, because I deal with business.

In general and I've moved away from specifically social media and content. Becci is much better place to do that than me. So that's why she comes in and does this. But other than that, everything else is me. So I think that's the other thing about, you know, the online business world it's like, do you want to show up everyday?

If you don't want to show up every day, if you don't want to be the face, if you ever want to build a business that you can step out of or step back or take a chunk of time off where you don't need to be visible. And yeah, I can do that to a degree. I can schedule the coaching calls and the things like either ends of the month or whatever, to take two weeks off, but I couldn't take a month off because that's their content.

You know, what would they do? Um, but if you want that, then let's take something like one of my members makes baby products. Let's take that and say, Okay. She could get other people helping to make it. She could have a team of seamstresses that does the making side. She could have quality control. She could have all of that and she could eventually pull us off at the business.

If you are a social media manager, you could have other social media managers working for you. If you are a, what am I thinking who else is in my membership? God. Why did your mind go blank? The second you want to think of something? I've obviously got web developers in there. Again, they could create a perfectly good business where they are.

They've got other web developers doing the physical work. They might just be client facing, and then they might get to a point where they're not client facing at all. And they've got someone doing the client facing thing for them. Who else have we got? We have got coaches. So coaches, obviously that's a bit different because you are the coach, but again, you could have other coaches in there.

Oh, I've got a lovely podcast editor in that again, he does not have to do the editing. He can get someone else to do it. Yeah. We've got loads of different businesses in there that could grow a bigger business and earn more money than. Than an online could bring them and they could pull themselves away from the business.

So we've got bookkeepers. We've got a flower us as a flower designers. I mean, florists and we've got personal trainers. We've got content creators. So again, like, it doesn't mean that. Is that, do you know what I mean? Like they have to have online businesses. There are ways that they can grow their business and pull out of their business without having an online business.

And like I said, an and you can't, I can't pull out my business. So to summarize. There are huge successes out there who have been really successful doing the thing they do. And they have now created a business that teaches you to do the same, which is not what I do. I don't teach you to create a business that looks like mine.

I help you create the business you want, but there are lots of people out there who are saying, look what I've got. You can have it too. If you follow me, if you buy my program, if you do X, Y Zed. That I'm not saying that there are not people who have gone in there and done the same and been wildly successful.

But I'm saying that it's few and far between, I'd like someone to prove me wrong. Uh, that's few and far between, and I'm saying that if you're sat listening and thinking, do I need an online business that is not necessarily all it's cracked up to. I very honestly go back and listen to that Instagram live that I did.

We'll put a link into it in the show notes, but. I really honestly talked about the fact that I could not live off the income I get from my online business. I have other ways that I make money that bolster that. So I do some, obviously the one-to-one stuff helps that I do the 90 day program. I do some corporate stuff sometimes in training.

There are various other little bits. I do that help, like I said, bolster my income. So. It is amazing. I do love my online business. I do not want to do another thing for the rest of my life. My husband's like, what's your retirement plan. I'm like, probably not going to do it. If I can do this for as long as I can, that I'm going to, because I love it.

And I've been in it and I understand the reality of it. I just wanted to give you a view of what it really looks like, and if you want to go into it. Awesome. Absolutely amazing. Just go into it, knowing the kind of reality and practicality of it. I hope this hasn't been too negative and left side or a bit Debbie downer.

I really hope that I've given you a realistic view. I have an online business and I adore it. I would do nothing else. I never want to do anything else, but it doesn't. It's not as easy as everyone makes out and you don't make as much money as everyone makes out or I'm not. So maybe I'm doing something wrong, but we'll see. Okay, I'm going to leave you to it.

I, I feel like I need to, like, if you feel a bit heavy after that, just like shake, I'm just shaking. Shake off any energy that feels. Like, mm. But actually feel empowered that when you're sat there going, I've got to go into this program and everyone's making you feel like a failure for not buying the latest course feel empowered that actually, no, you're flipping rock and you're amazing and you're smart and you know what you can do and all of that stuff.

So. Go out there carry on being unflipping believable and doing what works for you, uh, which ties in very nicely, not to next week's episode, which is a, well, actually it doesn't tie in nicely to next week's episode. And the episode after. So next week I'm talking to the lovely Dr. Michelle, all about bro marketing and her whole business is.

Like trying to show up some of these not so nice tactics. And it was a bit cathartic for me to be honest. It was like a therapy session. And then the week after I'm talking about how to stay in your own lane, so how we get so distracted by Instagram and people and looking at others and comparing, and how do we just get our head down and just focus on us.

So I'm looking forward to those episodes,. Right. Have an amazing rest of your week, carry on, being amazing. And I will see you very soon.