Starting an online business can be a nerve-wracking experience. Many people worry about what their friends and family might think if they see them trying to “flog” something online. Many people seek to remain anonymous and impersonal in their online business.

One of the attractions of online affiliate marketing is that you can earn commissions without having to handle the sales and fulfillment side of the business. If you can get enough people to click your link, you can earn a nice income on affiliate commissions without having any contact with the customers at all. That, at least, is the dream of many a would-be anonymous marketer.

Unfortunately for them, while it is possible to sell anonymously, anonymity is not a great online marketing strategy because it does nothing to build trust. Remember, “trust” is the key ingredient to generating a sale.

People like to buy from people they feel they know. Knowing someone is the first step towards trusting them. You cannot know or trust someone who hides behind an anonymous website.

To sell an affiliate product on an anonymous and impersonal website, the copywriting, layout and design must carry all the burden of persuasion. Again, it is possible to sell in that way, but to do so, you need either to develop excellent copywriting skills, or pay somebody else to write for you.

I guess at least 99.9% of anonymous affiliate marketers are neither good at copywriting nor willing to pay for the services of a professional copywriter. It is no surprise then that so many people fail to make money online!

Learn From Your Fear

Interestingly, the urge to hide and remain anonymous has the seeds of success hidden within it. If you are afraid to put your name on your website and be up-front and open about who you are and why you want to build an online business, stop and think about why you are afraid.

It may be that you would feel vulnerable if you were open about your online business because you are afraid that your friends and family might criticize you or laugh at you. You risk looking like a fool if you go public with your Internet business… and it fails!

Now, the best way to deal with that sense of vulnerability is not to bow down to it and remain anonymous, or – even worse – back away from your dream of building an online business, but to embrace it.

Put Your Fears & Failures To Work

Embrace your feelings of vulnerability, your fears and your failures, and turn them to your advantage by blogging about them.

You can do that by being up-front and open not just about who you are and what you are trying to achieve, but also about how vulnerable you feel about doing those things – and about admitting to – and blogging about – your fears.

Why on earth would you go public and blog about your vulnerability?

Because opening up and admitting to your vulnerability is both a massive trust-builder for your target audience and a massive confidence builder for you.

By expressing your feelings of vulnerability, you are entering into direct and open communication with your audience and taking a massive step towards building trust with them.

Empathy Trumps Persuasion

When you are frank and candid about your fears, you are showing people who are also vulnerable that you share their sense of fear. You are feeling the fear, and doing it anyway, and, even more awesome, you are admitting to your weaknesses. That is what makes a genuine admission of vulnerability so powerful. It is what makes you a leader.

Sharing your fears, failures and vulnerabilities with your audience is a form of empathy, and empathy is more powerful than persuasion when it comes to selling.

Here’s another thing: Most people will never take this step, even though it is what many of the most successful Internet marketers have learned to do. By sharing your fears and failures, you will stand out from the crowd and your story of weakness will become a source of power.

It is a paradox that Saint Paul understood, albeit in a different context, two thousand years ago:

“When I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians, 12:10)

As marketing guru Seth Godin, who recently published a book titled V is for Vulnerability puts it,

“dancing with fear is something the economy will pay us to do”

Here he is discussing his ideas with Debbie Millman:

In conclusion, here is an excellent blog post by Ramit Sethi – author of NY Times best seller, I Will Teach You How To Be Rich – with some great advice about how to overcome your fear of starting an online business:

David Hurley

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Affiliation Disclosure (HBW) offers tips and advice to anybody who wants to run a successful home-based online business.

In offering advice HBW will sometimes link out to appropriate websites. Some of those links will be affiliate links. HBW will receive a commission from any website that traces the sale back to HBW via the affiliate link.

David Hurley