What Mitch Hedberg Can Teach You About Making Money Online

Mitch Hedberg

Are you familiar with the late comedian Mitch Hedberg? Very funny man, taken from us far too soon.

More on him in a minute.

But first I want to say that there are a lot of good internet marketers out there — people who have a ton of integrity and who produce excellent material. These people aren’t scammers.

They understand that if they produce questionable content, word will get around and they’ll be out of business. These people have put their hearts and souls into their products and give their very best to their customers.

Yet I know for a fact that the honest ones will tell you that their products will not make you rich. Hell, I have a course of my own, and I’ll tell you right on the sales page it’s not going to make you rich.

Someone has to say this. Someone has to write it down in black and white and repeat it enough times so that it sinks in — and when I say “sinks in,” I mean that it has to go down deep.

Like to your soul, or at least to that burrito you ate for lunch.

There’s Nothing That Will Make You Rich

No thing will make you rich.

There is not one thing out there that will turn you from rags to riches. There is not a single thing that you can pick up off a shelf and pay for that will perform internet alchemy on your behalf, turning online lead into gold.

If you’re looking for a magic bullet, it doesn’t exist. If you’ve just cashed in your 401k to buy XYZ SuperCourse and aren’t worried because XYZ SuperCourse is guaranteed to return 500% of what you paid within a week, then guess what? You may well be screwed.

I’m sorry to be so incredibly obvious. I wouldn’t do so if I felt I was saying something that everyone already knew, but statistics show that only around ten percent of people who buy a book read past the first chapter. Around the same percentage of people who purchase an internet marketing product or course actually use it.

Again, apologies for the obvious, but that means around 90 percent of people who buy a course apparently figured it was going to drop fairy dust onto them from where it was sitting on the shelf.

Internalize this fact all the way down to that burrito: Nothing will make you rich.

The Mitch Hedberg Guide to Real-World Success

The only force with the power to make you rich — or to even make you one red cent — is YOU.

  • You will do what it takes or will not.
  • You will develop the quality and personality and credibility and gusto needed to succeed or you won’t.
  • You will want it badly enough and persevere enough and have acuity enough to figure out if you’re on the right path… or you won’t.

So right now, you’re reading this and probably thinking, “Great. This post is of zero help. It’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses of posts, where my success or failure is predetermined and nothing can change that.” But that’s not true.

Let’s get back to Mitch Hedberg.

Mitch has a joke that goes, “I bought a jump rope — but man, that thing’s just a rope. You have to do the jump part yourself.”

  • Buying a jump rope and expecting it to make you fit is like buying an info product and expecting it to make you rich.
  • Using that jump rope for a few minutes a day is like picking through an info product, reading it slowly, and doing a few things here and there, getting mixed results.
  • Using that jump rope for hours on end every single day because you’re so incredibly determined to get really, really good at it? Using it doggedly, passionately — almost angrily — because you are so determined to master it?

Well, that’s how this happens.

You Have To Do The Jump Part Yourself

Maybe Buddy Lee, the guy jumping rope in that video, is an anomaly. In the same way, maybe Darren Rowse, who makes well over six figures blogging, is an anomaly.

Or maybe Buddy and Darren were just lucky (not).

Do you think that at the outset, Buddy Lee bought a really spectacular jump rope that allowed him to instantly do what he does? Do you think Darren Rowse started from nothing, bought a course, and suddenly started raking in a healthy six figures with Digital Photography School?

No. Because no thing made them successful.

I mentioned at the outset that I’ve created a course and that my online friends have created courses and products. None of these things are useless. Far from it, in fact. A carpenter who works hard can build a house, but one who has the right tools and knows how to use them can do it a hell of a lot faster.

  • Will the things you learn in Naomi Dunford’s Online Business School improve your business? Yes, after you give it your all and refuse to quit.
  • Will Dave Navarro’s ebook launch course help you to produce a blockbuster launch? Yes, if you’ve created a great enough product, culled a large and motivated enough following, and work it, work it, work it.
  • Will my inappropriately-titled course help you set up your site, your mailing list, your cart, your affiliate program, and generally all of the nuts and bolts of your online business? Yes, if you take the time, do the work, and follow my instructions.

But will any of the above make you rich? No. Online business courses are like Mitch Hedberg’s rope. In the end, it’s ultimately up to you to jump it.

Now get jumping.

P.S. If you buy Naomi or Dave’s stuff, I’m donating the affiliate commissions to Copyblogger… I hear Brian’s hurting for money (not).

About the Author: Johnny B. Truant is the creator of Make the Internet Your B*tch: A ridiculously simple guide to turning your online business from tech headache to profit center — which, by the way, will help you immensely but will not make you rich.

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Reader Comments (59)

  1. JW says

    Hi Johnny, very nice article. And nice to include the Mitch Hedberg joke, he was a very funny man.

    I wanted to correct your statement on Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and I can assure you that we do not teach people that their choices are predetermined, and that they have no choice in matters.

    In fact, we strongly condemn religious people that teach such things. I suppose you just confused us with typical religious belief in “predestination”, however we do not subscribe to that unbiblical notion. We accept the words of Deuteronomy 30:19 that specifically says that humans have the choice to become sucessful in life. Most Protestant religions teach predestination, however we do not.

    Just thought I’d clear that up. And again, thanks for the helpful post.

  2. says

    Haha, knew that was a risk. Sorry for the confusion. However, do stay tuned for my next post: “Conservatives: Advocates for rapid, unchecked, political change.”

  3. says

    I’ve become a Mitch fan! Simple to the point. Not to mention obscurely obvious? On a personal note, I’m exploring a new venture and reading your post at this particular time was perfect! Thanks.

  4. says

    What I don’t understand is are people really that stupid? This ebook you are ultimately promoting is $297. Two hundred and ninety seven dollars for a book!!! Now don’t get me wrong, maybe this book is really worth that much. If I read this book and it teaches me how to make $594 online then I would have doubled my money. I would take that ROI any day.

    But this is not about the 10% of people that will actually read the book (according to your article), this is about the 90% of people that will pay $297 and not read past the first chapter. So my question is are people really that stupid? And if so, are we all screwed? Or should we all just start swinging $297 e-books and make money off these people, whoever they are?

  5. says

    Jason, Johnny’s course is not an ebook. It’s a large number of videos that walk you through how to set things up on the tech side.

    When you think about it, it would be pretty stupid to make an ebook on that topic when we have screencasting technology that allows us to “show” and “explain” at the same time. And video courses generally command a higher price tag.

  6. says

    @Jason – Just to clarify, my thing isn’t an eBook… it’s a course in a protected website with 7-8 hours of video, tutorials, etc. I’m ballsy, but not quite ballsy enough to try to sell an eBook for $297.

    And to answer your question, I think that most people look for a quick dose of feel-good. In the moment, the person who buys something they will ultimately not use sees only that they’re “doing something.” That feels good even if they’re laying out money. What happens later is slow apathy and the inertia of everyday living.

    And to further answer it, I do think that a lot of people ARE stupid. They’re the reason for warning labels, texting while driving, and those email scams saying you’ve won an international lottery.

  7. says


    Brilliant article, I love Mitch as well. You are so right about all of the great products and services available. It is all up to you. Earlier this spring, I attended a “free” seminar from one of the big motivational speaker dudes. I have this guy’s book and think that it is awesome. However, the last part of this “free” seminar was his commercial for his weekend seminar. This guy was an absolute master at manipulation. He made me feel like crap because I did not drop the $1000 (I’m currently in transition). I know that the weekend could be a great tool, but I wasn’t sure it was worth it for me at that moment in time. Ultimately, I believe it is me that is going to make the difference. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for learning. But in my present circumstances I must be a selective. BTW, I just dropped the money to purchase the special Thesis offer which includes Naomi’s ebook. I feel certain that this is money very well spent…and I will put it to great use.

  8. says

    Didn’t mean to accuse you of selling a product for more then it was worth. And it makes sense this is a course not an ebook. I mean shit, I paid $3,000 per course in college, granted it was a lot more hours then this, but I’m still not sure how I can apply religions of ancient east african tribes…

    The purpose of my post was to bring up the question of who are these people. 90% of your customers that are buying, barely trying and then crying back to their 9-5’s. I think it is strange, weird, sad, that so many people are spending a lot of money for as you say “a quick dose of feel good”. Don’t these people know that they can get a “quick dose of feel good” at their local rub and tug for a third of that price?

    Anyways back to selling my miracle weight loss solution for $297 for fatso’s who are gonna read my first chapter and then head to their local McD’s…

  9. says

    This is a truly inspirational post. I couldn’t agree more that richness is something within us, not something we can buy or learn. Thing is, it’s more difficult to believe in your own richness than to imagine you’re gonna get it from something else. Like with Mitch, you’ve gotta have the courage to jump. Then, you might jump badly and have to figure how to jump better. That puts you in the spotlight. If the rope doesn’t work, it’s easier to blame the rope than to look at yourself.

    As a newbie blogger, this post reminds me to keep having the courage to jump.

    Thank you!

  10. says

    Great post! I’ve read another person saying something similar. The analogy is the newbie learner is lost in darkness. The teacher says, “I can only SHINE THE TORCH and show you the way. You have to WALK.”

  11. says

    Mad respect for anyone that can combine Mitch Hedberg and online success in a Blog that has lots of inspirational value. This is brilliant. I am going to steal this idea and quote Bill Hicks or maybe David Cross. 😉

  12. says

    I’m reminded of another Mitch gem that says something similar in terms just being in control of your actual destiny.

    “At the fair, there’s a jar of jelly beans that says ‘guess how many jelly beans are in the jar and you win a prize.’

    Ah man, let me just haaaave some.”

    Loved this post, Johnny. Outstanding use of both Mitch and Jehovah’s Witness (correction notwithstanding) to make an important point!

  13. says

    Really? The dishonest ones selling crap product get found out do they JT?

    Not sure about that mate, although it would be nice to think it was the case.

    Emperors new clothes and all that.

    Now everybody quickly head over to my blog where the real action is at!

  14. says

    Good, simple message with a lot of weight.

    You could easily apply this concept to books too, forget online courses. If you buy a good self-help book, reading it doesn’t accomplish all that much. Bug plugging in relentlessly can.

  15. says

    Thanks again for one of your down to earth – sensible- and FUNNY articles. I love reading them — and putting them into action! jump rope jump – see rope jump – see sue jump — thanks again for pointing folks in the right direction.
    hugs – your fan farmer sue!

  16. says

    I agree, things can’t make you happy and things can’t make you rich. What does both is hard work and effort *you* put into something that will bring you rewards, monetarily and otherwise.

  17. says

    Damn you Truant! You said you would keep the Charlotte stuff to yourself.

    I am a Charlatan actually. I was the floppy haired one in the popular 4 man beat combo band from the 90’s of the same name.

    Ah them were the days and you we

  18. says

    It is a sad truth that a lot of people are stupid. This is one factor why scamming is alive and kicking. Those email scams saying you’ve won an international lottery is more than a decade old and there are still people falling prey to it.

  19. says

    Hey Johnny,

    Great article, it’s my first time over here :-)

    I think there was once something inside all of us that thought that one little program/scheme etc would be the answer to all our problems. I’m sure that I am one, amongst many, that have spent a small fortune along the way.

    I have recently joined Alex Jeffreys coaching program, and now learned that, like you say, there is not one single “magic bullet” that will take us to great places.

    It’s gonna take blood, sweat and tears, but I now know the right path :-)

    Awesome blog you’ve got going here, I have added you to my rss!

    Take care,


  20. Neil says

    On a related note, your success will never materialize if other people don’t see your “personal value” (worthwhile or not). Making your success just as much about marketing as it is your own personal drive.

    We’re all whores, some are just more elegant than others.

  21. says

    Hi Johnny

    I like the article, your point that any product is not a solution in itself is spot on. Internet marketing is really like any other business, you need the tools and techniques but then once you have mastered them you must go out and put what you have learned into practise.

    I like the bit you say about most people not getting past the first chapter, been there done that.

  22. says

    Very true words are spoken in this post, and really needs to be said, because there are too many people buying info products expecting to solve all their problems instantly.

    As with anything, results are achieved by the determination to see something through to the end, hard work, and the desire to succeed no matter what it takes.

    Work at it little by little, and plan your days in advance, and you will start to see results, good or bad, there will be results. It’s how you then use those results that will determine your success.


  23. says

    Wow!!! Really great post!! Way to put it back on the reader for them to make their own success!! I love it!! In this age of “entitlement” I am glad to see that there are still people out there who feel the same as I do. My success or failure is the cause or fault of just one person…ME.
    Thanks for helping me not feel so alone!! :)

  24. says

    Great post! This is something that I learned the hard way over a period of months a while ago. I’d attempted Internet Marketing, and although started off okay – in all honesty I wasn’t putting in the effort I needed to see the results I wanted.

    After a while I realised that the problem was me, and the only person that could rectify that was me. And so I did.

    I did get myself a mentor – Alex Jeffreys – but I was very aware that Alex was there to learn from and to guide me, but it was ME that had to actually take action.

    In doing so – and actually putting into practice what I’m learning from Alex, I immediately started to see results. I’m driving traffic and I’m getting great feedback on my blog.

    I’ve still got a long way to go – but I’m building momentum and actually DOING what I learn, instead of just being a busy fool and achieving nothing.

    As I said – great post – it really struck a chord with me!


  25. says

    This is a complex issue and I’m glad you talked about it. (Plus the Bobby Lee video was awesome.)

    I don’t personally think that people are stupid, for the most part (ok, there are exceptions), but motivation and vision and how we direct our actions are complex things.

    I’ve paid for plenty of advice I didn’t act on, myself, for various reasons. Sometimes it wasn’t a good fit or I didn’t see how to translate it into action that would be relevant to my business. Sometimes I just plain old got Shiny Object Syndrome and got distracted.

    For me there are two points that I find myself telling folks again and again.

    1) Exactly as you say, the magic bullet doesn’t exist. The most perfect blueprint still needs you to do the actual building (or at least pay to have it built).

    And 2) You don’t need to bludgeon yourself with a blunt instrument if you bought some advice but haven’t implemented it as much as you want. Bludgeoning doesn’t, I’ve found, get much accomplished. Quit putting yourself down and just do something small with it. Get your feet wet. Then do a little more. Small actions do add up. And perfection is overrated.

  26. says

    Good point, Sonia. I do actually think there is value in paying for something YOU NEVER USE. If nothing else, it’s a form of commitment. I won’t belabor the point here, but if anyone wonders just what the hell I’m talking about, I kind of said essentially the same thing in this post:


    (You’ll have to hang in there to see this point because remember, I’m largely a humor blogger first of all.)

    (Oh, and I swear a lot on my own blog. You’ve been warned.)

  27. says

    Interesting post and I agree that it is you that needs to have the drive and determination to make yourself a success rather than looking for quick fix. Only a few people have success by chance or coincidence, but for most of us we need to work hard to get what we want. I think success is more rewarding when achieved through hard work, it gives yourself a feeling of worth that can’t be gained through a magic formula.

  28. says

    Great post, Johnny. Regarding stuff sitting on the shelf, I think it’s like another Hedberg joke: “My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana, I said ‘No, but I want a regular banana later, so … yeah.'”

  29. says

    “I used to do drugs, I still do, but I used to too!” I don’t know that too many people remember his stuff from Crank Yankers.

    My fav: “Someone handed me a pictue and said: “This is ap icture of me when I was younger.” Every picture of you is whenyou were younger.”… Here’s a picture of me when I’m older.” Where’d you get that camera man?

    Mitch Hedberg RIP 24 February 1968 – 30 March 2005

    This might be the best post I read all day. Mitch was a way way more talented Stephen Wright type comedian. People should take the time to look up his stuff.

  30. says

    My roommate said, “I have to shave and take a shower. Does anyone need to use the bathroom?” It’s like some messed-up quiz where they reveal the answer first.

  31. says

    Video course and ebook have their own strengths and weaknesses.

    Video can be easily followed merely by watching and listening. However, video is not friendly to those with slow internet connection,e.g. new bloggers. Those with different native language will also find difficulties if the video has no subtitles.

    Ebook can be used offline, no need to login or visit any site. But people have to read it (need more effort).

    I think it is good to offer both mediums regarding a product / service because each person’s condition is different. Some prefer ebook, some prefer videos.

  32. says

    Johnny B…I like your “Thang-a-Ma-Jang”, man.
    No thing will make you any thing. I’ve been in business for over 30 years and can tell you straight up, no one or any thing will do it for you. You are the the only “It” if you want to own your own thing. You learn how to get what it is want by doing that thing you do and working right at that thing.
    I sit and watch TV and guess what? No thing just happens. But if I want a thing to come to be, I get up off my butt, think about what thing I want to accomplish, get my hands or brain on it, work at it and guess what? That thing will happen. Kinda like people with their hands held out waiting for the Feds to give them some thing for nothing. I guess that thing will happen. NOW!

  33. says

    Johnny, great use of a great comedian! Mitch Hedberg is one of my favorites.

    I agree with you about how success is determined not by things, but by “you” as in yourself.

    Thanks for posting and now I’m going to check out that post on how to write an article in 20 minutes. I currently average an hour per post!

  34. says

    Johny! wonderful article. I love these articles that tell it how it is when it comes down to success. Its hard to see people that think if they purchase something, they should automatically see the results. When it comes to success, action is the element of power that makes things happen. All of these programs are tools in the hands of the worker. You can hand a construction worker a awesome tool that puts the nails in the wood, the if the guys sits there watching the tool, nothings going to happen.

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