Made in Midjourney by Arnold (a short-limbed AI with a pleasant disposition).

Doing these nine hard things makes running a successful online business easy

Alex Mathers
4 min readSep 21, 2023


There are a couple of guarantees when you decide to build your own business.

  1. You must continually adapt.
  2. It won’t always be easy unless you’re willing to do hard things.

Here are some things I’ve picked up in my years as a business owner. Being willing to do hard things is central to all these points:

Creating and publishing daily content.

Being more honest or creative with your content.

You can publish bland content for a year and see little traction or interest. So you need to ensure that all this work you’re putting into creating and sharing is worthwhile.

In the context of content, this means keeping an eye on two main things:

1) Being honest and real.

2) Being creative — this means saying the unexpected and being inventive in how you frame your ideas.

Stay light in the face of irritation.

Negative emotions associated with frustration, overwhelm and comparisonitis can derail a budding CEO.

After 15 years running my own business, I’ve learned that 90% of the game is handling negative emotions.

In other words, it’s about moving on from upsetting feelings quickly. Many are not good at this. Their emotional intelligence is weak.

They are affected by externalities.

This makes for a bike with wobbly wheels. You must be a tank that deflects bowling balls.

Lean into uncertainty.

Most people don’t have the stomach for running their own businesses.

There’s far too much uncertainty. They’d rather run back to a boss who gives them that certainty and tells them what to do.

But if you can continually take action without knowing the full picture, you will succeed.

Don’t be a whiny little bitch.

There’s far too much emphasis in the modern age on ‘self-care.’