A Story for All Internet Entrepreneurs

fisherman, fish, fishing boat

Let us ask ourselves a question: Why do many people fail in their online businesses?

Is it because of a lack of money? A lack of tools? Or is it…something else?

Let me tell you a story which embodies a valuable lesson that I hope will change the way you learn from here on.


One day, a young boy came to a river and saw an elderly man fishing. This elderly man was catching fish effortlessly using his ordinary-looking fishing rod.

The boy looked at the container next to the elderly man and saw a lot of fishes inside. He asked, “Did you catch all these fishes?”

The elderly man answered, “Yes. Do you want some? I can give some to you.”

The young boy said, “No thanks. I am actually more interested in your fishing rod and bait. If I take your fishes, I will finish them someday. But if I have your fishing rod and bait, I can have all the fishes whenever I want.”

The elderly man looked at the young boy and thought for a moment, then said “Well, I am going to take a break. How about I lend you my fishing rod and bait, and you can keep all the fishes that you catch later?”

The young boy nodded and took over the fishing rod while the elderly man goes for his break.

An hour later, the elderly man returned and asked, ”How is it going, boy?”

The young boy answered, “Not so good. I have not caught any fishes yet. Am I missing something?”

The elderly man answered, “What you’re holding in your hands is the exact same fishing rod that I used to catch these fishes. But what you are missing are the skills and experiences that I accumulated through all these years of fishing.”

The elderly man added, “It is smart of you to choose the fishing rod over the fishes. But bear in mind, it takes time for you to build up your skills to catch fishes the way I did.”


When I read this story (in Chinese) some time back, it got me thinking…Many people want to make more money. And money is just like fishes in this story.

Some people wish others would give them money and their problems would be solved. But the money they take will not last them forever. Someday the money will be used up and they are back to square one.

Most people are smarter – like the young boy in the story.

Instead of chasing after the money, they look for tools that can help them to earn it. However, they assume that once they have access to these tools, they will have the same results like everyone else did.

In today’s marketplace, there are tons of opportunities out there selling you courses, books or software that teach you what the experts did to achieve success. People buy these “tools” expecting to achieve the same results as the product creator.

But often times, the outcome is hardly the same. Like the young boy, many people end up not being able to “catch any fishes”. Why?

Is it because the tools don’t work? No.

The main game-changer is not in the “tools”, but in the person.

Focusing only on the money (fishes) and the tools (the fishing rod) is not enough. You also need to work on building your skills over time, like how the elderly man in the story did.

But don’t be mistaken, I am not discouraging you from buying tools. In fact, it is worthwhile to invest (within your means) because tools can help you to shorten your learning curve and save you a tremendous amount of time.

The key here is to recognize that while tools are helpful, do not just rely on them alone and expect them to perform wonders.

On this journey, always bear in mind to put emphasis on building your skills, changing your perspective and accumulating valuable experiences in order to achieve great results, and only then will you be truly successful.

I hope my little sharing today helps you to stop and think for a while – are you chasing only after the fishes or the fishing rod?

Remember, you can buy tools but you cannot buy skills or experience. It is time to put more focus on working on yourself from now on to see sustainable results!

I wish you all the best, Friend!

The above story is extracted from one of the emails that was sent to KC’s subscribers. You can click here to subscribe to KC’s mailing list as well to receive stories like this.

KC Tan
Follow me!