I’ve long been uncomfortable with many of the “info products” marketed to people who hope to make a living with a website. Too many of them make unrealistic promises of nearly effortless wealth — all you have to do is follow a few “simple” steps, the same steps allegedly followed by the “guru”, and you’ll be raking in the dough.
They promise revelations of “closely-guarded secrets” known only to their fellow gurus. They hint darkly that they may be blackballed for revealing this arcane knowledge to the unwashed masses such as ourselves, but will bravely forge ahead anyway (at least, as long as the unwashed masses are willing to fork over hundreds of dollars for the information). With their expert guidance, and the support of our fellow guru-wannabees (via a “Master Mind” group, subscription available for an additional monthly fee), we will learn to “skyrocket” our income. We will all be raking in fortunes from some nebulous “online business” while we lounge by the pool, dine at expensive restaurants or tool around in our luxury cars, yes, even while we sleep.
(By the way, since when did “skyrocket” become a verb? But I digress.)
Of course, as anyone who’s wasted hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on these “no-fail formulas” for success, they seldom (if ever) work as advertised. The steps aren’t as simple as they’re made out to be. There were a number of other factors at play in the guru’s initial success (factors that aren’t mentioned in the advertisement for the “program”) — assuming the alleged guru is telling the truth about his success in the first place. And even when everything seems to be in place, often the steps still don’t work.
I include a lot of freelance and small business ideas on this site, but you’ll notice I never shill for any of these “systems.” I just get a skeevy feeling about most of them. And I noticed too many of them have a snake-eating-its-own-tail quality: the guru tells you how you can become successful selling ebooks teaching others how to be successful by selling ebooks about how to be successful by selling ebooks. You start to wonder how many of these gurus have actually followed their own “no fail formula for success,” and how many of them are simply tossing out a bunch of garbage they gleaned from other ebooks they wasted money on, hoping enough suckers will fork over their hard-earned cash to cover the “guru’s” losses.
I dunno. Maybe they all are making fortunes overnight. But for my taste too many of them spend just a little too much effort “proving” how much money they’re supposedly making. It just doesn’t ring true, you know?
The worst part, from my standpoint, is that the lack of success is blamed on the victim. If you don’t experience the advertised level of success, the guru says, essentially, “I said this is a sure-fire formula. If it didn’t work for you, it must have been because you left something out or did something wrong.”
And people end up thinking there’s something wrong with them, because they’ve done everything exactly the way the gurus told them to, and they’re still not gazillionaires.
Only thing is, six months or a year later, the same guru will be back with yet another sure-fire formula. Different from the “old” formula. He’ll tell you all about how all the other so-called systems are shams. (Including, presumably, his own previous system? The one he was touting as no-fail just a few months before?) His new system, on the other hand, is The Real Deal. If you followed any of those other systems and they didn’t work, it’s not your fault. The systems were flawed. This time, though, you’re guaranteed to succeed if you will but follow these (new, improved) Few Simple Steps.
And, sadly, some folks will fall for this. Again, and again. 🙁
Now, along comes Nick Usborne. He’s a successful freelance copywriter whose work I’ve followed for years. And (maybe because he’s a professional writer ;)), he’s managed to express much of my frustration with these “one size fits all” just-follow-these-simple-steps-and-you’ll-get-rich-too programs. (He’s managed to do it a lot better than I could, too, darnit!)
The next time you’re tempted by one of those long sales pages with all the yellow-boxed testimonials promising a life of ease just counting the money you’ve raked in with your website… the next time you find yourself reaching for your credit card to pay yet another $297 for yet another “can’t miss formula” so you can tell your boss to take that job and shove it… the next time you actually open one of those “newsletters” that’s nothing but an affiliate sales pitch for the latest guru-generated “info product” that promises to set you free from the drudgery of working for a living if you will but follow the included “proven system”… read this first:
With any luck, it will save you that $297. Worst case, at least you’ll be throwing your money away with your eyes wide open.