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The Gurus Don’t Know It All

Posted by on Nov 10, 2008

Since I got onto Twitter, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a few of the top internet marketers in the world, and I think that’s a good thing. I’ve learned a few things from some of them, and I hope that some of those lessons I’ve learned will work very well later on.

Not a guru…
but know some things…

One will find that even a guru doesn’t always have all the answers. I got lucky one day to have a conversation with one of the gurus, whose name I’m not going to mention here. It started on Twitter, then moved to email.

I began by saying that there’s a lot of information out on the internet and a lot of programs that talk about this and that as it relates to internet marketing, but that I had yet to find one that could answer specific questions of mine. He asked me what I meant, so I laid out a few things.

At one point he said he’d have to see the types of things I was doing overall, which was never done as far as I know, but I don’t have a problem with that because people get busy. However, that wasn’t really what I was looking for, and I told him so. I then said that there was one big question that no one has ever answered, and he asked what that was. I told him this; the big question was what’s the very first thing is that someone should do to build a list.

For instance, everyone says to build a website or a blog, put something on there for people to subscribe to you, and you’re good to go. Well, no you’re not; if you build it, they WON’T necessarily come. If you don’t have a big name already, it’s now time to drive traffic to your site.

When you start, you don’t have an email list. You don’t already have a reputation, so people don’t know if they can trust you to buy from you. You can go visit blogs and get traffic that way, but of course that takes time. You can write on forums and maybe some of those people will follow you, but that takes time. Not that taking time is such a bad thing, but when you read all this stuff or listen to audio or watch the videos, almost all of them seem to promise more immediacy than that.

I specifically wrote this:

So, my point is that there’s probably a lot of good advice, but it doesn’t start low enough for beginners. It’s easy to say ‘build a list’; it’s much harder for someone to give point by point, realistic advice on how to do it. “Build it and it will come” doesn’t equate well in the marketplace, even if you can get to number one on Google for your specific search terms. In the words of Ramon from Happy Feet, I’ve done everything ‘penguinely possible’ (if you know the movie, this line makes sense) to generate online sales, as far as I know, and haven’t broken even. It’s a good thing I’m a pretty good consultant in my field otherwise.”

His response: “I’ll have to think about it.

That’s not a condemnation, by the way, just a reality. Even some of the gurus don’t remember how they started. Or maybe they do; maybe they were in on that early wave of spammers, who weren’t know as spammers at the time because that’s just how everyone else sold their products. I remember in the early 2000’s reading about buying mailing lists, which was a much bigger business than it is today, and I wouldn’t doubt that many folks bought these lists and just started pounding the emails without any remorse whatsoever.

That doesn’t work for me, and I doubt it works for most of you who read this blog. Even today, we get pounded by a ton of emails, sometimes from folks we don’t know, but it’s changed because, what one discovers, is that if you signed up for that free report and gave your email address, it’s given to everyone in that person’s realm sometimes, and you’re an open book. It’s one reason I created a second email address, so that all those things I sign up for go there, unless I know who I’m dealing with. That’s a good tip to use, by the way, because it helps you to segregate what’s what.

The overall point is that sometimes you just have to take your shot at doing what you think may be the right way to go, and not expect someone to be able to tell you point by point how to get there. The best information may not work for everyone, but that doesn’t invalidate what you do learn.

Starting is half the battle, learning is half the fun. And the traffic and sales,… well, hopefully that’ll come with whatever passion you’re able to show in your website or blog. We earn what the market will bear; we just have to be willing to take some chances and try a few things, as long as we don’t hurt our comfort zone.

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I think you’re right that a lot of the “gurus” assume people are already at a certain point in their online business, so they’re not really talking to those who are at the very beginning of the curve. Document everything that you do and when you hit it big you can create an info product for real beginners 🙂

November 10th, 2008 | 11:48 PM

Hi Marelisa. Heck, this blog is documenting everything I’m trying; stay tuned!

November 10th, 2008 | 11:57 PM

hi Mitch,
Great post, especially your last paragraph. While there are a lot of smart people (i.e gurus) out there, not all those that call themselves gurus deserve the title, especially when it comes to “internet gurus.” A lot of people claim to have the secret to ranking well or selling lots of stuff, but I take it all with a grain of salt.
I think you hit the nail on the head. It’s often hard work and believing in yourself, and trying what you think will work even when everyone around you is telling you it won’t. Sometimes you’ve just got to do it, and a lot of times it isn’t any “guru’s secret” that leads to success, it’s just hard work and common sense.
~ Steve (aka the trade show guru)

Trade Show Guru´s last blog post..Trade Show Zen

November 10th, 2008 | 11:03 PM

Thanks for your comment, Steve, and I’m glad we agree on it. There’s still a lot to learn from these guys, though, but not every single step. But it would be nice to see some of it here and there.

November 10th, 2008 | 11:23 PM

Mitch, I’ve heard that one way these ‘gurus’ get a mailing list is by building what they call a ‘squeeze page’. This page generally has a sales pitch and will usually give something away for nothing and the way to get it is that you have to opt in by supplying an email address. It sort of gets the ball rolling.

Sire´s last blog post..Blogging! It’s All About Presentation

November 11th, 2008 | 3:03 AM

You’re right, Sire, and I know whenever I’m signing up for a free report that it’s not exactly “free”. Still, sometimes there’s a bit of good information in there, and luckily I speed read, so I can absorb a heck of a lot. With audio and video, though, well, that takes a lot of time, and I don’t always get to it. But you’re right, it is a way to get those addresses.

November 11th, 2008 | 9:59 AM

You speed read too? Damn, your good, and there I am reading it all word for word and a lot of the times it still doesn’t sink in 😉

November 11th, 2008 | 10:55 PM

I studied speed reading in 8th grade, and I’ve fine tuned it over the years. But things like lists slow me down; that and bad writing.

November 11th, 2008 | 11:38 PM

Man, I better make sure I step up on my proofreading then, I’d hate not to see your familiar face on my blog.

Sire´s last blog post..A Post That Will Inspire And Motivate

November 11th, 2008 | 11:58 PM

Nah, you’re fine, Sire. Now, if you wrote an 100-page book and had lots of errors, I might be on you.

November 12th, 2008 | 12:34 AM

Yeah, me write a 100-page book, not even in my dreams. Nightmare perhaps 😉

Sire´s last blog post..A Post That Will Inspire And Motivate

November 12th, 2008 | 12:47 AM

Mitch, I just want to lighten up things a bit! Great post certainly, and I wish that some so called Gurus that I know read it. Here is the response from one may be-wannabe Guru

rummuser´s last blog post..A Poignant Story.

November 11th, 2008 | 10:23 AM

It was interesting reading, to be sure. I’d actually missed the joke initially also; humor can be lost across cultures.

November 11th, 2008 | 11:28 AM

That’s a good thing for you, Dennis, but every once in awhile I’ll still get sucked into something new, depending on where my mind is. But only for a very short period of time.

November 12th, 2008 | 11:13 AM

I usually do, Dennis, in good time. I may get pushed into another round soon enough.

November 12th, 2008 | 7:30 PM