Is The Making Money Online Dream A Fraud?

I usually do an opening paragraph, add a picture, then move to the next paragraph. This time I’m not only starting with a video, but a video that I didn’t create. This sets the tone for the topic; check it out:

Back in 2009, months after I started this blog, I decided to give affiliate marketing a try. I signed up with multiple sites because each one offered something different. Some offered products; some offered affiliate links to business with products I could promote. I even signed up for links to other sites whose content didn’t match mine, which was apparent because there were few sites that had content that “could” match mine. 🙂

At the same time, I started watching all these different marketing gurus who each had a “deal” that, if we paid them money they’d teach us how to do what they were doing. A couple of those people are in the above video, but I’m not mentioning who.

If you’ve ever watched any of these videos or not, and you’re kind of a skeptic like me, after a while you’ll recognize the “big lie.” We might believe that one in a million is making $30,000 plus a month with their website or with affiliate marketing; maybe even one in every 100,000. But if someone’s telling you that people are regularly making this kind of money weekly and that there are a lot of people making significant money just by signing up for their program, I’m here to tell you that it’s a bold face lie.

Though we’re in a tough economy, we were in as tough an economy back in 2009. As the internet started to grow, many people saw it as the dream they were looking for; same with YouTube. Think about it; who wouldn’t want to work 4 hours a day and make millions (as opposed to the 4-hour work week advocated by Tim Ferriss, which only he got away with)? Not only that, but if you followed one of these people and learned the tricks of their trade, with so many buyers online how could you possibly fail?

online marketing guru

This guy looked like a guru

In a way I’ve been there. My initial foray onto the internet wasn’t for riches. It was for business and marketing my main business. I had high hopes that it would help me launch my business to greater heights.

The first time I decided to try to make money was my own idea when I purchased a domain, built a website and created my own business portal. Eventually I added tons of products to each page under a business category; I was going to be rich!

What happened? It didn’t work out like I thought it might. True, I had one article on that site (I had an article page) that was #1 in the nation for almost 4 years on a health care finance topic, but it never generated any business and none of my product advertisements made me a single dollar.

I’d bought into the dream of making thousands of dollars online. I wanted to do it my own way, but I’d been boosted by all the wonderful speeches and promises made by the gurus. I didn’t necessarily believe I could make tons of money doing exactly what they did; I did believe a fortune could be made online if I offered something different.

To be fair, though I made no money from my portal site, I did make an occasional buck on this blog from an affiliate product. I was also making money via advertising links and people paying for a link in an article going back to their site. I was making Adsense money on other blogs; I was earning nearly $600 a month; not bad, right?

One day it all came crashing down. First, Google dropped me to 0 page rank (who remembers Google page rank?). Then the advertising links site got blocked by Google and that money dried up. After that, no matter how many articles I wrote and the minimal marketing I did on Twitter (I knew little about online promoting at the time), I lost a lot of visitors and my proceeds dwindled.

Thank goodness I had a finance blog at the time, where people paid me to post their articles, which were all finance topics. I was making around $300 a month; not bad, but not livable income (not even the $600 was livable income). I was lucky that I was getting gigs for my business; otherwise I’d have been in a whole heap of trouble.

Where am I going with all of this? I want to put out a warning to those of you hoping to buy a product from the gurus in the video and anyone else who’s doing the same sort of thing. Anyone telling you how easy it is to make livable money online is lying. Anyone telling you you’re not putting in the effort or that you need to spend more money for a more comprehensive product or seminar to make money, they’re trying to play on your emotions; they’re lying.

There’s nothing wrong with spending $27 for a lot of information on one of those yearly sales events; that’s a great deal, and you might even find something useful. There’s nothing wrong spending a little bit more on a topic that might interest you and offer the opportunity to make a bit more money from a site like Udemy.

The better things to do are to create your own products and market to your audience. Find a few affiliate products you actually use and market them as much as you can if you like them. If you have $300 to pay a guru to teach you how to do what they’re doing, use that $300 to pay someone to help do your marketing so you can keep creating.

It’s okay to have a dream to make good money online; heck, I still have that dream. But never, and I do mean never, let anyone try to make you feel guilty if they’re telling you that all you need are some big dollars, big dreams, and “hard work”, though most will tell you the work’s not hard unless it’s not working for you.

Watch the video above; watch it multiple times if you need to. If you need someone to follow, check out Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income. He’s the real deal and he’s not going to sell you a bag of rotten goods (that’s an old phrase). He may have some expensive things he’s selling, but he also offers a lot of free information. Check it out; if you do, tell him I mentioned him, though he might have forgotten who I am. lol

Be smart; be safe; be purposeful. Good luck!

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8 thoughts on “Is The Making Money Online Dream A Fraud?”

  1. Hi Eric, welcome to the meeting would you like to share? Thank you Mitch (I stand Up and humbly admit) “Hi my name is Eric and I have Shiny Object Syndrome & am a Victim of Wanting to Make Tons of Money Online!” The other members of Internet Beggars Anonymous all reply “Hi Eric!”
    haha, man this hit me. I can’t tell you how many hours I wasted watching “Gurus”, tumbling down rabbit holes, signing up for the best program to help me make online!
    Dont get me wrong, I actually love being a blogger, sharing my message of hope and inspiration for people to chase their own bucket list dreams. But unless I win the lottery, this is going to be a hard struggle financially to be successful!
    I too have signed up for countless affiliate programs (Even in my Niche) and had ads on my site only to bare make about $500 – $750 max a few months a year!
    So you have to remember to love what you do. Though I think the more you create, the more you focus, and if you are willing to be persistent, there is hope. But it will take time and a little luck. Also, I have no issues with learning like you said. Udemy is great and there are some great bloggers out there to model yourself after. But take it all with a grain of salt!

    1. Great comment Eric; I loved the introduction! lol I think back in the 2000’s all of these pitches were still new and kind of shiny, like overnight commercials used to be. I hadn’t realized so many of those people were still around until I came across this video, but I knew the concept was still here and that making people feel like something was easy was the game.

      Glad you understand the reality of it all and have survived the “chase” if you will. I think growing up like I did kept me from trusting any of them, which probably saved me tons of money and hours of frustration; whew!

  2. Sad to think how many of us suckers are out there. By the time I ran into Pat Flynn, I was jaded beyond redemption. LOL
    There ARE real money making opportunities online, and I hope people who really want to do so can find those opportunities BEFORE they hit the fake gurus.



    1. We’re on this one together Mitchell. I’m immune to the “easy” thing; probably because I used to try to teach people how to play the piano and sing when they didn’t have the talent to do so. They all thought it would be easy until it wasn’t. lol Not sure if you remember back in the day when there was this guy who called himself “richjerk”. It was a bit shady but it also had few promises and I learned a few things… and decided there were a few other things he wrote that I’d never do. It’s never that easy without a scam.

  3. Fascinating video! Sadly, desperate people fall prey to these hucksters. That said, I read a lot of articles about making money through blogging in the beginning. I even signed up for Google Adsense ($65.00 so far, in “only” 7 years. Must not be doing it right!) and Amazon Affiliates ($0 in 5 years), but I don’t want to shill products, so those are ineffectual. I’ll stick to blogging (or not, at the moment) as a creative outlet and hobby.

    1. I know what you mean Debbie. I used to make pretty good money here, then I made pretty good money on two of my other blogs. I’m glad I always had my scam meter ticking loudly, though I did make a few purchases here and there, but never anything overly expensive. I believe making money online can be done and making good money is out there, but it often takes more than any of the gurus will tell you, otherwise they can’t get you to keep paying them for stuff.

  4. Yes, I went through the Adsense and paid blogging days. At one stage it paid for site hosting but never big money. For me, this is the gold in your piece:

    “If you have $300 to pay a guru to teach you how to do what they’re doing, use that $300 to pay someone to help do your marketing for you so you can keep creating.”

    Great advice, Mitch!

    1. Thanks Sharon. What’s funny is that until I came upon the video, I’d totally forgotten about gurus trying to get people to pay money for all that stuff. I thought it had gone away; that’ll teach me. lol I only recognized one person in the video; he’s been around a very long time. Click funnels no less; I never could figure it out, even though I had a book talking about it (I got it for free). I think we all have to go for the dream when it’s first brought into our lives; just don’t spend more money than it’s really worth.

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