I really hate it when I sit down here to write, and nothing comes out. As a blogger or content developer yourself, you know this feeling all too well I'm sure.
I have so much that I want to share with you, but the blank screen just mocks me. It has become a staring contest, which I am determined to win...
What I want to say is so blunt, and the reason I'm having a hard time saying it... is because I would like to find more appropriate words, or a nicer way of saying it.
But that may not happen.
I don't like the Internet Marketing space anymore.
There, I said it.
I've been working online for more than a dozen years. I'm not some "overnight internet marketing consultant" that got online one day and immediately decided to teach everyone else something I couldn't even do myself.
I held weekly training classes at my shop, I offered on-site training to local merchants that wanted to integrate the internet into their business plan, I helped people start and succeed at home-based businesses.
I have made my living online. With NO other source of income, and raising two children as a single mother. I put in long hours, learned by trial & error, did not give up until I achieved my goals - and then set new goals. I single-handedly created a dream life that most people would absolutely love to have.
I did not do any of that overnight. I did not accomplish it by following a blueprint, or paying someone $97 or even $1997. In fact, I didn't buy my first "ebook" until more than five years into my business. Up to that point the only things I had paid for were hosting and other necessary services.
I have never spun content, bookmarked or "dugg" or "stumbled" my own articles, created millions of pages of crap that make no sense at all with some crap software that was sold by the latest traveling e-salesman.
I worked. I created cool websites and valuable online businesses.
Margaritas on the Beach
I was having lunch with a really nice group of people at the last event I attended. They were kind enough to invite me to join them, and I ended up really enjoying both the company and the conversation.
One of the ladies mentioned a product or a software program that I wasn't personally familiar with, and then said (I'm paraphrasing) "The sales copy made it sound so easy - you know, like I'd be sipping margaritas on the beach by now."
I smiled and said... "You do realize that the person who wrote that sales copy was not sitting on the beach sipping margaritas, right? They were sitting in a room alone somewhere, probably unbathed and unshaven and in their pajamas, slaving over creating that product for months on end - and then on writing the copy itself. Of course, they may have been drinking a margarita while doing it, who knows..."
My point is (and was) - that all is not as it seems.
(but then, I don't suppose anyone wants to buy reality...)
I'm not knocking great software. Or great sales copy - which is an awesome skill to have, by the way. I'm just deeply bothered by the lack of reality, and the overall state of Internet Marketing as we know it.
The Awesome Opportunity of WORK
Working from home and running an online business is an awesome opportunity. Just ask my two kids, who are now teenagers - and have had a full-time mother all of their lives. They'll tell you I worked hard. They'll tell you I spent many long hours for many years at my computer, even. But they'll also tell you they have it made. Our lifestyle would not have been possible without the internet - my gateway to an awesome and rewarding career, from a home where I was needed.
I have never made light of the amount of work that goes into starting a business. Ever. I do think that anyone can do it, but I know that not everyone will succeed. It takes a serious dose of personal motivation, and if you have that... you can achieve anything. Not overnight, mind you. It might take you 10 weeks, 10 months or even 10 years. Accept that, and work hard anyway, and you are well on your way to creating the successful online business that you want.
It's not in scamming people, spinning content, spamming the internet with useless crap, owning every ebook or premium wordpress theme or software program created. It's in creating a business that adds value to people - to a specific group of people. Period.
Take a look at that last hyperlink on adding value.
I wrote that 4 1/2 years ago.
My message has never changed - starting a business takes work. There is no easy overnight route or "magic button". Believe me, if there was I would have used it and saved myself many long days - and years - of work.
What makes people believe it's going to be easy, anyway?
I challenge you to go out today and start an offline business. Go start a flower shop or a bakery. Go for it! Do you think it's going to be easy? Do you think you'll earn $10,000 in 10 days? Hell no! You'll likely spend that just getting started and work your ass off trying to get out of debt and into profit.
Starting an online business IS easier, of course. It is. And the profit potential is much greater even. But you are still starting a business.
I'm rambling. You already know all these things. I've been blogging my heart out for years on this very topic... but hey, no more blank screen so I win! 😉
My real point is that the Internet Marketing space itself has become disgusting and dirty and ridiculous. There are days it makes me sick. There are moments I feel like walking away from it all and breaking any association with it.
I miss the days when the web was clean, and when people saw the opportunity there for what it really was. Oh who am I kidding really... there have been scam artists and creeps from day one. But still... now they no longer seem like the minority and they're actually harder to spot. The lines between have become so blurred.
Here's one for you...
A guy has an infomercial for a $19.95 product that promises to help you become wildly successful working from home. People buy and they are immediately offered more help for more money and even more help for even more money.
The next thing you know this guy is at an Internet Marketing seminar proudly touting his numbers and dollar figures and conversion rates from the stage. And he wows everyone in the audience (or 33.7% of them at least, which he will boast about later in an online webinar) enough to cause a rush to the back of the room to spend $2k buying his system that promises to show them how to do the same.
Never, in all the numbers he shared, did he share the success rate of his buyers.
And never, in everything he did personally, did he sell a real product to a real person. And he in fact has absolutely no experience (or success) doing so - the very thing his "awesome product" teaches them that they should do.
All of his success is in selling the idea of success, while he sends his customers off to try to duplicate that success with a totally different system - like promoting banner ads via pay-per-click advertising or some such thing. Seriously.
This might be comical if it wasn't so sickening.
It blows my mind that there is even a market to keep some of these "entrepreneurs" in business. But there is - which is another problem altogether.
Guy above ^ is just a fictional character, by the way. An example to make a point. So don't ask me who I was referring to. I don't actually know all of their names. 😛
But enough about complete strangers. What about the over-the-top claims made by someone you know and like? What if someone you've come to trust for their honesty and integrity sends you one of those dirty emails promising to show you how they made $78,000 in 42 minutes...
Yeah right. Only because that person had *years* invested in getting to that moment, and having everything in place already to achieve those results.
You cannot duplicate those results without investing the same. And maybe not even if you do invest the exact same time, money, effort and duplicate every single little task in exactly the same way. For any number of reasons.
Look - I'm all for sharing experiences with each other. For learning from those who have figured out systems or strategies that work. The online business & new media space has evolved because of it, no doubt.
But there's a difference between sharing (and even selling) proven methods & strategies that others can apply to their own business model... and spewing useless crap that is no benefit to anyone except the person making a profit from said crap.
Want to know what else makes me sick?
"Bar Talk" from so-called professionals. Paying thousands of dollars to attend a seminar only to have the f-bomb dropped from the stage while "experts" drink beer and spew useless information that ultimately turns into a bragging war and an ego trip. I got up and walked out of the room the last time I heard the word "butt head" from the stage. I find it personally offensive. And to think that I was considering bringing my son to that event now that he is also working online... Ugh.
There you have it. That's what has been on MY mind lately.
I've put a lot of thought into this over the last year. Specifically how this applies to me, and to my business model. In other words, how I intend to respond. And by respond I don't mean I'm going to hop up on a crate somewhere and shout at the crap and expect it to listen and react.
I've simply been deciding where my place is in this crowded, dirty market.
There are some great people in the Internet Marketing space. Don't get me wrong. I know them, or know of them, and have the greatest respect for the market leaders in the industry that have maintained their integrity. That are doing truly great things. It's not an easy space to work in, or an easy market to serve.
I considered stepping out altogether, and going to back to a place in time where I was happiest: working away on my fun niche affiliate sites. There's nothing like creating a new site on a topic you enjoy, and watching it grow into something fulfilling and profitable.
While I still have niche sites, somehow the scale tipped dramatically - my 80 became my 20, and my 20 became my 80. More in terms of time than revenue.
I take personal responsibility for that. I do.
But as much as I love niche affiliate marketing (niche meaning outside of IM), I have been helping others achieve life-changing success from the very start of my online career - and I know deep inside myself that I will always want to do that.
Not because it's a profitable business for me (do you see me selling anything right here??) - though it is - but because I CAN. Because I have the experience and the expertise as much as others (and more so than most), and I know that I can make a difference for you as you work on your online business.
And so, for my own sanity, here is what I've decided...
I am going back to a heavy focus on the one thing I absolutely love - my niche affiliate sites. And I am also going to invest myself in a greater reach, with a stronger voice, in the Online Business market.
Not necessarily in the inbred space of regurgitated crap that is "Internet Marketing" as we know it today. But in the space where real people are looking for real solutions to start a home business or work online.
And yes, there is a big difference.
I'm going to put my blinders on. Ignore the thieves and scammers. And I am going to make it my life's work to be exactly where people are looking for the help & inspiration they need to get started online.
I am not here for those who want to "play" the Internet Marketing game. I am not available to waste time with people who are using the internet as a means to ignore other priorities in their life with no intention of ever running a business with pride.
My goal is to publish content in a variety of text, audio & video formats. To have a presence in Google, in iTunes, on Twitter & Facebook, and at YouTube. I'll share resources, tutorials, candid reviews, helpful tips - everything I discover and use in my own business and at my own sites.
Personal interaction and one-on-one help will be reserved for my Private Brainstorming Group, a small group of dedicated action-takers.
We're starting our 5th year together as of this month. This is the only place I will do site reviews, brainstorm domain names & creative ideas, help with marketing strategies and technical issues. It is not an open "membership site" and not something I have actively promoted in the 4 years since I started this group.
In fact, the doors are closed to new members more often than not. It is the most expensive (currently costing me ~$15,000/year to manage) and most time-consuming thing that I do, and definitely not one of my primary sources of revenue. It's a "labor of love", and it's my space to actually do good work with people that appreciate it.
All that to make the point that I have never offered coaching or consulting, and don't intend to go that route. In my opinion, if all you do is coaching then all you are qualified to teach is... coaching.
You may be scratching your head, wondering how in the world anything I just said is any different than what I already do. But it is. And you'll see changes unfold over the next few weeks, and over the next 12-18 months.
An evolution is in progress here. And I'll share everything with you every step of the way - without ever putting you through a hell'ish funnel that ends at a $2,000 doorway where you are made to feel ignorant and that you deserve to be poor and miserable if you don't pay up - now or never. I promise.
Goodbye blank screen - 2500 words later! lol
Thank you for the coffee and the conversation. I look forward to continuing this discussion with you in the comments section below...
And now you know why I decline most speaking (ie stage pitching) requests and do not create high-ticket info products. 😉