This is a guest post from my biggest and best client (she’s also my wife, but read it anyway). She told me, “You can’t tell people what it’s like not to know anything about online marketing, because you already know. I’ll write a post for you and you just publish it and show it to anyone who is non-technical like me”. So here goes. Enjoy.
I usually feel uncomfortable answering (my parents always told me to be modest), but I am going to stretch myself this time and answer everyone once and for all, without being shy about it.
Whether you know me from Family Matters, Be Happy in LIFE or The Motivational Speaker, you know how strongly I am into the “You can do it!” attitude. I am a life coach and an educator and ever since I started my first business at the age of 25, this has been my motto – I can do it! Everyone can!
I often use the quote “If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right” as one of my life coaching favorites. I am in the business of happiness and my slogan is “Happiness is a choice!”
Even success on the Internet is a choice, isn’t it?
If you have a business and want to open it to the Internet, if you want to get more business online, if you want to have tens of thousands of readers or a stream of buyers, if you want to know how to be successful at Internet marketing, sit tight and enjoy the ride.
A free event for suckers
[I know the word “suckers” is strong, but it is not my choice. This is what people ultimately call themselves when they realize what has happened to them. I have heard it enough times to know]
The first time I came into the Internet world was when Gal and I did our life coaching course. While everyone was working on establishing a practice, Gal, who had been an IT manager, was focusing on our online presence.
By the end of my course, we were the only people, out of about 50 coaches, who had a site and a business card to give potential clients. After a while, our roles became clearer – I was an educator with over 20 years of experience and knew nothing about computer technology and Internet, and Gal was an IT professional with over 20 years experience and knew a lot about it.
So I did the offline work and Gal did the online work.
The first thing you learn about starting a business on the Internet is that everyone can do it. I remember the first seminar I attended. You may have had the same experience yourself. It is a free event that makes hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales in one day.
The food, the venue and the free gifts are nothing compared to how many suckers come to those events for the promise of sitting on the beach in a swimsuit with a laptop, sipping cool drinks and watching the dollars appearing on the screen every day and every hour.
The suckers’ slogans
Gal and I went to our first event as life coaches. It was an awesome weekend. It was a great seminar and I learned a lot. For 2 days, they promised the world “Be your own boss! Work 3 hours a day! Money will be coming out of your ears!” and … “Everyone can do it!”
I have to say I almost believed them. I wanted to believe them with all my heart, but because our life coaching course had promised exactly the same thing, I had the suspicion there was a pattern there.
Luckily for us, it was not a test of our trust. We just did not have $10,000 to buy the product on offer. We were shocked that our fellow coaches spent so much money just weeks after they had spent thousands of dollars on the life coaching course.
If you have ever heard these slogans about trying to build a business on the Internet, be warned, someone is convinced you are a sucker and might be taking you for a ride.
Seminars that teach you online business have a system to convince you that everyone can do it. They show a woman who could hardly type and has a family to support in order to attract parents who want to make some quick cash and say she did it within 3 months in her spare time, in-between doing her daytime job, taking the kids from one activity to another, doing housework and oh, I almost forgot, a huge debt she was trying to pay. Or, they show you a group of teens without any capital who came up with a brilliant idea that became a hit overnight.
Those events are like a magic show – you know there is a trick, but it is done so beautifully that you just accept it. You buy into the illusion.
What kills me every time is hearing the presenter say, “I’m a successful person and I’m here to teach you how to make money effortlessly, have lots of time off and have all the luxury you want”. I especially hate the word “effortlessly”. The harder life is for you, the louder you hear how effortlessly it can be done.
I always have the same question to those speakers: “If your system can make you a millionaire overnight, why would you spend your time sleeping away from your wife and kids, sleep in a different hotel every night for 200 days in a year to convince us, suckers, to buy your product? Why aren’t you on the beach next to some amazingly blue water working an hour each day and drinking tequila? Isn’t it because you are too busy running workshops?”
I never ask it out loud, because I know the answer. I have 30,000 readers a month because I understood that not everyone can do it. I certainly could not!
I swear to you I have tried. I spent hours studying the same course with Gal. The Internet marketing guru said to us, “You need $90 to buy a website and hosting and an hour a day. Everyone can do it.” I sat 4 and sometimes 5 hours a day, watching videos, reading, summarizing and trying to implement, but pretty quickly, I realized that our Internet marketing guru’s “overnight success” had taken about 8 years and the reason he was successful was that he sold Internet marketing products to aspiring Internet marketers.
It was a closed market – people who were making money by convincing others they could make money using their own products. They even have affiliates that sell to the same people. It is like a feeding frenzy. There was so much dishonesty there (MLM, or “direct marketing”, is the same).
My product was a coaching service. I did not want to tell my client they could make a fortune from my coaching, because it was just not true. Every time I watched Gal programming something, I freaked out.
I wanted a business, not a course in HTML, PHP, CSS or any other strange acronym. I wanted to work with my clients, do my workshops and sell my books, not to sit in front of the computer all day long.
So many readers come to my site because I decided to give up trying to prove that everyone can do it by doing it myself. Instead, I focus on what I do best and allow the Internet marketer in the family to do what he does so well. Coaching and doing Internet marketing are two different skills and focusing on one leaves much less time for the other.
All my life coaching buddies wanted a website and spent months learning something that Gal did in 2 weeks. In the meantime, they neglected their life coaching practice and got nowhere in both areas.
The reason I feel uncomfortable when people ask, “How did you do it?” is because I did not do it, at least not on my own. Someone had to take my parenting advice, my books and my coaching services and publish them so that many people would actually get to see them.
My message to you is that the online world is big and keeps expanding. Yes, at some stage every business will have a site, even if only for presence. So if you want a business online, if you want buyers online, if you want a website even just as an online brochure with your contact details, stick to what you do best and let those who know Internet marketing do the rest for you.
The same applies to any business service and even to family and parenting services, such as accounting, public relations, gardening, construction and architecture.
In the same way you would not reinvent a smart phone and prefer to buy one that has been developed by experts, using expert services can produce better results (perhaps more expensive upfront, but cheaper over time) and allow you to concentrate on what you do well and enjoy doing.
You just have to let go of the illusion.
Life is much better this way.