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Do You Have Silver Bullet Poisoning?

Have you ever listened to a keynote speech and got all pumped and motivated, then found out what the speaker has suggested just didn’t give you the results you hoped for? Or maybe you bought a best-seller and found it page-turning fascinating, but no clearer on what you were meant to do next?

Silver Bullet Poisoning is my name for when your business is harmed by advice or products that look and sound good, but the advice doesn’t work in practice.

The reason I want to talk about this right now is because a handful of my clients have come together with worrying issues or questions that have given me concerns about the current situation in online marketing and social media. Some have been impacted by the recent Google update which has wiped out a lot of site’s traffic, another is switching between different “flavour of the moment” courses, and another is feeling overwhelmed with “all this stuff we are meant to know”.

These are ALL symptoms of Silver Bullet Poisoning!

Originally this was going to be a guest post for Copyblogger but after thinking about it I felt the message might be a tad controversial and I didn’t want the Copyblogger folks catching any heat for my opinions.

The fact is, saying this stuff is not going to make me popular, but I feel like I owe it to you to be honest.

Most of what you are being sold out there on the interwebs and on Amazon is bull hockey with good packaging. At best.

I Have Been There

I have suffered from Silver Bullet Poisoning myself. Back before I turned in my notice at my day job, at the height of frustrating with my role, I was impatiently looking around for anything that would help me escape and generate fast bucks. The techniques I had used before were slow and hard work, and all around me were promises of immediate and easy rivers of cash just waiting to be tapped into.

The key words “slow and hard work” versus “immediate and easy” are probably raising red flags in your mind right now, eh?

Most, of course, didn’t work. One idea seemed to work pretty good .. for a while. I happened across the “Google Cash” technique of sending adwords clicks directly to affiliate offers. Get your clicks down to a low enough price and have enough people purchase then you can make big money. Initially I made some serious and fast coin. I thought I had won the internet. That was until I decided to go away for a long weekend break and leave my campaigns running.

When I returned I found a disaster. It could have been much, much worse. That disaster was an expensive but lucky break.

Rather than open up and see the dozens of sales I was anticipating, instead there were zero sales but a whole bunch of ad clicks. What had appeared to be easy money very nearly turned into a supersonic one-way trip to the poor house.

Maybe slow, hard work wasn’t so bad after all …

Gain Control

The problem with any kind of arbitrage, regardless of if that is adwords to affiliates or SEO to adsense, is you do not control enough to be secure. It is not a business, it is a tactic, and usually a short-lived one at that.

While I do empathize with anyone who has had their income wiped out from losing Google rankings, that is a very good example for why I say you need to create more control.

  • If all your traffic is coming from one source, for example Google, then you need to diversify, and I do NOT mean focus on Yahoo!/Bing πŸ™‚
  • This goes for if you are relying on one JV partner, one guest posting gig, and so on.
  • The same with revenue. If all of your profit comes from one source, then you need to diversify income streams.

You do not have to rip off the band aid, but you do need to move to a more scalable and stable structure. If you are using Adsense for income, sell sponsor ads. If you have a bunch of ads then any single ad buyer can not close your income down. After sponsor ads, build up your affiliate income, and so on.

Build Assets

Real control comes from creating assets.

Your first priority needs to be your email list. This is “attention on tap”. Rather than rely on traffic from Google and repeat visitors, build up a loyal list of people who know, like and trust you.

After your list then you need your own product.

I know some people feel like that is too much like hard work when as a super affiliate you can simply send emails and get paid. The problem is, I have seen too many friends send hundreds of sales only for the merchant to turn around and not pay. Why this happens is complicated and variable, but the outcome is the same. Zero dollars income, regardless of how much you have going out in expenses.

Long-term businesses are built on systems and revenue-producing assets.

Click here to see my approach to rapidly creating your own assets, products that your audience will thank you for offering.

Yes, there are other kinds of assets, your network would be one example, but combine assets plus control and you have something you can rely on.

Learn from People Who Do

So if you can’t always trust what you are told, what can you do?

  1. Trust but verify.
  2. Listen to people who are achieving your goals.

If something seems like too good to be true, it usually is. That said, some things are still compelling without that whiff of BS we are getting so good at detecting. That is when you should ask around, do a small test, look into the testimonials and case studies.

Most of all though is #2 – don’t take business advice from someone who has never had to sell.

You might think “but this person is famous, they are a key note speaker, best seller, winner of awards, and did I say famous?”. That’s great, but if that person makes all their income from speaking and doesn’t do any actual selling, and your goal is not directly connected to being a best selling-author or professional speaker, how is their advice relevant to your business?

There are best-selling authors, speakers, bloggers, and forum loud mouths who DO walk their talk, but not all πŸ™‚

Find people who are ahead of you on your path, rather than follow great sounding advice that has not been tested against reality and has zero relevance to your situation.


Finally, if you want to make money you are going to have to sell at some point. Mostly in terms of product and services, but also you have to sell the benefits of joining your email list, sell your ideas and sell yourself. Any time you hold back from making an offer or putting yourself forward is an opportunity lost. The more reluctant you are, the less successful you will be.

You might not like it, but you have to do it.

Look at me. I am shy and introverted. I have still some serious hang ups about money. But I have a family to support, a business to run, and partners who rely on me to hold my end of a bargain up. What kind of person would I be to let all those people down because of some discomfort? Especially when I know those products and services help people?

But still you will see advice saying “Don’t charge money, information should be free”, “incentivising email subscriptions is evil”, “three column blog layouts are for spammers”, “you already tweeted that this week – SPAMMER”, “Yuk, there was a dollar sign in that blog post, capitalist!”, and so on, and so on.

You see that link above that goes to Make More Progress? I will get around a dozen unsubscribes calling me horrible names because of that. Usually said by people who live in their parent’s basement, are broke and simultaneously an expert on what I “should” do, or have a full time government funded day job, heh.Β Apparently offering a product for sale makes me the worst kind of scum imaginable. I am ok with that, I would rather those folks not subscribe.

We can’t let the critics, the negative types, the anti-business* folksΒ hold us down.

* Why do anti-business people reading a business blog? Baffles me.

Your Thoughts?

Agree? Disagree? I would love to know your opinions, experiences and thoughts, please share in the comments …

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  1. Amen dude. Amen.

    Assets. That’s the difference, construct permanent-ish assets…and build the rest around that.

    (and you’ll see mine, shortly).

    • It always upsets me to see so many people go the other way – they devalue their assets (if they have any) and just spend-spend-spend as if the buying is what gets the results. Unfortunately we have to DO as well as purchase πŸ™‚

      I will look out for your new asset!

  2. It’s like exercise… The weight loss market is huge because people want a fast, easy fix but the reality is that it takes work and consistent discipline. People will pay a premium for a short-cut, but the short-term gain mentality rarely results in long-term changes.

    • Too true, weight loss is a perfect example. I have the p90x dvd set and after a quick look at one of the disks it has sat on the shelf πŸ™‚

  3. As a journalist I’ve been taught one main thing: if your mother tells you she loves you, verify and fact-check it!

    Many people just jump into all this stuff to realize that they are not getting what they want and usually if you did your research, looked at author’s background you wouldn’t waste your money and, even more important, waste your time. Money can be earned back, time cannot.

    Great post Chris, as always.

  4. Chris, you’re only going to be in trouble with those who may be found out after people have read this. As ever you talk sense, and we trust you – you have built your reputation and we feel we know you (heck, I keep on at you to “come home”).
    Keep going, and keep sharing your point of view.

  5. I finally broke into the create your own product market with my eBook. I guess either it’s not a big enough product or I’m just lucky in the fact I haven’t seen more than 5 complaints about it between email unsubscribes and various comments online. But in the end, the point is that I have made sales, and those sales have helped me get the things I need, therefore I have to focus on the fact that it’s achieving my goals and not focus on the fact that someone else out there doesn’t like the fact that I’m selling something now.

    Going back to the original point of the post, I feel like I’ve been a pretty good judge of good products / courses vs. silver bullets. Everything I’ve purchased, with exception to one WordPress theme and a plugin, has always given me good results.

    The key is the trust and verify. If I am researching around about a product and all I see are swipe file emails and posts (aka they all read the same), then I steer away from it. But if I see legit personal accounts of something that is working for them, then I’m more apt to try it.

    • That research is the part many of us don’t do – we are persuaded by a compelling sales letter or from a motivating speech and think of the purchase like being a chip plugged into a our brains, all of a sudden we will know kung fu πŸ˜‰

      • I guess I must have a different personality type. I’m usually never sold by one person, video, or sales page. I always go looking for reviews, unless I have purchased something from the person in the past and know the quality already.

  6. Hey Chris

    Ive been at this content/Social Media game for a couple of years and make some money at it, but not the 10’s/100’s of thousands that most claim to make.
    While I think some folks are making a killing, the mass majority don’t and really prey of those selling their get rich quick “social media” tricks that we all see.
    Ive also come to the conclusion that when you start to see those “high volume” social media experts more and more in your email inbox, their revenue is dropping, because their email contacts are not buy their next get rich quick tip. There is no real quick buck to be made, you need to diversify your streams and its hard/long work.
    So I am with you brother. I still like your last name btw.

    • I guess folks have been buying “quick buck business opportunities” for a loooong time, no reason to think it will go away any time soon. The problem now is these ideas have so much “social proof” in terms of a gajillion twitter followers and such.

      For example, someone the other day pointed out that a big guru with all their friends promoting can *easily* get 500 sales of a $2,000 product without any real copywriting or marketing skills. When you are throwing millions of emails to get readers to look at a sales page even 1% conversion rate (and we don’t get to hear the refund rate) will make for a million dollar launch. Is that proof they can teach you something? (other than get big JV partners, heh)

      And yes, our surname rocks πŸ™‚

      • Hi Chris

        Thanks for writing such an informative and honest post. Breath of fresh air amongst all the hype out there πŸ™‚

        I was one of the newbies that kept buying these products, then just as quickly request a refund lol Mostly they were waste of time and money.

        I have now unsubscribed from all these so-called gurus who sell each others products and scam unsuspecting newbies who still believe in the silver bullet!!!

        I warn as many of my readers as I can about the fact that successful businesses are built on hard work, patience and perseverence and there is no such thing as instant success.

        Thanks for a great read Chris. Appreciated.

        Patricia Perth Australia

  7. I’d go even further, if I were inclined so to do: not only would I examine whether people are making sales, but whether those sales are making their nut. Or whether they have the rent handled via other means… it matters to me.

    Intellectually, I have a pretty damn good grip on what it’s going to take to succeed big. In practice, if anyone cares to notice (and no worries if not), I’m in serious “STFU and learn the trade” mode.

    So, thanks Chris, this article resonates with me.

    • Interesting point – kind of like someone once said that people are driven in Rolls Royces to get investment advice from people who ride the bus πŸ™‚

  8. Chris

    Firstly, totally agree with just about everything. The only thing I don’t agree with is starting with advertis
    ing or affiliate stuff – I’d say forget that, and go straight into list building and then product creation.

    Secondly, it’s a sad fact of life that there will ALWAYS be people who want to believe that they can buy an info product for $17, or $27, or $49 and all the way up to the latest 3K launch in the IM space, and apply it and that overnight they’ll start raking in the cash.

    Those people don’t have the experience to know:

    (a) who the good guys are
    (b) who the bad guys are
    (c) how to do their due dilligence

    More importantly they don’t want to hear that it takes time and hard work to make an income on the old interwebz. But that’s the truth – doesn’t matter how many of us shout it from the rooftops there will still be people who don’t wanna believe it and will go for a Silver Button solution.

    It’s almost like a rite of passage that people have to go through before their eyes can be opened to the truth.


    • There are many routes – in my early days I did everything from freelancing to ad sales. I was a programmer so freelance coding was obvious, as was teaching/coaching, but also book deals and freelance writing came along. Problem with all of those is you depend on someone else, and usually a small number or even individuals, for your income – your own scalable products and services is definitely the destination πŸ™‚

  9. Thank God you’ve said what I’ve been feeling. And thank you for saying it honestly. Raised you even higher above the authorities I invest my time following.

  10. Too true. Although I have learned a LOT reading blogs and other information online. Much of it is what I call InfoCrack! (I’ll take credit for that one if no one else has) πŸ™‚

    All the analytics, keyword tracking, and other marketing information online has created quite a froth around the profitable niches. Wizbang marketers have developed the ability to present information packaged just how people desire it. Reverse engineering content to the largest and most profitable niches. Anybody remember The Kinks “Give the People What They Want!” This is a whole new wrinkle.

    Especially while I’m sitting here in my new business looking at the myriad possibilities to invest my time in, a more considered point of view is certainly appreciated.

    This is a piece of advice I will be taking and running with.

    Thanks Chris!

    • “Infocrack” – nice πŸ™‚

      There is a lot of stuff carefully constructed to be persuasive or even hypnotic (NLP etc techniques). I wouldn’t even mind that if behind the sale there was real, actionable substance :/

  11. Was reading this in email, nodding my head in agreement and immediately shared on Twitter. So many are being sold the fast, easy and losing money and time that could have been put to better use. While it does not have to be arduous and painful, success requires effort. I have listened to and shut out so many voices but yours Chris is one that I have come to trust. Thank you for not only being a trusted source but gracious enough to share even when it’s controversial.

    • The problem is anything that looks like “work” translates in our instant gratification trained brains as “probably arduous and painful”, whereas the silver bullets look like “press this button and instant riches fall out” πŸ™‚

      Getting past that takes some serious mental discipline :S

  12. Love it Chris. More people need to have the cojones to say stuff like this. Every day I see people chasing after the latest silver bullet and throwing money at the person offering it. And, as you said, it’s usually just a load of bull hokey designed to prey on people’s deepest fears and desires.

    Thank you for hitting publish on this. πŸ™‚

  13. I would have loved to run this on Copyblogger… and named names. πŸ˜‰

  14. So right. It is sad to see many people desillusioned when they do not become millionaires just by doing the latest fad in business.

  15. Great post. There’s something implied in a couple of things you said that relate to a mistake I’ve been thinking a lot about lately — the notion that you can ‘outsource your success’. The AdWords tactic you mention is one example and the idea that YOU have to sell is another. As you point out, a successful business is something you have to build.

    I’ve thought about this “outsource your success” mistake since I’ve…ya know…made it.

    • I’ve always been one to hide behind someone else, push them into the spotlight, but a few years ago that really bit me when the people I was leaning on closed shop and left me scrambling, so now while I still love to partner, I make sure I also do my own things so I am never TOO dependent πŸ™‚

  16. Sing it Chris!

    The only slight (ever slight) thing I would point out is that we each have to be accountable.
    I was looking for the quick and easy way, so it would have been easy to sell me quick and easy. I bought nothing but read everything I could for free.
    I started doing. It actually is work! If one is looking for quick and easy, there are plenty lined up to sell them. If one is looking to do some steady plodding, the resources are endless. But, it will take work. Thanks Chris.

    Live it LOUD!

  17. I used to cringe at marketing that promised a silver bullet, turn key solution, until I learned who their customer is – people with money.

    People who have more money than time don’t want to learn strategies and experiment for themselves. They want tactics that work, even if they don’t know why it works.

    The problem is when people wrap up their wack products in this type of tied-in-a-bow marketing and sell it to people who can’t really afford it.

    Here’s the lesson – we should sell stuff that works quickly to people who can handle the cost. And we should price and market it that way. Let’s not let the marketing that comes from scammers hold us back from offering our services boldly.

    • Yeah I have nothing against “done for you” or systems, providing you get what you pay for and we don’t see them as being a whole business that can be relied upon long term.

      As I say in the article, the adwords arbitrage DID work, but it was by no means a “set and forget” approach, and it could have ruined me if I had tried to scale it and the same thing had happened πŸ™‚

  18. Great stuff, man. You post far too infrequently here.

    This whole “thing” has gotten so bad that a recent “system” was ACTUALLY called the Magic Bullet System. Like, with absolutely NO sense of irony at all. It’s like the “Sucker Punch” of internet marketing systems.

    These magic bullets appeal partly I think because they claim to work while you remain faceless, nameless and hidden behind the automated system. Don’t bother forging real relationships with people. That’s for chumps who don’t know how to push a button and have money fly out of their computer monitors.

    Worse, most people who buy such things never use them. They satisfied the feelings they had in the act of purchasing, as if buying was some kind of accomplishment itself.

    Infocrack, indeed (great term!).

    • I have bought lots of stuff and not done anything with it, usually I tell myself “it will come in handy in future” or “when I have time I will totally read that” πŸ™‚ You are bang on correct we scratch the itch by buying and that is a dangerous road, I also think a lot of folks are collectors or just buy out of herd-think? πŸ™‚

  19. I uneubscribex from a whole load of ‘snake oil’ selling websites once I realised that the owners were mainly making money out of the Internet by selling books about how to make money out if the Internet. None if them had any real word selling experience away from this. Thanks for re forcing my beliefs that you need to sell something of value, not just have a blog full of posts and google ads!

    • You will find a good many of us who end up here started elsewhere πŸ™‚ Brian was a lawyer, Darren a minister, I was a programmer, I think Jeff Walker started out in investing?

      While I prefer when ideas are tested in markets outside of the “make money online space” (and this is why I wouldn’t give up consulting and coaching actually) I don’t mind so much when people sell books about how to sell ebooks to people who want to sell ebooks about selling ebooks, providing that is what you want to do πŸ™‚

  20. Meg Geddes says:

    Being older than dirt, I have had a lot of time to throw things up against the wall to see what sticks. Not much does (plus now my wall is all full of dents)

    A couple years ago, I made a two column list for successes and failures; not only was one column WAY longer than the other (hint – it wasn’t the success column), but it was right there in black and white letters two inches high – where my time and resources for the next couple years should be spent.

    Got rid of all the distractions within weeks, never to look back. I make a lot of mistakes, but I try not to make the same ones twice.

  21. Love the post Chris!

    I think Kristi raises a good point about personality types. And to expand on that a bit more: I like to buy locally and support my community. And even if I don’t do it systematically it’s in the back of my mind. I wonder if this has anything to do with taking responsibility on how I spend my money, what I buy? Or is this a personality trait?

    I ALWAYS check out the people behind the things I buy or subscribe to online, and also do a little bit of comparison shopping. I ask myself questions like “Is this the guy I resonate most with or not?” etc. And I also pay close attention to the experience immediately after buying something. When you do this it’s fairly easy, and basic common sense, to see when someone doesn’t walk their talk. Isn’t there a part of taking responsibility for your purchase decisions in that to? I mean, why buy from someone who is obviously no longer a player in a field which is constantly morphing?

    And that’s not even questioning the morality of selling stuff you really should know has long past it’s expiration date (if you’re the expert you plug yourself to be).

  22. Chris, I could’t agree more that there is wy to much garbage being slung around like a hot skillet of hash.

    Along with everyone else you place great emphasis on the list. Yet, to get one of you that has so many others attention to even comment on a post or blog is like asking for the keys to your home!

    I learned a long time ago in sales. If the door can be cracked just a tiny bit. I can kick it in the rest of the way.

    This is not meant as a personal attack on you Chris. I sincerely hope you haven’t taken it that way. I’m only sharing what so many others feel.

    I would love to have your feed back and advise.

    Best Regards,

    Steve Elerick

    • No worries, I don’t see it as an attack. In fact, as many people who read this blog know, one of my daily tasks is to comment on 4 or 5 new blogs every day, and my twitter stream speaks for itself.

      Now the key difference is, I won’t comment based on that someone else thinks I should, I won’t follow just because someone tells me to. If you get to know what I am interested in and then show a compelling headline, related to that, then I will definitely click it, probably retweet, and I will most likely comment, but then I am no different to the rest of your audience in that regard πŸ™‚

  23. Hi Chris,

    This is a really good discussion–and an important one. I think the most important rule, at least for me is this: “If something seems like too good to be true, it usually is.”

    You were right on target with that. Most people who have succeeded have gotten there through a lot of hard work.

    That being said, I also think that there are many variables that impact success including (but not limited to): personality, timing, connections, innate talent, and pure luck.

    Some of these variables can be controlled. Others cannot (or not so easily).

    That’s why what works for one person may not work for another. (At least in my opinion…)

    Anyway, this is a great cautionary post–it should be required reading for new freelancers and start-ups.

    • Totally, all we can do is make the best of the cards we are dealt, and be as prepared as possible so we can make the most of the opportunities that arise πŸ™‚

  24. Chris. Thanks for this post. As you know I was hit by the last round of Panda updates and the reason is unknown but…the fact is, I relied too much on search traffic and with a blog like mine that really is the way it’s done for the most part…that is until you get a 50% loss by search.

    So this did two things. First it woke me up a bit like a shot of really strong espresso and second it caused me to now figure out how to get traffic other than search.

    The silver bullets are the easy part….the challenge are the bullets that aren’t silver…the ones you have to work harder at…and you would think that with a great topic in a trend that’s growing this would be simple. But it’s not. I answer my comments, I am active on twitter, I write helpful posts, etc.

    I think the key here is not to get complacent and realize that one source of traffic is a sign things actually are not going so well rather than the opposite.

    • Yup, discovering you have “got there easy” is the gift that keeps taking πŸ˜‰

      Back when I started getting attention and cash based on my programming advice, it all landed in my lap so suddenly it was overwhelming. It was only when I switched niches that I realised that it wasn’t easy and I had to work out what I did right the first time. It was only after testing my ideas in several niches I really worked it out πŸ™‚

      Sometimes things can be too easy, even if it seemed like hard work at the time πŸ˜‰

      The good news is you will come out stronger, in fact you are already stronger for it because you didn’t give up and it made you realise that you WANTED this path you are on πŸ™‚

      • Absolutely. In fact, it’s caused me to relook at some of my posts…rearrange the look and feel for a better user experience..and most of all it’s kicked me in gear to look outside of Google for traffic.

        Quite honestly – it’s probably a good thing in the long run and will make for a very good story.

  25. A big problem is that outside the ‘make money online’ topic it is very difficult to find whether people are making any money or not. I am in self development – I suspect Steve Pavlina makes a fair whack; the rest of us . . .? If you have ideas on how to verify that’d be great.

    Why do anti-business types read business blogs? Either because they want to denounce what they see as evil and bring enlightenment to the benighted, or because they have mixed feelings.

    I think you’re entirely correct about building assets, multiple streams of income and having control.

    • I think it is less about are they making money (for example they might be more interested in reaching people with their message than mega sales), more are they getting the results they promise. That is when you look to testimonials, reviews, forum discussions, case studies.

  26. Chris, I’m so glad to see this conversation happening. As an author, a marketer, and a consumer, I am so disheartened by all the hype out there. I call it “Rabid Animal Marketing”: paying to be in “mastermind groups” (which defy the nature of a real mastermind exchange), cheesy sales letters with the same friends of the seller seen over and over again, and endless spammy e-mails urging you to buy, buy, buy… It’s exhausting!

    This is not the only way to make money online, people!

    Here’s a strategy to try instead:
    – Be consistent with great content, providing value for your audience.

    – Define your audience and get involved in their communities (or better yet, start a community!)

    – Be persistent. As you pointed out, this stuff takes actual work and ACTION.

    – Run your business with integrity. If doing something suggested by others doesn’t feel right to you, don’t do it. Period. Find other strategies that work for you.

    – Partner with smart people, and mix it up. Add new people to your network by offering to help them first!

    Okay, I could go on and on. I happen to be working on my next book and am covering a lot of this stuff! I’ll be in touch to interview you! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for being a bright light out there. So glad I found your blog…

  27. Chris, thank you for cracking the door. I read the ten reasons to make more comments and found some helpful tips.

    I caught your tip when you mention, find something you or ones audience are interested in, then you may click on it. I undrstand where you are coming from and enjoyed your feed back!


    Steve Elerick

  28. Thanks for this thoughtful article. It’s good guidance for all newbie bloggers/internet marketers like me. Wherever I look (or read), the message is really always about providing good value. So silver bullet poisoning is something we should always watch out for – whether as victims or as unwitting promoters of it. Great article!

  29. I like the name “Silver Bullet Poisoning”.

    Its good to see that someone is explaining that there is no easy and fast way of earning money. I always try to explain these things to my customer and most of them realize this after some time and came back for the suggestions.

    Its really a good post.

  30. The only comment I would add to your on-target advice here Chris is that a product is not always a great first step for someone, especially if they are a service provider, and a new one at that.

    Many times I’d rather see someone go get clients and work with them, and then start to create a product.

    My only caveat to an excellent post. Slow, thoughtful, hard work…

  31. Thank YOU! I agree with the syndrome & have been there myself. Trying to soak up & figure out which method would work best for my business.

    The truth is, you’ve gotta put in the time and effort. Love the saying “Slow & Steady Wins the Race” It’s the long term business solution that keeps the money rolling in and you in business.

    But, I have to ask something that’s been on my mind. How DO you know who is walking their talk, not just sitting pretty without the results for themselves?

    Enjoyed your post Chris!

  32. I couldn’t agree more. How can famous gurus help us, anyway, when all they have to do is write a blog post (or get someone else to do it) and have it re-tweeted by their followers umpteen thousand times in the next few minutes? Sure they knew how to garner interest over the net, but that was years ago and the game keeps changing day by day and new techniques and methods are being tried and tested every day.

    You’re better off following up and coming bloggers than buying products from established ones. As the Google update shows us, the products quickly come out of date.

    Thank you.

    • “How can famous gurus help us, anyway, when all they have to do is write a blog post (or get someone else to do it) and have it re-tweeted by their followers umpteen thousand times in the next few minutes?”

      That is dangerous thinking.

      The only difference between so-called “gurus” and everybody else (AKA future gurus) is they started earlier and/or worked harder/smarter.

      But banding together with a group of up-and-coming bloggers is a great idea because you all rise together. πŸ™‚

  33. Robert Miller says:

    Dear Chris:

    You are totally correct. Good advice is hard to come by and bad advice sounds you constantly. Also if you want to make $1000 a week don’t ask someone who makes $500 a week they don’t know. When I was younger it used to be if it was in print it is truthful. Now journalism and ad copy doesn’t even resemble truth.

    Anyway, only hard work pays off. I learned a long time ago that you work on creating a quality product or service and money will follow. Today everyone tries to figure out how to make money and what product or service do they need to get to do it, totally backwards.

    I have worked at a top ten advertisement agency and 90% of the things I read today on the internet are wrong and mostly subjective or half truths that are not complete. The new media is not really that new. The real difference is you can get instant feedback of any campaign you create. Which includes KPI’s to measure success. Advertises don’t really like this because it judges the success of their work. What happened in the 90’s is companies started to reduce their compensation based on results of the ad campaign. There was even a service called scan America that measure coupons effectiveness using grocery store scanning data. Ad agency’s hated this.

    As you mentioned people are writing about all kinds of techniques that don’t really work. My uncle had a phrase for this ‘Mental Masturbation’ feels good but doesn’t really accomplish anything.

    In conclusion, keep writing the way you do. Your one of the few new media writers that make sense.

    Robert Miller

  34. You can tell people exactly how to make stuff happen, but until they’re ready to hear you it won’t matter. I’ve had clients I’m convinced were paying me just to pacify some need they have to feel like they’re doing something. They don’t ever follow through on anything we talk about. One of these days they will though…and that’s of course when they’ll start to see actual results.

    Anyone who does this for a living knows the truth. There is huge value in buying a system, but the system doesn’t do anything on its own. You still have to run your business. The example of weight loss was made earlier, and it totally applies. You can own and watch all the p90x videos in existence, but if you don’t do the work, ain’t nothing gonna happen!

    I think non-doers read blogs like yours because they have that unspoken urge within themselves to do something awesome. They’re just not ready to do it yet, and in most cases they’re unaware this is the case. Meanwhile, anytime you say something that conflicts with their beliefs, they’re going to puke on you. Goes with the territory πŸ˜‰

  35. Brilliant! Learned from comments as well as post. So glad I found you through my mentor @Joe Spake who gives the same advice. Thanks to Chris AND all who commented.

  36. hi chris,

    i can just say – SO true! iΒ΄ve been in the trap, got lots of ebooks (and enjoyed reading the most) but those people who are honest about making money online will have to tell you:
    this is absolutely hard work.
    i have a well working site in a super small nice (digital scrapbooking) and make a nice income (since i launched my own products!) but not the 1000s so far.
    i say so far because i think – if i keep working hard (which means since some years now no weekend and working every day) i come to the point where i want to be because i think the real freedom is that i can be wherever i want and even sleep and still make money. if i donΒ΄t make enough i need to set up another site, work hard again and get it going. no short cut, no hype, just plain hard work πŸ˜€ – which i personally enjoy!

  37. Chris you are a trustworthy person. I stay away from anyone who pops a window up in front of what I came to read. Sometimes immediately shut down the tab or browser. I have no interest in being blared at. And yes there are a lot of great speakers but what have they done. They have a gift for words orally. You have written several technical books long before you hooked up with Darren Rowse.

    You appear to be trustworthy.

    I haven’t read everything both of you have on your sites yet so to add something else to read – whew – but will think about it

    Working on problogger book for the third time but determined to do everything this time around

    Read his other one first that you both authored

    Make it a great day

  38. Thought about this post and offer while at lunch and realized, you don’t follow me on twitter therefore we are not really in communicate.I was thinking if you follow me and communicate with me, then I would consider do this and supporting your endeavors. Social media is about communication and yes I realize some people have too many followers to communicate with everyone.

    I have a new saying

    β€œIf you spend too much time holding on to the one who treats you like an option, you’ll miss your chance to find the one who treats you like a priority!”

  39. I’ve found that just by putting my head down and getting to work I get farther ahead then reading all the ways I can make money quick. They are still alluring so I keep reminding myself to stick with what I know and the mentor I have picked to follow instead of jumping on the latest and greatest.

    I really agree with #2 in your post! But I don’t know about the title…We like the Lone Ranger at our house. πŸ™‚

  40. Great Article! I like what you said “Most of all though is #2 – don’t take business advice from someone who has never had to sell.” Funny how often we as consumers do just that with celebrity endorsements. When you see the celebrity truly using it – then it’s the real deal. Otherwise, we should be cautious! Hard work and more hard work is what will make it all come together and end well, nothing quick about that! Downloaded your E-Books to take a look at them – Thank you and look forward to networking with you soon!

    J. Souza

  41. Never mind the silver bullet, you’ve it the nail on the head and driving it home! Brilliant post, what I and many others have been thinking for a long time and you said it sloop well πŸ™‚

    What really bugs me is that all I see are Internet marketers using these get rich quick / fast buck schemes, just to resell,…almost like just selling the idea of Internet marketing rather than anyone actually using it to sell anything else.

    In my line of business there are so many free teaching resources on the net it devalues everything else, the free stuff because its just regurgitated and the paid for stuff because people think it should be free… Annoying!

  42. I think this is one of the most honest posts I’ve read in a while. Thanks so much, Chris.

  43. Wise Words. I originally landed on this article thinking it might be more about people “poisoned” by having bought so many click-bank like products that promised to be silver bullets but weren’t.

    But I do appreciate the few, the honest that do call out the “dark side of internet marketing”, as another recent post was called.

  44. I believe the key point you make is that we not forget we’re building an asset. Building a business takes time and that includes a web based business.

    I’m a real estate agent so, from my perspective, building a site that ranks well is just part of trying to grow the real company which is my referral base. I learned the hard way just how arbitrary and capricious relying on your Google ranking can be with a site that hit big within 6 weeks of going live.

    It spun off a ton of leads for about 3 months and then, for reasons I still don’t understand, my rank dropped to page 10 and that was all she wrote. So I’m working on that site plus about 5 others…I have goals and hopefully I won’t run afoul of Mr. Cutts and company.

    This was a great post Chris…it helped remind my to put search in perspective.