by Ian Pribyl, Founder of StoppingScams.com and author of “From Nothing: Everything You Need to Profit from Affiliate Marketing, Internet Marketing, Blogging, Online Business, e-Commerce and More… Starting With <$100“
Now more than ever, people all over the world are considering starting an online business. What becomes abundantly clear to anyone as they begin trying, however, is how many “snake oil” salesmen there are in that industry. It can be hard to decipher who you can trust which leads any sane person to ask themselves, “Can you REALLY make money online?”
As shrouded in mystery as this industry often is, it’s absolutely possible with dedication and hard work. Young Upstarts has some outstanding articles for brainstorming which online business you might want to pursue:
- Top 7 Best Marketing Tactics In 2020
- 15 Proven Business Ideas To Make Money Online
- 4 Things Beginners Must Know Before Trying To Make Money Online
And if you decide building and monetizing a blog is the path you’d like to take, one of the lowest-cost paths an aspiring internet entrepreneur can choose, we’ve published an incredibly in-depth and 100% free guide for that:
Even after you’ve decided which business model to pursue, there’s still a long road rife with “landmines” and other traps ahead. With that in mind, I’d like to focus the rest of this article on an important skill anyone entering this industry must master if they want to succeed long-term: how to identify and avoid scams in the “make money online” industry.
Most product publishers aren’t running blatant scams — they’re often somewhat nuanced and difficult to spot. So here are some tips for staying safe:
1. Avoid Any “Get Rich Quick” Promises.
Anyone who’s built a business in this industry will tell you: it’s anything but easy. Over the coming weeks and months you’re going to have to acquire a lot of new skills, plus put in consistent hours if you want to build a profitable internet business.
As tempting as it is to buy into offers promising a “better way” — whether that’s through a supposed shortcut or “secret” method that nobody else is aware of — anyone you see touting these claims should be studied very closely. Online businesses are still businesses, just like any other, and they require a lot of work.
If there were readily-available shortcuts or easier paths like many product publishers lead consumers to believe, you wouldn’t witness so much toil and confusion in every digital marketing community known to man.
2. Research Any Product Publisher’s Reputation Extensively.
It’s not a “silver bullet” that’s guaranteed to give you an accurate answer, but you should conduct online research about any product publisher before purchasing. Although there are usually affiliates, who are biased by commissions, ranking in Google who will say:
- “It’s great! Buy it through my link.” Or,
- “It’s awful, buy this other program through my link instead!”
You can often find unbiased, in-depth reviews for most product publishers who have been operating in this industry for a while.
If you find a significant amount of interviews, guest posts, and other third-party media where the product publisher is providing free value related to what they’re claiming is their expertise — even better! That’s probably someone you can trust to take care of you post-purchase if you decide to follow them or buy their products.
3. Seek Teachers Who Do More Than Sell Products for a Living.
I’ve always found the cycle of the “make money online” industry to be somewhat counterintuitive. Granted, it’s a tremendous amount of work to build, maintain, and get the word out when you launch a training product or premium community. Nevertheless, I think we all hope for teachers who make their living doing more than simply teaching other people to do what they claim they do for a living.
Ideally, find instructors and community organizers who do more than simply sell products for a living. They should at least be managing a team of employees who are “in the trenches” doing what they teach within their communities, otherwise how are they supposed to know when their tactics and strategies need to be adapted or redesigned in this rapidly-evolving industry?
The expression, “Those who can’t do, teach.” Is a little harsh, but you’d do well to at least keep it in mind when trying to find the “tribe” that you’ll lean on over the coming weeks, months, and years as you make your way toward earning a part-time or full-time income online.
Final Thoughts & Parting Words of Advice.
The landscape of this industry has shifted a lot over the past decade, but unfortunately it’s still far from “safe” for newcomers. These three pointers will significantly reduce the odds that you get taken advantage of while trying to build your online business.
As you continue down the road ahead, look for highly-detailed articles or books that you can use as a starting point. There’s an abundance of them compared to 5-10 years ago. A lot of them will be thinly-veiled upsells, but the ones that are truly up-to-date and insightful are worth 10x the effort it takes to find them.
The path to figuring out how to make money online can be long and arduous, but if you stick with it and see it all of the way through, you’d be hard-pressed to find a journey that’s more rewarding.
Keep your wits about you and don’t let anyone convince you that you’re being “too skeptical” when deciding who to trust. If you follow the pointers above and do a little bit of internet research, I’m confident you’ll land somewhere safely.
Ian Pribyl is the Founder of StoppingScams.com and author of “From Nothing: Everything You Need to Profit from Affiliate Marketing, Internet Marketing, Blogging, Online Business, e-Commerce and More… Starting With <$100“. When he’s not working as the CMO of the optical startup he co-founded, he’s doing everything he can to keep aspiring online business owners safe from the unethical product publishers who operate within the industry.