Dangers for Internet Newbies
You know it is time to start your own home-based business. You want to work from home and the Internet is calling your name. It is an exciting place, the new frontier to be conquered. What have you got to lose? The answer is: Everything! It is an untamed jungle with lions and tigers and sneaky snakes waiting for you! So be aware and be prepared! There are great dangers for unsuspecting Internet newbies.
There is a great likelihood that you will encounter the most dangerous creatures early on when you are vulnerable and exposed because of your lack of experience and your intense desire to succeed. You will be looking for someone to show you the way and therein lays the danger.
The Lions Are on the Prowl – They Want Your Money
Let me start with the story about a “lion” that almost ate me alive within the first 48 hours of my initial foray into working from home on the Internet. I was prime, delicious game for the taking.
In early 2012 I was supporting my disabled son and his 3-year-old daughter, when I lost my job without warning. I was very aware that even though I have many years of experience and an MBA from Thunderbird, I was years beyond the desirable age for any company to consider hiring me. Finding some way to earn a living was imperative and there was absolutely nothing on the horizon. It was a difficult time filled with doubt, worry and a terrible feeling of defeat.
For several months my e-mail had been filled with promises of easy riches through the Internet, which I had noticed, but quickly deleted recognizing them for what they were. But, now I was desperate. I decided that maybe I should check out the possibilities. I told myself that I was well-educated, had great business savvy, and lots of experience – surely there would be something that would work for me.
I found a company that looked promising, www.indigitalworks.com. (BTW the Website no longer exists.) Frankly, I can’t remember what they promised, I only know that it sounded like something I could do and build up a steady income. I paid the $97.00 and with great anticipation clicked into the site. Almost immediately there was a pop-up box that offered a free coaching session to get me started – sounded like a great idea since I had no clue about how to proceed.
That “free” coaching session turned out to be the trap that snagged me so the lions could devour me financially one huge bite at a time.
It was a “coaching company” that promised to guide me through the process of setting up an online business that would produce a sizeable income in six months or less. I knew I needed help to quickly produce the income I desperately needed. They captured my interest, sweet talked me into the program by saying things like I was just the type of person they were looking for, and locked me in for $7,500 – even though my instincts were screaming – BE CAREFUL!
I am sure you are saying to yourself, “How could this woman have been so incredibly stupid?” I have asked myself that a thousand times. My only excuse is that I was blinded by my desperation, which made me extremely vulnerable and they were good! Their system for capturing their prey was very well-honed and difficult to resist even for an intelligent, well-educated woman like me (and many others).
This is a long story that I will truncate and conclude by saying that it wasn’t long before I realized what a horrible mistake I had made. I decided that I was not going to lose that money and started my campaign to get it back, which I did after an intense battle that lasted six weeks. I was lucky!
I wish I could say that was the only mistake I made and money that I spent foolishly, but it isn’t. Over the next 12 months, I spent almost $7,000 on books, training, and software packages as I looked for the magic bullet that would make the fortune that was promised over and over again.
Guess what, I never found the magic bullet. But, what I learned was much more valuable.
How to Protect Yourself
I do not want to imply that there is nothing of value being sold on the Internet. There are a number of good instructional courses available that will help you establish a legitimate online, home-based business. BUT, there are hundreds, possibly thousands of instructional courses and products that are totally bogus. They lead you to believe that their course, product or software is exactly what you need to be successful, but most of the time that is not true.
Many are selling products and programs that they have created from information that is readily available all over the Internet – at no charge – if you just know where to look. They packaged it with a catchy name and sell it for a tidy sum.
There are also products that are not what they pretend to be and are essentially useless, basically trash and certainly not worth the money they are asking.
The thing that no one tells you is that the only people making the huge six-figure incomes are the people who have built up an enormous following and are selling products (their own and others) at very high prices through “free webinars.”
Some common categories of Internet Marketing offerings are: Building and Monetizing Websites, Authority Websites, Blogging, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Traffic, Building Your List, and How to Use Social Media. There are more, but you get the idea.
There is one big one I need to mention: Publishing on Kindle (There are many people who are offering the same easily-accessible free material, which they have tweaked slightly, packaged nicely, and are selling at a reasonable price – usually $17 to $27.)
It took me a long time to realize that practically everything they are “teaching” is available through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) – and additional help on converting eBooks to hard copy books through CreateSpace, under the tab Free Publishing Resources.
Another frequent offering I have seen promises to teach you ‘data entry’. This course has absolutely nothing to do with data entry or data entry work. It ‘teaches’ you to sign up for affiliate programs and place ads in Google Ad Words for those products.
Affiliate marketing is legitimate and can be a very lucrative Internet business; but, it is difficult to set up and takes time for it to generate a decent income. The program that is being offered disguises affiliate marketing as data entry solely for the purpose of convincing young stay-at-home-moms, retired people, and others into spending their hard-earned money on a program that isn’t going to be of any value to them. They fail to mention that it requires a hundred plus hours each week minimum over a long period of time to launch a successful affiliate marketing business.
In your search for the right fit, keep the following uppermost in your mind: Anybody with a computer and an Internet connection can advertise instructional programs and sell them to unsuspecting, hardworking newbies who just haven’t learned the ropes yet.
Before you pay a single penny for anything, DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Take the time to learn about the different types of home-based businesses that you can consider. Lee Evans has written a series of four inexpensive eBooks that I highly recommend, Killer Work from Home Jobs. This could be a good starting point in your research.
Through your research, choose an area of focus and stick with it. Get as much information as you can by accessing all the free information that is available on the Internet. Then, and only then, should you start considering the purchase of products or training.
Be very selective in your purchases. Before you buy, check out what is being said about the course or product. Also check out the person or company behind the offering. How long have they been around, what is their reputation, have they really made money in the way they are claiming or is it hype to sell a product?
Ask yourself the following questions:
Question #1: Can I find this information for myself on the Internet and pay nothing?
Question #2: How can this information help me? Is it directly connected to my area of focus (e.g. Writing and Publishing, Selling Products on Amazon, Building and Monetizing Websites, Blogs, etc.)
This is a tough one because in the beginning you don’t know what you need. My advice is to figure out where you think you think you want to be and refuse to buy anything that is not directly related to that area.
A common mistake that most people make is jumping from possibility to possibility, spending thousands of dollars and never following through on any one thing!
DON”T JUMP FROM ONE THING TO ANOTHER! Pick something and stick with it for at least 6 months, preferably a year before you try another avenue.
Question #3: Is there at least a 30-day money back guarantee?
Never buy anything that does not have at least a 30-day money back guarantee.
Warning, even if there is a guarantee, it will not always be honored. Most of the time they are, but occasionally not. I lost $1,000 on a software system that had a guarantee that was not honored.
Question #4: Does the information/course/product have the potential to do what it is supposed to do?
This is where the guarantee comes in. You can’t always answer this question until you get into the meat of a product. Mark the final return date on your calendar and then, check out the materials immediately. Don’t wait! Go through as much as you can. If it isn’t in your area of focus, if it is not as promised, or if you really can’t use it – ask for a refund!
Question #5: Will I be required to spend additional money to implement the information?
There is always an upsell. Once you pay and are given notice to download your product, there will always be one, two or three additional products that you “should buy to get the most out of the original product that you purchased.” Don’t fall for it. Either skip past them all and just take the original product, or if it seems at all schlocky to you, ask for a refund immediately.
Question #6: Does the ‘course’ assume that I have more computer skills or basic knowledge than I actually possess?
Is the course beyond where you are on the learning curve for the area you have decided to pursue? This can and will happen. If it seems like something that is over your head, then get a refund. You can always buy the product or something very similar when you are ready.
Question #9: Is the person offering (or teaching) the course really knowledgeable or well-known?
Check them out! Even though they will lead you to believe that you must buy NOW or miss the opportunity, they always give you two or three days to make the purchase.
Question #10: Does the promotion sound too good to be true?
If they are promising you a quick return on your investment of a six figure income in a matter of months, or anything else that is not quite believable, you know the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” In this case – there is no probably about it!
I would love to hear about how it goes for you. I would especially like to know if you found this article helpful.
Next post in the series: Want to Work At Home? The Tigers Are Lurking