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Working at Home on the Internet

Working from home - watch out for the bears
Photo by Richard Lee on Unsplash

Watch Out for the Bears! 

There are a multitude of reasons why people search the Internet for ways to make money working at home. Some people suddenly find themselves unemployed and need a job that will generate a nice income stream; some are retired and want something to keep them busy and possibly make a nice income as well; some are looking for ways to supplement their income because they have children who will soon reach college age and the tuition costs are soaring; and, of course, there are those who are tired of working for others and want to be their own boss. They want to give the orders, not the take them. They want to make decisions, not carry out the decisions of others. They have decided that it is time to be the captains of their own ships and masters of their own destinies.

All of those are valid reasons for beginning the search; and the majority of those people are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the work necessary to make an Internet business thrive, which is the cornerstone of success in any business setting.

Ambition, regardless of the motivator, is a primary factor in why people succeed, but it can be dangerous if it drives you to throw caution to the wind. An eagerness to work at home and be successful can cause you to forget that you are venturing into a jungle that is fraught with danger on every side.

There are big ugly bears out there just waiting for you to get careless – hoping that you think starting an Internet business is going to be easy and that it will also bring in tons of money. All they need is for you to forget for one minute that they are out to get you. They are waiting for you to let ambition cloud your judgment and fall into the trap of making unwise, uninformed decisions.

For every one ambitious, hard-working, honest Internet entrepreneur out there, there are at least a thousand under-handed, crooked bears waiting to take advantage of them. The bears that live and unfortunately thrive in the Internet jungle come in many varieties. Don’t underestimate them. They are very, very good at what they do and have fooled some extremely smart people with a broad base of business experience.

Don’t get me wrong, it is possible to create a successful Internet business. Many have done it . . . AND each of them will testify that, as with any business, it requires patience, time, energy and money (yes, money!)

Two things to keep uppermost in your mind as you search for opportunities:

  1. The establishment of a successful Internet business takes time and a lot of very hard work. It will take at least a year (if you are very lucky) and probably several years before you really start making a substantial income from it.
  2. Anyone who promises that they are offering you an opportunity that is easy, painless, and will generate a six-figure income in a few weeks is LYING!

In addition to the Multi-level Marketing (MLM) Schemes and Pyramid Schemes that were discussed in the second article in the series: Two Opportunities to Pass On,” there are four other fearsome bears that will be out to get you.

E-Mail Marketing Business

It is possible to build up an Internet Marketing Business with a nice income stream by promoting products through e-mail marketing. However, it is not even close to as easy as these particular bears make it sound.

Some of the basics they neglect to mention are:  Identify a profitable niche, find a source for the product(s), build a Website, establish yourself as a credible retailer, and build a big list of potential buyers.

A saying you will hear often is this arena is, “The money is in the list.”  And – it is, which is why this scam tends to work!

Always remember that when an advertisement promises that you can make a ton of money in a short time, they are ALWAYS selling something.  In this case, they are selling you a (useless) list of names and email addresses. That is how they are making their boatload of money.

There are so many problems with the lists you will receive I don’t know where to start, but here we go with the big one:

In 2003 the United States Congress passed the CAN-SPAM Act. It became a law in January 2004. CAN-SPAM is an acronym for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing.

The CAN-SPAM Act states that sending unsolicited bulk email is a crime. The Act is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and they do not take their responsibility lightly! If you violate the law you are subject to fines and penalties handed down by the Department of Justice for up to $11,000 per incident. In other words, you cannot simply buy a list and start sending out e-mails, you could be found guilty of a crime.

As an example, one of the most common ways that legitimate internet marketers have built their lists is through what is known as an “opt-in” box on their Websites.  Through these boxes (or other methods), people agree to have the merchants send email messages to them.  Plus, every e-mail that is sent must have an “unsubscribe” link so that people can also opt-out whenever they choose to do so. If e-mail marketers follow these rules carefully and mail only to those who have given them permission to do so, the CAN-SPAM Act is not being violated when the marketers send out bulk e-mails.

When you buy a list of names and email addresses from anyone, you do not have permission to send bulk email to the names on that list. The really slick scam artists will tell you that they have the right to give you permission to send email to the names on the list, but that is a LIE – they do not have permission. Permission must be given by the owner of the e-mail address to the person who will be sending the emails. There is no such thing as legitimate third party permission

There are legitimate list building techniques, but none of them are easy and they are certainly not fast. You can write and market e-books and articles, you can create your own Website and include an opt-in box, you can post to blogs and forums, you can do a lot of legal things to build your own legitimate opt-in list but you cannot BUY a legal opt-in list no matter who tells you that it is possible.

This is an enormous, stealthy bear that can cost you millions of dollars. There are no shortcuts to building a successful online marketing business.

Fact: Sending unsolicited bulk email is a crime according to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. The penalties are stiff. 

1-900 Business Opportunities

This is a big, bad and very dangerous bear. The advertisement will read something like this: “Call 1-900-555-5555 to discover your pot of gold!!!!!”

There is nothing illegal about advertising a 900 number, but be aware that 900 number calls are not free. In fact, the cost per minute is set by the owner of the number and it can be ridiculously high, which means they’ve got you the minute the dial the number. Charges begin immediately and can range from a few dollars to several dollars per minute. Of course, they will keep you talking as long as possible. They will give you information on how to set up your own 900 number and place advertisements to get others to call your 900 number. That is the big “secret” they are advertising that will create your “pot of gold.”

Be sure to be sitting down when you open your next telephone bill because in all probability it will be exorbitant – possibly over $1,000 – and you will have no recourse. You must pay the bill or lose your telephone service.

You have probably already guessed that the person you called (the one who placed the ad) will receive most of the money that you pay to the telephone company.

FACT:  NEVER call a 1-900 number! There is no way to know what the charge per minute will be. And, the only secret you will get is how to scam others, just as you have been scammed.

Instant Riches Can Be Yours!

This bear comes in a wide variety of disguises. The offer made in the advertisement changes from month to month and from year to year, but the message is always the same.

These are the bears that are preying on your ambition. The message promises unbelievable wealth overnight – all you need to do is learn how to make it.

Here is the hard, cold truth: You can be a successful online business entrepreneur – IF and ONLY IF you are willing to invest the time, energy, and money that are required to become successful – and, IT DOES NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT!

Once you have made it, and remember it is possible, it may seem like overnight to your family and friends, but you will know the truth about the money you spent, the long hours you put in, the frustration and disappointments you suffered, and the extremely hard work that was required to make you an overnight success.

Fact:  Don’t believe the hype that anyone tries to sell you. Fortunes are never made overnight. They are the result of hard work, dedication, and an unwavering focus on a dream.

 Become a Blogging Millionaire

When this bear first appeared, my reaction was, “You have to be kidding!” I laughed, shook my head in disbelief and was convinced that no one would buy into this scheme.  Unfortunately, I was very wrong.

There are many variations of this scam. One pitch is: “Set up a blog (which you can do at no cost) and sell high-priced advertising space to big companies that have stacks of advertising dollars lying around waiting for you to claim it.”

Internet blogs are very popular, but you will not make millions by simply starting your own blog. A blog is a tool used by many Internet marketers, but it is not a viable business by itself, unless you are famous or infamous enough to draw hordes of traffic, making it a good place for companies to advertise.

You can be guaranteed that whoever is doing the advertising of such offers is NOT doing it for your benefit. They are selling something that will make money for THEM – not YOU.

The blog may be free, but they will make you believe that their training program which may range in price from $97.00 up to $1,000 will give you everything you need to know to turn your blog into a money-making machine.

I have no idea how many blogs there are on the Internet, but there are many! If you stop and think about this for a minute, you know as well as I do that large corporations are not going to pay you for advertising on your little Website blog.

Fact: 99.9% of the bloggers on the Internet will NEVER make millions (or even thousands) selling advertising space on their blogs.


There are opportunities to create and build a successful online business.  I want to commend you for your willingness to put yourself out there and for having the guts to follow your dream. Wanting a better life for you and your family is a good thing and I encourage you to continue searching until you find a viable, legitimate business.

However, never lose sight of the fact that Internet commerce is like any business arena – you must pay your dues. Success will not come overnight, or over many nights. It will take focus, commitment, and patience that are supported by an investment of money, time, energy and lots of hard work.

There are many, very smart bears in the Internet jungle that will try to convince you otherwise. Remember they are lying. Their only concern is “What’s in it for them.”  There are no shortcuts to success.

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