Internet marketing is a pretty broad term.
In the world of internet marketing, there’s a pretty broad selection of people. Old, young, new, experienced, white hat, black hat and grey. There’s so much diversity that explaining to someone that you work in internet marketing isn’t really very descriptive. You may be an affiliate marketer, you may work in house for any type of industry like plumbers, e-commerce or a huge brand or public company. You may just make your own websites and try to rank them in search engines like Google and Bing.
So, naturally, when you have such a diversity within the workforce, you end up with a interesting set of people. That is what I’d like to talk about today.
The reason that I am writing about pie in the sky, theoretical big picture stuff is because I find myself concerned, skeptical and worried about how the industry of internet marketing is portrayed. Both for outsiders and for insiders.
You see, there’s a huge portion of people getting rich off the idea of getting rich. I find it tolerable at best, annoying at worst and pitiful the majority of the time. There’s a big old world out there of people making money off others ambition and dreams. I don’t really need to name names negatively, so instead I’ll name someone positively: Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com. Pat says that SPI is his outlet for being the “crash test dummy” of online marketing. In my opinion, this is a humble statement that’s pretty genuine. The cynical side of me says that he’s employing a bit of a trick on you, but I’ll let that slide for now.
You see, Pat makes a metric shit ton of money. Like between $50,000 and $100,000 a month. And as far as I can tell, it’s legitimate money. He breaks down his earnings right on the page linked above.
The majority of the way that he makes money isn’t currently from his pursuits as a niche site creator, app developer or business professional for food trucks. Rather, he makes the majority of his money from teaching other people how to do these things. He teaches people how to create a simple blog on Bluehost (affiliate commission) while using a WordPress theme from Thesis (commission) while doing things like keyword research (affiliate) ebooks (sales), landing page software (affiliate) and more. It’s very smart because Pat knows that people are out there thirsting for this information – how to scale a profitable digital business in the modern age.
So, let me take a break here and say that I don’t get mad at Pat for his success. Not at all. I listen to his podcast, read his blog and even sometimes purchase products from his links. I think he genuinely wants to help people and by sharing his process. And he does exactly that. He helps people. He’s a good guy.
However, what I am cynical about is the fact that there is and will continue to be a better path to success in this industry for people selling how to do something, rather than those who flawlessly execute on it.
Pat’s niche sites make him a moderate portion of that income he reports – a few thousand a month. But the gold? The real money-making machine? Well that’s in something very different: selling a dream.
Most of the people making their niche site won’t turn a profit or maybe even a dime of revenue. The majority will lose focus, call it a waste and perhaps go back to their day jobs. Others lack the quality on those sites or business ideas – poor design, usability, quality, sales copy and more. In other words, Pat’s fans don’t always succeed. Not even close.
But, the exchange has happened. Pat makes money when I sign up for Bluehost and purchase a WordPress theme. He’s pocketed his cash and is always on the lookout for new opportunities.
I think Pat’s a good guy – the far worse sideshow is the people who really aren’t in it for legitimate reasons. There’s a whole world out there of long-form sales copy on selling you a dream for just $1497. Or $2499. Or, heck, even $20,000 or more.
It’s out there everywhere, and often controlled by people who obsess over the money, money, money. They don’t care to truly help you, they care about retention rates, making refunds as hard as possible and selling a dream.
Those kinds of people aren’t nearly the experts they claim to be. They’re just push marketers who care only about their bottom line.
Don’t worry about those people.
Worry about this: whatever you’re doing, focus on what makes you unique, or lets you stick out from the crowd. Focus on that, learn from smart people like Pat and excel then. Don’t let anyone who’s selling you a dream let you think that you need them to succeed. You can do that all on your own. There’s way too much out there for free to waste your time, money and effort with someone who wants to waste yours.