I received an interesting letter via a colleague on Facebook:
Hi Dave! I’ve been following you for a couple years and I’ve always been interested in online business but until now haven’t been ready to make the commitment. Now that I have the time and resources I wanted to ask your advice for either a course or training I can sign up to learn starting up an online business. I think I would be most interested in learning affiliate or product creation. Can you make a recommendation on where I should go?
This is a bit of a tricky question because I have a number of friends and colleagues in this space, some of whom have packages and training courses that they sell. Still, to me the question is always about the “replicability” of their offering, and it’s why I stopped hawking my own “make money blogging” courses at conferences too: if you can’t duplicate it, it’s not worth buying.
Here’s what I decided to say in my response:
Nice to hear from you. Not sure how I can help as I think that the majority (to say the least) of what’s out there in terms of internet marketing and online marketing training is a scam and consists of someone who has “stumbled across a secret formula” that turns out not to be easily duplicated, though they’re happy to sell you their $999, $1999, whatever training course and coaching calls.
One thought, though: join meetup.com and search through it to see what kind of internet and marketing meetings happen in your area. You’ll meet folk and won’t have to pay $$ to do so.
Wasn’t sure how that would be received because, well, isn’t this guy asking me to help him attain his dream and here I am shooting down most of the squadron before we even go further on what exactly he wants?
Not so! Here’s his response:
Wow thanks Dave! What you advise is exactly why I asked you. I don’t want to be swindled and I thought of spending about that much on learning how this online marketing works. Your advice just saved me 2k. Can I just write you a check for half that? Thank you again.
I opted not to take his $1000, though it’s tempting, but what I do want to ask all of you faithful readers is: what’s your take on how to learn marketing, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, etc? Are there reputable programs and instructors out there, or is it so polluted with scams and hustles that it’s better to keep your day job? (just kidding about that last bit!)
That’s so nice of you dave that you helped him in such a nice manner.I also agree that these certification and training proggrammes are nothing but a way to extract your valuable money. It’s better to learn on your own and attend the seminars as you suggested.
I strongly believe that as you start following the other startups and businesses and attend the seminars you will slowly and slowly start learning about how they function.
This is actually very interesting – the ideas as I see them is: “Write a book about how to become rich online” Sell that book for a insane amount of money – voila… done. I rather believe in a good product to sell, either a service, subscription or good old e-commerce. A tip I got, that I have not followed yet – is to start by building your customer base first. That was actually the most interesting online thing for me. Free tip: Get your customers first, and sell them what they need 🙂 – not sure how it works yet.
It is unfortunate that so many companies are almost predatory out there, but it is good to see you were able to help out this person, and of course all of us reading too, for free.
Thanks for all the useful information I found on your site. I will bookmark and visit again. Your site was most helpful in my research on affiliate programs for my Web site.