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It's a Scam: Online Business Schemes

The Ouroboros of Advertising

If you're here, reading this, chances are you've at last seen the ads. You know the ones, where some average Joe is trying to convince you that his Online Business Program will lead you to create your own startup side hustle, giving you that side income you desperately need. And all of us, at some point, have thought long and hard about shelling out those extra 20 to 40 dollars to get there. But there's that voice of reason telling you that somehow, some way, this is a scam. And it is. A totally legitimate business offer designed to make you spend your money on something you'll probably fail at, not only wasting your money but also your time. The good news is there are some good side hustles out there, but not many. So I'm going to show you how to avoid the bad ones, how to recognize the good ones, and how they're actually making all of that money.

The first step in making money is not wasting it. Spending your time wisely and doing your research can go a long way towards saving yourself from a bad decision, and these people know that, so they target people who need more income but know better than to fall for get-rich-quick schemes. Their opening lines will tell you repeatedly that what they're offering is real work and that it will take time and effort, but in the end will earn you "unlimited" potential income. They do so without ever actually telling you what it is these businesses do or how they make that money. They may even show you graphs or cash to try to focus you on that potential income and away from the details. They know you're on the lookout to avoid anything that says it's quick and easy, so instead they say the opposite. But they still promise you that in the end, it will take little to no effort to run your new business. These are technically legitimate business offers, but they bank heavily on the fact that many people will eventually fail. 

These sites share a lot of similarities with sites that aim to help you save money with tips and tricks. Their aim is to generate ad revenue with companies that they promote to you. They aren't out to share some secret to getting better at saving and spending money; they are there to market products to you. Unlike physical products that rely on their effectiveness in order to generate a profit, these sites don't rely on customer satisfaction to get paid to make promotions. As long as an app or online tool wasn't harmful or extremely frustrating, most people won't even bother to write a review. They'll simply uninstall it and move on. Regardless, these sites continue to earn money off of products that may not really work. In no way am I saying ad revenue is a bad thing, but sites that rely solely on marketing other people's products are designed to promote money over people. In other words, sites like these may be marketing to you, but they aren't here for you. Whether or not you benefit doesn't affect them or their income.

Businesses like this target people that are "looking to end the paycheck to paycheck cycle." People who are desperate and frustrated and just looking for a way to get ahead. Unlike get-rich-quick schemes, they aren't looking to con grandma out of her retirement with a "startup investment." They're looking for business-minded people who want to work harder for their families and who already have a regular source of income. To summarize how they do this, they build a business model on exactly what they're doing. It's advertising a business program that will show you how to make money advertising. Marketing for Marketers—an endless circle with compounding problems in which the only type of business model that ever seems to be making money are the ones promoting other start-up business models. That's why they never seem to mention what it is you'll actually be selling. That is, unless they're trying to teach you niche marketing, which is probably even harder to succeed in. Niche marketing is about advertising and/or drop shipping for very specific, odd things. The biggest problem with this is you have to know people who want this very specific thing or else you're marketing the wrong product to the wrong crowd. Usually, they have a few business models or ideas to choose from because chances are, you didn't come to these sites with a marketing idea in mind.

In order to be successful in a lot of these niche areas, you need a well-established platform. Without a decently sized audience, you'll find it pretty hard to get your new business off the ground. The "easiest" way to do this is to start a blog. To do so, you'll need to subscribe to a blog site and receive your own customizable page. The customization is completely up to you and while some sites offer a few templates in helping you get started, they don't really help you stand out. It is possible to commission someone to help you design and customize your page, but unless you've got some original content, nice layouts won't help increase your traffic. This is just one of the many stepping stones and hoops business programs like these will put you through during your training courses. Any misstep can keep you from progressing and bring your progress to a halt.

It is possible to make money following some of the more legitimate online business programs. It's just very difficult. They market these ideas as a new way for you to bring in some passive income. The problem is, unless you've got some decent savings and a lot of spare time on your hands, chances are you won't succeed. Besides, these businesses aren't really passive until they really start to pick up speed and the timelines these people market to you are pretty unrealistic. They claim that in just a few months you'll be earning some major cash, but the training courses run for half that time and unless you have all of the building blocks or previous experience, it will take you much longer to complete these courses. The entire time, you pay for this training on a monthly basis. The longer it takes, the more you spend. The biggest way to recognize a good business program or side job is that they are honest and straightforward. They aren't looking to hide anything or leave out the details. If it looks like real work, then it's probably a safer bet.

In the end, these programs work because they know a very large portion of subscribers will fail at some point. Some only get as far as the first few steps of signing up for a program to discover it's a lot more complicated than they originally thought. Those who aren't deterred by this will continue to progress and pay for each step along the way until they eventually fail to succeed at a step or no longer have the funds to continue. The more money someone has sunk into these traps, the more likely they are to continue shelling out even more to keep progressing until they, too, succumb. Or until somehow they succeed at making a moderate amount of income from this and earn back their money. The most successful business model is for advertising your own successful business model. Because so few people are likely to ever succeed at making a real profit from this, however, it poses very little risk of over saturating their market. The biggest obvious flaw is that it's intentionally marketed as income, not entrepreneurship. People don't sign up with these sites with an original business idea in mind; they sign up because they were told this was a way to make more money.

These programs are, in essence, like an an Ouroboros. They teach people to make money by advertising to teach other people. They are essentially a more complex version of the simplistic Facebook scammers claiming you can earn thousands in a week if you ask for more info. The entire time, more and more people give these originators more and more ad revenue, kind of like what I'm doing now. Vocal pays its writers by viewership; the longer you read this article the more it's worth. But unlike the scammers I'm calling out here, I'm not asking for anything but your attention. And maybe this will save you some time and money in the end.

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