Today I am going to cover a topic that is sure to have impacted on all of us at some point during our efforts to build a better business and become a successful entrepreneur… fear. I'm going to concentrate on a couple of fears in particular that I myself have faced (and continue to face) throughout my past and my aim is to help you determine whether either of these is impacting on your life and some suggestions for how to overcome them.
So let's get started…
What if it's a scam?
There are so many people offering training products online and offline these days that promise to teach you the techniques or dare I say it, secrets to building an online business or simply getting rich online, that it can be easy to get sucked in by the latest promise of instant riches or no-work-required success.
Without a doubt there are going to be people out there selling access to training and products that are either out of date, are a rehash of some other product they bought once upon a time or simply do not provide anything like the results they are touting.
Of course there are also people out there offering tested and proven products as well, many of which will absolutely deliver the tools you will require to be successful, assuming you do the work of course.
So how can you tell these products apart and make the right decision when it comes to investing in your future?
Well, here are some ideas that I've had based on my experience:
- Anything that promises push-button riches or success: Can you think of anything that you've truly been successful at that hasn't come after a ton of hard work or training? You didn't learn to walk or ride a bike in a day, reading or writing usually takes months if not years, so why is it that when it comes to making money online or building an internet business do we think we can magically generate money out of thin air?
- The latest ‘make money online' fad: I suspect that the latest ‘greatest way to make money online ever' offers are usually for techniques that have successfully generated income in the past but are now quite possibly coming to the end of their usefulness. Alternatively they may still be effective, but not to the same extent as when they were first ‘discovered' by the seller, as by now it's probably been shared with many other people and or the marketplace has grown wary of it.
- Secret techniques that some mystery person has created: I can understand the concept of wanting to retain some form of anonymity on the internet when it comes to making money or building a business, however the idea of some shadowy figure stumbling upon or creating a secret technique that no else knows about seems a little hard to swallow.
- Any kind of loophole or hack: Now it is entirely possible and likely that techniques will exist that take advantage of the likes of Google or other software platforms, however the problem here is that these platforms are always evolving and responding to these types of things, so why build your business off the back of something that could very well disappear tomorrow?
None of these types of things are likely to provide you with the kinds of tools, support and ongoing education that you are going to need to build a sustainable, successful business that you can be proud of.
Now don't get me wrong there is the possibility that someone is using these types of marketing techniques to offer a solid, valuable training program and this is an indictment of the state of ‘internet marketing' as we know it.
It's likely they are doing this as they feel they need to compete head to head with all of the other noise out there if they are to be noticed but in my opinion they are likely to be better off adopting a different strategy, one that makes them stand out for the right reasons.
How to separate the good from the bad…
So, in a world where there are hundreds of products out there, some good, many bad, how can you go about determining whether or not the one you are currently looking at is worth your time or investment?
Here are some things you can try:
- Know thy seller: Find out as much as you can about the person (or people) offering the product as you can, if they're not willing to put their name on it and let you know who they are and where they've come from then that's a red flag for me. See if you can get in touch with them or what comes up via a trusty Google search (although sometimes this has to be taken with a grain of salt). Find other products that they are offering or have offered before and see what people had to say about it and them.
- Turn on your bull***t meter: Many of the most successful marketing and business techniques in the world have existed for decades and when you learn them you will realise that they aren't that complicated. So anything that sounds like science fiction or seems overly complicated may very well be a complete waste of your time, unless it is dealing with a very specific market or specialized system (but then do you really want to try and figure out something like that in the first place?)
- Consider time in the industry: Tons of people jump into a marketplace in order to capitalize on the latest fad and to make a quick buck, if you can't find any kind of history for Mister X or Mrs Y who's offering the next big thing this should make you pause. Either they've thrown something together to get your money out of your pocket or they're not who they say they are. Of course the caveat are those who are starting out with a new product, but in this case they should feel comfortable telling you this, instead of trying to convince you otherwise.
- Talk to existing customers: If you're considering buying a product that has testimonials then reach out to the people who gave them, the world is much smaller these days so finding contact details for people is not as hard as it once was. Even without testimonials it's highly likely that you can find people who have worked with or dealt with the seller before, just be sure to take the good with the bad and make your own decision based on what you find.
- Don't believe the hype: Anything that promises to make you rich with very little effort on your own part is unlikely to provide you with any long term success. You may be successful in the short term, but how is short term success going to help you build a long term, valuable and profitable business if you're constantly moving from one thing to the next, chasing the no-work dream?
Take your time to follow these tips and I'm sure you will find yourself taking a step back whenever you encounter a product that you think may be helpful for you to build your business with.
But what about the other fear I talked about? Let's get onto that…
What if it's not a scam?
Now this fear may be a little harder to reconcile.
Generally I'd say that you may not encounter this until some time into your experience of trying to find the right business for you and in many cases it can actually be a turning point with regards to whether you'll be successful creating your ideal business.
So what am I talking about?
Let's imagine for a moment that you've tried a lot of things but never had any success, you've grown wary of the next big thing and all the alternatives out there that make promises about how they can help you be successful.
Now you've found something else and you've looked at it a little differently, maybe by following some of my tips above and it all seems to be above board, yet you're still not ready to take the plunge.
At this point, it's entirely possible that you're wondering whether or not the problem isn't with the products or training, but with you.
And if you're anything like me, this is likely to scare you even more than the chances of the new product/training being a scam.
I mean, it's easy to right of past failures with the notion that the training or product was at fault and you did your best. But what if that's not true? What if every single other product you have ever purchased or invested in was above board and could deliver what it promised (not that this is likely to be 100% true)?
What if you had stuck it out, done more or spent a little more time following instructions?
If you ask me, just thinking about this possibility makes me a little bit sick to the stomach.
The idea that if I'd just kept concentrating on one thing or worked that little bit harder on following a system I started using 6, 9 or 12 months ago I could be in a completely difference place now… it's not a good feeling at all.
And truth be told, it's a bitter pill to swallow.
But here's the good news…
Like I said, for me this is the worst feeling and is far scarier than the idea that I'm about to invest in something that is utter tripe (after all it's easy to write that off as just another scam).
On the positive side, I think this willingness to examine oneself and ask this challenging question means you have recognised that you are arguably the single biggest factor when it comes to your success.
Additionally it can signal that you have moved out of an opportunity seeker mindset into one of someone who is truly looking to build a sustainable, long term business. After all if it's no longer just about the money, or the next big opportunity to get rich quick, then you have realised that there is going to be work involved and you're the one who has to do it.
What can you do to ensure it's not you causing the issues in the future?
Here's what I think:
- Don't try, do: If you find a system or training product that you are interested in and are convinced is the right choice, don't ‘try' to make it work for you or ‘give it a shot', commit to doing it. Commit to learning and following the training, make a plan for how you are going to tackle and implement what you learn and commit to yourself that you are not going to give up. Better still, make a commitment to someone else, it's always harder to let someone else down.
- Get out of your comfort zone: It's very easy to start learning something new and discover that it makes you uncomfortable or you don't feel like doing an aspect of what you are being taught. Do not shy away from this and ‘just do the other stuff', if you could be successful just doing the stuff you want and avoiding the stuff you don't like then don't you think this would have happened already? This is hard and you will struggle with this (I certainly do) but it'll be worth it.
- Don't think too long term: Yes you need to set goals, but thinking to far ahead can make it hard to recognise your short term progress and if you don't think you're making progress it's easier to give up. Look at smaller periods of time or tasks and celebrate achieving those things, they will add up over time and you will marvel at how far you've gone when you finally look back. Take one step at a time and soon enough you'll realise you've taken 100 and then 1000.
- Ask for help: One of the reasons you invest in training and proven systems in the first place is to gain from the experience that others around you have gathered. Why make the same mistakes that they did when they can show you how to avoid them, after all isn't this one of the greatest benefits of making the investment in the first place? Take part in the community of fellow members or students, ask questions (and answer others if you can), you'll be surprised how many other people are probably thinking the same thing.
- Be yourself: If you stand any chance of creating a business that you can be proud of and enjoy working in on a daily basis, then it's got to be based on your principles and your desires, not anyone else's. Not only will you feel better about what it is you do each day, your customers will know it too, it is practically impossible to convince someone that you are something that you are not (I say practically as I'm sure people do manage it, but not without side affects), so why try and attract people to anything but your true self?
So there you go, some helpful ideas for looking at yourself and overcoming the fear that you are the one holding you back.
Of course there are plenty of other resources out there that get into personal development and overcoming fears etc and I am no expert when it comes to the psychology of it all, all I can do is share my experience with you and hope it helps.
Both of the fears that I have outlined above can be massive blockers when it comes to evaluating and choosing the right training program or business system to invest, however I hope that my tips and advice will help you to make the right decision and move forward with your dreams of being a successful entrepreneur.
Regardless of which camp you are in, the key is to ensure that you don't let either of them stop you from continuing to invest in yourself and developing your skills in the future.
It's vital to continue to learn and develop if you stand any chance of being successful. The world is an ever changing place and you need to keep pace with it if you are going to build a business for the long run, many people and large companies haven't and have fallen by the wayside, don't let this be you.