3 (Mostly) Scams To Avoid When Making Money Online

3 (Mostly) Scams To Avoid When Making Money Online

Making money online is the new American dream that can come with amazing benefits such as freedom, flexibility, high income and much more. It’s an opportunity that is completely unique to the 21st century and everyone is trying to get a piece of the pie. Despite the fact that making money online is a legitimate practice (I’ve done it for years), many people getting into this industry are taken for thousands of dollars. This comes from a combination of a lack of experience by the person looking to make money online and purchasing snake oil from more experienced marketers.

Here are three scams to avoid when embarking on the online money train.

Business Gurus, Courses & Multi Level Marketing

Business opportunities or in the internet marketing world, “Biz Opps” – are products that more experienced marketers sell to less experienced marketers. These are usually the bullshit products you see being sold by some guy in a polo shirt who shows you pictures of him on the beach with his laptop. These are often courses or books that cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. It’s based on the old concept of getting rich by selling shovels to gold miners instead of actually mining the gold. That’s what many of these marketers do. Instead of making money by doing what they preach (because it’s harder), they make money by telling you how to do it. Doesn’t that seem a bit insincere?

Many of these courses end up being multi-level marketing courses such as M.O.B.E (My online business empire) or Empower Network. You end up paying thousands of dollars to get into the program to then sell their products. However, the real money is made by recruiting people into the program (multi-level-marketing) rather than actually selling products. Many of these expensive courses the polo-shirt-gurus sell you are usually not very helpful to new people joining the industry and come with false promises. I.E “You can make thousands of dollars a month working 2 hours a day within 1 week of ordering this course!” Bullshit. It takes years to cultivate that level of skill. Avoid these offers and courses like the plague. 

When I got started in internet marketing I learned everything I needed to through trial and error and with free information on websites and forums. Now some marketers may get a commission for referring you to products, that itself isn’t a scam. If a marketing website tells you that you need to sign up for a hosting service to start a website (true) and they refer you to a hosting company and get a commission (known as affiliate marketing)- that is a legitimate business and will not negatively affect you.

However, you should avoid courses that cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars if you are just starting out in internet marketing. Most of them WILL NOT help you. Now if you have spent a year learning from free information online and you’ve reached an intermediate skill-level then perhaps some courses in certain areas can help.

Get Your Own Online Store Infomercials

Once again another business opportunity scam except this doesn’t even come with “guru coaching”. I’ve even had to talk me dad out of this before. He was watching one of those infomercials in the evening that says you can get your own website and store (with their companies products). All he had to do was buy the “business in a box” and the website would be automatically ready to go! Just set it and forget it like the Ronco Grill. All he had to do was wait and money would start rolling in from people buying the products. The funny part is the products were tons of absolute garbage. Porcelain cats. Crystal dolphin statues. I mean, come on.

Coming from me (someone who’s worked almost a decade in the industry) this DOES NOT WORK. You do not just buy a website and have cash come rolling in. In order to get sales on your website, you need traffic. In order to get traffic, you have to promote the website (aka doing something). You promote a website by using advertising, social media and search engines such as Google. None of this promotion happens automatically or for free. Your “business in a box” in which no work is required will NEVER be seen by ANYONE. The only way you would get any sales of your crystal dolphins and porcelain cats is by putting in hundreds of hours promoting your website which would also require years of experience in internet advertising.

Coupon Sites, Craigslist & Other Unmentionables

A lot of people try to make a quick buck through coupon sites, Craigslist, and other traps. Coupon sites are not worth it. I repeat they are not worth it. Most of these websites require that you fill out surveys, apply for different offers such as subscriptions and credit cards in order to make a few bucks. Within a month of doing this, you may make $50 if you’re lucky while simultaneously wasting a ton of time. On the other hand, within about 2 weeks your mail is going to be spammed to high-hell. You will spend the next 3 years of your life sorting through endless amounts of junk mail and other garbage.

Craigslist is full of “work at home” scams. These are often related to making money online but sometimes refer to a specific job. You might find a posting for a typist, transcriber, writer or marketing job. These are often filled with the same crap headlines such as make x thousands of dollars from home in your pajamas. Make $120 an hour while drinking an espresso at your local coffee shop. Once again, most of these are all bullshiddo. Many of them are there to harvest information from you.

Let’s say you apply for the medical typist job. This job may be completely fake, but since you sent your resume they now have your personal information. This information is then later sold to a marketing company which then sells it again to smaller companies so they can spam you with phone calls and junk mail. In addition to that, many of these companies require you “buy in”. Any job that requires you to “buy in” is most likely a scam unless you are starting your own McDonalds branch.

If the job does not have a salary, contact number or verifiable information and it talks about a work-at-home-job it’s a scam.

If you want to start an internet business, start it with the idea that it’s a business. One that you own. Businesses take work. Anyone who promises otherwise is full of it, generally speaking. 

P.S. It took me one hour to write this article. You know, work.

Trevor J. Freeman
Written by
Trevor Freeman is an internet marketer and philosophy buff. His dog is also probably cuter than yours ;)

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