Monday, May 20th, 2019

Slow & Steady vs Hype, Crash & Burn

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HOPE is perhaps the single most lucrative thing to sell.

There are so many people in need of direction, while so few actually want to do the work required to achieve the end goal. Thus many scammers sell the end result up front while glossing over the hard work required to get there.

I was over at a friend’s house in the bathroom and saw a copy of “Your Infinite Power to be Rich” sitting on the floor & flipped open to a random page…page 102

THE UNIVERSAL BANK

A salesman needed an automobile for his new job, but he had no money with which to purchase one. However, he knew how to draw a check on his mental bank.

He told me that after he got the job, he went back to his room and formed the mental image of the car he wanted, with the positive certainty that it would be given him.

He struck up an acquaintance with another man in his apartment house who was going to Europe for six months and who said to him, “use my car until I return, and by that time you will be able to buy a car of your own.”

If you ever read crap like the above please make sure to burn it, as it is useless.

Anything that requires you to close your eyes while listening to a marketer should make you assume they are preparing to work on another one of your orifices.

Many people who become rich are still unsatisfied by material possessions. And they often let the important things around them fall apart because they are too singularly focused.

Irrational Tweet From a Rich Man

A couple years ago a somewhat well known VC wanted to invest in us, but we had a bad gut feeling right from the get go.

Fast forward to December of 2009 and the guy who did that was Tweeting about a hate site he made for his wife, who he is now going through the divorce process with. Not once, but something crazy like a half dozen times. And in between these Tweets he is Tweeting…

  • asking if anyone knows a bulldog divorce lawyer
  • about his new self published book which contains the word Peace in its title
  • how he needs some new executives for some projects

Who is the desired audience there? I mean after a person knows you will put up a hate site for your own wife, that you would be the type to sick bulldog lawyers on them, and that while you are doing so you are talking about Peace and are trying to recruit business partners ***in the same channel***

Crazy irrational.

But that is what happens when people are emotionally charged and lack balance.

Greed is justified by more greed and nothing else matters.

But what is the end goal?

You can’t take money to your grave*

*Even the king of pop’s gold plated casket only cost $25,000.

The Caustic Effects of Get Rich Quick Marketers

Ryan Healy recently pulled back the curtains on many internet marketing gurus, the lawsuits amongst them, and the general damage they inflict onto the market. Fake retirements used to cloak legal restraining orders against certain business practices, not paying affiliates, credit cards shutting down payment processors, etc etc etc.

The people who sell the image of the perfect lifestyle to suckers are the exact same people doing business deals with “partners” in the court room and going through divorce…something so scary sounding that I couldn’t imagine it.

If you are already drowning in cash, but can’t be honest with yourself and your loved ones, then why the need for a few more Dollars? What will they buy? Some hookers and a few STDs?

The Big Banks Are Just as Bad

This sort of crap happens at all levels though. It is so ingrained that many people just assume that if you make a lot of money you must be criminal or doing something morally reprehensible.

And from an affiliate perspective, when you look at the market segments that pay the most it is often the seediest ones (or the ones that are propped up by systemic fraud). A few years ago the mortgage market would pay a lot for leads because that is where the systemic fraud was.

Exhibit A:
2004, CNN.com – FBI warns of mortgage fraud ‘epidemic’

Exhibit B:

Imagine if you had key market insights and could trade on unreleased government information. A guaranteed source of easy profit exploited by some (especially when those people in government used to work for your company). And yet it is not enough. They need to steal more. There is a sickness in society that stems from our broken model of capitalism & materialism…where the central bankers flat out lie/cheat/steal to make even more money.

A nice take on it:

Despite the housing bust and financial crisis, very many of the people whose poor choices generated the housing bubble would make the same choices over again if circumstances repeat. Many industry participants, even those whose firms eventually went bust, were very well remunerated for their poor practices and, whatever their regrets, they kept the money. No one wants to create a catastrophe. But financial professionals want to remain free to make money in the ways that they know, and those are not good ways.

In July of 2007 former Citi CEO Charles Prince said, “As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.”

And now that those people crashed the economy, the opportunity is to sell get rich quick at home doing nothing in your underwear overnight guaranteed. And there is money to be made in helping you fix your credit (since the above mentioned criminal elite class got a free pass while stealing your money and devaluing your savings while robbing the country blind).

Time vs Character

In an environment where such bubbles are core to the economy there is a lot of uncertainty. What is the best strategy? Who should I trust?

One of the best strategies I have found is simply time. Give a shady person enough time and they will reveal their character (divorcing their wife over money, etc). Granted I haven’t always been perfect (and especially not when I was in the military), but you can’t find many (any?) blog posts about me ripping someone off. Likewise with the people I look up to. Where is it shown that Seth Godin or Eric Janszen or Danny Sullivan took someone for a ride? Nowhere. In spite of a a decade+ of experience.

Every day there is an opportunity to max short term revenues or long term staying power. Each choice and each interaction is somewhere on a continuum. Focus too much on short term revenues and a lot of the things that set you apart disappear.

One of the things Google does with their relevancy algorithms is to trust older and more established websites. You can fake a lot of things, but it is a bit harder (or more expensive) to fake age. And age is what sets apart a lot of the legitimate businesses from the above listed “entrepreneurs” who only need time to reveal their character.

Business vs Base Jumping?

Starting a business is a lot like more like base jumping than it is just following a hope map. Most the stuff you do won’t work, but you only need to stay in one piece until you safely reach the ground. Sure you must have hope to get through the bad patches, but you also are forced to constantly improve to keep up with the market. Which is why a site called SEOBook.com sells an SEO training program (rather than an ebook) in 2010. ;)

Here is one of the secrets in plain sight that the opportunistic types rarely show you.

That was the growth of search volume last year. STILL over 20%!

Years ago my mentor told me that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.

In the longrun thin won’t win, but (so long as you care) you can start off bad on low volume and get somewhere pretty quick when your field is growing at a 20%+ rate. And if you are new to the field you should be able to grow faster than the market because many business inputs have multiplier effects. You increase your growth geometrically as you

  • learn to optimize your traffic flow
  • increase your knowledge
  • increase the value of your knowledge
  • refine your strategy
  • refine your product or service
  • improve your conversion rates

Slow and steady isn’t sexy. And it doesn’t sell well.

But it works. :)

A further benefit to slow incremental growth is that as you grow your tribe and focus on their needs your customers become salesmen…helping attract more people just like them. And these are people who are pre-sold on what you have to offer, and why it is valuable. To a jaded audience testimonials from friends are far more valuable than sales copy. And almost everyone gets screwed into buying junk at least once before they find you.

Sales copy will likely push the quick returns no matter what (because that is what people want), but pay special attention to if someone is trying to use an aura of mystique on a brand new discovery as a angle, while having little history. If they don’t have much history the odds of buying a bag of smoke are much greater.

And if the recommendation comes with a big loud launch sequence then the chance of it being crap are even greater. And even if it starts out pure, the aim to “optimize” revenues at any cost often causes many partnerships to dissolve. Starting off slow and steady keeps things balanced and prepares you for growth.

Why Heavily Hyped Launches Are Often a Bad Idea

Wealth that comes quickly and easily often disappears the same way. Everyone has their hands in the cookie jar of success until the cookies are all gone.

When you are new to a market there are so many things to learn, refine and improve. Typically customers driven by hype are the most demanding (because an affiliate often oversells the product to get the commission) and the least qualified to succeed (since they want to rule the world in a day). The customers sold on a whole lot of hype and a whole lot of hope are basically set up to fail, trying to go too far too fast. They tend to buy on impulse, lack follow through, have a far higher rate of churn, a far higher rate of refund requests, and a far higher rate of chargebacks.

Further, every piece of a business can be optimized – from choosing who you want your customer to be, to who you don’t want it to be, to what types of interactions to build, to what prices to charge, to balancing time spent on servicing customers vs growth, etc etc etc … right on through to managing your personal load and fixing programming bugs (when we first launched our membership site the programmer made it such that if a person canceled they couldn’t rejoin (even if the cancelation was due to an expired or stolen credit card))! But if you keep accepting feedback and incrementally improving you prepare yourself for heavy load by the time you build it.

Whereas a pull the cord and hope this works approach with lots of hype will almost always lead to disappointment and frustration. You probably want to test the equipment before jumping off the mountain :D

Even if the claims about non-payment in this lawsuit are NOT correct, it doesn’t make a business look professional if they have publicly accessible lawsuits claiming that the fulfillment partner of choice is incompetent.

Long after the launches details leak out and experiences are shared. And that is what builds your reputation…good or bad. The slow and steady growth model offers time to fix errors and refine strategy. The launch and hope model doesn’t.

Related posts:

  1. SEO Remains Steady While PPC, Email and Direct Increase

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