If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, you probably see a lot of ads for get rich quick schemes that promise massive wealth in a short period of time.
Here’s the thing. These ads probably convert!
After all, it’s human nature. Whenever you want to learn a new skill or achieve an important goal in your life, your first instinct is to look for the easiest way out and the quickest way to get there.
Unfortunately, this mentality is embedded in our DNA and I’m not immune to it either. Sometimes I still find myself looking for the “get rich quick” solution even though I’m fully aware that change requires hard work and dedication.
For example when I was trying to get six pack abs, I spent a lot of time researching magical “muscle shakes” and “secret exercises” designed to burn fat (Anyone here ever take chromium picolinate:))?
When I first launched this blog, I thought that I could leverage social media, sign up for a few ad networks, slap some ads in the sidebar and instantly make passive income.
With our store, I thought that paying for a “directory submission service” would instantly bring traffic to our website.
But guess what? All of these strategies were a waste of time.
After spending so much time and energy trying to find the easy way out, I’d always come back to the same conclusion. The path to success requires consistent work and dedication over a long period of time.
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Get Rich Quick Schemes – A Video Overview
A Personal Story
Most of you are aware that I teach a class on how to start an online store.
And one of the perks of being a student in my class is that I will personally critique your website when it goes live.
Anyway, the other day I was browsing the course forums when I saw a message that caught my eye. One of the newer students wanted to know the “success rate” for students in the class and how long it took to get there.
And this question was immediately followed by a comment from another student who noticed that one of the sites that I had critiqued in the past was no longer open. (They shut it down to pursue a different product niche)
Here was my response…
Unfortunately it’s a fact of life that not everyone is going to be successful. For a while I debated whether to take certain site critiques down but I ultimately decided to leave them up because there are lessons to be learned from watching them.
I don’t want to sugar coat things for you. Your chances of success or failure largely depend on you and your first product may not be a winner. I will be there to answer your questions and help guide you along but there are no guarantees:)
Here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter how long it takes “other people” to succeed.
You are your own person and you are in control of your own destiny. There is no magical formula for success. I can only show you the process and the right way to do things but I can’t act on your behalf.
Wanting to know “how long it takes other people” is completely natural, but it implies that success is based on a blueprint when in fact there are many other variables at stake.
The biggest variable is how much time and dedication you are willing to devote to your business. Another variable is how willing you are to pivot your business based on the data you collect.
How willing are you to learn and execute what I’m teaching you?
Getting Past Get Rich Quick
I’ve been running my online course since March of 2011 and I still get asked the same old “get rich quick” type of questions on a regular basis…
So Steve, how long do you think it would take for the average person to make $50,000.
How soon will the money start rolling in after I launch my shop?
How many hours am I going to have spend working on this? Can I do it in just 4 hours a week?
Some of these people eventually sign up for my class and then get frustrated when they find out that gosh darn….it actually takes work to make money.
What’s this??? I have to learn a skill that is completely new to me? Imagine that!
But here’s the thing.
The students that stick it out and persevere through all of the material and hard work eventually discover that the the skills they have gained go way beyond just ecommerce businesses. They can use them to start any type of business!
For example, a student in my course, Kym Campbell, took the skills she learned from the class to start a digital products business that now makes over 400K per year.
You can listen to her story below…
The students who make it past the “get rich quick” stage often take on a completely different mindset.
- They start thinking longer term about creating businesses that are built to last.
- They start believing in their own abilities as opposed to following a bogus recipe.
- They start realizing that it’s ok to experiment, fail and learn from the process.
Here’s an example of another student who got past the get rich quick phase.
We have failed at three prior attempts to open and operate an online business. In hindsight, the short and simple reason for this is that we didn’t have enough guidance from competent sources. We have operated a very successful “brick and mortar” business for ten years, but the transition to a successful online business was elusive…until we found this site.
I started planning our online business almost two years ago, when I started looking for guidance. My priority? I wanted to get the guidance from someone who was already operating a successful business, and was honest and ethical.
I got my money’s worth on the first day I logged on to this site, almost a year ago.
The most important advice that I could give to anyone starting out is to go through this entire course and keep a dictionary handy for any terms that are not understood. Everything you need to succeed is here in this course.
If you skip videos or cruise past things you don’t understand, you are selling yourself short, and you are setting yourself up to not succeed. There is a LOT to get through on this course, and a lot of it is not easy to understand.
Steve is right; some students will succeed and some will fail. There are no guarantees that someone else can give you. The only guarantee that makes sense is the one you give yourself. If you persist, you will succeed.
Here’s What The Transformation Feels Like
At the time of this writing, there are over 3300 students who have taken my course. This may sound like a lot of people but 3300 students over the course of 8 years is actually not a large number and I purposely limit enrollment.
My class is not (and never will be) a volume course. Instead, I provide a hands on experience with lots of teacher/student interaction. Less students means that I can do full site critiques like this one.
It also allows me to provide personalized recommendations for your business based on your exact challenges.
For example, the strategy for launching a successful clothing business is far different than launching a product that you personally invented yourself.
Here’s a small sampling of students who successfully got past the get rich quick phase.
Trying To Get Rick Quick Will Only Waste Your Time
The sooner you realize that success depends on your own internal drive and persistence, the sooner you will start making forward progress.
I have wasted many hours of my time on get rich quick schemes in the past and they have never ever worked out. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
So quit looking for “external” ways to get things done and starting looking “internally” at yourself. You should be asking yourself…
- What can I learn to help me create value with a business?
- What skills do I need to take me to the next level?
- How can I avoid stupid mistakes that may hinder my progress?
How To Spot A Get Rich Quick Scheme
The easiest way to spot a get rich quick scheme is to ask yourself the following questions.
- Is the business model sustainable?
- Does it provide any real value?
- Are there any real barriers to entry?
If the answer is no to any or all of the questions above, chances are that it’s a get rich quick scheme.
Here are a number of get rich quick schemes that I’ve come across over the years.
Dropshipping From Amazon To Ebay
When I first saw ads in my Facebook feed promising quick ecommerce riches without any upfront investment, without a website and without carrying inventory, I immediately became suspicious.
This particular business model involves copying the images and listings of as many Amazon products as possible and listing them on Ebay at higher prices.
Then when a customer makes a purchase on Ebay, you simply purchase the product on Amazon, have it delivered to your Ebay customer and pocket the difference in price.
Sounds like easy money right? Now let’s take the get rich quick test.
Is this business model sustainable and does it provide any value?
The Ebay dropshipping model adds zero value to the end customer (except higher prices) and it’s definitely not sustainable. In fact, Ebay banned this practice within a year after it became popular.
Editor’s Note: For more information, read my post on Ebay Dropshipping From Amazon Is Dead
Are there any real barriers to entry?
Nope. Anyone can do this without any money which means that the marketplace will instantly become flooded with competitors.
Dropshipping From AliExpress To Amazon/Ebay
Dropshipping from AliExpress is just like dropshipping on Ebay except AliExpress is the delivery mechanism.
AliExpress is known as the Ebay of China and you can purchase an item at super low prices to be delivered anywhere in the world. Most items from AliExpress are shipped from China.
The main reason that this business model took off is because of a little known shipping loophole called ePacket. ePacket allows a package from China to be shipped to the US at surprisingly cheap prices.
As a result, you can ship an order from China to a US customer for cheaper than shipping the order from within the US.
However, because the US is pulling out of the UPU, ePacket shipping is going away thus killing this business model altogether.
AliExpress dropshipping was doomed from the start because it relied on a “loophole” for success. In addition, there was little or no quality control on products and the shipping times were excessive.
Editor’s Note: For more information, read my post on AliExpress Dropshipping Is Dead. Here’s Why
In case you haven’t noticed, most of the ecommerce get rich schemes involve some form of dropshipping which is why you have to be extra careful.
But don’t get me wrong. There are many ways to run a successful dropshipping business, but they all require work:)
What is dropsurfing?
Dropsurfing is a form of dropshipping where you find a hot, trending product and a group of suppliers who sell the exact same item.
Then, when a customer places an order, you find the lowest price for the item from your list of suppliers and have it shipped to your customer.
After analyzing a number of dropsurfing businesses, here’s what I noticed.
- The item being sold is almost always a cheap, generic piece of junk sold by a number of Chinese manufacturers
- There is little or no quality control for the product being sold so there are tons of customer complaints
- Because the item is hot, there are many people selling the exact same product thus flooding the market
Dropsurfing is essentially a marketing term that glamourizes the dropshipping of junk.
Not only is this business model unsustainable because you’re constantly on the hunt for new “hot” products, but the money is short lived because sellers are quick to flood the market.
SEO Or Social Media Services That Promise Fast Traffic And High Rankings
From teaching my ecommerce course, I’ve encountered many SEO and traffic related services that promise quick sales overnight. I’ve seen services that promise to blow up your social media accounts by purchasing active followers.
None of these services are legit.
When it comes to SEO, the only way to rank is to write a quality article that people actually want to read. Any services that promise to increase your rankings by spamming backlinks to your site will do more harm than good.
The same goes with buying social media followers. Just don’t do it!
Make Decisions Based On Logic, Not Emotion
If you find yourself deciding whether or not to sign up for a potential get rich quick scheme, make sure you sleep on it and ask a friend for their opinion.
After all, it’s important to make your decision without getting caught up in the emotion of future riches.
To end this post, I want to share a quote from a student in my course that sums everything up nicely.
I think it is a little funny, that some people actually believe someone else can guarantee them success. They want some “magical turnkey formula”.
And you know what? A lot of scam artist out there know this is exactly what many people are looking for. So they promise to give it to them, for a fee of course.
People can end up paying hundreds and thousands of dollars, chasing the “formula”. The formula where everything is set up for you, and you don’t have to do any work. I know, because I used to think it existed.
At some point, I don’t remember exactly when, but at some point, I finally realized those kinds of people were playing on my emotions.
They were saying things like, “all you have to do is PLUG into the system”. A lot of language like that was being thrown around all over the internet. Many scammers are still making false promises they knew are lies.
Some of these people are making tens of millions of dollars, selling bogus internet marketing courses. I once paid $500 for such a course. Looking back, and thinking about what I know now about internet marketing now, I know that it was a total scam.
But they were making all kinds of guarantees and promising me the moon, with statements like, make $10,000 a month with just 10 minuets of work per day”. This implies that you don’t really have to do any work. It will be almost effortless!
Even large corporations push myths like that on people. Like for example trying to make them believe that if they buy a franchise, they are guaranteed to succeed with a “turnkey system”.
I am here to tell you it is all a bunch of BS. It is not the system that makes you succeed, it is YOU. A system can only facilitate your success, but only if you have to QUALITIES that it takes to be successful. Success is more a state of mind.
It is really very simple. What many are failing to see, is that successful business owners are smart people, who actually apply themselves, ON A CONSISTENT BASIS. They have the right attitude and work ethic.
They figure out what they need to learn for the business, and they do the work to learn it. They have a certain mindset that many people just don’t have. I think you have to be willing to consistently do the hard and/or boring work, that most people are just not willing to do.
That is what sets successful people apart from those who fail. Many people who have always worked for someone else, don’t really take these things into consideration when they are thinking about owning their own business.
What if you pick the wrong niche and you fail? Many people would just give up, and say that’s it, I can’t do it. With that attitude, they will never be able to own a business. My belief, is that you have to fail to succeed.
When we fail, we can look back and then analyze what we did wrong. We can learn from the mistakes and apply that knowledge in our future endeavors. Sooner or later, we will stop making so many mistakes, because we learned what not to do.
So experience is a major factor. The way I see it is, the smarter you are, the less experience you need. If you are less smart, you can still succeed, but you need to fail more, in order to learn what not to do.
Can You Get Rich Quick?
The answer is definitely yes but you’ll find that most successful entrepreneurs who achieved fast success paid their dues with a prior flop.
To expect to achieve quick results as a total newbie is possible but highly unlikely.
Everyone has to pay their dues somehow and the best way to learn is to hire a mentor who you trust to navigate you through the process. Good luck!
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Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com.
His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and MSNBC.
He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.
In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts.
To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.
Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses.