Step Behind the Curtain
I will show you a foolproof way to earn fast money from the comfort of your own home. Start with $0 in your pocket, no experience needed and you can even learn while you earn!
Does that sound familiar? I bet you have seen all of the articles and videos that make this promise or better. Who doesn’t want to make $100 a day (or more!) without leaving the house?
The Hard Truth
Making $100 a day or even $1000 a day is definitely possible, but there is some serious fine print at the end of that claim. Don’t slam the eject button and run away after reading that last bit. I promise you will know exactly how to earn real money online by the time you finish reading this page. I’ll start by breaking down the inner workings of all these techniques and separate the fact from the fiction. This article won’t just be about debunking claims and negativity, because you can earn some real money if you understand how things really work.)
They Will Hate Me for This
Just like a rogue magician revealing the secrets of famous magic acts in Vegas, I’m going to take a lot of heat for sharing this knowledge with you. How do most of these videos that promise fast cash start out? The host will be showing you emails about payouts, fast cars, stacks of money or some other bit of eye candy, right? This is a textbook marketing tactic called Social Proof. I know you must have wondered why almost every one of those videos starts exactly the same way.
The term Social Proof comes from Dr. Robert Cialdini and his book, Influence, which was published back in 1984. It is basically a tactic for building influence and gaining the trust of others. That is a vast oversimplification, but here is a simple example.
Someone shows you a garage full of expensive cars and gives you a tour of their beautiful house. They even have a temperature controlled saltwater swimming pool! After the tour, they explain how they started off living in an apartment the size of a broom closet and had a dead end job. They continue to tell you that everything changed as soon as they learned about leveraging groundwater and mineral rights to swamp land in Florida. At first, you are a little confused, because you have no idea what leveraging groundwater and mineral rights even means, but look at this house and look at those cars, don’t forget the pool! This person must be know something you don’t, right? So, you listen to them and try to learn all you can to replicate the success they have shown you.
That is Social Proof in action. You don’t know if it’s true (it probably isn’t!), but it seems legit enough that you are willing to give it a try. Social Proof techniques are used every day and all around you. I challenge you to pay attention for it in your daily life and find an example of it, leave a comment if find a good one.
Full disclosure, I just used that exact tactic in this article. You might have noticed as I kept explaining what Social Proof was, but if it only hit you towards the last few paragraphs that should be an eye-opener. Social Proof can be a scary concept when it is used for evil. Oh! That doesn’t count as identifying Social Proof in your daily life, so keep looking and leave that comment below.
So Where Did All That Money Come From?
This is where the water gets murky. One group of personalities are completely fabricating their wealth and status to con people. The other group may have really earned the wealth they are flaunting, but they leave out a few key details.
The common thread is usually Affiliate marketing or selling some kind of course that promises to let you replicate their success. I can safely guarantee that 90% of the videos you have seen on this topic fit into one of those product categories.
What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does it Work
So, now we know that affiliate marketing is one of the main systems they push when it comes to earning quick cash. I want to Preface this section by saying that I’m not against affiliate marketing. I even use some forms of affiliate marketing myself, but many people do not fully understand it and that causes issues.
Affiliate marketing is a system where you promote and sell the products or services of another person or company in exchange for a cut of the profits. It sounds like an amazing opportunity at first glance. You don’t need to mail out products, have employees or deal with anything like that. All you need to do is direct people to someone’s product and collect a fee. How hard could that be?
Let’s look at these two examples of affiliate marketing website links and how to spot them. These screenshots were taken from my own Amazon affiliate account. I have just blurred out the details because I am not trying to make any money from you.
You have seen these links all over the internet. Anytime you see “https://amzn.to/some-text” that is an affiliate link. Anyone that clicks on that link will get a piece of information called a cookie saved to their computer. This cookie means that whoever owns that link will get a percentage of anything you purchase on Amazon over the 20ish hours. This does not cost you anything extra and the money paid to the affiliate comes directly from Amazon. The company in charge of the affiliate marketing programs set how long the cookie is valid on your computer. If you make a purchase after the cookie expires, they will not get any credit from the sale.
Here is another example from Amazon, but it is a similar to almost every other affiliate marketing link out in the wilds of the internet:
This full link is the same thing you see every day in your web browser. It was once as simple as, “www.mywebsite.com/MyNiftyProduct.html”, but it seems to get longer and more complex every year.
It is not as complicated as it looks. The first part of the link, “https://www.amazon.com/Canon-T6-Digital-Telephoto-Accessory/dp/B01D93Z89W” is all you need to reach the product listing, so then what is all that other junk?
See the part of a link that says “ref=”? That is an example of tracking code. “Ref=” is very common, but it could also say “id=” or something similar. Websites use this type of code to track where a visitor came from and credit the person that shared the link to send them the visitor.
To summarize, if you see any links that look like that it is very likely someone is earning money when you click it. They may not have your best interests in mind and could be just trying to herd traffic to their affiliate marketing link to earn a buck. Not everything is a scam or a con job, but there are tons of unscrupulous folks online.
Now that you know how to quickly spot an affiliate link you will be seeing them everywhere, just like when you learned about Social Proof. It is perfectly fine and usually doesn’t cost you anything to click on someone’s affiliate link if you enjoy their content and want to support their efforts. However, I take issue when people share affiliate links and it sounds like they are giving you a free gift. In reality, they are making a commission transaction, they may even get paid for you sharing your email address, no purchase necessary.
Gimmicks and Half-Truths
You know about the shady concepts like Social Proof and can spot and affiliate marketing link from a mile away, what else can there be? Sadly, this rabbit hole keeps going deeper.
I am sure that you have heard this growing up, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t”. How about this one, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”? These old sayings still hold true today and I will give even give you another quick example.
Remember the person from the first example with that sweet saltwater swimming pool? Well, after asking all your questions about how they managed to transform their life, they give you a link to this training course that explains all the details. You can even get your own awesome swimming pool and house in half the time because there are extra secrets in that course that recently added!
After looking at the link, you see it includes the “ref=carsandpoolsrock” code. It’s an affiliate link! So, you click the link anyway and see this amazing sounding training course for $99.95, sounds like a steal if you can get that much wealth by spending less than 100 bucks, right?
When you buy it and get charged $99.95, the company selling the course pays a $10 affiliate commission to the person listed in the ref= code and keeps the rest.
Did you catch what just happened? You set out on your journey to make $100 a day by spending $99.95. The person that told you about the course just made a $10 affiliate commission from your purchase and all they need to do is show off their toys to attract 9 more people today that buy and they hit the $100 a day mark.
The company that is selling the training course just made $89.95 (minus processing fees) from your purchase. They only need someone to direct one more customer their way and they have made well over $100 a day. Meanwhile, you are down $99.95 and wondering if this magic training course will change your life. Everyone else in this equation has already made their money. It doesn’t really matter to them if the training works for you or not at this point.
Think of it as selling shovels and equipment during a gold rush. Why would the shop owner risk hunting for gold and losing all of their investments? It’s much easier and they can guarantee their profits by selling you that shovel and a dream. You will come back to them to purchase more equipment if you do strike it rich, but if you never find any gold or get eaten by a bear, they already have your money. It is a gold rush after all and I’m sure another flock of dreamers will wander into the store looking for fame and fortune. The shopkeeper might not be wishing for the failure of the gold prospector, but the shopkeeper has no stake in the claim after selling that shovel and moving onto the next sale.
You Must Be This Tall to Ride
We have established that while most marketers (and marketers are exactly what they are) are not cheering on your failure. After getting paid up front, they are most likely a bit indifferent about your success. At the end of the day, they are selling the equivalent of scratch-off lottery tickets and some may win, but many more will lose. Remember, the house always wins.
So, it looks like the really easy money is rarely found inside these training courses or miracle products. Instead, it comes from marketing those things to other hopeful prospects for that tidy affiliate commission. Well, not so fast… there are a few barriers of entry to break into that income stream too.
Do something for me the next time you see a video on YouTube that is pitching the latest foolproof method to make fast cash. Look at how many subscribers that person has on their channel and look at how many views the video has. I would bet that those numbers are both fairly high and in the 10’s of thousands.
Surprise! Affiliate marketing at the very core is actually a numbers game. I will spare you another section in this article on how conversion ratios factor into this whole mess unless there is interest in reading about that? Leave a comment and I’ll add it in later.
The amount of money you can make as an affiliate marketer for any sort of product comes down to how many customers you can funnel towards the product you are selling. Once you finish annoying your family and friends about this amazing new business opportunity, who will be left to sell to? The person that got you started on this path most likely has a Youtube channel, website and Facebook page that is feeding 1000’s of customers into the affiliate marketing funnel each and every month. If you are averaging a $10 commission per sale for whatever you are selling, that is only about 300 sales per month. Our fictional YouTuber can easily hit the mythical “make $100 a day” target if they direct 6,000 of their visitors to the affiliate link and a mere 5% sign up for the offer. A lot of these channels even have views and subscribers in the 10’s or 100’s of thousands. You do the math, is there any wonder how they can show these nice looking payouts as proof that the system works? How many 1000’s of YouTube subscribers, Facebook like or followers on Instagram and Twitter are you walking around with? Exactly…
So it’s All Doom and Gloom?
I promised not to leave you hanging at the beginning of this article and I aim to deliver. We learned about Social Proof, affiliate marketing and how most of these markets are just trying to profit from your bright-eyed hopes and dreams. I bet you are asking how exactly any of that helps you, right? I won’t tell you another story about me having the one true, super-secret and time-tested method of reach your original goal of making $100 a day.
However, I will say that if you take the knowledge from this article and start a website or a YouTube channel that share helpful, useful or valuable information with the public, you will be on the road to earning some real money.
It will not happen overnight. You will need to put in some work, but it is very doable. Setting realistic goals is almost as important as not falling for the latest hype that promises riches. Anyone that tells you any different is either being disingenuous or has gotten extremely lucky, like winning the local lottery lucky.
Building a following takes time and dedication, but if you put in the effort, the profits will follow. Just remember not to use your powers for evil if you become the next YouTube or social media sensation.
What if I Don’t Know Where to Start?
Starting a website or YouTube channel and building a following was great advice, wasn’t it? I fully understand that while it sounds simple enough, it is seriously lacking the semblance of a proper plan.
Would you like to see more article that covers those topics? Do you have questions that are in need of quality answers with a side of advice? Leave a comment, or contact me directly and I will do my best to solve your issues or direct you to the best resource to get the job done. If there is enough interest I would be happy to put together a beginner guide on starting your life as an online freelancer or affiliate marketer.