Posted Tuesday, November 9, 2004
NO, that's not one of my secret dreams :-) It's an observation that you need to make. Years ago, I read Harvey MacKay's fantastic best-seller, Beware The Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt. I really enjoyed the book and even sent Harvey a note. He sent me an autographed copy of his book "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive." It's one of my most prized possessions - but back to the naked man...
When you surf the various websites offering advice and information products teaching you how to earn an online income, it becomes glaringly obvious that many people who created these products haven't done what they teach! They are in effect, "naked men offering you their shirts."
Anyone just starting out online can understand why this happens. If you put up a website on making money online, and you admit that you haven't made any yet, people will realize that you have no useful advice to pass on. To avoid this consequence, beginners often "fake it, until they make it."
One of the reasons many online marketers never "make it" in the first place is because they ARE following the advice of "naked men." They are absorbing, believing, and then re-teaching the conventional wisdom so prevalently shared in the internet marketing arena. The consequence is that not only does the creator of the info product fail, but so do all of his mislead followers.
We have two problems within this situation. The first is, "How does a beginner establish himself as an expert if he has achieved no major online marketing success?" The answer is that he creates a product in an area that he IS an expert in or that he has very thoroughly researched.
The beginner can also very easily create a product by interviewing or partnering with someone possessing the knowledge or skills he lacks. I sort of touched upon this in another article I wrote entitled, "Don't Pretend To Be An Expert, Become One." That article is available on my website at: (http://williecrawford.com/articles.html)
The second problem is in knowing who is genuine and who hasn't really learned the ropes yet. My advice to many of my clients is to fully check out anyone before following their advice. Simply go to any major search engine and enter their domain or their name. Visit many, MANY of the sites that are listed as featuring something related to this so-called expert. This will give you a very good feel for who you are really dealing with.
If sites about them contain testimonials, contact some of the people providing the testimonial... especially if something doesn't quite "feel right." That's right... I'm advising you to trust your instincts.
Another way to easily check out someone is by using a website called "The Way Back Machine." This website visits sites scattered across the internet and takes a snapshot of them. So if someone tells you that they've been in business for 5 years and you see that their only website is barely a year old, run away very fast - and don't look back!
The way back machine can be found at: (http://www.archive.org/web/web.php)
If you enter my url, (http://williecrawford.com) in the search box, you will see that it offers snapshots of how sad this website looked beginning in 1998. Prior to that time, all of my websites were self-replicated websites offered by various affiliates programs, and websites built on free hosts such as FreeYellow, Angelfire, Hypermart, Webspawner, and about 30 others :-)
To digress just a little, I purchased my own domain name when someone responded to one of my posts in Links Exchange Digest insisting that I would have a lot more credibility if I got my own domain name AND ditched the Hotmail account. I kept websites on free hosts for several more years, but finally started really listening. People were telling me that using a free hosting company... building and promoting their domain, was just bad business. When I listened and took their advice, that's when things REALLY took off for me.
I've just pointed out to you a way to avoid the naked man look. If you are a beginner, get you own domain... one with a url that is easy to remember and that suggests what your business is all about. My domain name, WillieCrawford.com was a poor choice in many ways, but over the years it has developed a very strong brand. My second flag-ship domain, Chitterlings.com, was a better choice since it centered around "soul food" and the name was easy to remember to anyone familiar with that category of cooking.
Another way for beginners to avoid pretending to be something that you are not, and build online credibility, is simply to market other people's products. If you want a higher than normal commission either approach them about joint ventures, or obtain reprint rights to in-demand products. Don't waste your time and resources promoting products that there is no demand for. Many reprint rights that are offered for free are priced that way because the owner of the product couldn't sell them :-)
The benefit of obtaining products that are proven sellers through reprint rights is that you often get a tested website that will generate a steady income for you if you just drive traffic to it. It's really easy, but again, you have to make sure that the product is one that is worth the effort. The criteria that I use and suggest you use is, ask yourself if you would purchase the product at the price you plan on offering it for. Also read the template website being offered and notice whether or not it gets you really pumped up. If not, look elsewhere.
I do recommend that you eventually develop your own product or service. However, that may take some time. In the interim you need to establish a professional business that's built on quality and integrity. Avoid coming across as a fake or "naked man." Also beware of those who have to fake it until they make it. You know and appreciate that we all had to start somewhere. Most of us could not afford to buy a huge, thriving web business, so we had to start from meager beginning. Just look at my websites in The Way Back Machine for proof of that :-)
Copyright 2004 Willie Crawford
About the Author
Willie Crawford has been teaching others how to build an on-line business since late 1996. Frequently featured in radio, magazine and newspaper articles and interviews, Willie teaches the average guy what the top marketers are doing but seldom talking about. Willie provides detailed how to information in his newsletter, through his personal coaching, and at his annual how to workshop. Learn more at: (http://InternetMarketingHowToWorkshop.com)