Selling the Dream or Telling the Truth

I hang out on Rise Forums most days. We have a great mix of experienced bloggers and developers and beginners who are just trying to earn some money from working online.

It has become clear that a lot of new internet marketers have the wrong mindset about how to make money online. In the course of their first year of working online, they have purchased many eBooks and courses that promise wealth. These products usually have someone sitting on the beach on a laptop on the front cover.

I realise that there are some good “Making Money Online” products out there, however in general I believe the standard of advice in the products is poor. Specifically, there is too much time spent on promoting the dream of making money online, rather than offering practical advice.

It is not uncommon for someone to have spent several months trying to work online and investing hundreds of dollars in the process. Despite working online for this length of time, they do not know any HTML or CSS. They do not know how to edit an image in photoshop. They do not know how start promoting a new website.

Most of the “secrets” in these making money products promote shortcuts to success. Rather than putting an emphasis on great content or developing a building a tangible product, there is more time spent showing how you can get traffic through YouTube and Twitter tricks. What they fail to point out is that all the traffic in the world is pointless if your actual website or product is terrible.

What Helps You More in the Long Term?

Helping people how to make money online is big business. There are many people making a living by teaching beginners skills that will help them for many years; such as Brian Duffy from WP Applied. Unfortunately, there are many people that are misleading people and selling them shit.

Experienced internet marketer Kenny Cannon left a comment on this blog recently talking about how hype sells. I do not agree with marketing products by hype, but I realise that when you look at the market as a whole, he is 100% correct.

This puts thought leaders and experienced internet marketers into a quandary where they feel they need to either sell the dream or tell the truth.

The dream is what sells the product, however it is practical advice that is what is going to help the buyer. There is no reason that a product cannot have both. Unfortunately, most of the books in internet marketing put all their focus on the dream as that is where the money is.

I realise that making money online books and courses are inspiring, but if you are just starting out, I recommend forgetting about making money online for the first six months. Instead, focus all of your time into learning how to build a good website that people want to visit. Learn HTML, CSS, and PHP. If you do this, when you actually start to learn how to make money online, you will be ahead of 99% of your competitors.

Remember, there are not any shortcuts to success. Knowledge and hard work will always beat a cheap traffic trick in the long term time. Stop following the dream and start building something tangible :)


I am an experienced blogger who has been working on the internet since 2000. On this blog, I talk about WordPress, internet marketing, YouTube, technology and travelling.
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