I recently had an old friend from back in the day get in touch with me because he wanted my advice on a business idea he was pursuing.
He was promoting a genome test service as an affiliate. The service was about getting people’s DNA and telling them the likelihood of diseases they might catch (like cancer, etc.) based on their genes.
He was an affiliate for the company that did the genetic test and he kept a portion of the revenue of the customers that he bought for the company.
He had just started working on this (i.e. no sales yet) and he knew I ran an affiliate marketing business, so he got in touch to get my advice on how he should go about getting some customers.
Normally I would not agree to a meeting for something like this, but since it had been years since I last saw him, I agreed.
He wanted to get customers online because that’s more scalable than him trying to convince people to use the service in person, and wanted me to help him figure out how he could reach potential customers.
Here is how the conversation went:
Him: How do you think I can get some customers on the internet?
Me: Try making accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with your brand name and make content about the benefits of gene testing. Build an audience and try to become an authority on this topic. If you can show people that you’re an expert, I think people should get in touch with you.
Him: Nah bro, that will take too long. I want to do something that will start bringing me customers and commissions faster.
Me: Sounds like paid ads are up your alley! Set up Facebook, Twitter, and Google Ads and run some ad campaigns. See if that brings you customers. You might want to hire a copywriter though, since it’s your first time…
Him: And I don’t want to invest too much money here before I start seeing some profits from it. Can you tell me something I can do cheaply?
Me: Umm, in that case, go with Google AdWords. They have a promotion for new customers where if you spend ₹2000 (~$30), you get a promotional credit for ₹2000, i.e. you get to spend ₹4000. You can run a PPC ad with that and see if people are actually interested in this service.
Him: I don’t know how to use all these ad platforms bro.
Me: Google has courses that teach you how to use the platform. They’re free and they give you a certificate too. Start with those.
Him: I don’t have time to learn all this bro. Can you suggest me something that doesn’t take as much time?
As you can tell, this guy did not want any “advice”.
He wanted a way to make money fast and easy, without putting in any investment and effort.
He did not “have time” to learn the tools of the trade, he did not want to invest any money in his business idea, and he didn’t even want to put effort into growing an organic audience.
He wanted success handed to him on a platter. He wanted me to tell him something that involves very little effort, risk, and investment on his part and starts producing results almost instantly.
And of course, this type of success-on-a-platter does not exist in the real world – so he was wasting his time and mine by asking me to help him find it.
Unfortunately, my friend is not alone in his search for success-on a-platter.
This is a problem that afflicts the vast majority of middle-class people.
You see, middle class people are in a special place – they are too comfortable to want to put in effort to get anything, and they don’t have any money to fast track the process.
Poor people who are entrepreneurial (small minority) and want to get out of poverty will work insanely hard and do what it takes to get things going.
Rich people will have money to spend on their ideas and this allows them to get started faster.
Unlike poor people, middle-class people live lives that are comfortable enough that they do not have the motivation to work hard over long periods of time and unlike rich people, they don’t have the money to outsource the work either.
What most of them end up doing is that they are constantly hunting for what are essentially get-rich-quick schemes.
How do I start making money without doing anything or risking anything?
It doesn’t exist.
People will say, they want to be a “rockstar”.
Ask them, “can you sing or play a guitar?”
Most of them will say no.
“Why don’t you learn?”
“It will take too long. I’ll do it later.”
Tell them “You should create a song and put it up on YouTube so people can listen to it.”
And they will tell you they can’t because they don’t know how to sing or play an instrument, and why “YouTube won’t make me famous” and “Why would someone listen to me?”
In other words, when they say they want to be a rockstar, they want some big record label to contact them and offer to promote them and sell their music.
And of course, they want it to happen before they’ve even picked up a guitar and made a song yet. Success on a platter.
Many people reading this will have the success on a platter mindset too. The easiest indicator of this is to want results but being unwilling to learn the skills and prototype a product.
You need to get rid of this mindset if you want to get anywhere, otherwise you’ll spend your life looking for magic chickens that lay golden eggs i.e. things that don’t exist.
Realize that any meaningful success takes a lot of hard work, and that hard work comes with no guarantees.
If you want guaranteed returns – you don’t belong in the business world and you should just work a predictable job.
Putting in the work with a good chance of it not producing any fruit is simply a risk you have to be willing to take as an entrepreneur.