The Free Lunch (And Other Myths)By: Elena Fawkner
I have a page at my website that contains a list of home business ideas (and links to detailed articles about some of them). On that page, I invite visitors who have an idea that isn't listed on that page to submit it to me for inclusion. Nine times out of ten, the "ideas" that are submitted are nothing more than ads for various online business opportunities and not true business "ideas" at all.
This evening I received one such email. No greeting, no thank you, just a terse one liner "to be added to your ideas page" and an URL. I responded that this was not an "idea" (which, had the person bothered to spend any time at all at the page in question, she would have realized) but an ad for her business opportunity, and that if she wanted her ad on my site, she could damn well pay for it like anyone else (I
was a little more diplomatic than that but you get the gist).
Hot on the heels of this type of approach is the owner of an affiliate program for a product which would be of marginal interest (if that) to a tiny number of my ezine subscribers, offering me a fabulous "joint venture" opportunity whereby all I have to do is send a solo mailing to my list (worth $260) in exchange for making maybe $12 on each of three sales. Whoopee. Invariably, these people know the demographic of my database intimately since, according to them, all my readers have been searching high and low for just such a solution to all their problems and *I* can be the one to give it to them!
Please. Contrary to what these people obviously think, I did not just fall off the back of a turnip truck so, to whom it may concern, go grow your own list or pay to advertise to mine. Those are your choices. This is a business, not a charity for the bone idle.
These are by no means isolated examples.
Those of you running an online business probably have a list of examples like these as long as your arm. Why do people not understand that you get what you pay for in this world? I'll tell you why. The proliferation of "secret" sites that promise to reveal to you, for only a "$60 lifetime membership!" all the "tips and tricks" you need to know to market your online business on the 'net "without spending a dime!" and all the "insider secrets" marketing courses promising the same thing.
If you're laboring under the impression that it's possible to market your business without spending money, here's some not-so-secret tips:
Running an online business requires an enormous time commitment initially just to create a useful website and just as much (if not more) of a commitment to maintain it, create new content, develop products, publish a newsletter and basically do all the marketing things that any business must do to grow, whether online or off.
So, next time you're looking for ways to market your product or opportunity without spending a dime, think about who you're approaching. If it's a free classified ad site, fine. But if it's someone just like you trying to make a living with a business of their own, ask yourself: What's in it for them to promote your product for free? Consider how you would feel if you had invested two years of blood, sweat and tears building a business in your town only to have people walk into your office expecting you to help them market your product for free. It just ain't gonna happen unless there's something in it for them. The same is true online. Don't make the mistake of thinking that someone's online business is just a hobby and that they're there for the sole purpose of helping you make a success of your business. They're not. They may be helpful, they may offer advice and encouragement but, when all is said and done, they're in business, just like you. Bottom line: you have to pay your way in this life and that includes online.
© 2001 Elena Fawkner
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.