First, let’s begin by telling my story.
I first started my online journey, a little late, to be honest, five years ago. I did so because when I began my BSc, I thought it would be a great idea to start looking for jobs or internships that would require my Marketing major.
This is how I first discovered the digital lifestyle.
Mind you, like many of you, I didn’t fully grasp what that meant. All I saw was a way to make (or so I thought) easy money online and I didn’t have to get dressed to do it. Introvert me was like — SIGN ME UP!
And I did. To a lot of programs that promised heapings of returns with only a little investment. Given the headline, I bet you can tell what happened next.
My very first program was Yoonla which was discontinued after four successful years in 2019. According to Yoonla, which was free to sign up, it was an affiliate marketing program where you sold affiliate products that you never saw. It worked through email marketing where you bought your contacts as part of the instructions and you got them to sign up to Yoonla. You were paid per sign-up. At least that’s how I remembered it. If you were a part of Yoonla, your story may differ.
After being introduced to Yoonla, I began to smell the gold rush, so I participated in many similar programs from Clickbanks and JVZoo. During that first year, I was just another crazy with a pick in internet gold rush fever. Not knowing where to dig or even what was fool’s gold or real gold.
Then, I began to sense a pattern and my bank account started to ask some questions like, “Hey, where’s the money?”
Sadly, I wasn’t making any.
And neither were a lot of people.
That’s because I didn’t know then what I know now. It’s not the program that was at fault, it was the timing. And you know what needs careful planning and timing? A scam or a robbery. If I can’t make money with something for years to come then that’s a hit you just pulled.
All these programs had a shelf life of 6 months to two years max and the reason Yoonla lasted four was that they created Evolve which cost you more upfront.
When I was in a gold rush fever, I knew there was money to be made, but I wasn’t too convinced on the hows. I decided that the reason the programs didn’t work for me was because I didn’t invest fully. I needed more to buy more contacts or spend more to get the results they kept showing me.
And they keep telling you that.
And like many who were caught in the gold rush, I was caught up selling fool’s gold for real.
All the while, the savvy prospectors worked their mines in secret and reaped bigger rewards. These prospectors mapped out their mines, bought the surrounding land, and worked for years before reporting their finds.
There is nothing worse than being a fool with a pick leaving a potentially prosperous find to go chase after fools gold because you couldn’t tell real from the fake. And on the internet, it’s getting harder to tell who’s legit and who's not. There are even gurus with millions of dollars and followers who are not what they seem.
Granted, I did learn many things from Yoonla and rushing every program advertised.
I learned how to set up my website.
I learned email marketing.
I learned how not to sell.
I learned what a blog was.
I learned how to vet scammers.
I learned these tips to tell real gold from fake gold.
- Pay attention to what they are showing you. If the focus is only on wealth, cars, houses, vacation spots, and list building you may be dealing with fake gold.
- Pay attention to the followers and associates. Birds of a feather tend to flock together so if you see someone who seems on the up and up hanging out with a scammer, well he may just be the frontman. Thankfully, Instagram has a great way to tell if people buy followers and email marketing companies now have protection for people whose names end up on third-party lists. (That’s probably why Yoonla is no more.)
- There is no real story. No values. No clear reason besides helping you. Sure there are people who want to help you (like Mwah), but usually, there are some mutual benefits and it’s after you get to know me better. No action takes place on the first date.
- No teaching or real strategy. Everything is super easy. Anyone could do it and it only needs a dollar or your email to start. Then you buy things where they tell you to buy and that’s how they get their money.
- There are no long-term goals. This is the biggest red flag. Everything has to happen now. There is always some pressing deadline and the offer is always expiring. Then the program really expires six months after you buy it and when you complain, they offer you the ‘new’ and ‘improved’ versions.
When I had finally caught on, I became skeptical of all programs and anybody trying to sell me anything on the internet. So when a kind lady introduced me to SFI, I wanted no part of that. But it was free to start and had a Better Business Bureau rating, so I gave it a shot.
And up to this day, I have not regretted it!
SFI showed that not all MLM’s or programs are created equal! They have over 20 years behind them in what they do and, best of all, they encouraged building my own business while I used them as an affiliate, selling real products from small businesses and amazon, to earn money. Through their mentoring, they encourage financial literacy and even aid!
The downside of SFI is that they discourage the advertising of earnings. Why? Because they don’t want to give people false hope. They believe in hard work and long-term passive income building, not instant money, so they don’t encourage cash flashing.
There are many companies, mentors, marketers, and online entrepreneurs who are legitimately living the digital lifestyle without selling fake gold. Sadly, due to gold rush fever, not many new digital fortune seekers have the patience to work and wait for a year and more to see returns. So they end up spending more and working harder, only now online, instead of building a digital lifestyle that would last a lifetime.