I initially learned about Internet marketing and Internet businesses when I was 16 or 17. I used to train almost full-time and compete professionally in mixed martial arts; so, in between training sessions, I had a lot of time to create websites and experiment with online marketing.
It wasn’t until I began my MBA studies that I realized Internet marketing and Internet business were HUGE. I really enjoyed marketing in general and the thought of applying marketing strategies and principles online simply blew me away. I was really impressed with what could be accomplished with the Internet and its future potential.
I spent countless hours studying the topic on my own. It was only natural for me to seek more knowledge online. I wanted to learn as much as possible in the shortest amount of time.
This is when I became exposed to all the “online gurus” of the Internet. Back then, I was inexperienced, so I believed and followed the work of almost every Internet marketing guru I found. As the years passed, I learned that there was a great disparity among the true skills and experience of these “online gurus.” In retrospect, I wasted a lot of my time listening to and supporting certain “experts.” There was nothing I could do. I didn’t know any better.
However, it’s 2012, I’ve experienced my own online success, and I’ve been around the block many times now. The reality is, there are so many ‘fakes’ out there who exploit inexperienced entrepreneurs who want to start an Internet business. These ‘fakes’ have studied enough copy writing to understand what emotions trigger prospects to be convinced to buy products. The problem is that these entrepreneurs aren’t familiar with online business and different online marketing gurus. As a result, they will share the same experiences I had. They will end up listening and believing ‘the first’ online marketing gurus they find on the net.
If they’re lucky, they’ll find the right mentors. But with so many people trying to join the online marketing guru band wagon, it’s likely that good, honest entrepreneurs who are merely looking for proper guidance, will run into some of the wannabe gurus.
If you’re really serious about starting your own Internet business and are as passionate about it as I am, I don’t want you to waste your time with 2nd or 3rd tier online gurus. If you’re going to spend your hard earned money, time, and effort on learning and growing your own business, you ought to be guided by the best internet business coaches possible.
That said, here’s what I feel you should look out for when evaluating your options.
Professional Marketing Experience or Training
Does the online guru you’re thinking about working with or buying a product from have a professional background in Internet marketing or marketing training? In other words, before starting an Internet business, did the guru work as a marketer or consultant for an online agency, firm, or company? Did he or she go through formal marketing training, perhaps in college or through graduate studies?
It helps to know that the person you are about to invest in has gone through the ropes and paid their dues, and truly understand marketing fundamentals and advanced marketing strategies.
This isn’t a strict requirement because as we all know from real life and history, people can become successful without degrees or years of work experience; but like I said, it really helps and you’ll feel more confident that you’re making the right choice.
Internet Business Experience
If the online business gurus don’t have any kind of formal marketing experience or training, do a little research and find out how long they’ve been in the Internet business – more specifically, the “I’ll teach you how to make money business.” If they’ve spent a lot of time training and consulting people, and making Internet business products, then you should be safe. Clearly, if they don’t have a lot of experience in Internet business and they claim to be authorities who will teach you how to generate loads of money on the Internet, you should proceed with extreme caution. The red flag should be raised!
I’d look into testimonials and reviews of the gurus’ products or programs from reputable sources. The most reputable source would be people you know personally who have worked with the guru(s) you’re considering. Take all online reviews you find with a grain of salt because many of these reviews are written by affiliates who are promoting the online gurus’ products (they get a commission to do so). Do your due diligence. If you can find honest positive testimonials and reviews, then you can consider the online gurus.
A Thought Leader or a Copy Cat
This will probably be difficult for beginners to spot, but you want to try and determine whether the online gurus you want to work with are actual thought leaders (i.e. true authorities) in Internet business; or if they are simply “copycats” preying on inexperienced, non-Internet business savvy prospects. As I mentioned, this can be difficult if you haven’t come across many Internet business gurus. Through time, however, you’ll be able to spot consistencies among teachings and evaluate who among all your options provides the best value and original framework. In addition, you can always research reviews and testimonials.
Keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with working with someone who has only improved an existing product offering (rather than creating something brand new that has never been done before). Businesses and entrepreneurs all over the world do this everyday. If there are real improvements that will help you reach you goals faster and easier, then I’m all for it.
Organic Authority or Help From Established Affiliates
If the experts you’re eyeing have been pushed to authority status by affiliates, rather than having built their brand, authority, trust, and expertise organically (i.e naturally), I would see this as a red flag. Now, many reputable experts will recommend other gurus only if they truly believe they will provide you with high value. I would say 9 times out of 10, if an established guru does endorse another person who has absolutely no paper trail or background in Internet business, you can still trust the endorsement.
Nonetheless, I feel more comfortable when I know that a person has reached authority status by paying their dues and genuinely learning proper marketing and Internet business through experience. Even when a legitimate online guru endorses another ‘expert,’ if I cannot find a decent amount of background on professional or marketing experience, I tend to stay away until I’m able to get reviews from people I trust.
High Value & Genuine
This criterion is straightforward because it’s based on your gut-feel. Are you receiving tremendous value and feel you will continue to receive the same if you work with a certain online guru? Does the online expert seem trustworthy and genuine, or does something seem like it doesn’t make sense or doesn’t add up? If you aren’t completely thrilled with the content and you have even the slightest feeling that the person you’re thinking about working with doesn’t really have your best interest in mind, look for someone else to help you.
The best Internet business gurus are very passionate about helping others and sharing their success, and that passion will be easily conveyed and felt when you hear them speak or talk to them.
There Are Those Who Are Gifted…
Regardless of what I wrote about above, you will encounter a handful of truly gifted Internet business gurus who do not fit the norm – they are rare, but they exist. They may not have had any marketing background, been in the Internet business for less than a year, have only improved an existing product, and are being promoted only by affiliates; yet, what they have to offer is so valuable and useful, that you can’t help but listen to and want to work with them.
When this happens, who knows? Maybe he or she just got really lucky. Whether their success can be replicated is questionable. Nonetheless, if you have some extra cash and time, it wouldn’t hurt to give this ‘gifted’ online guru a try. Now, if you really value your time and money, I wouldn’t take a chance. Go with the experts who have experience and meet the criteria I’ve listed above. This way, you know you’re going to get the value that you want and deserve.
I hope this helps as you move forward with your Internet business. In a future post, I’ll let you know some of the online marketing gurus I trust and highly recommend.
Let me know what you think in the comments section below. Do you agree? Disagree?