Feb
19
2009

Will You All Please Shut Up! You are NOT a “guru”…

How Even the Biggest IM “gurus’ are closer to your local dentist than they are to a Rock Star…and let me prove it to you 

 I think I am totally losing it…and I hope some of you will comment and reassure me that it is not only me feeling this. 

For the love of GOD, will everybody on the internet stop over-inflating themselves by creatively wordsmithing their bios, site traffic, and sales?  Can we revert to some plain old-fashioned honesty for a while.

 <–This picture will make sense in the article. It’s a metaphor silly.

 

Being in the Internet Marketing and “guru” world for the last year or so has totally screwed up my moral compass – and it’s time to step up and take some responsibility. Just because everyone else is doing it does not make it right.  

 

Let me be the first to stand up and say, I’m guilty. 

Especially in the last few months, I realize I have been doing the same exact thing too. I’ve told people I have all the answers. I don’t. I’ve often referred to the “we” at my main business, but it’s just me except for the bigger projects where I bring on a few folks. I’ve said I’m a millionaire, and while it’s true I have over a million in assets, I also have a lot of bills. I’m still looking to make a living like the rest of you.   I got the float to cover me for a while, but that’s not exactly the vision of the omnipotent guru, is it? None of these claims are lies, but none of them are exactly true either. 

I have worked with the big guys in the “guru” space. As I am sure you have surmised, it’s not anything like what you have been lead to believe. Yes, some of them are very successful by any standard, but not nearly as successful as the standards they have set themselves up for. 

 

How the over-inflation crisis began: 

I’ve been around the internet for a while.  Even since it was before the internet and we used things like Prodigy and Bulletin Boards.  And I know how the over inflation mentality started. 

When the first sites were being built, they were considered the great equalizer.  A little mom and pop could have the same exact web presence as the mightiest of corporations.  A site was a site, and at the time everybody was a beginner and features were limited to a pretty html site with some text and a few pictures.  Because nobody really knew how web stats worked back then, the little guys resorted to their giant numbers to make themselves look as big as the guys with real businesses.  The rage was telling people how many “hits” they had. That was before we could count unique visitors.  So a few smart guys figured out that if you put a buttload of small images on the site (visible or not) you could dramatically increase the number of hits you had. 

And from there it just progressed to more hype, more fluff, and more over-inflation.

 

How I know about the “guru” world: 

I worked for a few months with Rich Schefren at Strategic Profits. I had interviewed for a Marketing Director position, and we both determined that I was overqualified for what they needed, and not competent in enough of the detailed stuff that they really wanted help with.  What we did discover was that Rich and I think very similarly, have read a lot of the same stuff, and both have a love of the strategic and “why’s that” side of things. 

I was brought on as a consultant for 2 weeks, which eventually extended to 3 months as Rich’s mental catch buddy.  We would both research a bunch of shit, see how things fit together and toss around ideas. I loved it. 

As time wore on and the launch approached, the differences in our style became apparent. I am a planner. I create a strategy for a launch, plan it in pretty great detail, and then execute.  Rich on the other hand is a feeler.  He reads what the market is wanting, and then runs like a bat out of hell at the last minute to be what they need.  Both work, just very different approaches. 

These differences were tough, but palatable. 

The one thing that finally killed it for me was the slime factor.  Rich and I actually discussed it on several occasions. I think he was just a bit better at justifying it to himself. I honestly believe there was no maliciousness in it, at least among any of the bigger gurus, they all seem like pretty decent guys.  They have their own demons like the rest of us, but good guys nonetheless.

 

How the “gurus” feed the lie: 

I think most gurus are pretty cognizant on exactly what they are doing, and not real comfortable with it, but also realize that coming completely clean and not over-hyping themselves would be the business equivalent of the steiroids shakedown in pro sports.  They don’t want to take em, but if everybody else is and they don’t, how will they be able to compete? 

In those 3 months, I learned that NONE of the gurus including Rich, Kern, Filisame, Pagan, Stomper, whomever.. are anywhere near where they claim to be. 

Yes, most of them drive Porches or Ferarris, and live in big houses at the beach or in the city, but in all honesty I could to that too.  It takes a decent income, but not THAT much.  Surely it is a sign of great success, and that should be enough…but it’s not in this world. 

Lets analyise a big launch: One that is toted as a $5 Million Biggest Launch of All Time 

  1. Said guru and staff creates a coaching product that takes about 6 months.  The other option is to take an existing program and beef it up 10%, slap on an old product as a freebie, rename, and market away.
  2. Of that $5 Million, 50% goes to affiliates right off the bat.  Affiliate commissions in the IM world are huge. So big in fact, that the majority of gurus make MORE selling stuff for others than for their own launches. 
  3. So now we are down to $2.5 Million – Of that about 15% request refunds within the first month.
  4. Down to 2.1 Million- Most of the expensive programs are either monthly or in 3 payments.
    1. Fact: The drop rate after the first payment is about 50%. After the second – another 15%
  5. Down to 1 Million – This is the actual number of the launch.  This does not include physical costs of production or the salaries of the people who created it. 

I don’t know about you, but a million bucks is still a pretty good friggin launch.  It would more than make me happy.  But it is NOT a $5 Million dollar launch.

What it really comes down to is that they will need to do 2-4 launches a year and a buttload of affiliate launches just to keep the lights on with 10 employees.  That’s not exactly the picture they paint for you, but it IS a moderately successful small business, just like the 500 or so that probably exist in your home town. 

To put it in even easier terms: Your local physican or medium dentist office probably does exactly the same numbers. But you don’t see them bragging or touted as rock stars.  They do well, and we respect them for that.

  

Some honesty about me… I hope you follow the trend:

  • This blog gets about 300 unique visits a day. A hell of an improvement over the 12 a day I got a few months ago. I’m proud of it.
  • I have 230 twitter followers atm. I hope they follow because they like what I have to say and not so I can just re-follow them back and improve their numbers. I could spam follow 500 people a day in an effort to get 80% of them to refollow me like everyone else, but I would rather choose ones who I think are interesting for some reason. 
  • I have 92 Facebook friends.  And every single of them I have met and know on a first name basis. I am actually interested in what they have to say. 
  • My best year ever financially was in 2005 when I made a little over $600k.  It was a good year. As a VP of Marketing I used to make about $250k a year.  But last year I made about $75k, and this year about $55k.   
  • I have yet to make $.01 off this blog. I’ve been trying to build up traffic and get some relationships and credibility built before I started pushing stuff.  But I will if I can. 
  • This blog is mostly a hands-on learning experience for me in social marketing which I do not know a whole hell of a lot about.  It also gives me something to do during the day.  Because the type of job I used to do usually requires working in a big city and a standard 8-5 without commute, both of which I am not a fan of, I am trying to find something I can do from anywhere and still provide a decent income.

 So that’s me in a nutshell.  I think that would be more than enough to make most people pretty proud, and subject to most honest comparison, pretty damn good.  But in this over-hyped world of $5 Million dollar launches and everyone with 10,000 invisible twitter followers and 5,000 uniques a day, it looks like shit.  And it’s really not. 

 

So in closing, don’t fluff that you are an expert unless you actually are. People are trusting you.

5,000 twitter followers does not make you an expert in anything other than getting twitter followers. If you are going to tout yourself as an expert, say that you are an expert in getting twitter users. You are.  Just don’t expect us (or lead us) to believe that you know anything about making people money unless you can actually prove that you have done it yourself as well. 

I’m not going to tout myself as any type of guru. The smoke and mirrors stop now.  

What I am good at is working with a small business or entrepreneurs that are already pretty good at what they are doing – then making it better through refined strategy, marketing, and goal setting.  I usually double profits at a minimum within 1 year.  I can’t teach anyone to do it, hell I’m not even sure how I do it. But it works, and I’m hoping will continue to work for me.

 

 Stay cool…and honest.

 

JJ

15 Comments + Add Comment

  • Hey JJ,

    I’ve been fighting the good fight against the “gurus” and the “experts” for quite some time myself. FYI – I’m a marketing strategist and copy writer and personally, I market myself as a “Turd Polisher.” I calls ’em as I sees ’em. ;D

    Anyway, I thought you’d get a kick outta this. I was followed by this guy on Twitter the other day. Who he is, is not important but I will give you eleventy million dollars if you can tell me WTH this guy actually ~does~ for a living based on his bio. Good luck! =)

    “_____ _____ is a founder of freedom. _____ _____is a resourceful executive, rainmaker, and a creative bridge builder. _____ _____’s mission is to teach freedom, to unlock opportunities, and to create rewarding community life. _____ _____ believes our purpose on earth is to enhance the lives of others.”

    Ready? Set? Go!

  • Lol. My first guess would be a server at TGI Fridays or perhaps even a maitre’d at Steak and Shake.

    And again, that’s cool if he is. Just don’t tell people you know how to make millions of dollars when you still live with your mom.

  • Well, I’m going to defend you a lil’ bit here JJ. Your bio does start out saying that you are an “idiot” and that following your advice “may result in loss of business, financial ruin, and in some cases, genital herpies.” You even go so far to prove your idiocy by intentionally misspelling herpes. Although, that also shows your unfamiliarity with the disease. That can help you out as well. Mebbe you have some other site where you display your marketing bravado and STD acumen?

  • Lol. Nope, the misspelling is purely unintentional and is further proof that I am indeed an idiot – also that my spell checker sucks.

    I’m not nearly clever enough to misspell things on porpoise.

    As for another site, I do own the domain http://www.you-fucking-rock.com Might be just the thing for a bravado/STD site. Fits in both cases.

    What do you think?

  • Sounds great. Get it sponsored by a whiskey vendor and an ecstasy dealer. Both of which can lead to bravado and STDs 🙂

  • Lol. One of my buddies responded to this article on twitter:

    Angelina Jolie still looks good without makeup. All the really good looking women look great without makeup (obviously).

    …Not really the reaction I was looking for. So this was my response:

    That’s your take away from the article? You sir, are a retard… a shallow retard.

  • He’s probably deeply offended by your casual use of the word “retard”. He may never get over it.

  • I’m sure he will get over it. All I have to do is hold up something shiny and he will completely forget about it.

  • […] Will You All Please Shut Up! You are NOT a "guru" I worked for a few months with Rich Schefren at Strategic Profits. I had interviewed for a Marketing Director position, and we both determined that I was overqualified for what they needed.  Mail this post […]

  • My good, good, close personal friend Guru X who makes $89,000,000,000,000 yes that’s 89 Gazzilion every month while laying on the beach doing nothing has decided out of the immense kindness of his heart to release to a very limited number of select top qualifiers, the one, secret, never before heard, Cash exploding, Gazzilionaire magic secret formula. He may take this down at any time, HURRY, HURRY, HURRY!! Don’t be left out!!

    Oh yeah, we are so popular that the server will crash in the first 24 hours from the sheer weight of all the people trying to give us money…but we will still do an awesome 44 Gazzilion even so.

    Don’t worry about contacting us, you’ll be getting six or eight emails today, just like this one.

    See ya at the top!

  • lol Brent,

    I see you are familiar with the IM world too 🙂

    By the way, you left out the fact that you too can make thredelee bazillion dollars in just 3 days without moving from your couch!

  • I know a guru who just did a launch, let’s call it “Ripping off Goldratt” and the whole launch did $1.5 million. Not the garbage numbers they were throwing around and how it was one of the best launches they ever did, hype, hype, hype.

    50% of $1.5 million went to affiliates. Left with $750,000
    $500,000 to take the company out of the red. Left with $250,000
    Left with 1 month of cash flow before they needed to do it all over again.

    4 months planning too!

  • Dear Cool Guy.

    I think I know who you are talking about. I think i know who you are too. We’ve met 🙂

    Readers, if this is who I think it is, he’s one of the top guys for one of the biggest gurus out there.

    Thanks for the honest post. It is certainly appreciated.

  • Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – adding the feeds also, Thanks.

  • lol. again approving Kristins message simply because it links to a herpes site 🙂

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